The Ultimate Canal Boater’s Christmas Gift Guide

narrowboat books christmas

If you and your family love canal boats and narrowboating, take the pressure off of this year’s Christmas shopping and check out these unusual stocking fillers and gift ideas for your loved ones. We’ve done the research and all of these can be bought on line, so you can just sit back and relax with a lap-top while you’re Christmas shopping this year.

For the narrowboater who has almost everything, a thoughtfully chosen book is always welcome. The Imray canal guides are popular paperback books for river users planning trips along the Rivers Nene, Ouse, Cam and the Middle Levels; they make a great gift for your partner, dad or granddad. They contain maps for planning the cruises, details of moorings to stop at, and things to see and do.

Charlie Fox: Building a Legacy is a book that tells the life story of boat-builder Charlie Fox, founder of Fox Narrowboats. This will especially appeal to canal history enthusiasts and owners of Fox narrowboats. The design and build of one of Charlie’s boats is distinctively recognisable. There is even a Charlie Fox Boat Owners group on Facebook, where boat owners share pictures of their own boats and other ones sighted around the UK waterways.

‘Maidens Trip’ was first published in 1948 and is the semi-fictionalised story of Emma Smith and her two friends’ experiences of working on the Grand Union Canal during wartime. When boatmen were called up to fight, land-dwelling women were recruited to operate the boats. It offers an insight into the forgotten culture of the boat people, and the all-but bygone occupation of cargo carrying on the canals. This book will appeal to the women in your life who love boating.

‘Ramlin Rose: The Boatwoman’s Story’ by Sheila Stewart is my favourite narrowboating book. Sheila Stewart interviewed several women who were born, lived and worked on the waterways, and compiled their anecdotes into a fictional biography of a woman called Rose. It is fascinating to read about the practicalities of day to day life, and how the women managed to cook, clean, shop, birth and bring up babies, all while working the cargo boats. This book is a fascinating read if you are a mother, as it offers an insight into the challenges boating mothers faced in those days.

Do you remember the 1990’s children’s TV series, ‘Rosie and Jim’? Script writer and presenter of the programme, John Cunliffe, turned some of the episodes into children’s story books. John steered the boat ‘Ragdoll’, Duck sat on the roof, and Rosie and Jim learned about using locks and other aspects of canal travel. These books are a great introduction to inland boating for younger children.

Discover our local Fens navigations, back-waters, towns and villages with a DVD and enjoy the beauty of our Fenland waterways from the comfort of your own home. In From Source to Sea – River Great Ouse, Matt Hayes cruises down the Great Ouse on his boat with Fens expert Ernie Hall, and learns how the fens were created. Later, Matt fishes for Skimmer Bream. It’s then downstream to the City of Ely, to see the amazing Cathedral.

If you know someone who is planning a boating holiday next year this DVD may help them to decide what they want to see on their canal trip in 2020.

If you’ve already been on a narrowboat holiday why not get last year’s photos made into coasters, a cushion, a mug or a photo book? Fox boats holidays offer some stunning photo opportunities of watery sunsets, Fenland skyscapes and quaint, ancient villages.

The Christmas Gift That the Whole Family Will Love

Are you still struggling to come up with a gift idea? Do you wish your family spent more time together? Want to get the kids away from gaming, and the adults away from their smart phones?

Then a day out on the waterways could be the unique gift you are looking for! Our day hire vouchers for a trip on a narrowboat are for up to 10 people and make a wonderful Christmas gift. (Get an idea of what you might see on your day out, in this short video clip: Day boat hire near Cambridge and Ely.)

A day boat hire trip can be taken any midweek day between Easter and 30th September. Tuition and lifejackets are included and there is no extra charge for fuel. You can buy the voucher now and use it when the weather is warmer; this will give everyone time to synchronise their diaries! You could ask the whole family to chip in, and agree to make some memories together in 2020.

Buy now: Day Hire Vouchers

We hope these ideas solve some of your gift buying problems, and we wish you a very happy Christmas from everyone at Fox Narrowboats.

You may also like – Day Boat Hire: The Surprising Alternative to Punting in Cambridge

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