Volunteer2024-01-04T17:48:34+00:00
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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.

*** Booking Availability Update ***

Close Shave and Sheldrake 2, which take up to 12 passengers, have trips available throughout 2024.

Sheldrake 3, which takes up to 35 passengers, is fully booked at weekends in March, June, July and September.

Note: You need to book at least one month before the date of your trip.

Spring and Summer months are popular, we recommend booking early.

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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

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Join our volunteer team

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How you can support our efforts

Book your next trip with us now

Latest news from Waterways Experiences

Facebook Reviews

Waterways Experiences
5.0
Based on 92 reviews
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Mtolo Asiphe
Mtolo Asiphe
07:04 25 Jan 24
get my first profit . She made the entire process smooth and I felt completely supported after investing a sum of $500... she made over $5,300 within a week. I highly recommend her to anyone who’s planning on joining the stock trading Market contact her for assistance.
Contact her Email:joansteve42@gmail.com
WhatsApp:+15186295574
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Compass Residential Ltd - ‘HERE to help you MOVE there'
Compass Residential Ltd - ‘HERE to help you MOVE there'
11:08 06 Nov 23
A wonderful day of networking with great food and chat. The crew were brilliant. If you’re looking for something... different for a work day out then give this a go. Highly recommended.read more
Wendy Parker
Wendy Parker
20:23 13 Sep 22
Our family trip to celebrate my cousin’s 80th birthday was well organised with plenty of staff who were all very... attentive and made sure we knew the canal rules, including life jackets for the children. The very friendly crew made our trip memorable and I was pleased that they honoured the Queen after her recent death.read more
Kate Buckle
Kate Buckle
21:57 07 Jul 22
Amazing love you Brian, Trevor and crew
Even tho we broke down by some naughty person who through there shorts in... the canal at a previous time, only to get caught in our propeller! Then around the corner was a barge astray unhooked and across the canal so had to wait for that to be made safe.
All in all we had an adventurous time and the residents from St Matthews thoroughly enjoyed the adventure.
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Paula Goodwin Fifer
Paula Goodwin Fifer
08:48 13 Mar 22
Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday with 19 friends on board Sheldrake.
The very helpful and lovely lady Sue helped... immensely with the initial booking, and was there to greet us yesterday morning. The Skipper and Crew were an absolutely fantastic, friendly bunch of people and seemed to take a lot of pride in what they were doing. This could be said for how the boat looked when we got on … so clean! The 7 hours we were on board flew by which rings true with the saying ‘Time Flies When You’re Having Fun’!!!
It was all Thumbs Up 👍🏻 to the Waterways Experience!!!
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Anna Crombie Rabin
Anna Crombie Rabin
17:02 12 Mar 22
Great day out and all in a good cause for charity
Ben Gordon Perkins
Ben Gordon Perkins
18:27 29 Jan 22
Excellent family celebration boat trip. Great volunteer BoatMaster and crew.
Stephen Williams
Stephen Williams
19:45 27 Dec 21
Enjoyed a great 3 hour trip with friends. Had a chance to drive and operate the locks.

Volunteer Staff were a... great help all thorough.

Really enjoyable day and we will definitely do it again
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Samantha Stevens Govier
Samantha Stevens Govier
16:07 26 Dec 21
What a wonderful Boxing Day trip in memory of my dad…. We had a lovely time, highly recommend. Thank you to everyone.
Clare Crowdy
Clare Crowdy
17:41 11 Dec 21
We had a fantastic trip today, the crew were fantastic, pointing out things to see, showing us how to do the locks and... steer. It was very Christmasy and toasty and warm. The fish and chips are to be recommended. Mulled wine and mince pies were provided for us which were delicious and unexpected.read more
Jill Matthews
Jill Matthews
19:18 09 Dec 21
Had a lovely winter trip. The boat was immaculate and crew helpful. It was good to float along and enjoy each other’s... company. Fish and chip lunch from the local shop was lovely and delivered hot to the boat.read more
Ian Jordan
Ian Jordan
14:43 25 Oct 21
Great easy going crew that will have a good laugh with you, they also let you operate the locks and the boat if you... want to. The crew are very helpful too.read more
Kyli Hartley
Kyli Hartley
05:53 27 Sep 21
Used Waterways for my hen do - We had a wonderful time! The team were really helpful and cheerful and made us feel... super welcome.
They were able to help with my Mum's wheelchair as well which was amazing 😊
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Carole Anne
Carole Anne
16:43 08 Mar 20
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
Nikki Savage
Nikki Savage
13:47 26 Feb 20
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!
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Sue Duncan
Sue Duncan
17:19 02 Feb 20
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
16:42 06 Jan 20
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
17:49 05 Jan 20
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 Family
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Jo Renhard
Jo Renhard
17:39 22 Dec 19
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
Julie Cutler
Julie Cutler
12:33 16 Dec 19
Amazing experience. Having a great time
Sarah Osborn
Sarah Osborn
07:07 16 Dec 19
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.
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Jenni Hicks
Jenni Hicks
08:16 09 Dec 19
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!
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Doug Gordon
Doug Gordon
18:36 06 Dec 19
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
15:24 29 Oct 19
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
Martin Williams
Martin Williams
15:37 18 Oct 19
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
19:16 26 Sep 19
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
Karen Latham
Karen Latham
16:37 01 Sep 19
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
19:04 31 Aug 19
Great afternoon with the Random Cafe we all had a fantastic time thank you
Jennifer Rogers
Jennifer Rogers
19:34 05 Aug 19
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
19:22 26 Jul 19
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.
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Carol Nash
Carol Nash
14:49 24 Jul 19
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
19:42 19 Jul 19
A great cruise along the Grand Union Canal. Amazing Crew and great company. Highly recommend Waterways
Lorraine Law
Lorraine Law
17:04 27 Jun 19
Friendly crew clean barge great facilities well organised fish and chip lunch nothing to dislike
John Oliver
John Oliver
22:39 10 Jun 19
Relax and chilled. Great crew. Clean tidy boat
Linda Margaret Bailey
Linda Margaret Bailey
20:35 20 May 19
Lovely serene trip, lovely staff !
Thanks for arranging the weather !!!
Tracy Harper
Tracy Harper
18:21 05 May 19
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
16:16 27 Apr 19
Very good but very windy
We 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
15:31 10 Mar 19
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
15:15 10 Mar 19
lovely afternoon, lovely staff, so good with the children, thanks to all.
John Bowman
John Bowman
14:51 22 Feb 19
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
07:48 18 Feb 19
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
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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Dionne Stockton
Dionne Stockton
17:03 17 Feb 19
Wonderful day, catered for our needs. Great canal trip. Perfect . Definitely do again. Thank you so much
Trevor Longuet
Trevor Longuet
11:43 10 Jan 19
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
19:35 27 Dec 18
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
17:05 24 Sep 18
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
20:51 05 Sep 18
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
15:51 03 Sep 18
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
19:42 02 Sep 18
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
19:23 02 Sep 18
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
21:05 31 Aug 18
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 .
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