Most of Britain's canals were built with locks just 7 ft wide and 70 ft long. This meant that a particular style of boat was developed to navigate along them. These boats are known as canal boats, however over the years they have also been variously incorrectly described as barges and longboats. (Barges are generally wider and therefore cannot cruise on the narrow canals.)
Just to confuse things, the engineers worked out that wider canals (and boats) were more desirable and so some of the major canals were later widened to allow 14 ft wide boats (or two 7 ft boats) to navigate along them.
During the last twenty years the system has been revitalised by the development of the leisure industry and so what was a freight transport system in the 19th century, is now a unique holiday experience that allows you to cruise along these forgotten highways and see the countryside at its very best.
In tandem with this growth has been the development of brand new boats, specially designed and constructed to provide superbly comfortable holiday hire craft. Given only the restrictions of width (7 ft) and length (70 ft max) the standard of the accommodation in these modern craft is staggering. They have all the comforts of the modern home including central heating and are powered by quiet and smooth running diesel engines.
All our boats have strong steel hulls, 6ft plus headroom, central heating, ample hot water, full inventories, TV, radio/cassette or CD players, hygienic flushing toilets and showers.
There are also Hotel Boats. Click here for more info about Hotel Boat Holidays
Detailed plan of a typical Narrowboat