Narrowboat Hire – Shropshire Union Canal

Connections with other canals & the Four Counties Ring open up plenty of holiday cruising routes. The canal is easy to cruise in about 3 days, 66 miles long from Ellesmere Port to Wolverhampton, with 47 mostly narrow locks. The ‘new cut’ to Middlewich is 10 miles long with 4 locks.

Canal below Chester Walls.

Canal below Chester Walls.

  • Enjoy beautiful scenery, from the banks of the River Mersey to the Cheshire plain to isolated Shropshire pasturelands and hills, as the canal heads to the midlands.
  • Look out for Chester and her Roman walls, the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port, Beeston Castle, medieval market towns like Nantwich and Market Drayton.
  • Cruising routes include ‘out and back’ up the amazing Llangollen Canal, following the Staffs and Worcs Canal down to the River Severn or the circular Four Counties cruising ring.
  • Enjoy the high embankments and deep cuttings. The canal was one of the last built, so civil engineering techniques developed when building railways gave it a straighter and more direct route than older ‘contour’ canals.


  • There are plenty of locks, but most are easy to work and conveniently placed in handy flights as at Audlem and Adderley. The boat people preferred locks close together because someone could go ahead and prepare the locks. If you have a bike onboard your can set a few locks ahead too, although make sure there aren’t any boats coming in the other direction!
  • There are broad locks between Nantwich and Chester, including staircases at Bunbury and Northgate Chester, because the original Chester canal from Nantwich to the River Dee at Chester was built as a barge canal. Take extra care in broad locks, especially the staircase locks.

Boat Hire from family firms on or around the Shropshire Union Canal

Chas Hardern Boats

Chas Hardern Boats, family run for over 40 years offering a fleet of excellent value, well equipped 2 to 6 berth boats for all year cruising. Ideal for the Shropshire Union Canal, the Llangollen Canal & adjoining canals.

Cheshire Cat Narrowboats

Cheshire Cat Narrowboats, perfect for the Llangollen Canal & Four Counties Ring. Clean, comfortable, well-equipped boats, individual attention, sensible prices, no hidden extras. A warm, friendly welcome guaranteed.

Crest Narrowboats

Crest Narrowboats - Prestigious new fleet of high quality 2-10 berth boats, operated by friendly, well established and experienced staff at our Chirk and Festival Park bases - ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable holiday.

Floating Holidays

Located on the Trent and Mersey Canal, Floating Holidays have lovely traditional and modern boats, large and small for all parties. For couples breaks through to a boat that will comfortably accommodate 10 people.

Heritage Narrowboats

Heritage Narrowboats
offering 'quality graded' Narrowboats to cruise the Cheshire & Four counties Rings and beyond. Or why not have a day out on the canal on one of our 12 person dayboats.

Lyneal Trust

Lyneal Trust's two specially designed boats, with accessible ramps, lifts and bathrooms, enable people with disabilities, vulnerabilities, or limited mobility, and their families, to enjoy a holiday on the Llangollen Canal.

Marine Cruises

Marine Cruises on the magnificent award winning Llangollen canal have well equipped 2 to 10 berth boats.

All boats have bathroom with shower & galley with full size cooker.

Napton Narrowboats

From our new base at Autherley Junction, Napton Narrowboats family-run fleet now gives you the widest choice of boats and cruising routes.

Norbury Wharf

Norbury Wharf luxury narrow boats at the heart of the beautiful Shropshire Union canal, ideally situated for the Llangollen canal, Four counties ring & much more, Short & long term hire available. Diesel & Gas included.

The Blue Riband Club

The Blue Riband Club comprises two owner operated companies who guarantee to give you the highest standards of both comfort and service. All boats are Tourist Board annually inspected.


UKvacationsAfloat At M6 J12 we are centrally located for easy scenic cruises on the picturesque 'Shroppie', Trent and Mersey canal for the Potteries and the Birmingham canals for the industrial history buffs.

