What our customers say...
Last year out of 189 customers that completed a short survey at the end of their holiday….
93.7% said that the information supplied prior to their holiday was excellent or very good
96.3% said the helpfullness of Foxhangers staff was excellent or very good
88.4% said that the introduction/handover received on arrival from Foxhangers staff was excellent or very good
88.9% said that the quality of our boats was excellent or very good
97.4% said they would consider hiring from Foxhangers again.
What will you get from a Foxhangers holiday?
Do I need any previous boating experience?
It is not necessary to have any previous boating experience to hire a self-drive boat. We will provide you with a very comprehensive boaters handbook and online DVD which you can peruse prior to your holiday, plus we provide very thorough training on arrival at our wharf. This will include how to steer your boat, daily boat checks, operating locks and safety instructions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure that you are completely confident and can get the most enjoyment from being captain of your own vessel.
What is a boating holiday like?
Boating holidays appeal to a wide variety of interests. You can get away from it all on the tranquil backwaters of the rural canals with their quaint waterside pubs, or explore the normally hidden channels through major towns and cities with a wealth of architectural and industrial history only accessible by water. Your boating holiday offers many places of interest to stop along the way for the whole family.
Do I need a licence?
No “driving” licence is required for a hire boat on the inland waterways. Your boat will however be licensed to use the Kennet & Avon canal including the rivers Avon & Kennet at each end. Should you wish to enter the Bristol Floating Harbour you will be required to make a small payment to the Harbour Master.
What is included in the holiday price?
Your holiday hire cost will include the self-drive hire of your chosen boat for the rental period. A small fuel waiver paid separately to the hire charge will provide sufficient fuel to run the engine and central heating systems during your hire period. A small damage waiver (just like a hire car excess waiver.) All bedding, 2 car parking spaces (additional spaces available for small charge), digital TV, life jackets and VAT at 20% is included in the hire price.
Towels will be included free of charge on the basis of one bath towel per person and one hand towel per bath room.
Can I take dogs?
Up to 2 pets are allowed (on larger under occupied boats we will consider allowing 3 dogs) on the boat if it has been agreed at the time of booking and written confirmation has been received from the company. Hirers must provide their own pet baskets or blankets and should ensure that their pet has been treated with the appropriate flea treatment or be wearing a flea collar. All pets must be properly house trained or caged as appropriate, must not be left unattended, and must not be allowed on bedding or chairs. Pets are not covered under the company’s insurance policy and the hirer shall be liable for the cost of any damage or extra cleaning required. A charge of £30.00 is made for each animal.
Exactly what safety advice and training do you provide?
We aim to provide all the information you will need in order to safely handle our boats. One of our experienced team members will show you through the boat, explain where everything is and how everything works, before demonstrating how to safely drive and moor the boat, operate locks and explain how to operate swing bridges. We have developed this handover training in compliance with the British Marine Federation’s Hire Boat Handover Scheme.
What is the Hire Boat Handover Scheme?
The Hire Boat Handover is a nationally recognised scheme developed by the British Marine Federation and RYA. There will be two forms sent to you upon confirmation of your booking. You will need to bring these completed forms along with you on the day of your holiday. Failure to complete the forms will result in you not being able to board your boat. These measures are in the best interest of your safety and allow us to optimize our quality of service to you. They simply allow us to get a better idea of your level of knowledge and to ensure that you understand all aspects of canal boating and your vessel before you depart. This is vital to your group’s safety and to minimise the risk of damaging the boat
Can we do a one-way cruise?
Unfortunately, we are only able to offer boats on the strict understanding they start and vacate at Foxhangers Wharf, therefore all trips are there and back.
What is the damage waiver for?
The damage waiver gives protection against the cost of accidental damage, loss or accident to the hire boat or its inventory during the period of hire up to the value of the Companies insurance policy excess. Think of it like an insurance premium – just like a hire car excess waiver! It is a compulsory charge. Insurance premiums do not incur VAT.
What is the fuel waiver for?
A narrowboat typically uses about 10-15 litres of diesel a day for both propulsion and heating. We make sure your boat is fully fuelled before you start your holiday so that you won’t have to refill during your holiday. The fuel waiver is a one-off charge that covers your fuel costs. It is a compulsory charge. Fuel has a lower 5% VAT rate.
Do you accept Single Sex or Party Groups?
