Narrowboat Hire – Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to book our narrowboat holidays to get the best value?

Booking early always gives you the best value. We run an offer from April through to October offering 20% off if you book 12 months in advance and 15% for 9 months. This discount applies to a maximum of 2 weeks at a time. The booking can be made on any narrowboat holiday at any time of year, so is most popular with school holidays. Therefore, booking 12 months in advance will give you the best deal.

Special offers, ‘Deal of the week’ and competitions can be found via our special offers page, on Twitter and Facebook. You can either just keep track of one of these pages or sign up to our e-newsletter and get offers sent to you every month. We love to hear from our customers so do connect with us via your favorite site.

Can I see more interior photos of the narrowboats for hire?

Yes there are plenty of interior photos of the narrowboats for hire on the ‘our boats’ section of the website. You can also see more photos on Facebook and there are also some short videos of each of our narrowboats for hire on YouTube.

Are the canals open all year round?

No, canals undergo a maintenance programme over the winter season from about mid October to the end of March. The programme can be viewed online at the Canal and River Trust so you can see if any stoppages will effect your narrowboat holiday. Occasionally work also needs to be carried out during the holiday season due to emergency such as flooding or lock damage. Again check with the Canal and River Trust before you set off for any last minute stoppages.

Can I bring electrical items with me onboard my narrowboat?

The system on board is a 240v system so does operate a number of electrical items. However we ask that no other electrical items are brought without the prior consent of Aqua Narrowboats. The electrical items already provided onboard include: hairdryer, microwave, TV, stereo and fridge. The oven and hob are gas operated and a whistling kettle is heated via the gas hob. Mobile phones can be plugged in and charged with no problem at all, we recommend doing this whilst cruising as the engine is generating power.

Do I get any boat handling tuition before my canal boat holidays?

Yes, all our guests are greeted by a member of our handover team and once you have unpacked you will get a full run through of your narrowboat, so you know how everything works. Then the allocated skipper will cruise the narrowboat for about 2 hours whilst undergoing narrowboat handling tuition. In addition, your full crew will be shown how to work a lock. You should be confident to handle your narrowboat at the end of the handover period and be able to fully enjoy your canal boat holiday. We also recommend that you read the following guide books before your canal boat holiday begins:
The Boater’s Handbook By Canal River Trust: Download Handbook
The waterways code By Canal River Trust: Download Waterways Code

Can I go on the river on my canal boat holidays?

Yes if you are an experienced narrowboater, then you are able to go along the river section on your canal boat holidays, please speak with the team at Aqua Narrowboats first so we can ensure you have an anchor onboard.

Can my canal boat holidays be longer than 2 weeks?

Yes we are happy to book canal boat holidays up to 3 weeks. We don’t usually take bookings for a longer period than this, but please feel free to contact us with your requirements on 01283 585718 or email

What happens if my canal boat breaks down?

It is unlikely that your canal boat will break down as we maintain our narrowboats to the highest standard. However if this does happen, or you are concerned about anything whilst onboard you can call the office during opening times Tel 01283 585718 or the marine repairs team on a mobile phone number provided within your boat handbook. Your marine engineer will assess your situation via the phone, in many cases the problem is resolved at this stage. If the problem is not resolved a marine engineer will visit your canal boat as soon as possible. There are no charges for a marine engineer callout unless in connection with a toilet blockage which is caused by misuse i.e. wipes blocking the toilet. Please see our terms and conditions for further details.

Are there many canal routes to choose from for my canal boat holidays?

There are lots of canal routes to choose from as we are based in the heart of the Midland canal network. If your canal boat holidays is one or 2 weeks long then you can choose from many of the canal rings on the system including the Staffordshire Ring, Four Counties Ring and Leicestershire Ring. For canal boat holidays of less than a week, then you can discover the Trent and Mersey canal up to Great Haywood and back visiting Shugborough Hall, Fradley Junction and the pretty village of Alrewas. See our canal routes page for ideas.

