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This guide will provide you with some of the information you need to know to make a confident and informed decision when buying a canal boat. From the different types of boats available to the essential features to look out for, we will guide you through the entire process, ensuring you find the perfect canal boat to suit your needs and budget.

For anything not covered below, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team and we will be more than happy to help in answering any questions you may have about, buying, living and finding a narrowboat or wide beam to suit you.


Living aboard a narrowboat, also known as a canal boat or barge, has become increasingly popular in recent years. Many people are choosing this lifestyle as a way to escape the fast-paced city life and reconnect with nature. Narrowboats are essentially floating homes that allow people to live on the water and travel along the canals and rivers of the UK. In this article, we will discuss some of the advantages of living aboard a narrowboat.


Low Cost of Living

One of the main advantages of living aboard a narrowboat is the low cost of living. Narrowboats can be purchased for a fraction of the price of a traditional house, and the ongoing costs of maintenance and mooring fees are also relatively low. Living on a narrowboat means that you do not have to pay rent or a mortgage, and your bills are likely to be lower too. This makes narrowboat living an attractive option for people who want to reduce their expenses and live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Freedom and Flexibility

Living on a narrowboat gives you the freedom to travel wherever you want along the canals and rivers. You can move from place to place, explore new areas and meet new people. This makes narrowboat living a great option for people who enjoy adventure and want to live a more flexible lifestyle. You can also choose to moor in different locations depending on your needs, whether that be close to the city or in a quiet rural area.

Connection to Nature

Living on a narrowboat allows you to connect with nature in a unique way. You are constantly surrounded by water, wildlife and the changing seasons. This can have a positive impact on your mental health and wellbeing, as studies have shown that being in nature can reduce stress and anxiety. Living on a narrowboat also means that you can enjoy activities such as fishing, kayaking, and walking along the towpath.

Strong Community

The narrowboat community is known for its strong sense of community and camaraderie. Living on a narrowboat means that you are part of a community of like-minded people who share your love of the waterways. There are often social events and gatherings organised by the community, and you can make new friends and connections easily. This can be especially important for people who are new to an area or who are looking to make a change in their social life.

Sustainable Lifestyle

Living aboard a narrowboat is a more sustainable lifestyle choice than living in a traditional house. Narrowboats have a smaller carbon footprint than traditional homes, and many narrowboat owners choose to install solar panels, composting toilets, and other eco-friendly systems to reduce their impact on the environment. Living on a narrowboat also means that you use less water and energy, which is better for the planet.

In conclusion, living aboard a narrowboat can offer many advantages, including low cost of living, freedom and flexibility, connection to nature, strong community and a sustainable lifestyle. If you are looking for a unique and adventurous lifestyle, living on a narrowboat may be the perfect choice for you.


Canal boats have become increasingly popular in recent years as more people seek a simpler, more sustainable way of living. The canal lifestyle offers a unique and rewarding experience for those who enjoy being close to nature and the water. But when it comes to choosing a canal boat to live on, there are many different options to consider. One of the most significant decisions you'll need to make is whether to live onboard a small or large canal boat. In this article, we'll explore the benefits of living onboard a large canal boat compared to a small one.

Space and Comfort

One of the most significant benefits of living onboard a large canal boat is the additional space and comfort it provides. Large canal boats typically offer more headroom and living space, making them ideal for families or couples who want more room to move around. This extra space can also allow for a more comfortable and luxurious living experience, with larger beds, sofas, and even bathtubs.


Another advantage of larger canal boats is that they offer more storage space. This can be especially important if you're planning to live on the boat long-term, as you'll need space to store clothes, food, and other essential items. A larger boat can also offer additional storage areas, such as a dedicated utility room or storage locker, allowing you to keep your belongings organized and easily accessible.


Larger canal boats tend to be more stable than smaller boats, which can make them more comfortable to live on. They're less likely to be affected by rough water or wind, which can cause smaller boats to rock and sway. This added stability can also make it easier to move around the boat and perform tasks such as cooking and cleaning.


