Grand Union Leicester line and a Boutique Narrowboat

A narrow boating holiday doesn’t offer many shopping opportunities in our part of the world. The environment is largely rural and it isn’t easy to buy forgotten groceries. Most people arrive with several supermarket trollies’ worth of food, just to be sure.

However, it’s not just about the eating/drinking experience. A narrowboat holiday means packing for all weather conditions, too.

Here are a few seasonal essentials you’ll want to remember to pack:

Sun cream. You will be on the back deck for several hours a day and it can be hard to keep out of the sun. No matter what the season, sunburn is no fun.

A peaked hat. This will ensure that your cruise off into the sunset is romantic, not blinding. If you go for the traditional “boater’s” hat, it will also protect you from rain drops rolling down your neck.

Sun glasses. In bright weather, the sun bouncing off the roof of a narrowboat can seriously hurt your eyes. It’s actually worse in the winter when the sun is lower in the sky.

Two pairs of gloves (in case one pair gets wet.) These will make using a windlass and operating locks more comfortable.

At least one pair of non-slip trainers. Padded snow boots in the winter. When you are at the tiller for a few hours, you will be glad you brought foot wear with cushioned soles.

Slippers. Narrowboat floors can be draughty.

An umbrella for tunnel drips.

Thermal socks, long johns and even sallopettes and skiing jackets. Dress for warmth in the colder months and you will have just as much fun as in the summer. Keep in mind that whilst you are cruising, you won’t be moving your body around much so you will get colder than if you were walking.


Packing for boating holiday

More Packing tips for a boating holiday

1. All holiday pack lists advise you bring non-wrinkle clothing but we actually mean it because an iron would quickly drain the batteries on a narrowboat.

2. Use “soft” luggage where possible. There aren’t a lot of storage options on narrowboats, and holdalls are generally easier to accommodate.

3. Take food and drink out of unnecessary packaging. Your rubbish stays with you on a canal boat and you may have to live with it for a while, until you find a waste-disposal point. Far easier to leave it in your wheelie bin at home.


Our Boutique Narrowboats are available for hire all year round and are popular for short breaks. You can find out more about what’s already on board here. We will send you a detailed inventory before you arrive for your holiday.