Narrowboat Hire – Luxury Narrowboat Hire 2017-11-16T14:08:21+00:00


Narrowboat Hire and Holidays

“Excellent relaxing trip … the quality of the fittings was excellent.”  

Simon Honey

Our Luxury Canal Boats For Hire

Aqua Koiora
Aqua Maisha
Aqua Beatha
Aqua Vie

Aqua Koiora, Sleeps 2-6

(Photographs are for illustration only. Boat to be complete March 2018)

Narrowboat Hire

dog-32-32   shower-32  hair-dryer-32  compact-disc-32  cooker-32  dvd-32  fire-hose-32  fridge-32  microwave-32      toileticon  tv-32 vacuumcleaner  window-layout-32

bulletpoint Cabins 2   bulletpoint Sleeps 2 – 6   bulletpoint Boat Length 58 ft  

bulletpoint Built In 2018   bulletpoint Layout Reverse   bulletpoint Stern Semi-Cruiser

This luxury 58ft narrowboat, built in 2018, continues on with our proven formula for style and quality. The interior is of a modern design that has a bright, contemporary and luxurious look and feel. Internally at the bow there is a cabin with a kingsize cross bed (5ft wide x 6’1” long) with wardrobes either side; a partition doorway leads to a small corridor off which is the bathroom with a full size shower cubicle, macerator toilet and granite worktops. Exiting the bathroom a further partition leads in the centre cabin with twin beds that can be converted to one double, this cabin has an additional TV/DVD player and a full size wardrobe. A door leads through to the saloon, this consists of a large L shaped sofa with storage under, opposite is a cabinet containing the TV/DVD/CD/Radio, tables can be added to adapt into a dining area, plus the seating can be transformed to make a double bed. At the stern is the beautiful galley area with granite worktops. The area is equipped with a full size fridge as well as an oven, hob, microwave. This boat features a straight set of stairs (not ladder steps) out onto the stern deck, as opposed to our normal sweeping stairs. This provides additional worktop space but also allows for the creation of a full height, heated locker for coats etc. The steps also contain additional storage for shoes and coats etc. The semi-cruiser stern deck has two large seat lockers creating a lovely area to relax and chat whilst cruising. All our boats are centrally heated, have 230v mains power and the engines are fitted with hospital silencers, to ensure a quieter and more refined cruise.


Aqua Maisha, Sleeps 2-6

(Photographs are for illustration only. Boat to be complete May 2018)

Narrowboat Hire

dog-32-32   shower-32  hair-dryer-32  compact-disc-32  cooker-32  dvd-32  fire-hose-32  fridge-32  microwave-32     toileticon  tv-32 vacuumcleaner  window-layout-32

bulletpoint Cabins 2  bulletpoint Sleeps 2 – 6   bulletpoint Boat Length 58ft  

bulletpoint Built In 2018   bulletpoint Layout Reverse   bulletpoint Stern Semi-Cruiser

This luxury 58ft narrowboat, built in 2018, is of a reverse layout design, proving to be our most popular and sociable layout. The interior is of a modern design that has a bright, contemporary and luxurious look and feel. Internally at the bow there is a cabin with a kingsize cross bed (5ft wide x 6’1” long) with wardrobes either side a partition doorway leads straight into the walkthrough bathroom with a full size quadrant cubicle, macerator toilet and basin with granite worktops. A further partition door leads into the centre cabin with twin beds that can be converted to one double, this cabin has an additional TV/DVD player and a full size wardrobe. A door leads you through to a beautiful galley area with granite worktops. The area is equipped with full size fridge as well as an oven, hob, microwave. The saloon area has a large sofa with TV/DVD/CD/Radio, tables can be added to adapt into a dining area, plus the seating can be transformed to make a double bed. Sweeping stairs take you up onto the semi cruiser stern, this has two large lockers creating a lovely area to relax and chat whilst cruising. All our boats are centrally heated have 230v mains power and the engines are fitted with hospital silencers, to ensure a quieter and more refined cruise.


