About our holidays
College Cruisers is a long-established canal boat hire fleet based right in the centre of the romantic, historic City of Oxford. Our Oxford Canal boat holidays help you escape the rigours of modern living. Plot a leisurely course through the locks and bridges and enjoy the pretty towns, villages and country pubs along the way.
We have ten boats to hire for short breaks of three or four nights or holidays of a week or longer. We cater for special occasions such as birthday, hen and stag parties, and can offer bespoke canal boat holiday experiences including fully-piloted boat trips and one-way hires.
A canal boat holiday is the perfect way to relax and enjoy the company of friends or family, and the waterways are a wonderful way of exploring England. We’re ideally based at the southern end of the historic Oxford Canal and our routes cross some of England’s most beautiful countryside. The Oxford Canal is a gentle easy-paced break with fascinating villages, few locks and plenty of pubs.
Oxford has excellent links to all major airports and our base is only a short walk or taxi journey from both rail and coach stations.
Make yourself at home aboard our fleet of luxury canal boats
There are ten boats in the fleet ranging from 2 berth up to 12 berth, offering a range of facilities and each with a character of its own. All are named after the University colleges in Oxford and are painted Oxford blue.
We take pride in making sure that your chosen canal boat is spotlessly clean for your holiday. The boats are very well maintained with everything in working order before your arrival to ensure that you take home with you happy memories of your canal break with College Cruisers.
RELAX WITH OUR OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE
From the moment you book we’re with you every step of the way. We will show you how to drive the boat, how to negotiate locks and bridges, and provide all the back-up you need to make your trip a success.
Our canal holidays are perfect for your first canal break – over 50% of our customers are first-timers. We give you lots of help and training before you head off on your own. If you haven’t rented a canal boat before please don’t be put off – it’s very straightforward!
It is in our interests as well as yours to ensure that you are confident and happy with the handling of your boat before you leave us for your canal cruising holiday, that is why we are members of the APCO Handover Scheme. Our friendly team will guide you through the first stages on board, take you through a lock and explain in detail the Do’s and Don’ts of canal cruising.
This video, produced by the Canal & River Trust, is a handy guide to getting started and staying safe on the waterways.
We also recommend you read the Boater’s Handbook which explains all the basics…
A great holiday for all the family
A canal boat holiday has plenty to occupy young minds – without a video game in sight! Working as a team to make your own way up and down the canal provides a great opportunity to bond with those closest to you. For children, these are the memories that will last a lifetime. Meals are a real family affair, enjoyed around the table either inside the boat or on the towpath whilst moored up for the evening.
We love dogs and they are welcome on our boats (by prior arrangement only, please). Archie, our canine-in-residence has prepared a special guide to bringing dogs on a College Cruisers holiday.
What’s provided and what do you need to bring?
Our boats are well-equipped with most everyday utensils etc. We have tried to provide you with everything we think you will need for your canal holiday. If you have a special need please get in touch and we will see what we can do!
Click here to see a full list of what's provided
The following is a list of all the things you will find on board your boat. We have tried to provide you with everything we think you will need for your canal holiday. Please let us know if we have missed anything! Charlie and Carys
Outside your boat you find the following:
2 mooring stakes
2 piling rings
3 ropes [1 each end and 1 in centre]
Hose pipe [for filling water tank]
Opener for water cap and toilet cap
Keys for boat ignition, back door, and British Waterways key, (this is for locked water points, operation of lift bridges)
Set of waterproofs (for lucky person steering in the rain)
On each boat we provide:
Salt and pepper
Washing up liquid
1 toilet roll per bathroom
Picnic blanket (please do not take soft furnishings outside)
Outside chairs on Keble and Magdalen
In the kitchen you will find:
Kettle with whistle
3 saucepans with lids: small, medium, and large
Non stick saucepan
Stockpot (that can be put in oven for casseroles)
Pizza tray (please do not put pizzas direct on to oven shelves)
Knifes, forks, spoons, teaspoons for each person on board (plus spare)
2 serving spoons
2 sharpe knives
General kitchen utensils
Cork screw and bottle opener
Cereal /pudding bowls
Mugs with saucers
Various serving dishes, all ovens proof
Plastic beakers (for little people)
Teapot, milk jug, and sugar bowl
On your beds we will provide:
Double /single duvet (all hypo-allergenic)
Pillows: 2 each, on double beds (more can be requested)
Mattress protector on each bed
Towels are provided free of charge for overseas customers, and are available for £3 per person for UK bookings.
When it comes to packing, we have put together a handy checklist for you.
Click here to see our recommended list of what to bring
Use soft bags, hard suitcases take up a lot of space (for overseas customers we are happy to look after your bags while you are away cruising).
Clothes…. casual, warm, and comfortable depending on the time of year, layers are a good idea so as the sun comes out you can peel off a layer. The boats have plenty of storage space but hanging space is limited, so leaves your ball gowns 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 – we do provide one set, but if you are all well equipped then the great British weather cannot spoil your holiday… and you may even enjoy the odd wet day!
Foot wear: non slip is a must, wellies are useful
Hats to keep the sun off your heads
First aid kit
Sun tan cream – the sun is stronger when you are on the water
Torches (you go to the pub in daylight but tend to come back in dark)
Walkie talkies are bit of fun for the kids
Board games and cards; canal holidays are a great way for families to spend time together forget the telly, play games instead – Marks and Spencer do some great ones!
Books and magazines; canals are excellent places to relax with a good book
Towels and tea towels (sorry no dishwashers on board). (NB: overseas customers will have towels provided; UK customers can rent for £3 per person.)
If you are bringing a very small person, please ring and discuss your requirements, some boats just do not have room for a travel cot. Reins are a good buy to stop small people who are feeding ducks from falling in and a buggy is very useful at locks. We can supply cot sides – please request.
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 canal to buy milk and bread. The majority of our customers tend to have breakfast and lunch on board and then use one of the many pubs / restaurants along the South Oxford Canal for their evening meal (see our useful information page for names and telephone numbers.) When you get to Banbury you are able to moor outside Marks and Spencer food hall, full of lots of exciting treats and restock for the next few days. All the kitchens on our narrow boats have ample storage, the fridge is a good size in boat terms. All boats have somewhere to make ice, and some have a freezer compartment but this is not huge
You can bring your supplies with you, or use the local supermarkets in Oxford, we are happy for you to arrive at College Cruisers early, park your car, do your food shopping, and have lunch. Returning just in time, to board your College Cruisers narrow boat. We are also happy for you to use you own internet supermarket and have the shopping delivered to College Cruisers , this must be arranged with us beforehand. Failure to do so, will result in a £25.00 handling charge.
Disposable barbecues are useful; there are lots of places to have a evening Barbie, just make sure it is not used on the boat and that you take away any rubbish.
All boats have hairdryers, TV with DVD player, Radio/ CD player. It is OK to bring with you electrical items such as laptop, phone chargers, battery chargers for iPods, shavers and camera batteries, power cables for hand held computer games etc. Items such as hair straighteners, and small electrical kitchen items are NOT allowed. Please contact us if you have any queries regarding any electrical items.
Fishing rods are welcome at College Cruisers, you must have a valid rod licence, and live bait must always stay outside the boat!
We do not allow bicycles or small boats without prior agreement.
We hope that this advice has been of some help, but if you have any questions please call Charlie or Carys on 01865 554343 .
Call us on 01865 554343 (+44 18 65 55 43 43 from outside the UK). We’re happy to help!