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Stoke-on-Trent Canal Boat Hire


Situated on the re-developed National Garden Festival Site, the Stoke-on-Trent canal is one of the most popular Black Prince canal boat hire starting points. Close by there is an exciting Water World, dry ski-slope, multi-screen cinema, ten pin bowling and shopping centre… and that is before you get on the water!

The variety of canal cruising routes is wide, with the Cheshire Ring and Four Counties being favourite UK canals for narrow boating. You travel through some of the waterways’ most beautiful scenery, along with the pure contrast of the Potteries, Royal Doulton, Cheddleton Mill and Wedgwood industries. For the more energetic there’s Alton Towers near the end of the Caldon Canal.

Canal Cruising Routes from
Stoke-on-Trent Base


Festival Park Marina, Etruria,
Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, ST1 5PA


Cheshire Ring canal boat holiday

110 Miles
92 Locks
2 Week Cruise
5 hours per day

Four Counties Ring Canal Boat Holiday

111 Miles
94 Locks
1 Week Cruise
9 hours per day

Caldon & Leek Canal Boat Holiday

42 Miles
34 Locks
1 Week Cruise
4 hours per day

Whaley Bridge and return canal boat holiday

82 Miles
26 Locks
10 day trip
4 hours per day

Fradley Junction and return

62 Miles
46 Locks
1 week cruise
6 hours per day

Caldon Canal Short Break

26 Miles
18 Locks
Short break
4 hours per day

Great Haywood and return Short Break Route

42 Miles
34 Locks
Short Break
8 hours per day

New Procedures 2023

Harecastle Tunnel

 For boat hire guests departing from our Stoke on Trent or Acton Bridge and wanting to cruise the Four Counties Ring, it is necessary to book slots for passage through the Harecastle tunnel. Slots are available for seven days a week, from 8 am until 5 pm. We will send you details on how to reserve your slot prior to your holiday.

Bosley and Marple Lock Flights

To make sure that the limited water that is available lasts for as long as possible, the Canal & River Trust are reducing the use of the lock flights on the Macclesfield Canal and Peak Forest Canal from Monday 3 April 2023.

If you are planning on cruising the Macclesfield and Peak Forest Canals (as part of the Cheshire Ring trip for example) the team at your hire base can help you plan your route to ensure that you meet these times during your handover.

Bosley Lock Flight (Macclesfield Canal) – open Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
Open from 8:30am to allow passage through the flight. Last boat entry to the flight will be at 1pm, and all boats must have exited the flight by 4pm.

Marple Lock Flight (Peak Forest Canal) – open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays
Open from 8:30am to allow passage through the flight. Last boat entry to the flight will be at 12 noon, and all boats must have exited the flight by 4pm.

Both Lock Flights  will be closed on Fridays to help the summit water levels to recover ahead of the weekend demand.


Below are the boat types that are available for barge hire Stoke-on-Trent from this base. When you start your holiday search all the boat options and dates that closely match your desired departure date and party number will be presented to you.


Princess 2Duchess 2Princess 4Duchess 4Lautrec 4Shakespeare 4Princess 6Duchess 6Duchess 8


Princess 4Princess 4 SignatureDuchess 6


Premier Inn (3 star hotel), Etruria Road, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5NH, Tel: 0333 321 9337 

Hilton Garden Inn Stoke on Trent, (4-star hotel0, Potteries Way, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 4QA, Tel: 01782 486960

National Rail Enquiries: Tel: 08457 484950 Tel: 0871 244 1545

Nearest Airport: Manchester International Tel. 0161 489 3000

Nearest Railway Station:Stoke on Trent


Approximate prices: (Prices courtesy of Intercity Cabs – subject to change)
Manchester International Airport to Stoke on Trent: £53 one way or £197 return
Heathrow Airport to Stoke on Trent: £185 one way or £374 return.

Taxi prices correct of October 2021, please note they may vary.

There is a large Morrison’s supermarket and a number of other shops at Festival Park, nearby to the base.

From Heathrow airport, get the London underground tube to Euston station.
From Gatwick airport, get the Gatwick Express to London Victoria station, then get a London underground tube to London Euston.
From Stansted airport, get the London underground tube to London Euston.
From London Euston station there is a train to Stoke on Trent.
Visit to plan your route on the London Underground.

