Cruising along the canal into the sunset. Canal bridges add character to the journey. Swans, ducks and birds provide endless entertainment.

Canal journeys take you to places you never knew existed or let you see familiar sights from a different angle. Sunsets, bridges and wildlife along the canal are just a few of the daily highlights.

As little and light as possible!

Having decided on your Blue Otter canal holiday, it is time to plan your essentials for cruising. Blue Otter Boats are 50ft and 60ft long and just over 6ft wide with fabulous interiors…but space is tight and clever packing is required. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you.

  • Use soft bags, hard suitcases are just not otterly suitable.
  • Clothes…. casual, warm and comfortable depending on the time of year, layer off when the sun comes out – and on when it gets a bit nippy. The boat has ample storage space but hanging space is limited. We like to be stylish but leave the black jacket and ball gown at home.
  • Along the canal are plenty of excellent pubs and restaurants where the dress code is smart casual.
  • We suggest a good waterproof coat, pair of waterproof trousers – this is England so you may well find yourselves enjoying four seasons in one day.
  • Foot wear: non slip is a must, good walking shoes will suffice and, if travelling with us over spring or autumn, your fashionable wellies could be very useful.
  • Hats to keep the sun off your heads or rain from the brow. Baseball hats work best and tend not to get blown off in the canals.
  • Personal medical supplies.
  • Lip salve.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Sun block – you’ll be in the fresh air most of the time and the ray reflections from the water are all too often underestimated.
  • Torches (you may enter the pub by daylight but will most likely return to the Blue Otter in the dark and slightly intoxicated. The Blue nightlights on the boat guide you there, but the tow path is not always without a puddle and a dent or two)
  • Hobby materials…notebook, sketchpad, reading materials, playing cards, etc
Wardrobe on the narrow boat. Beautiful scenery through woodlands and amazing sunsets

With canal holidays you never know what you will discover around the next bend, through the next woodland or in the next villages and towns. The scenery along the way is always a surprise and never the same.

Supplies for the week’s canal holiday cruising

We advise you bring with you enough food for a few days; there are places along the canals to buy milk and bread. Most boaters tend to have breakfast and lunch on board and then enjoy one of the many pubs and restaurants on the canal banks for their evening meal. It is a great way to meet and mingle with the boating community, hear tips and tricks and swap tales of the liquid highways.

Narrow bridges on the canals in Warwickshire and tall bridges on the Shropshire Union Canal

Every canal has its own characteristics and signage to follow. Narrow bridges define the canals around Warwickshire and tall bridges on the Shropshire Union Canal.

Electrical appliances

On board you’ll find a smart TV, radio. Sockets for your electrical items such as a laptop, smart phones, etc. Everyone expects you to have bad hair days, so embrace a natural look and leave items such as hair dryers and straighteners behind. The kitchen is also well equipped, so please leave your personal electrical kitchen items at home and save the power for other essentials. Contact us if you have any queries regarding any electrical items.


Fishing rods are welcome, but you must have a valid rod licence, and live bait must always stay outside the boat – for our sake and that of your fellow passengers.

Happy Packing!

White curves and lines on the bridges over Leeds to Liverpool canal show the deepest point to aim for. Unique bridges and animal crossings add character.

The bridges over the Leeds to Liverpool canal are distinct due to the white curves and lines that show the deepest point to aim for. The double arch bridge at West Marten near Barnoldswick in Lancashire is one-of-a-kind on England’s longest canal. Sometimes animal crossings also add character.