Mid-Week and Weekend Boat Hire

Here at Chiltern Canal Boat Holidays, we offer both mid-week and weekend canal boat hire. With a choice of boats and routes available, you'll be sure to find your perfect canal boat short break right here!

Our lovely narrowboat hire base near Tring, Hertfordshire is the ideal starting point to explore the Chiltern Hills towns of Tring, Berkhamsted, Marsworth and Ivinghoe.

Weekend Canal Boat Hire

A few days cruising the south Grand Union canal is the ideal way to unwind and relax into the slower pace of life afloat. 

Whether you are looking to reconnect with nature as you cruise through the Chiltern Hills countryside, or you choose to moor in a quiet spot in the centre of town with all the conveniences just a couple of minutes walk away, our weekend canal boat hire gives you the opportunity to have a taste of life on the UK's inland waterways.

Your chosen narrowboat will be ready for you to collect from Cow Roast Marina, Tring at 2pm on Friday, and following an introductory session with our qualified team who will take you through everything you need to know about narrowboating, you'll then set off for your canal boat weekend. The boat is to be returned at 10am on Monday morning.

Narrowboat in front of brick bridge, both reflected in the water with blue sky

Looking for 2 night canal boat hire in Tring?

We are more than happy for our weekend boat hirers to return their narrowboat on Sunday afternoon or evening. This allows you to enjoy a full day cruising on the Sunday, and be back at home before the end of the weekend. 

If you would like to do this, just let us know.

Can you hire a canal boat for 1 night?

Unfortunately, due to the relaxed pace of narrow boating (you can go a maximum of 4 mph), if you hire a canal boat for just 1 night you'll find you won't really get far. To fully appreciate the experience of exploring in your own canal boat, we recommend booking at least a couple of full days. 

Alternatively, if you just want the experience of staying on a narrowboat, why not book one of our static hire nights during the winter season?

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Weekend Narrowboat Holiday Routes

Cowroast Marina > Wendover Arm > Marsworth

This route travels for 10 miles, through 14 locks - Best for Beginners

  • Day 1: Spend your first few hours acquainting yourself with narrowboat driving with some lock-free cruising along the length of the Tring summit. When you reach Bulbourne juntion, turn left under the bridge and cruise to the end of the Wendover Arm where you'll find plenty of peaceful mooring spots.
  • Day 2: Head back along the Wendover Arm and turn left on to the main Grand Union. Here you'll reach the start of the Marsworth flight, which is often manned by CRT volunteers who will help you through the 7 locks. Why not take a break part way down the flight and enjoy a relaxing stroll around Tring Reservoirs Nature Reserve? Once you reach the bottom of the flight, continue to the Marsworth juntion, find a spot to moor and maybe spend the evening at the local Red Lion pub, just a 1 minute walk from bridge 130.
  • Day 3: Turn the boat around at the Marsworth junction and head back up the 7 lock flight. Once you reach the top, why not reward yourself with a tipple at the Grand Junction Arms - mooring sports are available right outside. Alternatively moor up a little further along and take a walk to College Lake, or Aldbury village.
  • Day 4: A final hour or two of cruising along the summit will return you to Cowroast Marina.
Canal Boats on Grand Union viewed from the bottom of Cow Roast Lock

Cowroast Marina > Wendover Arm > Berkhamsted

This route travels for 14 miles, through 14 locks - Best for Town & Countryside

  • Day 1: Head northwards along the length of the Tring summit. When you reach Bulbourne juntion, turn left under the bridge and cruise to the end of the Wendover Arm where you'll find plenty of peaceful mooring spots.
  • Day 2: Head back along the Wendover Arm and turn right on to the main Grand Union. Continue past Cowroast and descend the 7 locks into Berkhamsted town centre. Moor up for the night and enjoy the nightlife of this historic market town.
  • Day 3: After a lazy Sunday morning, and the chance to stock up the kitchen cupboards, progress through lock 53 and turn the boat around. Then head back northwards and stop for the night in Dudswell above lock 47.
  • Day 4: Continue northwards through lock 46 and you'll be back at Cowroast Marina.

Mid-Week Short Breaks

If you are looking for a few days away to enjoy a narrow boat holiday, a mid-week break is a great option. 

Not only do you get an extra full days cruising compared to a weekend narrow boat hire, the nightly cost for a mid-week boating break is also cheaper.