Little extras include:

Free boat handling tuition

Free delicious cake to welcome you

Free parking for 2 cars

Free bed linen & towels

All our narrowboats are


Quality Assessed

Aqua Beatha, Sleeps 2-6

dog-32-32   shower-32  hair-dryer-32  compact-disc-32  cooker-32  dvd-32  fire-hose-32  fridge-32  microwave-32     toileticon  tv-32 vacuumcleaner  window-layout-32

bulletpoint Cabins 2   bulletpoint Sleeps 2 – 6   bulletpoint Boat Length 58 ft  

bulletpoint Built In 2016   bulletpoint Layout Reverse   bulletpoint Stern Semi-Cruiser

This luxury 58ft narrowboat, built in 2016, is a reverse layout design, proving to be our most popular and sociable layout . Internally there is a permanent king size cross bed in bow cabin, followed by a bathroom with a basin, toilet and shower. Midship is a permanent twin cabin that can convert to a double on request. Both bedrooms and bathroom have partition doors for greater privacy. The saloon has a large L shaped dinette/ settee converting to either two singles or a double if needed. At the stern there is a beautiful galley area with granite worktops, a full size fridge as well as oven, hob, microwave and kettle. TV/DVD units are provided in the twin bedroom and the saloon. Both bedrooms have wardrobes, additional storage is available under the large L shaped dinette. The interior of the boat is of a superior design with a modern, contemporary and luxurious look and feel. The semi cruiser stern has two large lockers creating a lovely area to relax and chat whilst cruising. All our boats are centrally heated and the engines are fitted with hospital silencers, to ensure a quieter and more refined cruise, in addition Beatha has double glazed windows.


Aqua Vie, Sleeps 2-4

dog-32-32   shower-32  hair-dryer-32  compact-disc-32  cooker-32  dvd-32  fire-hose-32  fridge-32  microwave-32     toileticon  tv-32 vacuumcleaner  window-layout-32

bulletpoint Cabins 1  bulletpoint Sleeps 2 – 4   bulletpoint Boat Length 50 ft  

bulletpoint Built In 2017   bulletpoint Layout Reverse   bulletpoint Stern Semi-Cruiser

A contemporary and luxurious 50ft narrowboat. This cosy narrowboat offers a permanent double bed (extending to 4’ 9”), walkthrough bathroom with toilet, shower and basin set in granite worktops. The beautiful galley also has granite work surfaces and is fully equipped with fridge, hob, oven and microwave. The saloon has a large sofa where tables can be added to adapt into  a dining area. The seating can also be adapted to create an additional area for sleeping 2 people.


Your Luxury Canal Boat Holidays

Your luxury narrowboat hire & holiday will start from our base at Mercia Marina, on the Trent and Mersey Canal offering many canal routes such as the Four Counties Ring, Leicester Ring and Black Country Ring. You will be met by one of our friendly handover staff, who will guide you to your narrowboat, & parking space. Once you have unpacked (& have started on your complimentary cake) you will have a demonstration of the boat facilities & the skipper will get boating tuition until fully confident.

Narrowboat Hire
Narrowboat Hire

Your narrowboat holiday hire price includes:

  • Hire of your chosen 5 star narrowboat for the allocated time.
  • 1 set of bed linen and duvets per berth booked – additional linen can be hired.
  • Welcome pack of tea, coffee and milk and home-made cake on arrival.
  • Hygiene products including starter pack of toilet roll, washing up liquid, dish cloths and tea towels.
  • Free parking for up to 2 cars.
  • Free boating tuition as part of the handover.
  • Gas bottle on board the boat.
  • Bath Mat and hand towel per boat + 1 towel per person

Optional extras can be booked such as:

  • Extra towels can be hired: £4.00 per person
  • Extra Bed Linen Sets: Double £9.00, Single £6.50
  • early cruising £25.00
  • bring along a pet £40 for one, £60 for two
  • We can also organise surprise gifts if you require.

Compulsory extras that will need adding to your holiday price: a damage waiver fee of £55 and a fuel contribution of £10 per night.

Bookings require a 20% deposit, the remaining balance is due 6 weeks before your narrowboat holiday or experience commences. You are able to pay by cheque, credit card (2% surcharge) or debit card, please make cheques payable to Aqua Narrowboats (UK) Ltd.

How to book:

Before booking please read the narrowboat hire terms and conditions and Frequently Asked Questions.

Online: Click book online and follow the guidance provided.

By email or phone: You can check availability and book by emailing:, or phone 01283 701041. A 20% deposit is required to confirm a booking.

