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Waterways Experiences

We are an all-volunteer charity operating three canal boats from a beautifully landscaped boat base on the Grand Union Canal near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. We enable everyone, regardless of age, physical ability or social disadvantage  to experience the fun and the beauty of our waterways.

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A volunteer run charity

150 enthusiastic volunteers providing affordable canal trips with a focus on the disadvantaged, the disabled and the less well-off, enabling everyone to experience the fun and the beauty of our waterways.

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Ways to give

Will you provide funding to help share our passion for the waterways with those who are disadvantaged or disabled? Whether you are an individual, company, or local authority, we can provide you with a solution to your local charitable giving. As a supporter you can see for yourself the difference your support is making.

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Join our team

Help us to help others, become part of the team of committed volunteers who operate and support our canal boat trips. Sign up as boat crew, join the maintenance team, or help out with our admin, marketing or management.

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Find out about our boat trips

book a trip
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Join our volunteer team

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How you can support our efforts

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Book your next trip with us now

Call 01923 723819

Latest news from Waterways Experiences

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Facebook Reviews

Waterways Experiences
5.0
Based on 88 reviews
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Carole Anne
Carole Anne
2020-03-08T16:43:52+0000
Had a lovely time. Can get as involved as you do or don't want to, with regard to the opening/closing of locks and... steering the barge. Well looked after and the time flew by.read more
Aksenia Belsham
Aksenia Belsham
2020-03-01T17:46:29+0000
Had a fantastic time , can't wait to go again 😊
Nikki Savage
Nikki Savage
2020-02-26T13:47:43+0000
Had a fantastic day out with family. From booking until our day was over, everyone was so kind, informative and... helpful. We will be booking again, very soon. The children loved being involved, steering the barge and opening/closing the locks. Highly recommend for all ages!read more
Sue Duncan
Sue Duncan
2020-02-02T17:19:07+0000
everything! I crew on the boats, and every trip is different, but the one constant is how happy people are when they... finish their trips. ❤️read more
Carol Preedy
Carol Preedy
2020-01-06T16:42:52+0000
Great day out for all the family, we had three generations onboard, crew were great and we are got the opportunity to... steer if we wanted and help with the locks. Will definitely book again in the summer.read more
Caroline Warner
Caroline Warner
2020-01-05T17:49:03+0000
What a fabulous afternoon we have had celebrating my daughters birthday with her friends. The volunteers were great and... involved the children opening the locks etc. We will definitely return again ! Big thanks from the Warner Familyread more
Jo Renhard
Jo Renhard
2019-12-22T17:39:53+0000
Had a great trip with my family we all thoroughly enjoyed it and we had 3 generations with us. There was something for... everyone and would recommend it to anyone thinking about it. All the volunteers that looked after us today (Ian, John, John & Rob) were awesome. Thank you u made our family time really special.read more
Becky Osborn
Becky Osborn
2019-12-16T19:47:31+0000
I couldn’t recommend Waterways Experiences enough! What an incredible bunch of people offering an incredible... experience. It was a great day out and so much fun! Thanks so much to all the team there, you’re amazing people💗read more
Julie Cutler
Julie Cutler
2019-12-16T12:33:23+0000
Amazing experience. Having a great time
Sarah Osborn
Sarah Osborn
2019-12-16T07:07:10+0000
Great leisurely afternoon to have a little bit of food and drink with a bunch of friends while getting on and off to... help at the locks and being allowed to steer the barge.The guys who took us out were all volunteers and looked after us fantastically.read more
Jenni Hicks
Jenni Hicks
2019-12-09T08:16:41+0000
