Canal hire firms on Southern & South Eastern waterways

Most of the Inland Waterways and canals of Southern England didn’t play the same major role in the Industrial Revolution as those further north. Many of the routes south and west of the Thames have been lost, falling into disuse many years ago. But much remains and now create a very popular and varied network of cruising routes.


  • The River Thames and other East Coast Rivers were major trade routes but most of the non tidal Thames is now mainly used for leisure, cutting spectacularly through the southern end of the Chilterns and meandering through beautiful water meadows above Oxford.
  • The splendid Kennet and Avon Canal which strides over the Berkshire Downs was reopened in 1990 after 40 years of dereliction.
  • The River Wey and neighbouring Basingstoke Canal offer rare havens of tranquillity within the M25.
  • The Waterways of East Anglia, the Fens, Middle Levels, the rivers Nene and Great Ouse and the Norfolk Broads, offer unique, peaceful and fascinating cruising areas, a mixture of natural rivers and man-made drains.
  • And although neither are merely ‘southern’ canals, both reaching well into into the Midlands, the Oxford Canal twisting and turning through beautiful Oxfordshire countryside and the Grand Union Canal climbing up and over the Chilterns, are well worth exploring.

Canal holiday hire firms – Southern & South Eastern England

Boat hire – The Fens, River Nene, Great Ouse, Middle Levels

Try hiring a boat on the East Anglian Waterways, explore the Fens, Middle Levels and Rivers Great Ouse, Cam and Nene, a unique, peaceful and beautiful area scattered with interesting villages and market towns.

Narrowboat hire – Grand Union Canal & Regent’s Canal

Hire a boat on the Grand Union Canal and you have a lot of choice of boats, places to go and things to see - as you would expect from the longest canal in the UK! There are lots of locks too, 166 in total, mostly wide.

Narrowboat hire – Kennet and Avon Navigation

Take a Hire a boat trip on the Kennet and Avon Navigation and you can cross some of the finest scenery in Southern England as this long canal strides from Bristol through Bath to the River Thames.

Norfolk Broads Boat Hire From Independent & Family Firms

The Norfolk Broads' network of quiet backwaters and open reaches is as popular as ever with over 20 hire firms and boatyards offering cruisers, yachts or day-boats for hire.

Oxford Canal Boat Hire & Narrowboat Hire

Cruising on a hire boat on the Oxford Canal can be like a journey along 2 different waterways, the southern Oxford meandering through Oxfordshire villages , the northern Oxford straighter with fine architecture.

Boat hire – River Thames and Rivers Lea and Stort

Take a hire boat on the River Thames or Lee Navigation. The lower Thames bustling with famous riverside views, the upper Thames meandering and tranquil, much more like the peaceful River Lee & River Stort.

Narrowboat Hire – Wey Navigation & Basingstoke Canal

The Wey and Godalming Navigations and the Basingstoke Canal can both be cruised by leaving the River Thames near Weybridge. They are both tranquil waterways running through beautiful and peaceful countryside, despite their closeness to London.

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