Click here to download our latest brochure

Directions to Aqua Narrowboats (on Trent and Mersey Canal) at Mercia Marina, Willington, Derbyshire DE65 6DW
Mercia Marina is situated on the B5008 approximately 1½ miles from the junction of A50/A38 interchange. For car navigation systems the postcode is DE65 6DW. Please note arrival procedures below about collecting vehicle key fob and our location in the marina.  

Airports & Railways – we are situated 20 minutes drive from East Midlands Airport and the village of Willington has a train station served by Birmingham New Street & Derby Railway Stations. For rail times and connections visit National Rail.

From the North (M6)

  • Exit M6 at Junction 16.
  • Take the A500 signposted Stoke on Trent. Continue on this road for approximately 9 miles.
  • Take the A50 exit signposted Uttoxeter/Derby and continue on this road for 6 miles through Stoke.
  • At the roundabout take second exit following signs for A50 Uttoxeter/Derby. Continue for approximately 22 miles.
  • Exit the A50 at Junction 4 following signs for the B5008.
  • Take fourth exit onto B5008 signposted Willington.
  • Shortly after the railway crossing take the left at the traffic lights turning onto Findern Lane. Signposted Findern
  • After approximately ½ mile Mercia Marina can be found on the left.

From the South/North (M1)

  • Exit M1 at Junction 24. If coming from the North Junction 24a.
  • Take 2nd exit onto A50 following signs for Derby/Stoke. Continue for approximately 12 miles, turning off at Junction 4 signposted B5008.
  • Take first exit onto B5008 signposted Willington.
  • Shortly after the railway crossing take the left turning at the traffic lights onto Findern Lane. Signposted Findern.
  • After approximately ½ mile Mercia Marina can be found on the left.

Should you lose your way please do not hesitate to contact Justin on mobile number 07786 988397 or the workshop on 01283 701041.

Click here for our narrowboat hire location

Arrival Procedures: Finding Our Premises & Collecting a Vehicle Key Fob

Upon arrival at the marina, park in the large car park situated behind the new two storey, glass fronted shops and Boardwalk Bar. Our premises are situated on the opposite side of the marina from this car park. You will need to walk across to our premises to collect a vehicle key fob to drive around the marina.

Leave your car in this car park and walk back towards the main marina entrance and take the footpath running behind Midland Chandlers – signposted Workshop & Boat Hire. Continue over the small pedestrian footbridge and carry on past our premises – at the end of the green security fence there is a pedestrian access gate, ring the bell on the gate and a member of staff will provide you with a fob and explain whereabouts you need to go. All cars are left within the marina and are parked behind security fencing, however as with most car parks they are left at the owners risk. Please note: That you will not be able to enter into the private area of the marina without a vehicle key fob.

Other useful narrowboat holiday information

Willington has a co-operative store for grocery shopping. The store can be found by continuing straight on over the canal bridge into Willington (past the Findern Lane junction). There are two small painted roundabouts in close proximity to each other; continue straight over both heading towards Repton, under the railway bridge. The store is located 200 yards on the right with parking to the rear.

Should you arrive early there is also a number of shops, a tea room, café, and a bar bistro on site – See the main marina website

Useful Narrowboat Hire Information recommended to read

The Boater’s Handbook By Canal River Trust: Download Handbook
The waterways code By Canal River Trust: Download Waterways Code

Conditions of Hire

Any contract to hire a narrow boat incorporates Conditions 1 – 6 below and is between Aqua Narrowboats (UK) Ltd and you as the hirer.
The contract does not take effect until written confirmation of your booking is sent to you. This contract is made in England and is governed by English Law.

1. Reservations

Quality Narrowboat Holidays from Aqua Narrowboats (UK) Ltd.
Our narrowboats provide luxury canal boat hire.
Please note that we do not accept single sex bookings of more than 2 without prior approval.

Initial payment
The confirmation of a narrow boat booking will be given once the fully completed booking form along with a deposit of 20% of the total price has been received by Aqua Narrowboats (UK) Ltd. The hirer will then be responsible for paying the full balance at least 6 weeks prior to the start date of their narrow boat holiday.

Damage waiver payment
This compulsory scheme ensures that for a single, non-refundable premium (see ‘What’s Included’ page for current charge) you will be protected from any liability for damage/loss or accident to your boat or its inventory during your holiday period. The premium will be shown on your booking confirmation along with the final balance of hire.