Enjoy the scenic views and quiet mooring spots as you cruise through the Chiltern Hills countryside, and then head on in to town to sample the local restaurants and enjoy a night going 'out out'. A mid-week short break gives you plenty of time to settle into life aboard and become an expert in narrow boating.

We'll prepare your narrowboat ready for you to collect at 2pm on Monday, and then after your introductory session with our qualified team, your mid-week adventure begins. The boat is to be returned at 10am on Friday morning.

Holiday rental Canal boat moored by fields with pink sky at sunset

Mid-Week Narrowboat Holiday Routes

Cowroast Marina > Wendover Arm > Slapton

This route travels for 19 miles, through 30 locks - Best for Countryside Views

  • Day 1: Spend your first few hours acquainting yourself with narrowboat driving with some lock-free cruising along the length of the Tring summit. When you reach Bulbourne juntion, turn left under the bridge and cruise to the end of the Wendover Arm where you'll find plenty of peaceful mooring spots.
  • Day 2: Head back along the Wendover Arm and turn left on to the main Grand Union. Here you'll reach the start of the Marsworth flight, which is often manned by CRT volunteers who will help you through the 7 locks. At Marsworth junction, continue northwards on the main Grand Union and you'll pass through 2 more locks before you reach a swing bridge. Moor up around Seabrook locks and enjoy a short stroll into the villages of Pitstone and Ivinghoe. 
  • Day 3: Continue northwards through a few more locks as you enjoy the stunning views of Ivinghoe Beacon in the distance. Once you reach Slapton Wharf, turn the boat around and head back towards Marsworth.
  • Day 4: Continue to Marsworth and head back up the 7 lock flight. Once you reach the top, why not reward yourself with a tipple at the Grand Junction Arms - mooring sports are available right outside. If you have a bit of time to spare, take a walk into Aldbury village or around College Lake.
  • Day 5: A final hour or two of lock-free cruising along the Tring summit will return you to Cowroast Marina.


Historic wooden windmill at Pitstone in the Chiltern Hills

Cowroast Marina > Berkhamsted > Wendover Arm > Marsworth

This route travels for 16 miles, through 28 locks - Best for Town & Countryside/Beginners

  • Day 1: Head southwards on the Grand Union and descend 7 locks into Berkhamsted town centre. Moor up for the night at Canal Fields and explore this beautiful historic market town for the evening.
  • Day 2: Progress through lock 53 and turn the boat around. Then head back northwards past Cowroast Marina and along the length of the Tring summit. When you reach Bulbourne juntion, turn left under the bridge and cruise to the end of the Wendover Arm where you'll find plenty of peaceful mooring spots.
  • Day 3: Head back along the Wendover Arm and turn left on to the main Grand Union. Here you'll reach the start of the Marsworth flight, a set of 7 locks that pas directly past the peaceful Tring Reservoirs. At Marsworth junction, turn the boat around and head back to a peaceful mooring spot next to Tring Reservoirs. If you fancy a night out, both the Anglers Retreat or the Waterside Cafe are on your doorstep.
  • Day 4: Continue up the flight and maybe stop for a spot of lunch at the Grand Junction Arms. Then continue with a lock-free journey along the Tring summit and moor up anywhere before Cowroast.
  • Day 5: Just a sort cruise continuing along the Grand Union will return you to Cowroast Marina.

Want to know more? Click below to look at our favourite things to do and places to visit in the Chilterns.

    Explore the Chilterns

    Customer Reviews

    5 Stars
    Thank you Corinne, Gareth ( and we can’t forget Scott) for letting us experience life on your canal boat on a lovely stretch of water and in a beautiful narrowboat. We almost achieved our aim having the children screen free by end of week. The kids have asked if we’ll be doing another canal boat trip so cannot think of any higher praise.

    Bentley Family

    5 Stars
    We have just had a wonderful short break on mini-escape the training was very good and gave us confidence as first timers. The boat is comfortable and very well equipped. There was a very high standard of service and customer care. As one who doesn't book online it was very easy to book by phone. The boat has an excellent multi fuel stove, an easy to use excellent quality gas cooker.

    Roger

    5 Stars
    Really enjoyed our time on the grand union canal. Gareth was helpful and came with us for the first couple of locks. Would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting to experience narrowboating.

    S Randell

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