About us

Preparing for your canal boat holiday

Before you set off on your boating holiday, we’ll teach you everything you need to know to operate your boat

To ensure your boat is in the best possible condition, your boat will be ready from 3pm on your holiday start date.

Expert tuition before you depart

Before you set off, one of our expert instructors will take you through everything you need to know: how to start the engine; fill up with water; steer; slow down; moor up; and work the locks. You will also be taken through the basics, such as where to drive – the middle – how to steer and work the locks, and the best places to moor-up and turn. There is a manual on board every boat should you need to check anything and our engineering teams are always on hand – 24 hours a day – to help over the phone or come out to you if you need them. Once your tuition is complete, you’ll be ready to enjoy the perfect holiday afloat.

You can watch our Boat Handover video ahead of your holiday to learn about how to operate the boat. And there a series of short ‘how to’ reminder videos to help guide you once you are on your holiday, including ‘how to check the engine oil level’ and ‘how to change the gas cannister’.

Negotiating locks

A lock is simply a chamber with gates at either end.  By emptying or filling that chamber with water, your boat can move up or down onto a new section of the waterway. Each lock takes about 20 minutes to go through. Some locks are operated by lock keepers, others you operate yourself. There is no great mystery to using the locks –  just a series of step-by-step tasks.

Mooring up

Cruising at night is not permitted, so make sure you are moored by nightfall. Whilst you can choose where you stop, use sign-posted visitor moorings wherever possible, and always moor to the towpath if you can. If you’d like to find out more about boat handling prior to your holiday, you can download a free copy of the Canal & River Trust’s boater’s handbook from

What to pack for your narrowboat holiday

Our canal boats are like floating holiday cottages, so you’ll find many of the home comforts already on board, including a galley kitchen equipped with cutlery, crockery, cooking utensils, saucepans, a four burner gas cooker with an oven and grill, a microwave (on selected boats) and a fridge with a small freezer compartment (NB some boats have separate freezers).  Bedding and bed linen, tea towels, hand towels and one bath towel per person are supplied (NB towels are supplied only for overseas guests from Silsden).

There’s a surprising amount of storage space on board for everything you need to bring with you. To help you prepare for your canal boat holiday, we’ve put together a list of useful items to pack:


You can buy a waterway map for your route in advance from our booking office or at one of our boat yard shops.
Phone chargers Our boats have 240 volt 3-pin sockets powered by the on board batteries so you can charge your phones and tablets on board.  Some of our boats also have USB portals. Only charge devices when the engine is running to avoid draining the boat’s batteries.
All weather gear If it’s wet you’ll need a good waterproof jacket and a large golfing umbrella for the skipper.  If it’s sunny, you’ll need a sun hat, sun glasses and sun cream.  Gloves are useful for working the locks and steering when it’s cold.
Footwear Trainers or rubber soled shoes are best for boating and lock working.  And bring slippers or warm socks to wear on board.
Shopping bags Bring your re-useable shopping bags as well as re-useable plastic bottles and coffee cups.
Cards Bring DVD’s, cards and games for cosy nights in.
A torch If you do venture out to the pub for the evening, as country moorings can be incredibly dark at night.
Toilet rolls We supply toilet roll in our loos but do bring along extra – just standard toilet rolls (not quilted) and no wipes as these block our toilets.
Washing up liquid Pack an eco-friendly washing up liquid and hand soap, and make sure your shampoos and face washes are micro-bead free as the water you use to wash-up and shower with will empty straight into the canal.
Binoculars One of the best things about a narrowboat holiday is the wildlife you’ll see along the way!
Drinks We don’t advise drinking the tap water, so it’s a good idea to bring a large bottle of drinking water, which can be topped-up at water points along the way. And wine boxes are safer to transport than bottles.
Cooking afloat Pack some extra flavourings as well as the main ingredients, including salt & pepper, herbs and spices.
Your dog's bed Pets are welcome on board our boats, but do let us know at the time of booking.  And remember to bring your pet’s bed as they aren’t allowed on the beds or chairs. Bring poo bags too!


So why choose Anglo Welsh?

Over 55 years providing unique canal boat holidays in England and Wales.
Modern and spacious narrowboat and wide beam barge hire – from 2 to 12 berths.
Wide choice of narrowboat hire locations and canal boat holiday destinations.
Canal boat holiday routes for novices & experienced boaters.
Flexible holiday booking, no hidden costs.
Family friendly and pet friendly holidays.
Great days out on the water.
Luxury canal boat hire and Thames boating holidays.

Anglo Welsh. So much more than narrowboats

...but don't just take our word for it