We absolutely loved Waterways Experience! From the moment we arrived to board ‘Close Shave’ the volunteers could not... have been more accommodating.They helped us carry on the mountain of food and drink that we brought with us, and cheerfully explained what we needed to know before setting off.The boat is well equipped, comfortable with plenty of seating and table space, plus lots of windows so you don’t miss the passing scenery.You can help with the locks, or steer the boat, with guidance. We went as far as the Winkwell Pub, before turning round and making our way back to base. Our next trip (we’ve decided to make it a new Christmas tradition now!), we’ll hopefully go in the other direction.We were lucky enough to have a lovely, bright, chilly day, so some of us spent quite a bit of time outside on deck, whilst others were happy to stay cosy inside. I really can’t say enough how much we all enjoyed this day out - something a bit different for all of us.The volunteers are amazing!read more
Doug Gordon
Doug Gordon
2019-12-06T18:36:51+0000
A fantastic charity with 3 wide beam boats which can take on board wheel chairs and have disabled toilets, and very... experienced trained crews to give you a great time cruising the Grand union canal in comfort, And clients can have a go at the helm and working locks too!read more
Ruth Sayers
Ruth Sayers
2019-10-29T15:24:27+0000
I've been on boat trips with them with the Day Centre I help at, The Armoral Hill Day Centre, they meet on Thursdays at... The Age Concern Hall in St Albans, Herts. I like boat trips anyway, & I've really enjoyed the ones I've been on with them. The crew on the boats are always really kind to everybody, & they're very understanding. They let people steer the boats and operate the locks if they want to. I've never done that. They've got lifts on the boats so people in wheelchairs & people whose mobility isn't that great can get on & off the boats easily.read more
Becky Jane
Becky Jane
2019-10-26T16:32:31+0000
Just back from a fantastic birthday trip for our daughter, everyone was so lovely and the trip so peaceful! It was... perfect! Highly recommendedread more
Martin Williams
Martin Williams
2019-10-18T15:37:35+0000
I have just signed up to volunteer and had my first trip today. I had a great time out on the water with a great bunch... of people with endless banter. A great way to spend a relaxing afternoon. Come and try it, you won’t be disappointed.read more
Elaine McGarrigle
Elaine McGarrigle
2019-09-26T19:16:56+0000
Spent the day on Sheldrake 3 today with some folks from work. All older people and some less mobile than others, and... what a great day we had. The skipper, Graeme and his crew were brilliant. The boat is fully accessible to everyone and is very well equipped. A few of the people used the lift down into the boat which was a godsend. Thanks so much to everyone at Waterways experiences, you do a fantastic job, you’re all amazing 😊 Elaine and the Creasey Park lunch clubread more
Nicole De Souza
Nicole De Souza
2019-09-18T12:41:55+0000
A wonderful day spent with the family on the Sheldrake II . Friendly staff and so much fun for kids and adults
Karen Latham
Karen Latham
2019-09-01T16:37:28+0000
We enjoyed the most wonderful day today with Waterways, a beautiful birthday celebration for Nanny, much fun was had by... all our ages ranged from 4 to 80. The crew were amazing so helpful, informative and kind and encouraged us all to help with the locks which was great fun. I would thoroughly recommend a day out.read more
Ruth Goodmaker
Ruth Goodmaker
2019-08-31T19:04:08+0000
Great afternoon with the Random Cafe we all had a fantastic time thank you
Jennifer Rogers
Jennifer Rogers
2019-08-05T19:34:32+0000
A lovely family day out . Enjoyed by all. Family enjoyed helping out with the locks and driving the boat . Thank you... to the crewe for there help.read more
Roz Tann
Roz Tann
2019-07-26T19:22:41+0000
Just got back from a fabulous day out at Waterway's Experience. Our residents are a group of mixed special needs... adults. All the staff were amazing. I was shown around the boat first (Sheldrake III) & told where everything was. We took our own packed lunch, but ordered fish & chips for dinner, through contacts from the boat. Which were then delivered on the boat for when we needed them. Everyone had a great time. We were able to get off & on at various points along the way. It catered to our needs perfectly & they all talked about it on their way home. We will definitely be back 🙂 Thanks again for a truly amazing day, which we will all remember.read more
