The perfect getaway for the whole family

Best family canal boat holidays in England and Wales

Fancy doing something different for your family holiday this summer? A holiday on board a narrowboat is a wonderful way to bring the family together as it offers a varied and exciting experience with something for every age group to enjoy. With constantly changing scenery and the chance to explore a new destination daily, holidays on the canals offer an amazing range of sights, attractions and activities. With the help of our friendly Bookings Team, you can shape your canal boat holiday to suit your needs and desires – from the style and size of narrowboat you hire, which location you set out from and your desired destination(s).


Any parent will tell you – kids are easily bored. An active, exciting holiday on the canals in which they are regularly on the move, seeing and experiencing new things every day, is the perfect choice to keep your little ones entertained.

With miles of canal towpaths and open countryside along the waterways, narrowboat holidays offer plenty of outdoor space for kids to run around and play in the fresh country air so that they collapse in bed and sleep soundlessly at the end of each day.

Most children love the novelty of staying on the water and the workings of the narrowboat, so life on the canals can be a great excitement. Helping to navigate the boat through a tunnel or working a lock offers a brand-new activity to get involved in that is far different from their day-to-day.

As well as the open countryside, canal boat holidays can also offer the opportunity to visit countless attractions that will appeal to your little ones, from the sweet allure of Cadbury World which sits right next to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in Bournville, to the thrills of Alton Towers, accessible from the Caldon Canal, and the excitement of Chester Zoo, not far from our hire base at Bunbury.


Teenagers commonly seek independence and freedom to roam, which can make it difficult to satisfy their needs on a family getaway. Narrowboat holidays offer the chance for teenagers to take themselves off for walks, runs or bike rides along the traffic-free towpaths. Towpaths also make it almost impossible to get lost, easing the minds of worried parents!

There are also lots of water-based activities on offer along the canals. Kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and fishing may appeal to teenagers in the family – and may even convince them to look away from their mobile phones!

Teenagers are also prone to boredom, so the constant movement and change of scenery that comes with a narrowboat holiday will satisfy their need for new surroundings. A canal boat holiday that combines both urban and rural surroundings is likely to appeal most teenagers – although this will depend upon the individual and their interests.

Our narrowboats are built to provide ample space for all crew members, so teenagers can enjoy the privacy of their own cabin – and if they do need a social media fix, they can connect to the WiFi available on all our barges. Hopefully though, there will be enough distraction and excitement to make this unnecessary!

Young adults

Narrowboat getaways are ideal for groups of friends or for couples wanting a unique romantic break. Our canal boats, built for the comfort and enjoyment of all our guests, range from cosy two-berth barges perfect for couples, to 12-berth ‘floating hotels’ ideal for large group holidays. There are a variety of city break destinations on offer along the canals such as Bath, Oxford, Birmingham and Chester, all of which offer the perfect blend of beauty, history and culture – as well as great places to eat and drink.

For group holidays, the choice of activities and destinations available along the canals works perfectly. Some crew members might wish to head off and explore the sights, while others choose to relax on board, or moor up by a canalside pub to enjoy a well-deserved pint. A canal boat holiday can take in historic towns and cities, rural loveliness, famous sights and a huge selection of activities that will keep even the most diverse group of people happy.

With fully equipped galley kitchens, our narrowboats are well set up for cooking delicious meals onboard. There are also countless tempting spots to go out for dinner and drinks along the waterways, if you want to treat yourself to a meal out.


For parents, a canal boat holiday is the ideal getaway to cater to both their children and themselves. As we’ve already mentioned, there is so much on offer along the canals to keep children occupied which will afford parents time to relax and enjoy themselves. It’s almost impossible not to be enchanted by the picturesque charm of the waterways. For parents who spend much of their lives racing around trying to balance their family, work and social lives, slowing down to the serene pace of 4mph can offer much-needed peace and tranquillity. By trading the whirlwind of day-to-day life for the calm of the canals, they can escape any anxieties, breathe deeper and destress.

Parents may wish to mix things up by experiencing a taste of city life afloat as well as some rural cruising, or simply stick to serene countryside routes. Some canal routes are renowned for their fascinating historic sights, museums and feats of engineering, while others boast abundant wildlife or incredible dramatic scenery. But what all canals provide is the opportunity to get outside and get active. Essentially, parents can customise their narrowboat holiday to ensure that all members of the family are kept happy throughout, including themselves. Our boats are all pet-friendly, so you can even bring along a maximum of two furry friends to join the adventure.


Now more than ever, we are appreciating the importance of spending quality time with extended family members, and it is lovely for grandparents to be able to join their children and grandchildren on family holidays. Spending time with extended family also benefits everyone that little bit more, as it enables parents to share the childcare while granny or grandpa spends some quality time with the little ones.

A narrowboat holiday is a fantastic way to bring everyone together as it can be as active or relaxing as the crew members wish. Grandparents who are still super fit and active will love the outdoorsy element, while those who may be less mobile can still enjoy the calm and serenity of life on the water from the comforts of our well-furnished narrowboats. Towpaths offer secure and relatively flat walking routes, with most being tarmacked or paved for ease of access.

Grandparents, like parents, are sure to love the rich range of destinations along the waterways. There are bustling cities like Birmingham and Bristol, historic destinations like Bath and Chester or cultural treasures such as Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford. Away from the cities, there are an abundance of stately homes, castles, parks and gardens in addition to the natural beauty of the British countryside.


Most importantly, everyone onboard is required to help out on and off the boat, from steering and mooring up, to working the locks. A narrowboat holiday is all about teamwork and coming together. It brings everyone closer, united by a shared goal to get to their desired destination as efficiently as possible, all while having lots of fun and enjoying time together as a family along the way.

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We offer a range of different types of holidays such as City Breaks, Relaxation Cruises and Popular Destinations

City Breaks
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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

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