Canal Boat Hire Firms - UK and Ireland

There are many, many boat hire firms in the U.K. and Europe. These are the ones I know of that have a web presence. Many firms are now on the web, but there are probably still some that are not; I have not attempted to list those. Boats are hired (rented) from boatyards. Hire is usually by the week, though some 3/4 day hires ("short breaks") are also offered by some firms.

Many ads can be found in the pages of canal and waterway-related magazines.

See also hotel boats.

When contacting any firm, please tell them you saw them listed on the internet on

Important! See disclaimer.

Table of Contents

Moved from this page to new pages: Canal Boat Hire Firms - Europe and Canal Boat Hire Agencies - UK & Europe.

On this page:

Last minute bookings

Multi-base Hire Firms - U.K.

Firms with three or more bases.

Due to changes made by Google, my Map of Hire Bases in England and Wales, and Map of Hire Bases in Scotland, are no longer working.

One- or Two-base Hire Firms - UK and Ireland


Due to changes made by Google, my Map of Hire Bases in England and Wales is no longer working.

Canal name abbreviations used below


Due to changes made by Google, my Map of Hire Bases in Scotland is no longer working.

Note: several of the Multi-base Hire Firms - U.K. have bases in Scotland


Note: the Llangollen Canal in Wales connects to the main English canal system, and therefore can also be reached via boats hired in England. For bases on or near the Llangollen, see the Map of Hire Bases in England and Wales and zoom in to the row of markers about 50km south of Liverpool (as the crow flys).


comments on R. Barrow cruising - on, Jan 2013

Hire Firms with Specialised Offerings - U.K.

Canal Holidays for Disabled People

Canal Holidays for Schools and Youth Organisations, and Other Groups

Day Boats

"Day boats" have no sleeping accommodations - they are just boats you take out for the day.

Hire Nightly or B&B

Highly flexible booking schedule

Long Term Hire/Lease

One-way trips

Depart from one boatyard and finish at another.

Broad-beam "narrowboats"

Also referred to as "wide beam".

Electric Boats

The only electrically powered boats that I'm aware of for multi-day hire are operated by Castle Narrowboats, on the Mon & Brec Canal in S. Wales.
Chertsey Meads Marine has electric day boats for use on the Thames.

"Trad" (traditional) Narrowboats


This pages are provided as a public service. There is no implied recommendation for any of the firms listed, nor is any criticism implied for any firm not listed. No firm has paid for any listing. If you decide to try canal boating, you do so at your own risk.
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