Special exclusions to Damage Waiver
Speeding (reported or witnessed)
Malicious, negligent or intentional damage to the boat, its equipment, the waterway, other boats or structures.
Late return of narrow boat
Return of narrow boat in unclean condition.
In the event of any of the above being reported, we shall claim the full cost of repairs, replacement or compensation.

Hire Period – Collection and Return of narrow boat
The hire period commences at 3.00pm (unless an 1pm early start has been paid for) on Saturday and ends at 8.30am on the following Saturday. Failure to return the narrow boat by this time will result in a charge of £30.00 per half hour overdue. The boats must be returned in a clean condition i.e all bins emptied, all pots, pans and crockery cleaned and put away, all surfaces and carpets cleaned and vacuumed.

Should the hirer cancel the booking, the Company will attempt to re-let the narrow boat at the full price. If this is successful, all monies less the deposit will be refunded. However if the Company does not succeed in re-letting the boat, the proposed hirer is legally responsible for promptly paying the balance of the hire fees. The hirer is advised to make their own cancellation insurance arrangements.

2. Conditions of Use

Free tuition will be given by a member of the Company to the hirer who will ensure that the narrow boat is in good working order. Where the hirer is not familiar with the working locks, they will be taken through the first lock.

Bookings from persons under the age of 21 cannot be accepted. No person under the age of 18 may control the narrow boat, unless under the direct supervision of a responsible adult member of the party.

Cycles/ Canoes
Unfortunately, due to the high value of our narrow boat and its’ equipment, we are unable to allow cycles or canoes on board. However, this is at the Company’s discretion and may be admitted under certain circumstances.

We allow pets on board all our boats for an additional charge (please see ‘What’s Included’ page). All pets must be kept off beds, seating and soft furnishings. We ask that owners bring with them blankets/bedding for their pets to sleep on.

Smoking is not permitted on board the boats.

Toilet Tank Pump Out
The boat’s toilet tank will be provided empty at the start of your holiday. Should the tank become full before the end of the holiday the hirer is responsible for the cost to empty the tank. The boat can be returned with a full tank without charge. The toilet must not be used once the tank is full – any damage caused by its continued use once the tank is full will be charged to the hirer.

Fishing may be carried out from the foredeck of the boat with normal licensing applying (the hirer is requested to provide evidence of licenses before commencing their cruise.) Live fish bait must not be taken inside the boat or stored in the vessels fridge or larder areas.

Cruising Limits
The boat may be taken on canals. Experienced hirers will need to agree with the Company any cruising on rivers, prior to the start of their holiday. Disregard of this hiring condition leaves the hirer responsible for all damages, recovery and third party claims not covered by insurance.

3. Safety Rules, Common Sense and Navigation Bye Laws

The hirer agrees to the following:

  • Travel no more than 4 mph
  • Never create a wash that breaks on the bank (even at 4mph this is possible)
  • Slow right down past moored boats
  • No cruising between sunset and sunrise
  • No smoking inside the boat
  • Only carry those named on the Reservation Form
  • Do not carry portable heaters, toasters and other electrical appliances not agreed by the Company, inflammable substances or other hazardous items.
  • Comply with BW/Environment Agency bye-laws: these specifically include leaving lock paddles in the correct position, and being considerate to other waterway users and property
  • Although we want you to enjoy yourselves may we draw attention to the fact it is illegal to be drunk in charge of any vessel on British Waterways.

4. Company Regulations

  • We reserve the right to refuse to hand over a narrow boat to any person who, in our opinion, is not suitable to take charge of the vessel. In the event of this happening, all payments will be refunded to the proposed hirer, who will then have no further claim against Aqua Narrowboats (UK) Ltd.
  • Please note that we do not take bookings from single sex groups without prior permission before booking.
  • Aqua Narrowboats (UK) Ltd reserve the right to repossess the boat at any time if, in our opinion, the boat is being mishandled, misused illegally or if the crew’s behaviour is considered detrimental to other waterway users. In the event of this happening, no portion of the hire fee will be refunded.

5. Exemptions

The company shall not be liable for matters arising beyond the Company’s reasonable control, or not due to the Company’s negligence or wilful default including without limitation: death or personal injury of Hirers, their crew and passengers; loss or damage to property; non-fulfilment or interruption of the reservation; delays; breakdowns; mechanical problems; defects; damage; restrictions on cruising; obstructions; repairs to waterways; non-availability of routes; storms, floods, drought, ice shortage of water and other weather conditions; non-availability of fuel; or in respect of any loss, damage, expense, injury or claim.

