On your trip

On your trip

A typical canal boat interior


There is a great temptation to undertake long circular cruises or rings only to discover that it is all proving to be much harder work than you first thought. We always recommend an out and return route for beginners – many experienced boaters also prefer this. Working through the locks does take some effort and whilst this activity is part of the enjoyment of a canal cruise, you do not want to make it a chore. A cruising day of about 8 hours is the most that you should plan for, and remember that you might want some time to do other things as well.

As a rough calculation when planning a route, add the number of locks to the distance in miles and divide the total by 3 to give cruising time in hours. Guide books for all the canals and navigable rivers are available in our marina shops and when booking. Places of interest and the facilities you may need are listed and described alongside the maps, so you will always know in advance what is to be found around the next bend.


For up-to-date information on route availability please visit The Canals and Rivers Trust. The marina will also provide you with any route information when you collect the boat. Routes and timings are approximate and will be affected by available cruising hours, weather conditions and amount of traffic on the waterway.


Most visitor moorings on canals and rivers governed by British Waterways are free of charge. In fact, you are permitted to moor anywhere on the towpath side of the canal free of charge so long as you are not causing an obstruction. However, at certain privately owned sites there may be a fee for overnight mooring. The River Thames is a typical example, as well as parts of the Kennet and Avon canal and Bristol Dock.


We must ask you to do all you can to protect the environment by reducing exhaust emissions and obeying the 4mph speed limit.


To enable you to enjoy your holiday to the full, many of the boats a provided with a welcome pack to start you off. Please see the boat details for the boat you are booking as these packs vary.


Your boat is fully equipped with all the utensils, cooker, oven, fridge etc, to enable you to cook, if you wish, to the same standards that you would at home. There is hot and cold running water in the galley and adequate room. You will be able to replenish the larder at some canal side towns and villages which you will pass and many boatyards operate a small grocery shop. It is becoming more common for supermarkets to be built near to the canals, which often have cash points so you can stock up your wallet as well as your larder!


Most of the delightful canal side pubs provide meals, but you would be well advised to telephone in advance to book a table as they are very popular with motorists as well as boaters. Please remember that not every pub takes credit cards.


There are plenty of disposal points along the waterways so please use them. Most boatyards will provide facilities (sometimes at a small charge) if you cannot locate a British Waterways disposal point. Do not spoil the enjoyment of others by throwing your litter in the canal or leaving it on the canal bank.


Most of the waterways you can reach can be fished, providing you hold a national licence available from UK Post Offices. You must also purchase a day ticket from the owners of the fishing rights either in advance or from the bailiff for the water in question. For reasons of hygiene, we cannot allow you to keep live bait on the boat. CLOSE SEASON: Fishing is not allowed on rivers from 15th March to 15th June inclusive.


1. No person under the age of 18 years should operate the boat unless an adult is at the young person’s side (i.e. someone above the age of 21).

2. You are not permitted to cruise after dark. The boat is not fitted with navigation lights and the insurance becomes invalid.

3. The maximum speed allowed on the canals is 4mph. If the wash from the boat creates a wave along the bank your speed is too high.

4. The canals are a 200 year old man-made navigation system and you should always bear in mind that things can go wrong from time to time so you should always leave extra time in case of delay.

5. The waterways are a resource to be enjoyed by everyone and we would ask you to respect other users. Please slow down when going past other boats, particularly when moored.

6. Fishermen generally prefer you to slow down when going past them, but it is important that you try to stay in the centre of the canal where the water is deepest.