Some of you will know us as the naïve narrowboat enthusiasts who embarked on a boat restoration back in 2016, only to fall utterly in love with the waterways and decide to launch a one-boat holiday hire company.
The Boutique Narrowboats concept was borne out of a love of five star hotels as well as the canals and it seems that many of you felt the same way. Our first year has seen an occupancy rate of 94% which, we are told, means that we did good. Our second Boutique Narrowboat goes in the water in June.
Anyhoo – don’t laugh – but then we had another idea.
When the Market Harborough narrowboat hire business at Union Wharf came up for sale, we went to take a look – and knew straight away that it was the perfect home for our little fleet. So now, 9 months after our first boat was hired out, we find ourselves the new owners of Union Wharf Narrowboats Ltd.
This company manages the canal basin at Market Harborough, overseeing the hire of ABC narrowboats as well as operating its own self-drive Day Boats up to Foxton and back. The setting is a stunning one, with the lovely Waterfront restaurant and bar taking pride of place at the foot of the basin. Union Wharf has a rich history, too, acting as a distribution centre for coal, grain and wool in its heyday.
Most importantly, the Boutique Narrowboats will be in the perfect setting for our guests. Free parking, a dedicated marina office for checking in and out and electric hook-up if you prefer to stay in the basin and explore the historic Market Harborough on foot.
We’ve switched round our itineraries so that you can still visit all the prime locations (in a different order) and will still help you with your routes if you would like us to, on your first afternoon aboard.
Aaran and I will be around and about at the marina, so we will still be able to greet you as you arrive for your holiday. Thank heavens we will also be assisted by the lovely team on site who absolutely know what they’re doing, even when we – quite frequently – do not.
We are enormously grateful for the welcome we have received, as well as to the team at Debdale who have supported our fledgling business for the last year or so. I honestly think this is an adventure which will keep surprising us but we are happy to continue on this journey for a long time to come!
Sharon and Aaran