Black Prince Holidays Beginner’s Guide to Narrowboating

Admit it – a canal boat holiday is one of those breaks you’ve always wanted to experience but you’ve never been quite sure where to start!

Cruising down the picturesque waterways, enjoying the tranquillity of the countryside, exploring the heritage of industrial revolution, socialising with fellow travellers, enjoying a glass of wine on the move…..

Sound good? Black Prince Holidays, the narrowboat experts in the UK, have put together some top tips for those of you considering this type of holiday.

Knowledge is power!

Understandably you’ll be nervous about being in charge of a 60 foot canal boat if it’s your first time on the water. But don’t worry, you’ll receive a full induction at the canal base before you are let loose on a boat, including the facilities on board, how to drive the boat and how to operate a lock (check with the company before you travel that the handovers are industry accredited). Feel free to ask as many questions as you feel you need to!

Don’t stress it!

Plan the route before you go, but be realistic about how many miles a day you can, or indeed want to, travel. Dusk til dawn cruising can be a bit stressful, and it’s not good etiquette to race by other canal cruisers as they are tucking into their aperitifs! Aim for six hours a day to start for, but if you’re unsure, speak to the talk to your holiday operator about the best routes for you, including locks and miles per day.

Choose your crew carefully…

Narrowboats are, well, narrow. So think about who you are going to travel with. It’s a great social holiday (who wouldn’t enjoy cruising from pub to pub!) but the living quarters are ‘cosy’. The extra hands on deck are useful, but choose good friends who you can get along well with in close confines! It’s a good idea to allocate tasks before you start travelling too, nominate the main ‘Captain’ and make sure they are fully up to speed with operating the boat.

Black Prince offer luxury canal boat holidays at nine bases across the UK, including London, the Peak District, Cheshire, Oxford, Scotland and Wales. Choose from a variety of modern, award-winning boats which include central heating, TV / DVD, fully equipped kitchenette, bedrooms and bathroom, and can sleep between 2 and 10. Short breaks start from just £412 per boat, including induction, all linen and towels.

Check out the rest of the top tips at or call 01527 575115 for more information and a brochure.

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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fueling fun for the young at heart!

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Alison Levi
23rd Jan 2013
Thanks for voting!
I have very fond memories of holidays with Black Prince many years ago.
This is the most relaxing wonderful holiday one can ever choose. Apart from the energy to operate the locks! But it's all so much fun

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