REVIEW: Messing about on the River - why our family loved narrow boat holiday taking in stunning canals ahead of Crick Boat Show

Choose perfect route and cast troubles away

Ahead of Britain's biggest inland waterways festival – Crick Boat Show (June 2-5) - National World reporter Lucie Green got a real taste of life on the water with a canal boat break.

She travelled with ABC Boat Hire in Nuneaton on board the Musician Wren.

There’s no question that the coronavirus pandemic has had a lasting effect on people’s mental health.

Dad Stephen Pratt with son Noah on Musical Wren.

More children are suffering from anxiety and depression, so what better way to encourage them to completely switch off and unwind from the outside world than a canal boat holiday.

Whether you choose to spend a weekend together on the water or a week or more exploring, the slower pace creates perfect quality time to spend with your loved ones.

We headed off from Springwood Haven with our two 14-year-olds and surrogate baby, Jackapoo Luna.

Staff at ABC Boat Hire were friendly and knowledgeable and made sure we all digested the briefing before waving us off.

Springwood Haven.

The narrowboats offer supreme comfort with many offering private master cabins whilst still providing complete access through the boat.

Our boat was the Musician Wren, a 47ft boat equipped with everything you could want or think of.

It was great being able to pick and choose exactly where we wanted to stop off, take a break or go to a pub for something to eat.

The children did not get bored. It was a brilliant ‘hands-on’ experience for them and they took to it like, well, ducks to water.

Stephen Pratt and Lucie Green with 'baby' Luna the Jackapoo.

My partner’s boy, Noah, had a go at steering the boat along the Coventry Canal. Even though both were a little intimidated at first, you are never faster than walking speed.

There’s a fantastic choice of routes covering open countryside and fine views.

Evenings were cosy and we all slept really well.

Is this a holiday for everyone? Yes.

Being on a boat is jolly good fun and the wonderful scenery and chance to switch off really is like taking a welcome step back in well before coronavirus at least.

All boats at Springwood Haven have:

240v system

12v socket for mobile phones etc (12v car lead required)

Picture windows in dining area

Radiator central heating

Natural wood interior

Galley including cooker, fridge/freezer and kettle

Fitted carpets (saloon and cabins)

HD TV/DVD with Freeview




Security safe

Bed linen and duvets

Fixed berths made up for your arrival

Bed guards available on request

Freshwater flush WCs

All boats non-smokingEarly and late season cruising is available please ask for detailsLicensed for BWB Canals onlyPlease note that an additional license is required to cruise on the River Avon.Visitors may bring their own bikes (maximum 2) with prior permission from the boatyard

Starting price for the Wren boat for up to four people is £924 (plus fuel deposit) for a short break (three night weekend or four night midweek), £1,249 (plus fuel deposit) for a week.

For more information on ABC Boat Hire, visit

For tickets and more information at Crick Boat Show, visit or call 01283 742970.