Speak to us


  1. Canal Boat Holidays
  2. How much does a canal boat holiday cost


How much does it cost to hire a narrowboat or barge?

Hiring a narrowboat for one week can cost between £600 - £3000 for a boat or between £119 - £945 per person, short 3 night weekend breaks start at £87.50 per person, the price depends on multiple factors such as the time of year, size of the boat and the starting location or hire base.

Remember that this headline figure usually includes everything you need to have a lovely, safe holiday. The boat and cruise itself provide plenty of entertainment even for a large crew, with opportunities to work locks, move swing or lift bridges or visit some free attractions near the canal - a mountain of spending money is not required; you can also stop for the night at almost any point along the canal for free. Sometimes fuel is extra; however, you only need to allow between £60-100 per week due to the slow nature of canal travel.

Holiday makers working their hire boat though a lock

A breakdown by season and boat size

The time of year and size of the boat are 2 of the most significant factors when it comes to cost, with the high season of June, July and August being the most expensive and the low season between October and March the most affordable. Remember that there are more daylight hours in the high season, meaning you'll have more opportunity to move the boat and cover more of the canal network.

One week hire cost by boat size

Boat Size Low Season Shoulder Season High Season
2-3 Berth £600 - £1238 £820 - £1756 £1000 - £1890
4 Berth £795 - £1435 £860 - £1978 £1150 - £1825
5-6 Berth £850 - £1510 £1105 - £2808 £1470 - £2535
7-8 Berth £1245 - £1640 £1105 - £2413 £1575 - £2728
9-12 Berth £1430 - £1565 £1430 - £2600 £1980 - £2994

Short three or four night hire cost by boat size

Boat Size Low Season Shoulder Season High Season
2-3 Berth £590 - £1046 £590 - £1049 £790 - £1390
4 Berth £420 - £1040 £533 - £1086 £684 - £1325
5-6 Berth £525 - £1046 £684 - £1512 £859 - £18326
5-6 Berth £690 - £1206 £725.00 - £1678 £960 - £1940
5-6 Berth £1010 - £1322 £1010 - £1940 £1570 - £2088

Note: Although short breaks are cheaper overall in terms of price per night, a one or two-week hire offers a better value for money, so it's worth stretching to a seven-night hire if your budget and time allows it. Figures based on canal boats available via our website - figures correct as of

Other costs to consider


On a canal boat holiday, the cruise does provide plenty of entertainment, and there are usually some attractions near the canal, such as nature reserves, lovely walks or historic ruins to explore. That said, you can make it as expensive as you like: visiting pubs, cafes, castles or taking a ride on a steam train are some examples of what you can do relatively close to the canal side.

View from Beeston castle an attraction near the canal side

Food and Drink

Again, it's up to you how expensive you make this. Cooking facilities will be onboard your holiday narrowboat or barge, so self-catering for the whole trip is a realistic possibility. That said, there are plenty of canal-side pubs and cafes to visit, and you could easily visit one most days and moor up near one for the evening.

Of course, there are cheaper options for a holiday, but if you'd like to explore the UK, doing so via narrowboat or barge is a fantastic option. When you've finished exploring for the day and are ready to put your feet up and relax, you can do so with the knowledge that the comfort of your holiday boat is never too far away.

Now you know have an idea of how much a canal boat holiday will cost, but do you need a license? Will you be shown everything you need to know? Take a look at our canal boat holidays for beginners guide to find out.

Roam&Roost Logo

James (Boater & Support Operative) is online