Canal and River Routes

With over 3,000 miles of inland waterways to explore, you are spoilt for choice. The UK waterway system is a mixture of broad canals, narrow canals and navigable rivers that extends from Guildford in the south, to Scotland in the north, and westward to Bath and Bristol and east to the Norfolk Broads. Whether drifiting along the Llangollen Canal, cruising the historic Thames or exploring the scenic Norfolk Broads, you won't be dissapointed.

Canal & River Routes

Relaxation is at the top of many people's lists, and the Lancaster Canal has plenty of this to offer with no locks for 42 miles. For those looking for a challenge, a cruising ring, like the Cheshire Ring or Warwickshire Ring makes a good choice. These circular routes require 1-2 weeks with the crew navigating a series of locks. Alternatively, you might enjoy a city cruise with lots of things to see and do - the Birmingham Canal and the Grand Union Canal fit this bill.

Click here to see a map of where you can go boating

Cruising Holiday & Day Hire

River cruiser holiday hire and day boat hire is an ideal way for newcomers to have a taste of inland cruising without the expense of owning a boat. You can test different styles of hire boats to determine if inland cruising is a desirous long term aim for you or will just remain the occasional boat hire. There are a host of experienced and friendly companies with boats to suit your needs, whether it’s a day hire with a group of friends, visiting cities or for a longer family holiday.

Day Hire
Day Hire (River Cruiser) from £130

Hire a Day Boat click here

Motor cruiser holidays (1 week) from £670 Skippered

Choose a holiday with the On the Water Holiday Search

Boat Licence

If you are hiring a boat, the licence is included in the price. However if you are a buying a boat, you will need to get a licence from the relevant waterway authority. The type of licence you'll need depends on the sort of boat you have, where you want to cruise and how long you want to use it for. These can be purchased from one of the three organisations which runs Britain's waterways. 

Canal & River Trust manages most of the canals and rivers including the Severn, Trent and Yorkshire Ouse.

The Environment Agency manages the River Thames, the River Medway, and the rivers of East Anglia.

The Broads Authority manages the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.

Video - Cruising the Great Glen Ways

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Boat Shows

Two of the biggest in the UK are the London Boat Show and Southampton Boat Show but there are loads of other regional and specialised shows which are great too.

2015 Southampton Boat Show LBS16


British Marine Leisure Boating

British Marine Leisure Boating

Looking for a Boating Holiday? Chartering a boat? Training? Experience days? Find out more from British Marine Leisure Boating - The Training, Charter and Holiday Professionals >


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