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Barge hire for family canal barge holidays

Hire a canal barge – the perfect family holiday!

Living onboard a boat for your holidays is fun whatever your age. In addition to the fact it’s easy to navigate (no previous boating experience or a licence is required) there are a number of reasons why more and more people are renting a canal barge for their family holidays.


Spend quality time with family

The naturally slow pace of life on the waterways means you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the experience of a canal barge holiday together. Travelling at a slow 10km maximum per hour means together you can enjoy the world around you – beautiful landscapes, lively wildlife and quaint villages... all bustling around the waterways.


Enjoy complete flexibility

One of the best bits about a canal barge holiday is the flexibility it offers. You can go where you want when you want. You can also stop off at any time – simply use the stakes and ropes on board to moor up at the riverbank so you can step ashore for a leg stretch, a bike ride or a leisurely picnic by the water’s edge. Alternatively find mooring pontoons in the villages and towns on route and moor up to explore them visiting restaurants, local markets and much more.


No boating experience needed

All of the canal barges for hire within the Nicols fleet are easy to handle. No previous experience is needed or a licence to drive the boats. The Nicols base staff will show you around your boat on arrival before heading out with you onto the waterways for a demonstration of how to drive and the rules of navigation. Within 45 minutes you’ll be ready to captain your very own canal barge!


Get the whole ‘crew’ involved

The great thing about a canal barge holiday is that everyone can participate in the fun of navigation. There’s a role for everyone on board from steering and map reading to helping with manoeuvres through locks and mooring up.



A fleet perfect for family canal barge holidays

At Nicols we’ve been building boats for 30 years. Today’s modern fleet is one of the best for families of children of all ages. Both comfort and safety are important considerations when choosing a canal barge for your holiday.


Comforts of home

When hiring a Nicols canal barge you can be sure you’ll be travelling in style and comfort. The spacious boats have a large living area with large windows offering plenty of light and panoramic views. The fully-equipped kitchen has everything you’ll need and all bedding is provided. The newer boats (Estivale range) have the added benefits of shore power supply (220 volts), TV and DVD player and a radio/CD player/MP3 player.

Boats are available to suit all budgets and party sizes from two to twelve people and flexible durations mean that itineraries are available for short-breaks, one-week holidays or longer stays.


Outside living

You’re on holiday, so you want to be outside enjoying the weather! There’s no better place for this than the top deck (where on many models there is also a second steering position) or the rear terrace. All Nicols boats are equipped with tables and chairs for outside dining and either a sun awning or parasol for when shade might be needed.


Safety on board

The Nicols fleet of canal barges is popular with families because not only do they look great but they are excellent for peace of mind travelling. The clever design of the Sedan and Estivale ranges provide easy walk-on/walk-off access without any stairs which make them great not only for crews with children but also those with disabilities. The front terrace area on boats in the Confort range is accessed via a corridor that’s moulded into the hull

Movement around the boat is made safe thanks to non-slip surfaces, hand rails and a double railing (60cm high and a legal requirement for all hire boats in France). Also on board are lifejackets for both adults and children. At Nicols we recommend these are worn by children whenever they are outside of the boat and especially during passing through locks or mooring up.



And now for something completely unique...

Nicols are known for their innovations – none more so than the towable heated splash pool that can be added to the majority of boats in the Nicols fleet. It allows small children to safely play in warm filtered water so is a particular favourite with families. Sliding covers mean that when not in use the splash pool is both safe and a useful additional deck.

Designed by the Nicols boat building team and therefore not available elsewhere in the canal barge hire market, this is an exclusive to Nicols.

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