Hirers are recommended to take out personal insurance cover against injury/ loss of belongings.

Delays and Restriction
No liability can be accepted by the company for any delays or non-completion of planned cruising caused by restrictions, obstructions, or repair to the waterways system or any unforeseen cause. The company reserve the right to restrict the cruising area without prior notice should any unusual or hazardous conditions prevail.

Breakdown and Repairs
We take great care to ensure our boat is serviced at regular intervals and in good working order. In case of breakdown or repairs needed contact the Company immediately where upon appropriate action will be taken. All repairs are the responsibility of the Company and should not be put into the hands of others without our authority.

You must not tow or be allowed to tow any other vessel without the Company’s permission.

The toilet provided on board is a macerator type. Instructions on its use will be provided during the handover. Should Aqua Narrowboats (UK) Ltd need to be called out due to misuse i.e wipes causing a blockage then a callout fee of £60.00 will be charged to the hirer.

If the hirer is involved in an accident the following procedure should take place:

  • Contact the Company immediately giving the following information
  • Full details of the boats involved: index numbers, names and person/ persons involved and name and address of any witnesses.
  • Full details of the accident including time, date, actions and damage caused.
  • Under no circumstances must the hirer admit any liability.

6. Hirer’s Motor Cars and Property

Free parking is provided for the convenience of our customers (max of 2 cars per boat), but we accept no liability for loss or damage to customers’ vehicles. You are advised not to leave valuables in your vehicles.

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 September offering 25% 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 favourite 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. Occassionally 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, mircrowave, 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 to Stenson Lock and back (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. The shortest period we book for is a 3 night short break from Saturday to Tuesday, or you can book a short break Tuesday to Saturday.

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 701041 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 ie 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 Mercia 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 4 narrowboats for hire, all awarded 5 stars from VisitEngland. These are all based at Mercia Marina, Derbyshire, 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 home made cake. There are places where you can buy food in Willington including a Co-op in the centre of Willington village and Betty’s Farm Shop as you arrive into Willington from the A38. 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. Suncream 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 all of our narrowboats at a charge of £40 for one pet or £60 for 2 pets. We ask that you bring your pets own bedding and ensure they don’t go on the beds or seating.

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 home made cake on arrival, gas for the duration of your narrowboat hire, 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 £55
Fuel contribution of £10 per night

Optional extras that can also be purchased include:
Early Cruising, start at 1pm £25
Extra Bed Linen Sets: Double £9.00, Single £6.50
Towels, a pack of 1 bath towel & 1 hand towel £4 per person
Bring along one pet for £40, or 2 pets for £60

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 collect at 1pm. All narrowboats need to be disembarked by 9am on your day of departure.

Narrowboat Hire

Canal Routes

The map opposite can be used to help you plan your canal boat trip.

Canal Routes information:
Four Counties Ring .Distance 163 miles & 126 locks, cruising: 10 days- 2 weeks
Stoke-on-Trent & Return. Distance 87 miles & 58 locks, cruising: 1 week
Attractions: Fradley Junction Nature reserve, Shugborough Estate, Stoke-on-Trent Potteries. 

Staffordshire Ring. Distance 104 miles & 98 locks, cruising: 1 week
Stafford  & return. Distance 61 miles & 34 locks, cruising: 4-5 days
Attraction: Fradley Junction Nature Reserve, Shugborough Estate, Drayton Manor Park, Sea Life Centre

Leicestershire Ring. Distance 150 miles & 101 locks, cruising 2 weeks
Leicestershire & Return. Distance 79 miles & 52 locks, cruising 4-5 days
Attractions: Shardlow Heritage Centre, Leicester City, Foxton Locks Staircase.

Caldon canal to froghall winding hole & Return. Distance 124 miles & 102 locks, cruising 10 days.
Attractions: Shugborough Estate, Stoke-on-Trent Potteries, Churnet Steam Railway.

Ashby canal bridge No 7 & Return. Distance 144 miles & 83 locks, cruising 10 days.
Attractions: Fradley Nature Reserve, Drayton Manor Park, Bosworth Battlefields.
From our base at Mercia Marina on the Trent and Mersey Canal, there is a wealth of canal networks to choose from.