What is the difference between a canal boat, a narrow boat, a long boat and a barge?
A canal boat is quite simply any boat travelling on a canal. Canal boats refer to boats built for any purpose including hireboats. A narrowboat or narrow boat is a boat of a distinctive design, made to fit the narrow canals of the United Kingdom. In the context of the British Inland Waterways narrow boat (with a space) refers to the original working boats built in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries for carrying goods on the narrow canals. This term is extended to modern narrowboats (without a space) used for recreation or sometimes as homes whose design and dimensions are an interpretation of the old boats used for modern purposes and made with modern materials. Although some narrow boats were built to a design based on river barges it is technically incorrect to refer to a narrowboat or narrow boat as a barge although many people do. In the context of the British Inland Waterways, a barge is usually a much wider, cargo carrying boat or a modern boat modelled on one. A long boat or longboat refers to the boats the Vikings used for their pillaging voyages of discovery in the middle ages, but many people refer to narrowboats as longboats. Many boating enthusiasts are purists and insist on the correct terms being used. Here, at Foxhangers, we don’t mind which of these terms you use as long as you agree with us that we are the best hire boat company on the Kennet and Avon Canal!
How to book with us
How I do I find a suitable holiday?
Our online booking calendars show real-time availability and allow you to book 24hrs a day. Alternatively, telephone our bookings office who are an experienced and knowledgeable team, who will happily tell you about all aspects of canal holidays and provide you with options you may have missed whilst looking on line.
What size boat should I book?
Each of the boats are labelled with two berth numbers i.e. 4-7 or 2-5 berth. You should interpret the first number as meaning the number of berths of permanent beds (i.e. 2 fixed doubles or 1 fixed double and 2 fixed singles; the second number means the maximum capacity of the boat i.e. permanent beds plus make-up beds in the saloon (1 make-up double and make-up single). You will need to check the boat layout to see the actual single/double bed options available.
Things also to consider, obviously smaller boats are cheaper in cost than larger boats. However, consider that the maximum number of berths occupied with adults will make the boat very full and create intimate moments from time to time! If you prefer a little more space, then only using the permanent beds will afford you a little more comfort. Also, consider the length of the break and the time of year. In the summer months the outside deck space becomes more of a natural extension of the internal cabin space, but in the cooler spring and autumn months the outside deck space will be less appealing especially in the evenings and therefore confine you to the warm internal cabins for longer periods.
Often groups who are out for a weekend only are more than happy to fill the boat to capacity. Those coming for a week or longer appreciate a little more space and tend towards booking a larger boat for their group.
Can I reserve or hold a boat before I pay the booking deposit?
For booking enquiries made over the telephone or by email we endeavour to reserve a booking for you for a maximum of 24hrs. However, for late availability bookings at short notice, this will not be possible and bookings will be only be accepted with full payment.
What are your payment terms?
We require a booking deposit totalling 25% of the hire charge at the time of booking and the balance payment will be due for payment no later than 8 weeks before the holiday start date.
What if I have to change or cancel my booking?
Please let us know if this happens as soon as possible and we will try and help. There is an administration charge of £50.00 payable for alterations, but in the event of a cancellation the deposit will be forfeited, and the following charges will apply: cancellations 56-43 days 50%, 42-29 days 75%, 28-0 days 100%. We recommend that all our hirers take out cancellation insurance. You can visit the link below to arrange your insurance, or you are welcome to make your own arrangements.
Click here to arrange cancellation insurance
How to book online?
Booking online using our holiday search is the best way to book. Real-time booking Our online booking is real-time which means once you have gone through the booking process and you have entered your card payment details within the secure Sagepay payment portal your booking is secure and completed. Select boat & dates By either using the online calendars on each individual boat page or general search function which searches all boat availability by date and berths. When using the calendars remember to change the search criteria between 3 days (weekends) 4 days (midweeks) and 7 days (weekly) Complete the booking form fields and accep the terms and condition. Payment The on-line booking system will calculate the 25% booking deposit, note you will be charged at the full hire charge and damage deposit if your booking is within 8 weeks of the start date. You must enter payment card details in the appropriate field. Confirmation of booking Once you confirm and click to place your booking you will automatically receive an emailed acknowledgement of your booking. We will the process your payment within 1 working day and send you official booking confirmation in the post which we aim for you to receive within 3 working days. If you make a booking within 7 days of the start we will email you full confirmation.
