: canal boat rental UK


wonderings
Aug 30th, 2009, 11:42 PM
I am thinking about vacation for next year. I have always wanted to rent a canal boat in England, take a week or 2 and just enjoy. Anyone done this? Thoughts? reviews, do's donts? Stories? Links to who you rented from, etc etc so on and so forth.

KC4
Aug 31st, 2009, 12:42 AM
Yes! My friends and I rented a canal boat for 3 weeks ( about 3-4 days too long IMHO) and traveled around England/Scotland and Wales.. It was an awesome way to see both big cities and the countryside at a leisurely pace..

Many boat renting companies give you the option of with or without driver...one of our party had done this before and was familiar with driving the boats and so we went sans driver. They can be a wee bit of a challenge at first...the one we rented was about 50 feet long and only about 7 feet wide...sort of pencil shaped and you drive it from the eraser end! :eek:

I'm just cashing my chips in for the night but I'll see if I can't find my photos and notes etc....and I'll post what I find in in the morning!

chas_m
Aug 31st, 2009, 02:53 AM
I am thinking about vacation for next year. I have always wanted to rent a canal boat in England, take a week or 2 and just enjoy. Anyone done this? Thoughts? reviews, do's donts? Stories? Links to who you rented from, etc etc so on and so forth.

I have not myself done this, but friends have rented such boats in the south of England (particularly around Bath) and the scenery is just ridiculously gorgeous. Sounds like a great way to see parts of the UK.

wonderings
Aug 31st, 2009, 09:36 AM
It has been something I have wanted to do since I saw them in Oxford for the first time back in 2001. It just seems like a very relaxing way to tour about england, and its definitely something a bit different. I have done the train and car thing, so boat or motorcycle sounds good. I have just started planning for next year, and have about 8 friends interested, normally I have rented a car, but only had 4 people last time. The cost for a van or RV is getting up there, and when you factor in the cost of hostels, the boat seems like a cheap and very fun way to get about. I really like cooking my own food rather then eating out all the time.

johnnyspade
Aug 31st, 2009, 11:25 AM
I did this with a few friends about 15 years ago and it was a great trip. The boats look daunting but you can pilot these yourself, once you get the hang of it. There are some spots that are likely to get crowded, depending on your route, but it's a far more tranquil way to travel than the motorways. Pulling up to a small village to grab dinner at the local pub ... can't beat it.

wonderings
Aug 31st, 2009, 12:15 PM
I did this with a few friends about 15 years ago and it was a great trip. The boats look daunting but you can pilot these yourself, once you get the hang of it. There are some spots that are likely to get crowded, depending on your route, but it's a far more tranquil way to travel than the motorways. Pulling up to a small village to grab dinner at the local pub ... can't beat it.

Thats what appeals to me most, I love small town England. Been over there a few times, did the whole London thing, but the small little villages in England, Scotland and Wales are where my heart really were. The boats dont go very fast so I cant imagine there would be a problem piloting them, wouldnt want to do it if we had to hire someone. Do you need a specific license for these? Or a course of some sort?

MacDoc
Aug 31st, 2009, 05:21 PM
I'd really love to do that....whimper snivel....MacDoc needs a vacation.....

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m269/macdoc/biojbtfsplk-1.jpg

wonderings
Aug 31st, 2009, 05:28 PM
Its really not the expensive, from what I see so far. I was looking at prices for a week, on a 10 person boat. It worked out to be $3500 for a week, now I am counting on 8 people, thats $437 CDN a week, add the fuel, which is pricey, but still not that bad when you factor thats your accommodation for the week.

http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j164/wonderings/89755152_40706aefdc_b.jpg


http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j164/wonderings/17614193_c3c853b8d5_b.jpg

KC4
Aug 31st, 2009, 06:50 PM
I can't put my hand on my photos and log book right at the moment (probably buried deep in a box in the garge or something:rolleyes:)

The slow float through the countryside is in my opinion, the only way to really get an idea of what its like...You can only go about 2 MPH or any fishermen along the way will shout explicatives at you.

With an hour lesson by the rental company, you'll be reasonably prepared for the piloting of these crafts.

What I liked about the trip:
- The slow pace
- The ability to cook what we wanted for ourselves right n the boat
- when we didn't feel like cookin for ourselves, there is no shortage of canal side pubs with nearby mooring for your narrowboat.
- shopping for goods/groceries in all the small town markets ...just moor the boat and get your supplies....
- When no markets readily available, most locks have lockkeeper houses that (if aren't already a pub) have a small shop that sells basics as well as souvenirs.

-Many farmers along the canal set up "honor system" boxes where you take what they have to sell (usually fresh produce, occasionally baked goods) and you leave your money. :love2:
- the people along the canal were almost always friendly, welcoming and accommodating even though we were obviously tourists.
- the long tunnels and aqueducts were a major thrill - make sure you choose a route with an ample supply of these. (I think we did the 4 Counties ring)

The negatives:
- The water rationing that is necessary (I love a decent shower) 60 second showers Max...Having had waist length hair at the time, I could barely even get my hair wet in that amount of time. One of our party was "stranded" 30 seconds into her shower fully soaped - she had to get out and "dry herself off" until we could get to a refilling station.
- The very occasional cranky canalside land owner that does not want you to moor on their property....one time we had poorly estimated our travel time for the day. Canal boats were not permitted to travel in the dark and must moor before dusk. We found ourselves in "unfriendly" territory at dusk one night only.....I've never tamped in a big stake as quietly as that since. :D
- Multiple locks or lock line ups......just gotta be patient.
- Close quarters with a crew of friends for an extended period - make sure you all get along well....and everybody is mostly of a laid back personality.....not enough room on the boat for pouting, sulking or pissy attitudes. Really.

The positives WAY outweigh the negatives....I'd highly recommend it.

wonderings
Aug 31st, 2009, 11:16 PM
Did you have to pay to dock somewhere for the night? Or can you just pull over basically anywhere?

KC4
Sep 1st, 2009, 01:01 AM
Did you have to pay to dock somewhere for the night? Or can you just pull over basically anywhere?

Never had to pay, but that was 17 years ago...things most certainly have changed -but don't know for sure how.

You can't moor within so many feet of a lock ...and supposedly not on private property without permission...otherwise anywhere is fine....much of the riparian area along the canal was/is? in the public domain.

Towns and shopping areas usually provide mooring points for a certain amount of boats at a time.