Duke & Duchess are two 70 foot traditional English narrow boats run as a travelling hotel; Duke has an engine but Duchess is a traditional 'butty boat' which is towed behind or breasted up alongside Duke. We have four crew and take up to a maximum of 6 guests on 5,7 or 9 night cruises
This is a small, family-run business and we pride ourselves on our welcoming and hospitable holidays. Many of our guests return year after year (often more than once in the same season) to enjoy delicious home-cooking and the company of others and the experiences of boating without all the hard work involved in hiring or running their own boat. We get a lot of independent travellers for whom hiring their own boat would be almost impossible. As all the guests eat together and most of the cabins are single anyway, the atmosphere on board is friendly and fun.
Most of our guests are active and in the 60+ age range, usually retired from interesting jobs and enjoying different forms of travel. 50% are from the UK with the rest usually coming from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa with the occasional visitor from Europe, usually Norway, Holland or Germany. The guests are usually very interested in the boats, the canals and our lifestyle so it is important that we give them the time and attention they need to make their holiday enjoyable.
The boats travel around the inland waterways (rivers and canals) of England and Wales, travelling as far north as Manchester and as far south as Oxford and to Llangollen (in Wales) in the West. We follow a linear route, collecting guests as close to towns and cities and mainline stations as possible and then dropping them a week or so later at their destination. However, it is the journey which is the important part not the distance or speed with which it is travelled.
At the end of each cruise, the boats then have to be ‘turned around’ between guests which means fully cleaned, inside and out as well as laundry and food shopping, waste disposal and pump outs (think of colonic irrigation for boats).