Carol Nash
Carol Nash
2019-07-24T14:49:17+0000
Just had a brilliant cruise with a lovely group of residents from our care home in Stevenage. A really attentive crew... who went above and beyond! Excellent fish n chips on route. A truly lovely experience, would highly recommend this. xread more
Carol Walls
Carol Walls
2019-07-19T19:42:19+0000
A great cruise along the Grand Union Canal. Amazing Crew and great company. Highly recommend Waterways
Lorraine Law
Lorraine Law
2019-06-27T17:04:41+0000
Friendly crew clean barge great facilities well organised fish and chip lunch nothing to dislike
Amy Edwards
Amy Edwards
2019-06-21T08:05:46+0000
Great day out lovely crew. Couldn't of asked for better experience.
John Oliver
John Oliver
2019-06-10T22:39:59+0000
Relax and chilled. Great crew. Clean tidy boat
Linda Margaret Bailey
Linda Margaret Bailey
2019-05-20T20:35:42+0000
Lovely serene trip, lovely staff ! Thanks for arranging the weather !!!
Tracy Harper
Tracy Harper
2019-05-05T18:21:18+0000
10 of us went out for 4 hours and enjoyed every minute.Clean, spacious and lovely crew made the trip a wonderful... experience.read more
Martin Crook
Martin Crook
2019-04-27T16:16:30+0000
Very good but very windyWe were with a group called the clowns.Fallen down tree lands on a narrowboat and across the... Canal at Nash Millsread more
Christine Linskey
Christine Linskey
2019-03-10T15:31:46+0000
great staff , really made it fun for the children , kept us well informed about the things to look out for .Thank you .
Maggie Stanley
Maggie Stanley
2019-03-10T15:15:03+0000
lovely afternoon, lovely staff, so good with the children, thanks to all.
John Bowman
John Bowman
2019-02-22T14:51:36+0000
With three large wide beam canal boats, half and full day trips are available. See website for details. Priority rates... for disadvantaged groups. All boats have wheelchair access. A great way to relax.read more
Elise Valentine
Elise Valentine
2019-02-18T07:48:57+0000
Absolutely wonderful day out. Crew were friendly, fun, knowledgable and great with the kids. Best of all, my less abled... mum was able to come up to the outside and get on and off the boat so we could all help out at the locks and have a go at steering. Weather was amazing for February. As a plus we did enjoy our fish and chips 😋. Would definitely recommend⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️read more
Dionne Stockton
Dionne Stockton
2019-02-17T17:03:12+0000
Wonderful day, catered for our needs. Great canal trip. Perfect . Definitely do again. Thank you so much
Trevor Longuet
Trevor Longuet
2019-01-10T11:43:30+0000
we had a great day kids (3+5) really enjoyed it, pretending to steer and lots to see from above and below deck, lots of... room to move about below deck and tables to do drawing and still see the views, Fish and Chips are yum and a large portion 😃read more
Janet Horne
Janet Horne
2018-12-27T19:35:12+0000
so glad I booked this and exceeded anything we hoped for.Cannot recommend highly enough--thank you to all the... volunteers for making this such a special experience --my grandchildren loved it as did we 😊read more
Jacky Atkins
Jacky Atkins
2018-09-24T17:05:00+0000
Lovely time on Shelldrake with our ukulele group. 4 hours of relaxing and having fun together. Lovely crew, tasty fish... and chip lunch and all near Hemel Hempstead!read more
Jo Neville-Rye
Jo Neville-Rye
2018-09-05T20:51:16+0000
Had a wonderful time On the Close Shave with skipper Malcolm and his crew. Would definitely recommend the experience.... All the volunteers were really dedicated to ensuring we had the best day. A special thank you to Anne for showing us the Dinosaur 🙂read more
Stephie Denton
Stephie Denton
2018-09-03T15:51:23+0000
Brilliant afternoon on ‘Close Shave’ for my mum’s 70th birthday. Skipper Roy and his crew were great with the kids... explaining how the canal and locks work and letting them join in. Booking was easy and the volunteer staff were really helpful and flexible allowing us to arrange for a company to deliver cream teas. The boat itself is very roomy and very well equipped and also very clean and tidy. Would recommend to anyone for a lovely day out.read more
Benn James
Benn James
2018-09-02T19:42:12+0000
What a fantastic day, everyone who joined me to celebrate my 21st birthday had a fantastic time. The boat had so much... room but the crew were amazing, helping the young children do the locks and steer the boat. Totally awesome day. Thank you to everyone involved..read more
