Boat trips

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Free trips for special needs groups

We offer daytime trips year-round aboard our three spacious boats based at Nash Mills just to the south of Hemel Hempstead on the rural Grand Union Canal. 

We are open for business throughout the year, but please contact us at least four weeks ahead of your proposed trip date. Late Spring and Summer dates are  booking fast, so we recommend even earlier reservations for these to be sure of getting your preferred date

Don’t miss out, book today! Please call our friendly bookings team on 01923 723819  option 1

Trips are a mixture of fun, adventure and tranquility.

Have a go at steering the boat and helping to work the locks – the friendly volunteer skipper and crew will show you how, and make sure you do things safely.

Enjoy the company of the rest of your group, absorbing the peace and calm of the boat gliding along in leisurely fashion.

We also have on board a great collection of music CDs, games and colouring activities to suit a range of age groups.

Read what our clients have been saying about their Waterways Experience


All our boats have lifts, ramps and disabled toilets to make them fully wheelchair accessible.  Group organisers are advised to read our passenger safety information, and to  take advantage of our offer to show you over the boats and answer any queries in advance of booking – talk to the Bookings Team on 01923 723819 to arrange this.

Food and drink

The boats have well-equipped kitchens for self-catering.   We provide tea, coffee, squash  & condiments but ask you bring your own milk and other consumables.   There are full-sized cookers so you can bring things to re-heat – or even cook from scratch if that’s your thing!

If you prefer not to be self-catering, ask the Bookings team about fish and chip delivery to the boats or a recommendation for outside caterer who can deliver to the boat base.

There’s always a welcome too at the Red Lion, our close neighbour at Nash Mills  for pre- or post–trip  refreshment.  For more details on inventory etc. see our FAQs

Route options for day trips

A day trip lasts up to seven hours (6 hours in winter).  If you’d like a longer trip during summer, please talk to the bookings team.

Your booking period begins at the time agreed at the time of booking.  If you arrive late, it might be necessary to reduce the distance travelled.

Choose to travel north towards Bourne End or south towards Watford.  There’s an interactive map on the Canal & River Trust website if you’d like to explore online first, or you can use this useful canal route planner. Typically, setting off from the base by 10.00 am gets you to Winkwell (to the north) or to Grove Bridge (travelling south) before it’s time to turn round and head back to Nash Mills to arrive by 5pm.

If you’re travelling north, why not moor up for a quick visit to the interesting Hemel Food Garden & farm shop (open 10.00am – 3.00pm Monday to Saturday).  It’s canalside near B&Q.

Half day and evening trips

We offer half day and evening trips lasting up to 4 hours.  When considering an evening trip, you need to plan on the boat being back at the base before sunset.

If you choose to head north, the turn round point is Two Waters Road (B&Q). Travelling south, we turn back at Hunton Bridge. But don’t worry, the scenery really does look different from the other direction!  Again, please arrive on time to avoid time over-run.

Your safety

View our safety policy:  this is our first priority.

Particularly important – please read our passenger safety information

About the crew

The skipper and crew are responsible for the safe navigation of your boat.  They are all volunteers receiving no reward other than the satisfaction of helping you enjoy yourselves.  Our terms and conditions are clear that you as hirer of the boat are responsible for clearing up the kitchen and cabin areas before disembarking.  We don’t provide catering services, but are happy to help you with suggestions and advice – please discuss your requirements with the bookings team.

Complimentary taster trips for special needs children

Thanks to a generous legacy, we are able to offer free introductory trips for children and young people with special needs.  Click here for the application form.



HIRE TERMS AND CONDITIONS – please read these before you book!