What if I don’t want to book online?
No problem! Just call our friendly Bookings Office Team on 01380 828 795. They can offer advice on availability, the best boat for your party and take your booking and payment.
Before you come on holiday
What should I bring?
Not too much! Storage space is quite limited on a narrowboat, although our boats have more than most! We provide all bed linen. Be prepared for all weather conditions, warm clothes can be necessary even in summer. We do provide 2 sets of waterproofs on all our boats. Do not wear shoes that might slip on a wet deck, and bring wellies outside of the summer months. 12 volt chargers for mobile phones, laptops etc that plug into a cigarette lighter socket. There are plenty of excellent canalside purchase provisions for the boat. Games, books, DVD’s, cameras, fishing rods etc. are a good idea as there will always be time at the end of days cruising for some quiet relaxation.
Here’s a helpful list of suggested items to take on your boat holiday.
What shouldn't we bring?
Large suitcases (these can be left in your car.) High load 240v appliances such as hairdryers or sensitive electrical equipment with intelligent chargers (the boats have 240v inverters suitable for charging most mobile phones, cameras and laptops) Canoes, live fishing bait, flushable toilet wipes – whilst many manufacturers freely advertise their products as flushable they are generally labelled as unsuitable for macerator or septic tanks. Our toilet systems are efficient but sensitive and only biodegradable paper should be used. Sanitary disposal bags are supplied for other items and should be placed in the bins provided.
Can I bring a travel cot?
Please be aware that due to the inevitable space constraints on-board narrowboats and the need to ensure all exits remain unobstructed, finding room for a travel cot isn’t easy. We recommend hiring a boat with extra capacity that leaves a vacant sleeping area to put the travel cot. See this picture here of a travel cot and the available dimensions when positioned in the dinette area in the saloon. The pop-up bubble travel cot come highly recommended.
What if I'm late arriving for my holiday?
In order for our scheduling arrangements to run smoothly on each arrival day, it is important that you arrive promptly at the time allotted to your particular boat, please. With this in mind, please allow yourself adequate time for your safe journey to Foxhangers. The consequences of your late arrival could mean that you incur a charge (as per our Terms and Conditions) and whilst we’ll do our best to re-schedule your Handover as soon as we can, the start of your holiday could well be delayed.
What transport is available from Heathrow and Bristol airports?
What shopping facilities are available?
Before your trip you can find more information on shopping on our Kennet and Avon Canal page. During your stay with us, you will find this information on board in the Boaters Manual.
Are Life jackets included?
We will always provide life jackets for all children and non-swimmers in your group. These crew members should wear their life jackets whenever they’re on deck. We are also happy to provide life jackets for all other persons aboard and would encourage everyone to wear a jacket, especially whilst on the River Avon or River Kennet. Lifejacket Policy We are unable to provide dog lifejackets due to the variety of sizes and styles we would need to stock. Such products are widely available to purchase, and we recommend an online search to quickly show up more information from suppliers.
What is provided on board?
All of our boats have cooking and cleaning equipment, as well as plates, glasses, cutlery etc. We provide bed linen and pillows. Towels are also provided on the basis of one bath towel per person and one hand towel per bathroom. Full inventories for each boat can be accessed by clicking on the boat that you would like to look at.
Is there 240v to charge mobile phones and tablets?
All of our boats have 240v source suitable for charging small appliances like phones and cameras. We recommend that you check with the manufacturer to be sure that any personal equipment is compatible with a Modified Sine Wave inverter. Don’t be too alarmed if you notice some interference such as lines or a hum.
Can I bring my Sleep Apnea CPAP machine?
Yes, you can on our Silver Fox fleet of boats (plus Fox Talbot) as they have suitable 240v power inverters. Although maybe not on our Foxy boats as their Inverters are less powerful limited to 300 watts. In which case the following link will allow you to hire a portable/battery CPAP machine:http://www.britishsnoring.co.uk/cpap_battery_rental.php
Will we be able to use a Nebuliser on board?
A Nebuliser or Nebulizer is a drug delivery device used to administer medication in the form of an inhaled mist. Our Silver Fox Fleet class of boats all have a suitable power supply and availability of 240v sockets throughout the boat to run a Nebuliser. Our Foxy fleet of boats may well be able to support the use of a Nebuliser although please check the power requirements are less than 300w. A short extension lead may be required.
