The Leading Provider of 'Liveaboard' Narrowboats

Escape the Rat Race

COVID 19 – The canals are fully operational for normal cruising. Further details here

We were the first to specialise in long term canal boat breaks and remain the largest. We have now been supporting clients to 'liveaboard' for 14 years. We've learnt a lot in that time and pride ourselves on our service. We love nothing more than helping people to discover the waterways and make them their home.

Whether you are looking for a longer term Narrowboat holiday, or to live on a narrowboat permanently, we can serve you. We have a diverse fleet of narrowboats, at a far lower cost than long term holiday hire. Bookings range from 3 months upward.

  • Perhaps you're visiting Great Britain for a few months, newly retired, or would like to try things out while deciding whether to 'liveaboard' permanently.
  • Perhaps you want to live on a narrow boat but without the hassle of maintaining or investing in a boat of your own.
  • Perhaps you've enjoyed narrowboat rental holidays in the past, but would like to spend time enjoying Britain's huge canal network over a number of months.
  • Maybe you have a narrowboat of your own but would like to invest this with our management service.
Our service is fully legal. Our canal boats are properly insured and licensed, as well as being professionally prepared and maintained. We provide you with everything you need to enjoy your cruise. Our fee covers this care.

Escape The Rat Race supports you while providing maintenance as required. You are simply responsible for what you use in the form of gas, diesel and logs etc.

Contact Us!


What Our Customers Say:



We fully expect use ETRR in the future and recommend them to anyone.

Geoffrey and Lauren - Pegotty, June 2015
Thank you Alex, James and Escape the Rat Race, our experience lived up to everything you had promised.

We are a retired Australian couple who hired the narrow boat ‘Wind Rose’ in this strange, crazy year of the Covid pandemic. When it became obvious that borders were going to close we managed to get the last flight out to the UK. Alex and his team organised ‘Wind Rose’ in record time so we could go aboard 10 days earlier. It was lovely to discover that ‘Wind Rose’ was a beautiful, airy light modern boat with everything you could require to feel like you were ‘home’. In spite of having occasional limited movements due to Covid restrictions, we still managed to have a far reaching and wonderful adventure for 5 months and at no time did ‘Wind Rose’ let us down. The wonderful thing about Escape the Rat Race’s operational model is that they entrust the boat to your care and give you total freedom to cruise where and when you wish without restrictions always knowing there is dependable back up if needed. We loved the life so much that we have in fact purchased our own narrow boat. We would particularly like to thank James for his initial ‘run through’ and the continued comfort he gave us that he was just a phone call or text away if needed for anything.

Ric and Stephanie - Wind Rose, 2020
Alex and ETRR were great from start to finish, with good communication and support throughout, from initial booking to return of the boat. This made the whole process really simple, and the boat itself was in very good condition and had everything we needed to take to the water. We had a real adventure and would happily use ETRR's services again.Fettler, Spring 2020
ETRR gives you as much, or as little, help as you need. They put no restrictions on where you can sail and are even flexible on the drop off point. We covered 600 fabulous miles with barely a hitch. When we did have the occasional problem, Alex arranged immediate solutions, either a boat yard or their own mobile engineer, Clive who amazed by always finding us in even the most obscure locations. His knowledge of canal boats and the canal system is extraordinary. We fully expect use ETRR in the future and recommend them to anyone.Geoffrey and Lauren - Pegotty, June 15
So grateful to Escape the Rat Race for facilitating my 'escape'. Catalyst has been wonderful to liveaboard, and Alex was quick to respond to any issues or queries I had.Simeon - Catalyst, December 14


I've loved being on the boat and will miss you guys! It's been an amazing experience and I suspect I will end up back on the water at some point.Sam - Christine Emma, August 14