Frequently asked questions
On an hotel boat holiday you can do as much or as little as you please; relax and observe nature, sketch, paint, take photographs, read or just enjoy watching canal life. Alternatively, if you want an energetic day you could help with the locks, stroll into pretty towns and villages, walk (or even run) along the towpath. This is a warm and friendly holiday, suitable for everyone from the young to the young-at-heart. The rhyth of life is gentler and everyone has a cheery hello and wave for the narrow-boaters.
Which cruise should I choose?
Every cruise has its own special attraction; each canal and river has its own particular charm. In general, cruises on canals offer more opportunities to be active - to help with the locks or to walk the towpath. On rivers, it is more difficult to walk as there may not be paths following the route but often there are historic places to see and sometimes more opportunities for sightseeing. In the cruise schedule we try to provide as much information as possible about the trip so that you can make the choice.
What is included?
The price of our cruises includes all of our freshly cooked meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner together with morning and afternoon tea/coffee), a comfortable cabin with all bed linen, towels and small toiletry items plus a small torch. However, the price does not include car parking or entrance fees to local attractions.
What should I bring?
Traditional narrow boat storage space is limited so don’t bring too much. This is an informal holiday and we suggest that you include comfortable, casual clothes, a warm jacket/fleece for cooler days and waterproofs are a must, just in case of rainy days. We would also recommend that you include a rain hat and a sun hat, as so much time is spent enjoying the fresh air and sunburn or wet hair is no fun. We ask you to bring non-slip, soft-soled shoes to wear on board and you will need tougher shoes or boots if you intend to walk the towpaths. Don't forget your camera, and possibly binoculars for observing the varied wildlife.
How do I join the cruise?
Many guests are brought and collected by relatives or friends, others come by taxi, car or public transport whichever is more convenient. Our start/finish points are generally within easy reach of a railway station or other public transport. We will provide you with information and a map of our intended location but we will contact you the evening before your cruise starts with more exact details.
What is a typical day?
No two days are the same in terms of where you will be and what you will see, however there is a certain pattern to each day:
Early risers will find milk, hot water and a selection of teas and coffee in the saloon of Duchess to help themselves to.
Breakfast is served in the dining room of Duke at 8.30am and will typically be a selection of cereals, toast, jam, fresh fruit etc with freshly prepared cooked options to choose from such as bacon, sausage, eggs, mushrooms etc. We usually aim to leave our moorings by 9.30am.
Dependent upon our location, there may be bustling market towns to glide through, stately homes and castles, stunning countryside, peaceful valleys or rolling hills to view. For the more active guest there are locks to open and towpaths to walk (or run) along. But if that sounds far too energetic, there are comfy seats inside the boats or on the well-decks to view the ever changing and stunning scenery, sketch, take photographs or just relax.
Morning tea or coffee and biscuits will usually be served as we cruise along around about 11am. Later we will moor up for a lunch which our cook has been working hard to prepare. Dependent upon the weather outside a typical lunch may be soup and a crusty roll, quiche or a buffet with lots of cold meats, salads, cheeses. This is usually followed by summer fruits salad or cheese and biscuits.
Afternoon tea/coffee and homemade cake will be served either on the move or as we moor up for the day; leaving lots of time for a look around our location, stroll to a nearby canal-side pub or have a relax after the day’s exertions.
At 7pm a three-course dinner is served on Duke; everyone eating together makes for a fun and sociable evening with delicious home cooked fare such as roast lamb or a chicken and mushroom pie, with tasty fresh vegetables and typical desserts may be mouth-watering cheesecake topped with blackberries picked from the towpath (usually be guests).
Some guests may then enjoy an evening stroll, visit the nearest canalside pub, play cards, chat about the days cruising and sites or just have an early night.
Is this holiday suitable for independent travellers?
This is a fantastic holiday for those travelling solo, everyone eats together and enjoys each-others company; new friends are soon made. There are no single supplements on this holiday; all prices are the same.
Are the boats safe?
We are compliant with all current legal requirements, licences, insurances and procedures. Our crew are all qualified Helmsman and the cook has food hygiene training and certification as well as allergy training and the boat has been inspected and awarded a Food Hygiene Rating of 5 (the best possible). We have had two inspections by fire officers in the last 3 years and have passed with flying colours We will run through safety procedures at the start of your cruise and we have a supply of buoyancy aids on board if you feel safer wearing one. The safety of our guests is of paramount importance to us so please ask if you wish to know anything else.
I have special dietary requirements; can I be catered for?
We make extra effort to accommodate those guests with special dietary requirements and we fully comply with the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU FIC).
However, we will require details of any food allergies or intolerances long before you join the boats so we provide a form for you to send this information at the time of booking. We also ask guests to let us know of any strong dislikes so that we can make sure we don’t cook a meal you can’t eat.
I have a favourite drink/food item that I can't live without.... will it be available?
We have limited storage space on the boat so if you have a special brand of tea, coffee, wine, beer, spirit, juice, jam etc... please let us know on the forms we send out and we will endeavour to make sure we have it available for you.
Is there a bar on-board?
Yes, we have a small honesty bar which stocks a small amount of standard wines, beers and spirits but if you have a special brand of beer or wine you are particularly partial to then let us know in plenty of time. We ask guests to help themselves and record their drinks so that they can settle up at the end of the cruise.
I have a disability/special need - what do I do?
If there is something you think we should know, then please contact us (in strict confidence) to discuss your requirements. We will be honest with you and tell you what is and is not available on the boats for your comfort and work with you to decide whether this is a suitable holiday for you.
Can I smoke on board?
Sorry no! Smoking is strictly prohibited on the boats.
Can I bring my pets?
We’re very sorry but we have no space for more pets but Henry the friendly Working Cocker Spaniel will be on board.
If you have any other queries, please email Neil at or ring him on 07376 471154 and he will be happy to help.