Canal boat holidays: Narrowboats see 150% surge in bookings for ‘bubble’ holidays

With more Britons than ever before planning a staycation getaway, a canal holiday might be the perfect option for those who don’t fancy camping or staying in a caravan. In fact, canal boats offer you the chance to live in luxury yet traverse some of the UK’s most scenic destinations in almost complete isolation. And now it seems canal boat holidays are experiencing a surge in interest despite overseas trips being back on the cards.


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One canal holiday operator has seen a massive 146 percent increase in reservations since July 4, otherwise known as ‘Super Saturday’.

National operator Black Prince has also seen a rise in bookings from families with school age children.

The company has also reported a surge of interest for bookings with two or more boats for holiday bubbles or “flotillas”.

Leighton Jones, head of Black Prince said many people are considering canal holidays over flying abroad.

“Since the nation received confirmation that England will be open for tourism from July 4 our phones have been ringing off the hook and web traffic is booming.

“Most exciting is the interest from families and for flotillas.

“Families are considering narrowboat breaks because they don’t want to fly abroad but they’re not thrilled by camping, caravans or a seaside hotel in the UK.

“Many are considering canal holidays for the first time, which is brilliant news for our sector.

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“The surge in flotilla bookings, for two more boats, suggests extended families are planning holidays in their bubbles.

“A narrowboat offers the perfect form of socially distanced getaway and that is particularly appealing to grandparents who have been separated from their family during lockdown.”

The company has also launched three new routes for families taking a canal holiday for the first time.

Each new family route comes with a detailed itinerary created by Black Prince, with ideas for attractions, stops and cruising distances for each day of every route.

At the start of every holiday families receive a British Marine Federation-approved coaching session to learn how to drive the boat, what to do at locks and how to stay safe.

The company has been working closely with the British Marine Federation to put in place strict safety measures to keep guests safe on their holiday.

These include a new socially-distanced check-in procedure and boat handover, and a new cleaning process with extra emphasis on high-touch areas.

One of the company’s new routes includes a tour that begins in Worcestershire and includes stops in Birmingham where families can visit the likes of Cadbury World and the National Sealife Centre.

The tour then takes passengers on board to the countryside, cruising down the Severn before cutting back through Worcester on their return.

Another new route includes family-friendly route that starts from Black Prince’s base at Napton in Warwickshire and passes close-to-canal attractions include Warwick Castle, Cadbury World and Drayton Manor Park and Zoo.

Tours can range from seven to 14-night stays from around £1800 to £3800.

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