Aqua Narrowboats is based on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Mercia Marina between the historic village of Shardlow and the brewing town of Burton, approximately 6 hours cruise from the inviting pub, tea rooms and nature reserve at Fradley Junction. An ideal location for your canal boat holiday hire.

We are ideally situated for you to choose from a wealth of canal boat cruises including: the Black Country Ring, Four Counties Ring and Leicester Ring. Return routes include the picturesque trip to Great Haywood passing Fradley Junction; alternatively you could attempt the 11 locks at Atherstone on the Coventry Canal; or take the children to Drayton Manor Park along the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal.

We also provide Collins Nicholson Waterway Guides on board the boats. These guides are similar to a road atlas but for canals – as well as illustrating each section of canal they also provide information on bridge and lock numbers, boatyards, refuse and water points, mooring locations, water hazards, shops, pubs and grocery stores and finally, areas of local interest. If you wish to plan ahead these can be purchased via Amazon – our base is covered in Guides No 3 & 4 (this will be dependent on your route).

Places to Visit

Shugborough Estate
At Great Hayward on the Trent and Mersey Canal. Pat and Colin Hassall recommend this as ‘well worth a visit’.

Drayton Manor Park
On the Birmingham and Fazley Canal.Recommended by us. Our three children love the park as it caters for the younger children with Thomas Land and the teenagers with the white knuckle rides. There is even a zoo for some peace and tranquility.

Harecastle Tunnel
On the Trent and Mersey Canal. Ian and Julie Cresswell says this ‘is an amazing experience’.

Stoke On Trent Potteries
On the Trent and Mersey Canal. Including Wedgewood, a driving force behind the construction of the Trent and Mersey Canal in 1777.

Fradley Junction Nature Reserve
On the Trent and Mersey Canal. A good stop off to visit the nature reserve for a walk or a spot of bird watching, there is also a visitors centre, 2 tea rooms and a pub. Usually a cluster of people observing the narrowboats passing through

Sea Life Centre
In Birmingham on the Birmingham Canal Navigation.

Churnet Steam Railway
On the Caldon Canal.

Bosworth Battlefield
On the Ashby Canal. The site of the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 and the infamous place where King Richard III lost his life.

Narrowboat Hire
Narrowboat Hire

Places To Eat

Bridge Inn
At Branston (Italian Menu). Recommended by Pat and Allan Buckley.

La Dolce Vita
At Stone. A very good Italian, not cheap but good value. Recommended by Graham and Lyn Precious.

The George and Dragon
At Alrewas. Peter and Lynda Wagner rated this pub as ‘excellent’.


The Wolseley Arms
5 mins walk from Bridge 70. Peter and Lynda Wagner rated this pub as ‘very nice’.

The Willow Tree Tea Room
At Mercia Marina. Light meals and cakes, plus breakfast menu. A great stop off if you arrive for your canal boat holiday early or to have breakfast before you leave. Recommended by us!

The Boardwalk Gastro Pub
Fabulously designed pub overlooking Mercia Marina offers a range of traditional pub meals.

The Butcher, The Baker and The Ice Cream Maker
Along the boardwalk on Mercia Marina, again offers great views of the marina, a contemporary coffee shop, plus a deli so you can purchase food before your trip.

Leisure Activities

Many leisure activities can be enjoyed on your canal boat holiday, such as walking, cycling, bird watching and fishing. All are free except fishing for which a fishing licence can be obtained from the post office. Some customers have also participated in Geocaching as part of their canal boat holiday as there are now many places where wifi is accessible along the canal. Geocaching is a treasure hunting game. The idea is to locate hidden containers called geocaches and then share your experience online. For more information visit the geocaching website

Narrowboat Hire


Canal Boat Hire and Holidays

“We particularly liked the quiet engine which at tickover could not be heard easily”  

Debbie J

Prices, Availability and Book Online

Narrowboat Hire


Special Offers

Book a 2 week holiday and get 25% off the second week

This discount will be applied to the prices after it has been booked on our online booking system where you can book up to 12 months in advance. If you would like the discount to be applied instantly please call 01283 701041 or email

T&Cs: discount available until end of December 2017, applies to all weeks in 2018, does not apply to fuel, DWF or optional extras. Discount only applicable on bookings of 2 weeks.

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