Sam Denton
Sam Denton
2018-09-02T19:23:28+0000
Fabulous afternoon on 'Close Shave', the crew were so helpful, the kids loved helping with the locks and steering. A... wonderful afternoon for a family birthday. Thank you.read more
Shirley Galsworthy
Shirley Galsworthy
2018-08-31T21:05:33+0000
Every thing went extremely well. The booking and the payment process very easy. All staff where very helpfull with all... our members some had to use wheelchairs and walkers and this was delt with kindness and compation. Lovely day .read more
Hollie Cooper
Hollie Cooper
2018-08-29T16:26:27+0000
Thank you to Malcolm and his crew for making my Father in Laws 80th birthday so special. We have all had the perfect... day and are already booking up for the Christmas trip.read more
Laura Waller
Laura Waller
2018-08-08T15:31:35+0000
What a fantastic trip today-3rd time I have taken a group of older people on Sheldrake lll and it gets better every... year. The crew were lovely and all the staff back at base were so helpful. Special thanks to John the Skipper and Sue for being so good with my young daughter. We will be back!read more
Lorraine Arnott
Lorraine Arnott
2018-07-21T21:57:00+0000
Absolutely fantastic night. Loved every second of it doing the locks and the drain things. Even applied to volunteer to... b boat crew in near future. Thanks for giving up your saturday night . an amazing time was had by all xxxread more
Vivienne Morris
Vivienne Morris
2018-06-07T18:09:31+0000
We were with a large group of friends, enough to fill the boat yesterday 6th June. We were blessed with the most... amazing weather sun, sun, sun. The crew made us welcome from the beginning and the knowledge they conveyed was very informative. Many of us helped at the locks and some of us even took the tiller.....without any mishaps. This was a terrific afternoon, and when we got back to base a bit too early, we carried on in the opposite direction to stretch the time. A super afternoon highly recommended.read more
Rachel Scott
Rachel Scott
2018-04-09T13:16:33+0000
I would just like to say a big thank you to the crew( francis,nigel and sorry can't remember the 3rd crew member)l on... our trip yesterday 8.4.18, we had a great time and the patients of the crew who showed my grandson how to work the locks and let him steer the barge it was great to see him so happy, also with my granddaughter who was into everything they also let my sister join the group further on the trip as she was running late nothing was to much trouble for them and i would recommend this experience to anyone.read more
Joseph Kikta
Joseph Kikta
2018-04-02T19:15:07+0000
Paul Trubridge
Paul Trubridge
2018-03-17T20:25:16+0000
A heartfelt thanks for our trip with you in February. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. Your interaction with the grownups... and children was great and you made us all feel very much at home and relaxed. The weather was a tad fresh but the sunshine showed off the canal at its best. It was great for everyone to be involved or just taking in the scenery and also very comforting chilling and warming up below deck with a cuppa. The fish and chip delivery was a great idea and of high quality. Hats off to all of the volunteers - those who crew the boat and also those that work behind the scenes with booking and payment. A great family day out.read more
Louise Hartley Madley
Louise Hartley Madley
2018-02-04T19:43:48+0000
We booked one of your boats for my husbands 40th Birthday yesterday afternoon. Thank you so much to Peter and the crew... for making the whole experience a memorable one. They were cheerful and really helpful.The boats were fully equipped with everything we needed.We hope to book again soon and would fully recommend!read more
Lynne Hubbard
Lynne Hubbard
2017-12-04T06:58:52+0000
I work for a company who support adults with learning disabilities. I have booked 4 trips and we had our first one on... Saturday. It was an amazing day the crew were brilliant and the boat was adapted brilliantly for wheelchairs. They had mince pies, Xmas crackers, everything supplied for whatever hot or cold drink, sauces and condiments for the fish and chips that they had delivered onto the boat. We had a brilliant time and all the service users had a really special dayThank you so much I will deffo be booking more trips.read more
Lorna Hill
Lorna Hill
2017-12-03T08:42:03+0000
Brilliant day for all the family what ever age
