Family Friendly Narrowboat Holidays


An ordinary week in an ordinary cottage just strikes you as dull. The family’s said no to camping. And a caravan park is not what you want.

You need an extraordinary adventure. A break you’ll remember forever. Relaxation. Fun. A new vista every day. Big skies. Rolling fields. Wildlife. Hikes through the Great British countryside. Hidden views of towns and cities. Attractions that drop jaws. Activities you can tackle as a family. A change of pace. To disconnect. Goodbye to cares. A sweet spot for the summer.

Then yes. Our specially created family-friendly narrowboat holidays are perfect for you.


Black Prince is one of the UK’s biggest canal-holiday companies and we’ve made it our mission to help you find the perfect family break.

Keep reading for all the information you need to find your perfect family narrowboat break. Discover our tips for novice cruisers, activities to keep your crew entertained, and recommendations for the best child and teen-friendly routes.

Family Friendly Holidays: What to Look for

When it comes to planning a family holiday, there are a few things that parents are always looking for. They want a destination that is both fun and relaxing for everyone in the family, and they want to be able to find activities that will appeal to both younger and older children. Narrowboats are a great way to see the countryside and explore some of the UK’s most beautiful waterways, and they offer plenty of opportunities for family fun.

Why a narrowboat holiday?

Narrowboat holidays are truly unique and children will love getting to know the boat, how it works, and working as a team with the adults on board. It’s a holiday that draws people of all ages into an immersive experience that is unlike any other.

The views change every morning and each day offers a variety of activities that will appeal to both younger and older children. Plus some of our routes offer plenty of family-friendly attractions nearby, such as zoos, theme parks, and water parks. There’s a freedom to a narrowboat holiday that’s hard to find anywhere else. You can explore at your own pace and take it easy when you need to. If the children get restless, then walk or cycle along the towpath, keeping time with the movement of the boat, or simply moor up and go and explore the nearest town or village.

Then there is always the space for children and adults to relax in when they need some quiet time. Take some time out in the cabin or at the front of the boat to simply take in the scenery, read or maybe complete some our our Towpath activity books!

If you are looking for a family friendly holiday that is both fun and relaxing, a narrowboat holiday on the UK waterways is a great option. With plenty of activities for all ages, peace and quiet, and the freedom to explore, narrowboat holidays are the perfect way to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Here are a few additional tips for planning a family friendly narrowboat holiday:

  • Choose a route that is suitable for your family’s interests and abilities. There are narrowboat routes to suit all levels of experience, from easygoing canals to more challenging rivers.
  • Book your narrowboat holiday early to get the best deals, especially on two week holidays.
  • Pack plenty of activities and games for the kids. There will be plenty of time to relax on your narrowboat holiday, but it is also a good idea to pack some activities to keep the kids entertained.
  • Be prepared for the weather. The UK weather can be unpredictable, so it is important to be prepared for all eventualities. Pack a variety of clothing and make sure you have insect repellent and sunscreen.
    With a little planning, you can create a family friendly narrowboat holiday that everyone will enjoy.

“Our narrowboat holiday surpassed our expectations. The boat was much better equipped than we anticipated. The whole week was relaxing, fun, comfortable, energetic in parts, memorable for the children and a balance of new experiences.”

The John family

Every Question Answered


It’s your first time considering a canal holiday for your family and you feel like a narrowboat novice. If you’ve got a question, we’ll have the answer.

  • “Are my kids old enough to stay on a narrowboat?”
    All ages are welcome on board our boats. However, so that you can relax on your break, we suggest you consider how likely your children are to stay safe if you lose sight of them. See more…
  • “Do we need life jackets?”
    We recommend that young children and non-swimmers wear life jackets whenever you are on deck. We’ll provide all the safety equipment you need. See more…
  • “How old do they have to be to drive the boat?”
    Children aged 12 and up can steer the boat but they have to be supervised by you when they’re at the wheel. See more…

If you’ve got any more questions about your family-friendly narrowboat holiday, you’ll find the answers on our FAQ pages. We’ve focused on the things mums and dads most want to know. From safe cruising to operating locks. Filling up with water to night time stops. Flick through and you’ll become a wonder of the waterways in no time.

Towpath Activity Guide


Will your kids get bored on a narrowboat break? No chance. There’s something new to discover every single day. Wildlife to watch. Locks to operate. Take the tiller. A brilliant attraction. Hop off the boat and explore.
And once you’ve booked your break, you can download the Towpath Activity Guide. This collection of on-and-off the boat games and activities for your kids has been created exclusively for Black Prince by family adventurer David Mellor and includes:

  • Let your kids take charge as skipper for a day
  • Plan a countryside adventure with a map app
  • Take a waterway safari, spotting wildlife as you glide along

PLUS, we’ll send you a day-by-day route plan to give you ideas and inspiration for your journey.

Routes For Families


We’ve created a selection of new narrowboat routes that we think your family will love. Each has stunning scenery, awesome attractions and waterway wow factor, and there are short break and longer holidays to suit your timetable.

  • NEW! High Life is a short break through the incredible Dee Valley, starting from our Chirk boat hire base in Wales.
  • Chocs Away is an attraction-packed option from Stoke Prior in Worcestershire.
  • Going Potty starts in Stoke on Trent and follows one of the UK’s most beautiful canals to Alton Towers.
  • Canal & Castle from Napton in Warwickshire has something of everything for families.

You can choose breaks that start on Fridays, Saturdays and Tuesdays with weekends, midweeks and longer breaks available. When you book we’ll send you a detailed itinerary for your holiday, packed with ideas and advice on where to stop, what to see and where you sleep.


It’s normal to be nervous before your first canal holiday. How do I steer? How do I stop? How does a lock work?
So we give you a free British Marine Federation accredited coaching session before you head off.
We’ll walk you through the controls on the boat. Show you how to steer and stop. How to operate the locks and navigate tunnels. How to cruise safely.
And you won’t leave until you’re a wiz on the narrowboat.


So that you can have the very best break, we include all this with your holiday:

  • Lifejackets for children and adults
  • All your linen and kitchen equipment
  • A coaching session before you set off
  • A family-friendly route plan with advice on stops each day and night
  • The Towpath Activity Guide from family adventurer David Mellor

Looking good?

Check out these family-friendly narrowboat breaks