Our Boats

Narrowboats For Hire

At Wyvern Shipping we have developed narrow  boats especially for the family canal boating holiday. So why not hire a barge and cruise the waterways and discover for yourself the excitement of holiday boating that a self-drive hire boat will offer?

All the boats have been designed and built in our own workshops beside the Grand Union Canal at Leighton Buzzard.

There is over 2000 miles of canals and rivers crossing the length and breadth of England for you to explore by holiday narrow boat.

Tunnels to cruise through, aqueducts to navigate over and English pubs to visit for a glass of ale and a boatman’s lunch.

Wyvern Narrowboat passing 'The Globe' pub & restaurant on the Grand Union Canal near Leighton Buzzard.

Canal cruising on Wyvern Shipping narrow boats has something for everyone, whether you are an artist, birdwatcher, rambler, walker, cyclist, and combines boating with a little gentle exercise working the locks while cruising some of the most beautiful and diverse English countryside, villages and towns.

Why not come on a Wyvern narrow boat for a boat trip or short-break canal holiday?

Our Narrow Boats provide the key to unlocking the treasures of the beauty and tranquility of the British Canals.
The boats are built on the traditional lines of a working narrow boat and are designed and fitted out to the highest standards for luxury living afloat. All our boats have been specifically designed to cater for the needs of an increasingly sophisticated holiday market. The tiller steering is much more precise, quicker in operation and has more feel than a wheel. It is also a great advantage to have the whole boat in front of you when steering.


Even if you have no previous boating experience, you will be surprised just how easy it is to become a confident skipper of your narrow boat. All the boats are purpose built for easy and responsive handling. If you have any questions over any aspect of canal boating, we will do our best to assist.

All our hirers are taken for a free tuition cruise by an experienced instructor at the start of their holiday and shown through a lock. Your instruction continues until you are confident of how to handle the boat and work the locks to ensure a relaxing and enjoyable holiday. We also send hirers the Boaters Handbook and DVD which covers all aspects of good boating and safe canal cruising.

The Saloon

Jasmin and Juniper narrowboat saloon

All the saloons are large enough to seat the whole crew. The settees are dralon covered with scatter cushions, providing a warm, comfortable area in which to relax and watch the passing scenery through the windows.

The Galley

The well-equipped modern galley has a full-sized cooker, electric refrigerator and a full inventory of crockery, cutlery, saucepans and kitchen utensils.

Entertainment Centres

In the saloon, all boats carry a 19" LED flat-screen colour TV/DVD combi and at least one radio/CD player, with MP3 player/iPod 3.5mm input connections.

Headroom & Bunk Size

All boats have headroom and bed lengths of over 6ft 2in (1.88m). For individual heights, and bed lengths, please see the boat pages, or check our 'Bunk sizes & Headroom' page. If you have any tall crew members, you can phone our office for advice, as some boats have up to 7ft (2.13m) beds and 6ft 8in (2.03m) headroom.


Boat toilets are simple to operate. They have china bowls and are fresh water flushing.

Heating & Hot Water

All boats are fitted with gas boilers which provide full central heating via radiators. There is also a large airing cupboard and a heated hanging cupboard which can prove invaluable in wet weather. Hot water is heated by both the engine running, and by the gas boiler when it is not. Hot and cold water is always available for the shower, galley sink and wash-basins via an automatic pump.

Leaving a narrow lock from stern of Wyvern narrowboat showing the Red Ensign

Electrics and Lighting

The 12-volt electric power for the LED lighting and fridge is supplied through large heavy duty traction batteries, that are recharged by the engine while you cruise. There is a separate battery for starting the engine.

240 Mains Voltage

On all boats there is a 1500 watt output inverter with household standard UK 3-pin sockets, which means that on all boats you will be able to:-
1. Recharge Ni-Cd battery packs as used for mobile phones, camcorders, and laptops.
2. Operate low consumption appliances such as electric razors.
All boats have hair dryers, toasters, vacuum cleaners and microwaves.

The Engine

All our canal boats have a watercooled Narrowboat diesel engine for the most peaceful canal cruise

All our boats have reliable, low carbon emission Kubota diesel engines (no ignition worries or fire dangers) with a single lever control to operate both the throttle and gear shift. Engine rooms are well sound-proofed to reduce noise and vibration both inside and outside the boat.

Windows & Ventilation

A combination of hopper windows over the bunks and sliding windows in the galley and passage give good ventilation in both hot and wet weather. All forward-facing windows are double glazed. All bathrooms have extractor fans fitted.

Water and Water Filters 

All boats carry large fresh water tanks, which we advise you to fill up daily from the canal side taps.  A hose, reel and connector are provided. Although the tanks are regularly treated, there is a 'Spring Clear' drinking water filter fitted to the cold water tap in the galley.


Each berth is provided with an under-blanket, fitted sheet, duvet and duvet cover, pillow and pillowcase.
All fixed double beds have interior sprung mattresses and four pillows. Extra bedding is always available.

Relax in the sunshine on the foredeck of a Wyvern Canalboat

Parasols & Umbrellas

During the hotter months of June, July and August, all our boats are fitted with fans in the saloon and removable parasols in the forward cockpits. What more pleasant way to spend a sunny day than to sit in the front cockpit shaded by a parasol watching the world go by?

For wet weather, all boats carry a set of waterproofs and an umbrella. The umbrella can be used to shelter the helmsman from both sunshine or rain. All boats have an airing cupboard for drying clothes and at least one heated wardrobe.

Carpets & Flooring

Many of our narrow boats have fitted carpets except in the galley and bathroom.
All non-carpeted boats have modern vinyl flooring with two or three large carpet mats.

Pets are allowed on certain non carpeted boats


Pets are welcomed on all non-carpeted and some carpeted boats, provided they are well trained and have their own bed. Puppies are not allowed.
We regret no more than two pets may be taken on any boat without our prior agreement. 
For short breaks there is a charge of £20.00 for the first pet and £10.00 for the second and for weekly hire £30.00 for the first pet and £15 for the second pet, please contact the office for longer durations. There is no charge for registered assistance dogs.


We can supply 5ft (1.5m) flagpoles which attach to the helm so you can fly your National Flag. This is especially popular with overseas customers. Please bring your own 1 metre flag if possible, or we can usually supply one.

Fly your flag while canal cruising on a boat trip. Bring your own or we can supply one for your narrowboat


A Tesco supermarket is half a mile from our yard. Please do your food shopping before arriving at the boat yard. While cruising, provisions can be picked up at village shops and town supermarkets.

Car Park

Cars may be parked free of charge at the boatyard for the duration of your holiday at the owners' risk. For added security, some of our staff live on site adjacent to the car park.

Smoking Policy

Smoking is not allowed inside the boats. We have no objection to smoking outside the boat on the rear deck or in the front cockpit.


Canals are a delight for the angler with their quiet backwaters and banks. Roach, perch, bream, carp and tench are but a few that can be caught. After a days cruising why not enjoy an evenings fishing. However, we have a strict rule that no live bait of any kind (including maggots) is allowed onboard. Please note a national rod licence is required by anyone aged 12 years and over.