Can I bring my hairdryer and hair straighteners?
We provided hairdryers on board – so leave your own hairdryer behind as it probably won’t work on board our boats. However the Silver Fox fleet of Fennec Fox, Tibetan Fox, Snooty Fox, Arctic Fox, Flying Fox,Urban Fox, Cunning Fox, Lazy Fox, Wily Fox and Darwin’s Fox plus Fox Talbot have 2kw modified sinewave inverters that will most likely be suitable for your hair straighteners although please show them to your handover guide when you arrive and they will check them to make sure they are suitable and won’t be damaged.
Where can I park my car?
Foxhangers is fortunate enough to be able to offer ample car parking space to their customers for multiple cars, adjacent to the wharf and secured with gates that are closed with combination lock outside of working hours. 2 spaces are included with each booking, additional car parking is charged at £15.00 per car. Cars are parked at their owner’s risk. Foxhangers accepts no liability for any accidents, damage or loss incurred.
What is your accessibility policy?
During your holiday, what will it be like?
How far can we travel in a day?
On most of the inland waterways, the maximum speed is around 4mph (a brisk walking pace) however the average speed is closer to 3mph. In calculating how far you can to travel in a day, you should work on the basis of “lock miles”.To do this count each lock as one mile and add the distance in actual miles to make”lock miles”. Divide this by 3(mph) to give the total time in hours to cover the required distance including locks.
How far can I get in a few days?
This really depends on how much boating you want to do. Click here to go to the Kennet and Avon canal page where you can plot your route with approximate travel times provided. As a rough guide, if you are heading west, Bath is approximately 10 hours boating away, and heading east, it takes about 4 ½ hours to negotiate the Caen Hill locks to Devizes.
Is there any work being carried out on the canal?
We suggest that you follow this link for up-to-date information.
Is our canal holiday environmentally green?
Click here to download our environmental policy
What if something has gone wrong during your holiday?
In the unlikely event that you feel something needs putting right, then please let us know straight away and we will do whatever is possible to correct matters. If we still haven’t been able to resolve things for you then let our Bookings Office staff know either by telephone, email or letter and they will pass any concern to the appropriate manager for acknowledgement and action in line with our Terms and Conditions.
Contact during your holiday
You may just “want to get away from it all”, but occasionally we may have the need to contact you whilst you are on board. This may be due to navigational or safety reasons or other unforeseen circumstance that crop up during the season. We therefore ask for two mobile numbers to be listed for the duration of your holiday.
Where can I hire a bicycle?
The nearest bicycle hire facility is Shire Garden Machinery – cycles can be delivered and collected from the Foxhangers premises: http://www.shiregardenmachines.co.uk/cycle-hire Helpful link to cycling routes along the Kennet & Avon: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/kennet-and-avon-cycle-route
Can I fish from my boat?
Download our Angling Information. Many boaters like nothing more than to moor up at the end of the day and relax by doing a spot of fishing from their boat and the last couple of hours before darkness can, of course, be the best fishing times of the day. But there can be uncertainty about what permissions are needed and whether the chosen spot is an appropriate place to fish.
Firstly, there is the issue of a rod licence. Anyone aged 12 or older needs to be in possession of an Environment Agency rod license before starting to fish. One day, eight day and an annual versions are available. Possessing a valid rod license legalises the use of a fishing rod, it does not give the owner a right to fish.
The second consideration is permission to fish from the owner or occupier of the fishery. Most of the canal network is rented to angling clubs and their permission is required in order to fish. Finding out where and when to obtain day permits can be challenging and comes under the heading of work in progress. Most clubs do however issue temporary membership on the bank and increasingly in the future I feel sure more and more clubs will enter the digital age.
The third, and final, consideration before deciding to fish is to consider whether fishing is allowed at the location. Where fishing is not permitted from the bank it is also not permitted from a boat either. Many fishing rods and poles are made of carbon fibre, a good electrical conductor. Overhead power lines represent a serious threat to life and limb- always look up before starting to fish and if in any doubt don’t fish.
As a guideline, no fishing should take place within 30 metres of electrical power lines.
After your holiday
What if I leave something behind?
In the unfortunate situation that you believe you’ve left something on board we will do our best to find it and return it by post. (minimum charge £15.00) or if you prefer you can collect it in person. Unclaimed lost property is disposed of after 2 months.