Firstly, you do not need any previous boating experience to try a canal boat weekend or even a motor cruiser on the Norfolk Broads, as full instruction is provided on arrival.
Secondly, the maximum amount of people a boat can sleep and accommodate on the UK waterways is 12, so for larger parties you will need to hire multiple boats.
Please be aware that larger parties, including Stag or Hen groups may be asked to pay a refundable security deposit in addition to the boat hire fee.
Choosing your location: The UK canals are great for an active break, especially in areas with lots of locks and bridges. The Norfolk Broads offers a more relaxed approach to boating, but is equally as popular for party breaks as there are numerous waterfront villages and pubs, access to Norwich or Great Yarmouth and also the cruisers on the Norfolk Broads are generally more 'modern' and spacious. A city break is a popular short break option, we have lots of convenient bases across the UK waterways for exploring a city. For further information we are just at the end of the phone 7 days a week and are more than happy to assist finding a suitable location for you, based on your criteria.
Other activities: We do get lots of requests to combine a short boating break with an organised day activity which is scheduled within a city or town for a particular time, this is very tricky as boating is often like driving - timings are just estimates & moorings are never guaranteed! We do recommend that the boat should be your primary activity, especially for short break hire on the UK canals. Throughout the day you are kept busy working the locks and bridges, navigating your boat, and mooring when desired for a bite to eat. However if you are aiming to reach a particular city or town, you might wish to organise your own night out or entertainment. As experienced boaters, we do have detailed knowledge of the waterways - and very detailed maps on hand! So if you have any questions just get in touch.
How much does it cost? Typically the cost is between £100 - £175 per person for a short break (based on 12 people sharing) depending on the time of year you are looking to go.
Collecting your funds: If you are booking outside the 8-10 weeks of the holiday, typically you pay a 25% deposit. Once you have paid your deposit, you have entered into a contract with the boat owner which stipulates you are liable for the balance when due regardless of a change in party numbers. For this reason we always recommend you gather funds from everyone before committing to payment.
What's onboard: Your hire boat has everything you require for your short break afloat. The galley is fully equipped with oven, hob, fridge with a small freezer compartment and storage - pots, cutlery, mugs, plates etc are also provided. More often now the galley also has a microwave on-board. You will have cabins with the beds, which have dividers to separate the sleeping areas, and a small amount of storage. The saloon has seating and a dining area - should you wish to eat on-board. Each boat has a minimum of one full bathroom with a shower to refresh yourself in the morning!
Bed layouts & configurations: Lots of boats offer a combination of double and single beds, it is normal to have at least one double bed which is made up in the evening using the seating area. You may wish to bring sleeping bags if sharing a double, or you can book larger boats so that you have some room to spread out.
Arrival instructions: The general rule for arrival is to pick up the boat around 2.30pm for instruction. As there are some variants, it is highlighted on the boat details page under the terms & conditions box. It is preferred if everyone is able to arrive for instruction.
Returning your boat: Your boat will need to be returned by 9am on the last day, back at the marina you departed from.
Where to moor: On the UK canals you can generally moor anywhere along the towpath as long as you are not obstructing a lock or a bridge. On the Norfolk Broads there are designated moorings, which are clearly signposted (mooring fees may apply). Some of the pubs with allocated moorings might not be keen on Stag or Hen groups mooring directly outside, but you can generally find a nearby mooring and walk to the pub. Larger parties may wish to book in advance and enquire with the pubs as part of their break preparations.