Self Drive Boat Hire in the UK

If you are looking for self drive boat hire in the UK, we have a great range of holiday options available for you.

What is a self drive boat holiday?

With self drive boat hire, you hire a private canal boat and can drive it yourself to explore the local sights. This gives you full freedom to choose your own route, travel at your own pace and create your very own perfect boating holiday.

Don't worry if you've never driven a canal boat before - full tuition is provided at the start of your self drive boat holiday and whilst most people tend to get the hang of driving the boat quite quickly, we'll stay with you for as long as you need to feel confident in your new role as captain.

It's also worth noting that there will be other things to operate on the canals along the way, such as canal locks and swing bridges. Therefore, you'll need at least 2 physically able adults in your crew so you always have one person to drive the boat, and another pair of hands to help out when needed.

To find out more, take a look at our Beginners Guide to Narrowboating>>

Rented narrowboat approaching a brick bridge under blue sky

About our self drive Canal boat hire

Our canal hire boats provide accommodation for 2 - 5 people, and come fully equipped with everything you need for your self drive boat holiday. Each or our narrowboats have a unique design to give you a one of a kind canal holiday, and they come with a well equipped kitchen, bathroom with shower and electric toilet, super comfy beds and lots of onboard entertainment. 

We also provide all necessary canal boating equipment such as windlasses, life jackets, mooring pins and mallets as part of your self drive holiday hire price. 

Click here to see the hire boats we have available>>

Canal boat bow in front of traditional canalside pub garden on the Grand Union in Hertfordshire

Self drive boat holidays on the Grand Union canal

You can hire our canal boats to cruise the UK's Grand Union canal for a short break, a full week or a fortnight. Our canal boat holidays start at Cow Roast Marina in Hertfordshire, less than 1 hour from London, and from there you can cruise along the Tring Summit through the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which covers parts of Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.

If you are looking for a peaceful boating holiday in the English countryside, take a trip down the Wendover Arm, moor up next to Tring Reservoirs and spend your time exploring the scenic views of the Chilterns.

Or, if you are looking for a bit more action, take a cruise into one of the local market towns such as Berkhamsted or Leighton Buzzard, where you'll find plenty of boutique shops to peruse and restaurants to indulge in.

Find out more about things to see and do in the local area by clicking here>>

Customer Reviews

5 Stars
My husband and I had a brilliant experience onboard Mini Escape. Communication was great prior to our trip. Corinne also provided us with thorough and encouraging tuition prior to setting off. We loved the fit out and size of the boat - perfect for building up ones confidence boating. Exploring the canals and doing the locks was so much fun; we enjoyed it so much and can't wait to come back!


5 Stars
We had a great time in the 'Narrow Escape' 5 berth boat. The boat was clean and in good order, and we got good instruction on how to use it, do the locks, etc, as well as good advice on where to go. Highly recommended if you want to enjoy a slower pace in beautiful countryside!

John Harbour

5 Stars
We left the marina instilled with confidence thanks to Corinne and Gareth's instructions. All four of us, along with Tilly Dog, were excited to head off - it was not disappointing, despite the weather. The waterways are calm and relaxing, you meet friendly folk along the way and the locks were good fun and great exercise! Our lovely narrowboat had everything we needed and more..... can't wait to do it all again. Thank You.


Are you ready to plan your self drive boat holiday? Click here to find out more about our cruising routes.

    Route Guide