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Interest Facts about Canal Boats in the UK


Jun 1, 2023

Interesting Facts about Canal Boats in the UK

Canal boats or narrowboats have been used in the UK since the 18th century for transportation and are still popular today for leisure purposes. Here are some interesting facts about canal boats in the UK:

The size of the narrowboats

The narrowboats in the UK are typically about 7 feet wide and up to 70 feet long, which makes them very suitable for traveling along the narrow canals. Most of the narrowboats have a steel hull and either a diesel or electric engine.

The interior of a narrowboat is designed to make the most of the available space. It has a living area, a kitchen, a bathroom, and one or more bedrooms. There is usually no wasted space, and everything is designed to have multiple uses.

Despite their small size, narrowboats can be very comfortable and are ideal for exploring the UK’s beautiful countryside at a slow pace.

The history of canal boats in the UK

During the industrial revolution, canals were developed to transport goods from the cities to the countryside and vice versa. The canals were a significant factor in the growth of the UK’s economy, and canal boats played a major role in transporting goods along the canals.

Canal boats were an essential mode of transportation until the arrival of the railways, which could transport goods much faster. With the decline of the canals as a commercial transportation route, canal boats became popular for leisure purposes. Today, there are more than 35,000 registered canal boats in the UK, and the number is growing every year.

Canal boats have a unique design, which makes them immediately recognizable. They are long and narrow, with a pointed bow and stern. Their design enables them to navigate through the narrow canals and through the network of locks that can be found along the canals.

The locks on the canals

The locks on the canals are one of the most challenging aspects of traveling on a canal boat. They are used to raise and lower a boat from one level of the canal to another.

The locks can be operated by using traditional manual methods or by using modern electric or hydraulic systems. Some of the locks are original to the canals and are hundreds of years old. They are usually operated by a lock keeper who is responsible for maintaining the locks and assisting boats through them.

Traveling through a lock can be a daunting experience for those who are new to canal boating. However, once you have done it a few times, it becomes second nature. The key is to take it slowly and steadily and to make sure that you follow the instructions of the lock keeper.

The popularity of canal boating in the UK

Canal boating is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and it is not hard to see why. It is an excellent way to explore the UK’s beautiful countryside at a slow pace, enjoying the scenery and wildlife along the way.

Canal boats are available to hire from a range of companies throughout the UK. Many people choose to do a short weekend break, while others take several weeks to explore the canals fully.

Canal boating is ideal for couples and families. It is a great way to spend quality time together, away from the distractions of modern life. There are plenty of activities to keep children entertained, such as feeding ducks and swans, exploring the canal towpaths, and visiting the many attractions along the way.

The benefits of canal boating

Canal boating is a unique and rewarding experience that has many benefits. It is an excellent way to see the UK’s countryside from a different perspective, and it is a great way to relax and unwind.

Canal boating is also an environmentally friendly way to travel. The boats are powered by either diesel or electric engines, which use very little fuel and produce almost no emissions.

Canal boating is also an excellent form of exercise. Walking along the towpaths and operating the locks are both great ways to keep fit while enjoying the beautiful scenery.


Canal boating is a unique and enjoyable way to explore the UK’s countryside. The narrowboats have a fascinating history, and traveling through the locks can be a challenging but rewarding experience.

With the popularity of canal boating increasing, it is no surprise that more and more people are choosing to explore the UK’s beautiful canals on a narrowboat holiday. Whether you are looking for a short break or an extended adventure, canal boating is a fantastic way to discover the UK’s hidden gems and enjoy some quality time with your loved ones.

By admin