If you plan on having guests onboard your canal boat, a larger boat can provide a more enjoyable entertaining experience. With more space to move around and socialize, you can host larger gatherings without feeling cramped. Additionally, larger boats may have amenities such as outdoor grills, dining tables, and lounge areas, making it easier to host outdoor parties and gatherings.


Another benefit of living on a larger canal boat is the increased privacy it provides. With more space, you can create separate living areas, such as a bedroom, living room, and study, allowing each person onboard to have their own space. This added privacy can be especially important for families or couples who need time alone or have different schedules.

Overall, living onboard a large canal boat offers many benefits compared to a small one. From increased space and comfort to additional storage and stability, a larger boat can provide a more luxurious and enjoyable living experience. If you're considering living onboard a canal boat, be sure to explore your options and choose the boat that best suits your needs and lifestyle.


Living on the canal network itself and living in a marina can be quite different experiences. Here are some of the key differences to consider:

  1. Location: Living on the canal network means that you can choose to moor your boat in different locations along the canal, whereas living in a marina means that you are limited to that one location.

  2. Cost: Generally, living on the canal network can be less expensive than living in a marina, as there are often fewer amenities and services available. However, the cost can vary depending on the location, the size of the boat, and the amenities required.

  3. Facilities: Marinas often offer a range of facilities, such as electricity, water, showers, laundry, and Wi-Fi. While some of these facilities may be available on the canal network, they may not be as readily accessible or reliable.

  4. Social scene: Living in a marina can offer a more social atmosphere, with regular gatherings and events organized by the marina community. On the canal network, social interactions may be more sporadic and dependent on chance encounters with other boaters.

  5. Mobility: Living on the canal network provides more mobility as you can easily move your boat to different locations along the canal. Living in a marina means you may be limited to the immediate area surrounding the marina.

  6. Maintenance: Living on the canal network can require more maintenance, as boats may need to be moved more frequently and may be exposed to more weather and environmental conditions. Living in a marina may provide more protection for the boat from the elements.

Ultimately, the choice between living on the canal network or in a marina comes down to personal preferences and lifestyle. Some people prefer the freedom and adventure of life on the canal, while others may appreciate the amenities and social scene of a marina.


If you're considering buying a narrowboat as a first-time buyer, there are a few things you should consider before making your purchase. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  1. Budget: Narrowboats can range in price from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of pounds. Make sure you have a realistic budget in mind before you start looking, and be aware that there may be additional costs involved in maintaining and operating the boat.

  2. Size: Narrowboats are, as the name suggests, narrow. Make sure you consider the size of the boat and whether it will be comfortable for you to live on. Think about how many people will be living on the boat and what kind of storage space you'll need.

  3. Layout: The layout of a narrowboat can have a big impact on how comfortable it is to live on. Think about how the space is divided up and whether it will work for your needs. Consider factors like the size of the kitchen, the number of bedrooms, and whether there is a separate bathroom.

  4. Mooring: You'll need to find a place to moor your narrowboat when you're not cruising. Make sure you research the different options available in your area and factor in the cost of mooring fees.

  5. Maintenance: Like any boat, a narrowboat will require regular maintenance to keep it in good condition. Make sure you're prepared for the time and expense involved in maintaining the boat, including things like engine servicing, hull painting, and plumbing repairs.

  6. Insurance: You'll need to have insurance for your narrowboat. Make sure you shop around to find a policy that provides the level of coverage you need at a price you can afford.

  7. Training: If you're new to boating, it's a good idea to take some training courses to learn the basics of handling a narrowboat. You may also want to consider hiring a skipper for your first few trips until you feel comfortable operating the boat yourself.

Overall, buying a narrowboat can be a great way to enjoy life on the water. Just make sure you do your research and consider all the factors involved before making your purchase.


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