I’ve seen them many times on my way to London from the airport, but it wasn’t until some friends told us about their narrow boat holiday in Wales that I realized that you could also rent one and travel through the wast canal system in Britain.
So there and then our plans for the summer holiday of 2013 was settled. We were a bit late to the game, these boats hire out like hotcakes in the summer, but we managed to find one close to Rugby in the middle of England. We forked up a lot of money (around £1000 if memory serves me well), received a boat manual in the mail and then went off to England, with no boating experience what so ever (though the kids are scouts and know their way with knots).
At the renting place we got a very brief introduction to steering, how to do the locks and what we needed to know about filling the water tanks and other boaty stuff. Seriously after about 30 minutes we were off to our own devices. Luckily narrow boats are slooow, you will walk faster most of the time. But they are also very looong, and I struggled with the steering quite a bit, as I am generally challenged when it comes to certain motor skills that requires coordination (I struggled learning to drive too). My husband on the other hand found the steering very easy and intuitive.
The view from the boat one morning.
The canals consists of endless amounts of locks, so you are kept quite busy during your journey. At first it was a bit nervous doing the locks, but it turned out to be a fairly straightforward process actually and people were always eager to help.
The interior was quite generic, but cozy, The kids had their own bedroom and we adults slept on the sofa bed in the photo. I loved life on the boat and we will definitely do this again!
Narrow boating is pretty much a lifestyle for the boat owners and many live on it all year around.
Is like Hotels.com for narrow boat hiring, though we ended up renting directly from a boat company.
Everything you need to know about travelling with a narrow boat including great suggestions on choosing a destination.