Your Questions Answered
Waterways Holidays Ltd & Hireboat.com
Located in Aldershot, Hampshire - Waterways Holidays is an online boating holiday specialist offering live availability and booking
on over 1200 boats from more than 50 locations across the UK, France and Ireland. Established in 2001, our booking team are all experienced boaters and can offer independent expert telephone advice as well as help you find the right boating holiday to suit your requirements. We work in partnership with every boatyard featured and take bookings on behalf of the owner of your selected boat. Your holiday contract is always direct with the owner/operator of your boat at the direct booking price.
Waterways Holidays Aldershot Offices
Inside Waterways Holidays Aldershot Offices
Waterways Holidays Limited
47 Station Road, Aldershot, Hampshire GU11 1BA
Registered in England No 4906301 VAT Reg. No. 822 5606 43
Telephone 0845 127 1020 (Lo-Call)
Office Hours: Monday to Friday 09:00 - 20:00, Saturday and Sunday 09:00 to 17:30
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Which boatyards do we work
Hireboat.com is delighted to offer holidays in
partnership with many leading hire boat owner/operators including:
offer online availability for each of these holiday companies. Your holiday
booking via Waterways Holidays is always made directly with the operator on
your behalf and your hire contract will be direct with the owner/operator of
the boat and is therefore subject to their operating terms as shown on each
boat details page. In addition, we offer a wide selection of Waterside Holiday Cottages through our specialist partner company Waterside Breaks.
- Alpha Cruisers (Norfolk Broads)
- Alvechurch Boat Centres
- April Cruises
- Barnes Brinkcraft (Norfolk Broads)
- Black Prince Holidays
- Cambrian Cruisers
- Canal Breaks
- Canal Cruising Co.
- Challenger Stealth
- Claymoore Narrowboats
- Clifton Cruisers
- Countrywide Cruisers
- Countryside Cruising
- Farncombe Boat House
- France Afloat
- Fox Boats
- Galleon Marine
- Goods Hire Boats
- Grand Waterway Voyages
- Heritage Narrowboats
- Horning Pleasure Craft (Norfolk Broads)
- Kate Boats
- Kris Cruisers
- Lee Valley Boats
- Maestermyn Marine
- Marine Cruises
- Middlewich Narrowboats
- Mid Wales Narrowboats
- Minervois Cruisers (France)
- Oxfordshire Narrowboats
- Peak Forest Cruisers
- Rose Narrowboats
- Richardsons (Norfolk Broads)
- Shannon Castle Line (Ireland)
- Shire Cruisers
- Silsden Boats
- Silverline Marine (Norfolk Broads)
- Valley Cruisers
- Viking Afloat
- Welsh Lady Cruisers
- West Highland Sailing
- Willow Wren
- Wyvern Shipping Co.
How do I find a suitable
where you want to go. Select the number of berths you require, the month in
which you would like to take your holiday and whether you want a weekend (3
nights), midweek (4 nights) or week. Click on search, the results should appear
in seconds! The results will show boat name, details, type of boat (narrowboat,
widebeam cruiser etc.), start and finish dates, and location of your starting
base together with suggested holiday cruising routes (by clicking on the hire
base name). The "Details" column will have a camera on which you can click to
open a new page showing full information about that boat and prices. Once you
have chosen a holiday, click on the "Email" button or telephone us on 0870 121 9949 to make a provisional reservation.
What happens when I reserve a
click on the "Reserve" button, a form appears with the details of the selected
boat, dates etc. Complete the form with as much information as possible, the
more the boat operator knows of your requirements the easier it will be for
everyone! Ask questions in the "Message" box". Click Send. Details of your
reservation are then forwarded to the holiday operator. On receipt of your
request, the operator will verify that the requested dates and boat are still
available and will then contact you (normally within the same or following day)
directly by phone or email to confirm your booking with you.
that your booking is not finalised until a confirmation has been received
directly from the holiday operator and a deposit has been paid in accordance
with the operators' booking terms and conditions. These are available on the
boat details for each boat on the search results page or supplied by the
holiday operator when confirming your booking request. Your provisional booking
is made directly with the holiday operator. Waterways Holidays.com accept no
liability on behalf of any hire operators for any bookings, changes of
availability or any costs incurred directly or indirectly in the use of this
What types of boat are
is a large range of boats to choose from. They generally fall into 3
categories: cruisers, narrowboats and widebeam (up to 14') often referred to as
barges. The hotel boats are more individual in nature; they can be large dutch
barges, pairs of narrowboats, other large inland craft built in steel, wood or
GRP. There are wide variations in length, beam (width) and internal layout,
fittings etc. The search results will indicate the boat type and you can use
the cameras to find out more about your selected boat.
