My husband and I took a barge cruise over thirty years ago in France and would now like to do the same in England. I know nothing of barge cruise companies there and would love any and all input. We would like to go sometime this summer, leaving from Denver. Thank you.
Pam, There have been several threads on the Helpline about Narrowboats, and I suggest a search (use the box at the upper right of the webpage and replace the word "search" with the word "narrowboat" and you will find lots of information complete with links to videos and lots of other information. I can't put in links on the Helpline today, sorry. You use the word "barge". In the UK that would normally be used for a double wide or dutch barge on the larger rivers or the Norfolk Broads or the double wide lock areas of the Grand Union Canal. On the rest of the network, and even in those areas you might be looking for a "Narrowboat". Narrowboats are generally just under 7 feet wide and from 32 feet to 72 feet long. I appreciate you are leaving from Denver but that tells me not much about where in England you would like to be. Can you commit to a 7 day, 10 day or 14 day hire, or do you just want something for a short out-and-back in one or 4 days? Do you know England at all or is this your first go at Blighty?
Twenty years ago my husband and I did a narrowboat trip which was wonderful. This was long before making arrangements on Internet. We did this in mid-September for a week. Rented a 37 foot narrowboat from Anglowelsh.co/uk (checked to see if they are still in business). They catered to British, but were so kind and helpful to us. We pickup up the boat at Great Haywood traveled to Froghall so went through the Potteries district around Stoke. The max speed you could go was 4MPH, but at times this was too fast as we enjoyed the sights so much. We got off and walked to churches or towns that looked interesting, including the weekly market at Leek where we bought an apple pie we are still talking about. We purchased a booklet that told us what was available on our route, such as where to find a grocery store, pubs, and post offices. Very helpful. They sent us a grocery list so we could order some basic groceries to be on board when we got the boat. We hadn't ordered coffee, but as we were Americans they thought it was an omission and put some on anyway. They briefed us on how to work the boat and rode with us to a nearby lock to show us how to work the gates. We had no trouble with the locks and soon were arguing over who got to operate them as we were meeting such delightful locals at the locks.
This was a long time ago so I am sure some things have changed a bit, but I would do it all over again and Anglo Welsh would be the company I would use. Thanks for recalling some great memories.
Is Pam still in the building? You asked for help - a conversation was started - and ... nothing. Can't help you if you don't help us help you...