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

Hire-base Map

Multi-base Hire Firms - U.K.

Firms with four or more bases.

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


Canal name abbreviations used below

[Links for A-L manually checked 28 Oct 2023]
[Links for M-X manually checked 29 Oct 2023]


[Links manually checked 30 Oct 2023]

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).

[Links manually checked 30 Oct 2023]


[Links manually checked 30 Oct 2023]

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

[Links manually checked 21 Jan 2024]

Highly flexible booking schedule

[Links manually checked 21 Jan 2024] [Links from here down manually checked 29 Oct 2023]

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 launch day boat 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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Text, graphics, and photos Copyright © 1995-2024 by George Pearson.
This Page Last Modified: Saturday, 14-Jul-24 11:40 pm EDT