Canal boat holidays in England

Your narrowboat holiday in England will offer you the opportunity to experience this beautiful country from a truly unique vantage point. On holidays in the UK canals and rivers, you can hire a narrow boat and meander your way through the beautiful English countryside, breathing in the revitalising air and soaking up the history of the region. A self drive boat holiday with a difference!

Boating holidays in England, particularly on the inland waterways, are hugely popular. The canal network was originally created to transport industrial goods to and from towns and cities by boat, which means that as well as the countryside there is a great network to explore on your canal holiday that takes you right into the centre of our main cities as a holiday location.

Hire canal boats for a weekend or midweek break on a boating holiday in England and you can cruise into the centre of cities in southern England such as Birmingham, Oxford and Bath on holidays routes like the Kennet and Avon. A canal holiday certainly beats taking the car or battling on the underground!

Exploring England from the water

Black Prince offers canal boat hire in England hire in seven locations, from the north-west in Cheshire, central England in Staffordshire, the Midlands area of Worcestershire and the Warwickshire Ring, in the east in Cambridgeshire, and in the south of England in Oxfordshire and Wiltshire.

Each of these locations offers beautiful scenery, historical places to visit and some great attractions that will appeal to all the family. You can hire boats for a weekend break, a midweek break or a longer duration holiday, from a 7-night canal boat holiday to 21 nights. If you are looking for a more bespoke UK canals trip, then please give our reservations team a call and we’ll see what we can do for you.

Whatever you are looking for, we are sure you’ll find your perfect narrowboat holiday with Black Prince!

Top towns to visit in England

CHESTER

You can enjoy a canal boat holiday to the beautiful town of Chester. From the moment you step on the Grade I listed Roman wall that circles this historic town, you can feel yourself heading back in time. Moor up your narrowboat close to the city centre and enjoy the leisurely walk into the heart of this beautiful city which dates back to the year 79 AD, when it was established as a Roman fort. The city centre has a small town feel with major sights such as the the gothic design Town Hall and a Norman cathedral all within easy walking distance. The traditional black and white shop fronts give a quintessentially English feel, and there are plenty of fascinating gift shops and nice eateries to thoroughly enjoy. This town is English history come alive – don’t forget your camera!

You can enjoy Chester on a short break boating holiday or longer holiday.

Chester

STRATFORD UPON AVON

What is so famous about Stratford-Upon-Avon? Shakespeare of course! This town is one of the UK’s most important cultural areas, and is mainly celebrated as the birthplace of playwright William Shakespeare. It’s also one of the best places for boating holidays in England thanks to the wealth of historic heritage here.

Enjoy a canal boat holiday along the Stratford Canal and you can moor up your narrowboat close to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The town also offers stunning riverside views to enjoy from your narrowboat hire and perfectly preserved architecture. A must visit.

Shakespeare Stratford Upon Avon

OXFORD

Boating holidays in England wouldn’t be complete without a cruise along the South Oxford Canal to Oxford – a canal boat holiday cruise there followed by a punt along the River Thames in the city!

You’ll probably experience ‘deja-vous’ in Oxford. This historic city often feels familiar because it is used as the backdrop for so many films and TV programmes, most famously Inspector More and Harry Potter. The city is small and packed together so the main sights are easy to get around. The world famous university buildings include Christ Church College, Wadham College and Magdalene College. Other interesting sights are the Ashmolean Museum, Carfax Tower, Botanic Gardens – the oldest in Britain – and Sheldonian Theatre. You can even swap boat styles and try a spot of punting in flat-bottomed hire boats on the River Cherwell.

Oxford spires

CAMBRIDGE

Cambridge is of course famous for being the ‘other’ university and is a very popular place for boating vacations in England. Enjoy a weekend canal boat break on the River Ouse and head to Cambridge. Top of the agenda when you arrive at this beautiful city would be to head to the world-famous Cambridge University, founded in 1209, and discover King’s College Chapel, which began construction in 1446 during the reign of Henry VI and was finally completed in 1515 by King Henry VIII. With its gothic architecture and stunning great windows, the chapel is one of the traditional symbols of the city and was described by the architect Nikolaus Pevsner as “the most exquisite piece of Italian decoration surviving in England”. After visiting the chapel, you can enjoy a walk through the historic back streets of the city, which offer a contrast between beautiful Roman and Medieval architecture and the vibrant designs of modern England.

Cambridge Canal Holiday

LEAMINGTON SPA

Head out on the Grand Union Canal to Royal Leamington Spa on your narrowboat holiday in England and discover a beautiful town that was built on the Victorian belief in the medical properties of mineral spring water. A largely Regency town, it was very popular in the 18th-19th Century and the top attraction now remains the Royal Pump rooms. This Grade II listed building was the most famous of several spa baths opened in Leamington between the late-18th and mid-19th centuries. It also contains the art gallery and museum.

Leamington Spa

Top historical attractions in England

CHESTER

The Roman Wall at Chester gives you a real sense of stepping back in time. An easy walk, accessible from your canal boat, it leads you into the centre where you can take in the sights of this beautiful city. It’s also part of the famous Four Counties Ring.

Roman wall Chester

BATH

The Roman Bath’s at BATH offers a fascinating insight into the history of this ancient city. Moor up your canal boat on the outskirts of town and it’s an easy walk into the centre. Take the official tour and when you’ve seen the sights and tasted the water, head to The Pump Room for a special lunch in lovely surroundings.

bath uk

COVENTRY

For a bit of art history on your canal boat hire trip, take a look at the COVENTRY Canal Art Trail for a great way to spend time on your boat. As you journey along you can take in 39 works by 31 different artists, inspired by local history and contemporary culture.

The trail starts at the Coventry Canal Basin and ends at Hawkesbury Junction.

Coventry Cathedral