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Anyone done a canal boat holiday?

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Anyone done a canal boat holiday?

Just what the subject says really, the only caveat being I don't want to cook, apart from breakfast, so would be looking to eat out at all other times. So I would appreciate any recommendations on a canal and a hire company please. I was considering this last year but left it to late, so this year I'm looking to book by this weekend.

 

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Re: Anyone done a canal boat holiday?

Haven't been on a canal holiday myself, but I do recall seeing some boats which were available to hire with someone aboard to cook, clean & pilot the boat, can't recall their names though, but I'm sure google could find them...

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Re: Anyone done a canal boat holiday?

Done many a narrowboat holiday, both in the UK and France.

 

Have used Napton Narrowboats mainly. Most of the canals we have visited have had a selection of places to visit (pubs, restaurants etc) which means no cooking unless we wanted to, except for breakfast.

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Re: Anyone done a canal boat holiday?

If you want a spectacular start to Narrow Boat holidays try Anglo Welsh Narrowboats from the Trevor basin along the Llangollen canal.  Almost immediately you cross the Pont Cysyllte Aqueduct - you need a head for heights mind. Quite a few pubs along the way where you can buy lunch/dinner. We've used them a few times.

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Minivanman
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Re: Anyone done a canal boat holiday?

Done quite a few over the years and have even taken one along the Thames. Fantastic memories from when they were far more affordable - they are now well out of my price range even for just a weekend booking but what is cheap these days? 

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Re: Anyone done a canal boat holiday?

We've done a few, Oxford canal, Lancaster canal spring to mind. We've also done the river Shannon in Ireland.  Not in the last ten years though!  

 

IIRC the canals in the English Midlands have pubs every few miles so no problems mooring up for a pint and a pie, but the Lancaster [-Censored-] and river Shannon were less developed so more self catering would be required.

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Re: Anyone done a canal boat holiday?

We lived on a 70ft Narrowboat, for 4 years, travelling the canals..... great "way of life"... plenty of hardships along the way,.... but we both miss our boat!. it was a great experience....  .. one winter it was so cold, the canal froze three inches of ice... and in the morning, the last of the previous nights brew of tea, was also frozen solid ... inside the boat !..

 

One canal I would avoid, if I were to go on a narrowboat holiday, would be the Avon & Kennet... very hard work, some really scary lock entrances ( where the "wash" from the overflow above the lower level) crossses the lock entrance..) luckily I had been informed and took a preview to work out the speed and angle of attack, before attempting it...  just as scary coming down the return journey.

Also, they have low level swing, or lift bridges, for the crew to "man handle"... very frequently,......... which means a much longer journey time, waiting for the crewperson to operate the bridge, open and closed, before progressing on to the next lock...... operating the lock........   . and after that ... the next bridge.. and so on...

I did the journey from Great Bedwyn on the Avon & Kennet  through to the Thames, up the Thames to Oxford, then onwards up Oxford Canal, Grand Union, and Staffs canal to Nantwich... single handed... was a very long journey, and a very tiring one,... especially as I had to go 10 miles before breakfast,... then ride my folding bike back to get the car,... to take it 10 more miles forward, and ride back to the boat 10 miles,  to proceed the next 20 miles...

Having seen some of the programmes on telly, of these "celebs" on narrowboats...one tip I can give you... is  when steering... you have to imagine you are driving a single decker bus, with rear wheel steering,.... and that should help you to get the bow ( pointed end )... to where you want to go, and hopefully, not hit any other moored boats..

another tip.... if you run aground.... poling off is not recommended...

 

but going into reverse should pull you off... ( think about it... you drove "on"... so why not drive "off "  !  )..

 

Bear in mind.... you are only travelling at 4mph (Walking pace)... so any journey you have planned for a 7 day trip,...you need to think about turning round for the return journey, on day 3 about middday.. so you need to plan for where the "winding hole" is to be able to turn the boat around........

 

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Re: Anyone done a canal boat holiday?

This is all really good information everyone so thank you all for that. The Llangollen is looking the most promising, so I am doing some research into the best place to hire the boat.

Having said that I have noticed that some of these sites share a common view on the pricing even though the ‘trading name’ is different. So I suspect these maybe related to a larger concern such as Hoseasons, and if this is the case then they’ll not be getting my money!

 

Minivanman
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Re: Anyone done a canal boat holiday?

Well you'll be shocked at the prices. Really nice holiday though - maybe share a week first with somebody who has already done a canal holiday? As shutter says steering takes some practice and I like his description although I'd describe it as like pushing a pencil from one end along a table top!

We did think of buying a boat to live on rather than a house when we moved back to the UK but again as shutter said it would have been bloody cold in the winter. A friend of ours lived on one for around eight years and got fed up with people tapping on the side, peering in the window and even would you believe, just coming on board.

You might enjoy reading some stuff from these guys, - I certainly did,

http://www.narrowdog.com/

 

 

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Re: Anyone done a canal boat holiday?

I've already had a look at the prices and I don't expect to see any change out of 3.5K for the whole holiday. I don't actually know anyone else who has actually been on a canal boat holiday and even if I did we'd still prefer to go on our own just in case the other party went all 'Salty Sea Dog' on me; he'd end up over the side!

@Minivanman I'll have a look at the URL over lunch, thanks for that.

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Re: Anyone done a canal boat holiday?

@Mook  why not have a look at Hotel Narrowboats....  this one. e.g.

 

https://www.hotel-narrowboats.co.uk/cruises-2017

 

Three meals per day... plus tea and cake twice a day... !   just under £800 per person, for 7 days...

 

you can choose the cruise... depending on the availablity from the list on that link...

 

Or you can investigate other Hotel Narrowboats..

 

Great way to relax,... and you will probably have the chance to steer/drive the boat... plus work the locks.. If you want to... 

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Re: Anyone done a canal boat holiday?

That's sounds great but there simply isn't the berths available for when we want Sad There will of course be others so would be well worth spending some time searching.