Skippered Canal Boat Holidays

If you are in need of a laid-back canal cruise, our luxury skippered canal boat holidays are the solution! 

Your personal skipper will manage all aspects of the boating, so you can put your feet up and watch the world drift by as you enjoy the ultimate experience in private canal boat hire. It's also a great option for those who want a bit more help or guidance during the first few days of their narrowboat holiday.

How does canal boat hire with a skipper work?

Bespoke Canal Boat Charters

Before your skippered canal holiday, we'll share a range of routes and recommended places to visit with you, so you can start to plan where you would like to go and what you would like to do. 

Once you have some ideas, we'll work with you to create an itinerary that's bespoke for you.

What your skipper will do

During your trip, your private skipper will meet you at a prearranged time and join you for 4-5 hours per day to take you on a scenic canal cruise through the English countryside. Your skipper will manage all aspects of driving the boat, working the locks and managing the on-board utilities. 

Once they have moored the boat at your chosen spot for the evening, your skipper will leave you to enjoy the rest of your day in privacy, and will meet you again the next day to continue your journey.

2 men driving a blue skippered holiday narrowboat on the Grand Union

Become part of the crew (if you want to)

Whilst your private skipper is fully trained and willing to manage all aspects of the boating themselves, guests are always welcome to lend a hand, if and when they wish to. So if you fancy trying your hand at driving a narrowboat, or want to help out with the locks, then you are always welcome. Equally, if you'd rather relax on the bow of the boat and watch the world pass by, that's fine too!

How much does a skippered canal cruise cost?

The basic price of hiring a skipper is £90 per day. You can hire a skipper for all or part of your holiday, and we won't charge you for your check-in or check-out day.

Luxury narrowboats moored along the canal in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

About our skippered canal Boat Hire on the Grand Union canal

All of our narrowboats are available to hire with a skipper, for either all, or part of your canal boat holiday. Our team are all Helmsman certified, so you can rest assured that with our skippers, you are always in safe hands. 

Your skippered narrowboat cruise begins at Cow Roast Marina near Tring, at the foot of the Chiltern Hills. From there you have a range of routes to choose from, depending on the length of your stay.

For ideas on routes and itineraries for your skippered canal boat holiday, click here>>

Customer Review

5 Stars
Corinne was my skipper for a seven night holiday on their boat Mini Escape and her willingness and warmth enhanced what was a most enjoyable experience. Nothing was too much trouble for either Corinne or Gareth and even young Scott, aged five, helped to beat down the nettles near my mooring one evening. Dealing with them was like being with friends and I can't begin to say how grateful I am for what they added to the trip. Mini Escape is a dear little boat, well fitted out, well stocked and spotlessly clean.Add to that a very comfortable bed and I was ready for a relaxing break. The canals, with their cool, green beauty, rambling roses tumbling from tall trees and down to water level, where they were mirrored in the still waters, multitudes of flowers, grasses, and yes, even weeds, were a constant source of delight. Then of course there were the swans, waterfowl, geese and herons, all along the route. One could go on and on but the best, the very best, was the final cruise from the overnight mooring and into the Cow Roast Marina. The beauty of that final run took away any sense of loss at the ending of a lovely holiday - great trees with branches arching over the water, Mini Escape cruising quietly in the deep shade and dappled light, cutting her way through the reflections and fallen leaves, adrift on a sea of deep and abiding peace and tranquility. My eyes filled with tears of joy and my heart overflowed with gratitude.Thank you Gareth, Corinne and Scott for more than I can express. Lovely boat, lovely people and magnificent scenery.


Ready to plan your trip? Take a look at some of our recommended places to visit and things to do along the route.

    Explore the Chilterns