What is a boating holiday
holidays appeal to a wide variety of interests. You can get away from it all on
the tranquil backwaters of the rural canals with their quaint waterside pubs,
or explore the normally hidden channels through major towns and cities with a
wealth of architectural and industrial history only accessible by water. Your
boating holiday offers many places of interest to stop along the way for the
There is also plenty to do on the water itself, including
piloting your own boat, operating locks, exploring backwaters, and maybe taking
in a little fishing or soaking up the sun! The slow pace of the waterways is
one of the main attractions to many and because you travel only as far as you
wish each day, your holiday can be as relaxing or as energetic as you
How do the locks work?
Locks are used to lift or lower boats from one level to
another and can be found on almost all canals and many rivers. On major rivers
and waterways such as the Thames and in Scotland's Great Glen, the locks are
manned and operated for you during the summer. On the canals, the locks are
much smaller and are operated by you and your crew.
Operating locks is
very simple and part of the fun of a boating holiday. Care must however be
taken around locks and your hire operator will brief you fully when you collect
your boat. The lock consists of a chamber into which your boat passes, plus a
gate or gates at either end. The lock has openings (paddles or sluices) at the
top and bottom to allow water in and out of the chamber to raise or lower the
water level and the boat. These paddles are opened and closed by the crew using
a lock handle on the winding gear at the top and bottom of each lock. It sounds
a little complicated, but you will soon find that operating locks is very easy
and great fun.
Do I need any previous boating experience?
No. It is not
necessary to have any previous boating experience to hire a self-drive boat.
Your holiday hire operator will provide you with training on arrival at your
selected hire base. This will include how to steer your boat, daily boat
checks, operating locks and safety instructions. Don't be afraid to ask
questions to ensure that you are completely confident and can get the most
enjoyment from being captain of your own vessel.
Do I need a licence?
No "driving" licence is required for a hire boat on the inland waterways. Your boat will
however be licenced to use the waterways local to your chosen hire base and
this will be included within your holiday cost. If you wish to venture further
afield onto other waterways, you should check with the operator if a separate
licence is required. This will usually be payable by you prior to departure and
will last for a fixed number of days. This is the case if you wish to spend
part of your holiday on the canals and a few days on the Thames as both are
managed by different licencing authorities.
What is included in the holiday
holiday hire cost will include the self-drive hire of your chosen boat for the
rental period. On the UK canals, this will normally (but not always) include
the cost of all fuel used. In France and Ireland, it is more usual that the
fuel cost is excluded and the hirer has to fill up before returning the boat at
the end of your holiday. Optional extras often include a colour TV and all
bedding. Most companies provide free car parking for the duration of your
Can I take pets?
Well behaved pets are welcome on many boats. Your chosen
operator can confirm that they accept pets on your selected boat. Please
include details on the holiday reservation form. A small charge may be
Hotel boats cannot accept pets.
What should I take with me?
Your boat will be very well equipped with all necessary
cooking utensils, crockery etc. In addition, wet weather overalls are generally
provided for the helmsman (although hopefully not used too much!). Life jackets
are always available on request, especially for young children.
Additional specific items
you may want to bring include towels, teatowels, a torch, camera, binoculars, a
good waterways guide (such as Nicholson's), enough food supplies for a couple
of days cruising (check the location of convenient shops along the waterway
with your hire operator), non-slip soft deck shoes and protective gloves (for
working locks). Remember also that the sun's rays are much more powerful when
you are on the water, so sunglasses, protective cream and a sun hat are
recommended to avoid burning.
Where can we stop overnight?
On the UK canals,
you can stop overnight anywhere along the towpath side without charge. You must
however avoid mooring overnight within 50 metres of a lock or other navigation
landmark to allow other boats to pass unhindered. On most other navigations,
there will be clearly marked places where you can moor for the night or during
the day. On some main Rivers this may involve a small mooring
How far can we travel in a day?
On most of the
inland waterways the maximum speed is around 4mph (a brisk walking pace)
however the average speed is closer to 3mph. In calculating how far you can to
travel in a day, you should work on the basis of "lock miles" . To do this
count each lock as one mile and add the distance in actual miles to make "lock
miles". Divide this by 3(mph) to give the total time in hours to cover the
required distance including locks.