Iris Lynch
Iris Lynch
2017-11-02T12:25:41+0000
Magpie club loved the boat trip.Excellent fun and a great crew always.Will book again.Thank you.
Andrew Knowlman
Andrew Knowlman
2017-10-27T18:45:04+0000
I would like to thank you for a great day on Monday September 23rd. Everything has changed for my family and me, since... I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in April 2015. Now in a wheelchair, unable talk and eat, the time on the boat gave me time to be somewhere different. Peaceful, relaxing and a time for family and friends to be together. Our children, Sebastian and Valentina, enjoyed steering the boat and opening the locks, as did the adults. Everyone enjoyed the picnic and endless tea. There was plenty of space on the bow, for my wheelchair. Helpful, knowledgeable staff. Thanks very much from the Knowlman family.read more
Sue Prowse
Sue Prowse
2017-10-11T21:11:12+0000
Always had a brilliant time when I've taken groups on the Waterways Experiences evening cruises. Amazing Value and the... crew is fantastic too.read more
Joy Lawrence
Joy Lawrence
2017-08-26T17:04:08+0000
Emma Scrivens
Emma Scrivens
2017-08-02T13:51:20+0000
Helen Craig
Helen Craig
2017-07-02T21:49:08+0000
Chris Maybank
Chris Maybank
2017-05-29T11:30:05+0000
Lots of fun, thanks. Staff great 👍 highly recommend for a good day out on the canal, something a bit different.
James Skinner
James Skinner
2017-05-29T09:10:58+0000
Great day out ! The kids had such fun and we will be talking about it all for years to come 🙂
Lesley Carr
Lesley Carr
2017-05-13T12:01:01+0000
Wow, what lovely people. Very wheelchair friendly. Great way to spend a few hours on the canal. Highly recommended and... to top it off delicious fish and chips delivered to the boatread more
Kirsty Stickland
Kirsty Stickland
2017-04-16T06:03:36+0000
We had a brilliant family day out along the canal yesterday. We all had a fun time, the children loved getting... involved, from helping at the locks to helping to "drive" too. The crew were lovely, so friendly and knowledgeable (Michael, Malcolm & Margaret). Would highly recommend this.read more
Gary D Small
Gary D Small
2017-03-30T07:23:47+0000
Lovely way to spend a day or more with family and friends.
John Blair
John Blair
2017-03-27T10:15:37+0000
Sian Evans
Sian Evans
2017-03-26T13:02:28+0000
Aine O'Shaughnessy
Aine O'Shaughnessy
2017-03-13T12:27:57+0000
It was great day on the canal boats it was meet up with a group of ladies my mum trained with over 30 years ago and... families I thought it was great we had our boat and open the gates for the boat to in and out and go along the canal it was great fun !!read more
Adam Langford
Adam Langford
2017-02-19T13:08:49+0000
David Bentley
David Bentley
2017-01-09T14:15:32+0000
This what memories should be for children, slow pace along the cannel with fish and chips lunch if you want one... (reasonable price). We had a 4 hour trip, the children had supervision while helping at the locks. Certificate for each child. Fresh air, nice skipper and crew. It's outdoors in a fully enclosed long boat. We will do this again.read more
Lucy Pinkstone
Lucy Pinkstone
2016-12-04T23:15:09+0000
Fantastic opportunities to work the locks and steer a canal boat. Beautiful wildlife including Herons and swans.
Katie Trotter
Katie Trotter
2016-12-04T16:18:36+0000
Ailish Gallagher
Ailish Gallagher
2016-10-05T13:36:20+0000
Eddie Gunning
Eddie Gunning
2016-09-26T15:33:53+0000
Hilary Robinson
Hilary Robinson
2016-09-18T12:36:59+0000
Andrew Walker
Andrew Walker
2016-09-17T20:40:23+0000
Lucy Dunham
Lucy Dunham
2016-08-02T20:26:10+0000
Waterways experience was amazing, enjoyable and totally relaxing. The volunteers were fab, very friendly and made us... all feel welcome. Having the opportunity to steer the boat and to open lochs was brilliant, will deffo do it again! The fact that they were all giving their time as volunteers was amazing, thank you !read more
Joanne Lewis
Joanne Lewis
2015-07-30T11:42:56+0000
Nate Koorbwen
Nate Koorbwen
2015-07-11T18:23:18+0000
We had an absolutely fantastic day! Highly recommended for everybody.
Duncan Radband
Duncan Radband
2015-07-11T16:16:24+0000
Nicky Eve
Nicky Eve
2015-05-17T06:45:14+0000
Great charity offering wheelchair-accessible canal boat trips to the local community.
Tracey Carr
Tracey Carr
2014-10-17T14:27:48+0000
Gill Ward
Gill Ward
2014-09-18T17:12:01+0000
Matthew Howard
Matthew Howard
2014-07-01T09:41:10+0000
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