People on a Barge

Inland Waterways - Canal Boats

Inland Waterways - Canal Boats

Canals are part of our cultural heritage but today, what was the commercial network of the industrial revolution, has become the leisure playground of boat-owners and holiday-makers who wish to take the time to discover the beauty of the UK countryside.

This guide provides an introduction to Inland Cruising and arms you with the information to get started with essential information on the equipment that you will need, the cruising routes available, where you can find training, inland holidays and where you can buy a canal boat.

Canal boats come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, and the type of boat you choose depends on the number of berths (beds), the amount of space and the level of comfort you want. Most boats come equipped with all the modcons such as televisions, dvd players, toilets, showers, and kitchens, and there is no need for you to take any equipment.

Plus you can choose just how you want to go about exploring these unique and amazing waterways; do you want to hire one for a day or an extended period? Or would you prefer to take a skippered trip so you can enjoy the view without the fuss? Whatever your preference there is something for everyone.

Three ways to discover the inland waterways are:

Inland Cruisers

River cruisers are modern sleek boats that are easy to steer as they have a steering wheel like a car. They are also come in a variety of sizes. Smaller day hire boats have less facilities than the larger cruisers used for holidays.  More about inland cruisers >


Despite the name, narrowboats are surprisingly spacious with plenty of headroom, and come in different lengths depending on the number of berths you need. If it is your first time on a narrowboat, it is a good idea to choose a smaller narrowboat as it is easier to steer. The steering a narrowboat is different to other boats and requires a bit of practice, but don’t worry, you will soon get the hang of it.  More about narrowboats >


These spacious vessels are wider than narrowboats and offer a more generous living area that includes many of the features of a modern home. In spite of their size, barges are easy to handle as they are steered using a steering wheel, but their size means they can only be used on the major canals and rivers.  More about barges >

Looking for an Inland Boat

In any household planning to buy a new boat will be thought about, deliberated, argued and discussed time and time again. Eventually, the time arrives to make that all important first contact with a boatbuilder – but which boatbuilder?

Clearly what’s needed is the assurance that the builder will be knowledgeable, friendly, know their audience and be abreast of the best safety standards. By buying from a member of the Canal Boatbuilders, a British Marine Group Association, you can be sure all these qualities are guaranteed.



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Leisure Boating Ideas

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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 >