Where is Aqua Narrowboats based?

Aqua Narrowboats is based at Barton Turns Marina on the Trent and Mersey Canal. For directions to our base please see our ‘find us’ page.

Can I cancel my canal boat holiday once booked?

Please see our terms and conditions about cancelling your canal boat holiday.

How many narrowboats does Aqua Narrowboats have?

At the moment we have 5 narrowboats for hire. These are all based at Barton Turns Marina, Staffordshire, on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Can I bring extra people on my luxury canal boat holidays?

You need to add the details of all the people who will be joining your narrowboat holiday when booking, even if they will be joining for only part of the holiday. The maximum number of people at any one time should not exceed the stated limit, therefore if the boat is a 4-6 berth, the max is 6 people, if it is a 2-4 berth the max number is 4 people. For safety and insurance reasons we cannot exceed this limit.

How easy are the narrowboats to get on and off?

We have an accessibility statement that may help you decide if you are mobile enough for a narrowboat holiday. Our narrowboats have been particularly well thought out to improve access with graduating stairs & hand rails at both entrances, stable doors to improve the safety of small children and pets who can look out without being near the water; and an apron at the rear. You are welcome to arrange a visit to take a look at the narrowboats before booking your narrowboat holiday.

Do I need to bring food on my narrowboat holidays?

Yes, enough food for a couple of days, remember storage on board a narrowboat is limited. We do provide a welcome pack of tea/ coffee and milk on arrival, plus a complimentary cake. There are places where you can buy food nearby Barton Turns Marina including a Morrison’s just under 4 miles away (DE14 2AR). There are many places to shop as you are cruising along the canals and many of our guests like to eat out at the many pubs, restaurants and tea rooms as part of their narrowboat holidays. Recommendations can be found in the visitor books onboard the narrowboats.

What will I need to bring on my luxury canal boat holidays?

You will need to bring your clothing, be sure to pack a variety of warm and cool clothing as the weather can change throughout the week, waterproofs are especially useful as a narrowboat holiday is very much outdoors. Sun cream is an essential item even if it doesn’t look sunny you can easily get burned when cruising along. Binoculars can be useful for spotting birds along the canals, a torch can be useful although there are some onboard too and a camera for capturing the memory of your narrowboat holidays. You will also need to bring enough food to last a couple of days. Lastly good footwear such as walking boots is best, but wellies or other good walking shoes are also suitable.

Can I bring a bike on my narrowboat holidays?

If you would like to bring a bike, please contact us first to discuss arrangements. It very much depends on the capacity of people onboard and your security arrangements. If we do agree please be aware that you are bringing your bike at your own risk.

Can I bring along a pet on my narrowboat holidays?

Yes, pets are welcome on most of our narrowboats at a charge of £50 for one pet or £70 for two pets. We ask that you bring your pets own bedding and ensure they don’t go on the beds or seating. Pets are not allowed on Aqua Te Ora.

What’s included in the price of my narrowboat hire?

The price shown online includes the hire of your narrowboat, all bed linen and duvets, towels, a welcome pack of tea/coffee/milk and hygiene products (washing up liquid, hand soap, toilet paper, dish cloths and tea towels), a cake on arrival, free parking for up to 2 cars and free boating tuition as part of the handover.

Compulsory extras that will need adding to the cost of your narrowboat hire price include:
Damage waiver fee of £60
Fuel and gas charge of £16 per day

Optional extras that can also be purchased include:
Early Cruising, board at 1pm £25
Extra Bed Linen Sets: Double £11.00, Single £9.50
Towels, a pack of 1 bath towel and 1 hand towel £5 per person
Bring along one pet for £50, or two pets for £70

What time does my luxury canal boat hire period start and end?

Your narrowboat hire period starts from 3pm on your collection day, unless you have paid for early cruising as an optional extra, in which case you can board at 1pm. All narrowboats need to be disembarked by 9am on your day of departure.