first time on a boating holiday
newcomers boat hire direct


First time afloat


If you have not been on a boat before, you are not alone - many of our guests each year are complete newcomers and each and every one masters the controls to enjoy their holiday. If you fancy an informative day out on the canal before your holiday you might want to consider our helmsman's course - an ideal experience gift idea.

With the holiday experience they provide, you could easily be mistaken for thinking that canals were built entirely for pleasure, but their history is strongly industrial. The first canals were built to take boats just 7ft (2m) wide but 70ft (20m) long, hence the rather unusual proportions of the typical 'narrowboat'. However, you will find that every need is catered for in this intriguing living space.
Click here for a little more history.

Though designed to suit 200-year-old waterways, the modern narrowboats feature everything you need to enjoy a high quality self-catering holiday. Appointed to the standard you would expect of a country cottage, you have the added bonus of changing the scenery, without re-packing your suitcase, each day.
 Click here for a typical boat layout

The nature of the industrial routes takes the canals from the heart of one city to the next, via the easiest route - usually through open countryside, often through towns and villages. Canal-side country pubs are not a fortuitous accident of location - they were the service stations of the time when the boats worked along the routes.
Click here for some suggested routes for your first holiday afloat.

There is no itinerary - you set your own agenda. In a week by canal you are likely to cover the distance you could cover in an hour by car. But the journey will be a far richer one!

If you have any concerns or questions, just call our booking office. We are open 7 days a week and there won't be a 'silly' question we haven't heard before.

ABC Boat Hire Direct

Call 0845 126 4098 (Overseas 0044 1905 734168) or Email us.