Summer is well and truly upon us, and what could be nicer than having a refreshing drink and hearty meal by the water after a day on your narrowboat.

With sunny skies and long days, boating along the waterways at this time of year takes some beating. Combining this with the many pubs the UK has to offer, and you have a winning combination. So, without further ado, here’s our pick of waterside pubs to take a narrowboat trip to this summer. Which ones will you be cruising to?

1. Ye Old Ferrie Inn, Symonds Yat West, Herefordshire

Sitting right on the water’s edge, this pub is extremely handy if you’re arriving by boat! The Ye Old Ferrie Inn has been standing on the banks of the River Wye since 1453 and, as you’d expect, is steeped in history.

It boosts food and ale from local suppliers and has a beautiful outdoor area where you can sit back and take in the views the River Wye has to offer. If you don’t want to stay off the water too long you can even try canoeing and paddleboarding – save this for before the pints though!

2. The Cutter Inn, Ely, Cambridgeshire

This pub’s location on the Great River Ouse makes for fantastic waterside views all year round, but in the summer it really comes into its own.

Moor your boat nearby and tuck into an Eton Mess while watching boats bob and canoeists paddle as you bask in the sun. Who knows, you might come across other narrowboaters who have had the exact same idea!

3. The Three Horseshoes, Hemel Hempstead

We couldn’t have a list of waterside pubs without mentioning one on England’s longest canal – the Grand Union Canal. This canal laps against the Three Horseshoes’ terrace, making it an idyllic watering hole for the summer.

This pub is also steeped in history, with the buildings of the pub dating back to 1535 before the canal was even built! And (in the best way possible) you can certainly tell by its beamed ceilings, old fireplaces and exposed brick walls.

4. The Big Lock,  Middlewich, Cheshire

If you can get a seat on the Big Lock’s balcony, you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views of lock 75 on the Trent and Mersey Canal. The only drawback of this is you’ll have to be extra vigilant when navigating the lock on the way to this pub – you might have an audience!

If you’re partial to a summery cocktail instead of a pint the Big Lock delivers this too. If the unpredictable British weather draws you in off the balcony, there’s also a pool table to pass the time until the weather blows over.


5. The Bridge Inn, Ratho, Midlothian

For those a little further North, our next pick takes us all the way up to Scotland, just west of Edinburgh. The Bridge Inn is situated on The Union Canal’s banks and has won Scotland’s Pub of the Year three times meaning the views, food and drinks certainly won’t disappoint.

They also have a regular Friday family BBQ in their BBQ garden and Boat Shed Bar which is perfect if you want to socialise with other pub-dwellers while enjoying the Scottish sunshine.  

6. Th'owd Tithe Barn, Garstang, Lancashire 

Overlooking the canal basin in Garstang, the Tithe Barn is evidently in a picturesque location but the pub itself is arguably just as pretty. Creepers coat the pub’s exterior, with wooden beams and farming equipment creating a visual treat for the eyes as soon as you enter.

As you arrive and moor up your narrowboat you’ll have worked up quite an appetite, but you’ll be able to look forward to food that’s been sourced with a twenty-mile radius. Dogs are also welcome, so your loyal companion can enjoy the summertime fun with you!

7. The Bathampton Mill, Bath, Somerset

Last but by no means least on our list of waterside pubs is the Bathampton Mill, which is hugged by the River Avon. The picture of this beautiful pub speaks for itself, but the fantastic food and drink selection will provide even more motivation to cruise your narrowboat in the direction of the Bathampton Mill.

This list should be enough to keep you and your narrowboat busy over the summer months! If you are taking to waterways for a sunny cruise make sure you’ve got specialist narrowboat insurance so you can enjoy your beer worry-free!