Whittington Wharf Narrowboats

Whittington Wharf Narrowboats Enjoy beautiful countryside by canal in one of our luxury narrowboats. Cruise the breathtaking World Heritage Llangollen Canal with magnificent aqueducts and tunnels from our base near Ellesmere.

Norbury Wharf

Norbury Wharf. Enjoy the heart of the beautiful Shropshire Union Canal aboard a ten seater day boat, situated just 15 minutes from junction 14 M6, or junction 3 M54, a day to remember!

Circular Canal Rings

Four Counties Ring
Links the Shropshire Union Canal with the Trent and Mersey Canal & the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal.

More Information

Holiday Cruising Guide to the Shropshire Union Canal.

More North West hire firms or narrowboat hire firms in other canal areas.

Day hire boats to cruise with a few friends for a few hours.

Help to choose the right canal boat for your holiday.

Plus lots more advice and tips in our Canal Holiday Advice.

Our Listings

We provide contact telephone and email details free of charge for canal based companies, click for details.
Please note: We provide all contact details as an information service. We rely on traders to keep us informed about these listings so we can't guarantee that details are accurate or up to date. Please see our Terms of Use.

Add a company

Llangollen Canal

Crest Narrowboats
Chirk Marina, Chirk, Wrexham LL14 5AD.
01691 774558
Lyneal Trust
Lyneal Wharf, Ellesmere SY12 0LQ.
01948 710708
Marine Cruises
Liverpool Rd, Moston, Chester CH2 4BA.
01244 373911
Pea Green Boats
Whixall Marina, Alders Ln, Whixall, Whitchurch SY13 2QS.
Whittington Wharf Narrowboats
Ellesmere Rd, Welsh Frankton, Oswestry SY11 4NU.
01691 662424

Macclesfield Canal

Heritage Narrowboats
Station Rd, Scholar Green, Stoke-on-Trent ST7 3JZ.
01782 785700

Shropshire Union Canal

A Cut Above Narrowboat Hire
Challenger Stealth Canal Hire
Nantwich Canal Centre, Shropshire Union Canal
Chas Hardern Boats
Beeston Castle Wharf,, Beeston,, Tarporley CW6 9NH.
01829 732595
Cheshire Cat Narrowboats
Overwater Marina, Nantwich CW5 8AY.
07867 709195
Cheshire Narrowboat Holidays
Nantwich, Shropshire Union Canal
Countrywide Cruisers
Brewood, Shropshire Union Canal
Empress Holidays
Nantwich, Shropshire Union Canal
Tattenhall, Shropshire Union
Hilda For Hire
Aquaduct Marina, Shropshire Union Canal
Napton Narrowboats
Autherley Junction, Oxley Moor Rd, Wolverhampton WV9 5HW.
01926 813644
Norbury Wharf
The Wharf, Norbury Junction, Stafford ST20 0PN.
01785 284292
The Blue Riband Club
Wharf Ln, Brewood, Stafford ST19 9BG.
The Odd Boat Co.
Tattenhall, Shropshire Union Canal
Venetian Hire Boats
Nantwich CW5 6DD.
Welsh Gateway Canal Holidays
Nantwich, Shropshire Union Canal

Staffs and Worcs Canal

The Wharf, Watling St, Penkridge, Stafford ST19 5PR.
07491 507825
+1 416 998 4747 (USA)

Trent and Mersey Canal

Floating Holidays
Middlewich Wharf, 1 Canal Terrace, Middlewich CW10 9BD
03300 430547

Day Hire

Cheshire Cat Narrowboats Ltd
Overwater Marina, Coole Ln, Nantwich CW5 8AY.
Chester Day Boat Hire
Tattenhall Marina, Chester CH3 9NE.
Norbury Wharf
The Wharf, Norbury Junction, Stafford ST20 0PN.
01785 284292

All materials and images © Canal Junction Ltd. Dalton House, 35 Chester St, Wrexham LL13 8AH. No unauthorised reproduction.

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