Get a train to Manchester Piccadilly or Wilmslow station, and then change for Stoke on Trent.

M6: Exit at Junction 15 (from South) or Junction 16 (from North) and follow the A500 until you reach the A53. Turn towards Hanley and the city centre. Passing over the canal, you will see the marina on your left hand side – stay in the left hand lane (do not cross the flyover). At the roundabout, turn left. At the mini – roundabout turn left, and the marina entrance is on your left.

Stoke-on-Trent Reviews:

Black Prince Holidays
Based on 22 reviews
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Aisha ZafarAisha Zafar
11:21 20 Jun 22
Racist gentlemen - Just touched the boat and he went mad and start shouting at me and my friend saying not to touch it again but other people were touching it but we weren't allowed as were are asian apparently (he made horrible statements)... Just when you try to think racism doesn't exist anymore, you get someone being racist.
Scott DaviesScott Davies
09:22 09 Jun 22
We booked a trip with Black Prince holidays for our family. We did 4 nights along the Caldon Canal on one of the narrow boats. It was a lovely time and we found it very tranquil. The kids enjoyed helping with the locks and just letting the world go by. It was great to be able to stop almost anywhere and moor up. The boat was neat and well appointed and had everything we needed for the trip. We can definitely recommend this as a holiday option and Black Prince did everything to make our trip easy and enjoyable.
Richard LewisRichard Lewis
09:22 04 Jun 22
4 day trip for 6 people from Acton Bridge to Dunham Massey and return. From the initial booking to our return the experience was great. The boat was clean, modern and well equipped. All 6 of us slept like logs. The kitchen was modern and easy to use, the bathroom was a decent size and not too cramped, and the lounge comfortable and easily converted to a bedroom. The staff were friendly and helpful during the initial talk, suggesting routes and places to stop off. I couldnt recommend this trip enough.
J NyokabiJ Nyokabi
08:32 04 Jun 22
Excellent! From induction great run through with all questions answered. As beginner's our conductor took us to a 2nd lock and despite our nerves he was patient. The boat itself was very clean. Definitely recommend whether short stay or longer. See you again and Thankyou!
mandy dalleymandy dalley
11:25 03 Apr 22
Lovely and friendly staff, nice boat and a relaxing holiday.Thank you for your help in everything. ( Erin).
Margaret ParkMargaret Park
20:18 10 Aug 21
Had a great few days on Gillian a black prince narroiwboat. Would certainly recommend them
Joan FurnissJoan Furniss
20:40 29 Jul 21
First time on a narrow boat they were very helpful and the boats are fantastic absolutely loved it. Can't wait to go on one again and would definitely pick Black Prince Holidays
Martin RathfelderMartin Rathfelder
20:06 15 Apr 21
Very friendly and helpful. Came and rescued us when we lost the boat keys
13:09 19 Feb 21
Good base at Festival park Marina and ideally located on the canal past CRT's Etruria services and the Caldon canal branch!The management and staff are friendly and welcoming...We met and became friends with such amazing lovely boaters during our staycation here...Thank you so much Rachel and Gavin for your support and help during our lockdown visitors moorings staycation...You are both Shinning Stars and look after yourselves, stay safe and well along with all of yours too. Hopefully we'll pop in to say hello to you all at some point in the future or when nearby on the cut.Joe and Jackie nb. Rambling Rose
Andy HoweAndy Howe
19:38 24 Oct 20
Just returned from a weeks holiday . We had 2 boats..Megan and Isla. We have to say the staff were spot on . Nothing was too much trouble. They gave us advice on good mooring spots .... places to visit .. and also the important loch turorial.The boats were immaculate throughout and the beds surprisingly comfy .We were impressed from start to finish and will definitely be hiring from Black Prince again 😎👍
Bev SpencerBev Spencer
09:17 10 May 19
Just had a week on Odette. The boat was beautifully presented on arrival. Nothing was missing for our needs. Extremely friendly and conscientious staff. The boat was a dream with comfortable beds, fresh linen, even teatowels. Well equipped kitchen and spacious bathroom.. Had a fabulous holiday on the beautiful canals of the area. Would 100% recommend Black Prince and if we get a chance we will certainly return for another holiday.


Call today on ++44 (0)1527 575 115 and a Black Prince team member will be happy to help!

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