Narrowboating is, without a doubt, one of the most idyllic lifestyles in Britain. So where better to spend the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ than on the waterways?

Now the popular boating period is over, you’ll find that you have some of Britain’s best waterways to yourself – that’s a pretty scenic way to enjoy the festive season if you ask us! But, if you’re hosting Christmas Day on your narrowboat, how do you survive? Insure4Boats have got you covered with our Christmas Day survival guide.

Be prepared

To be fair, this point applies to all Christmas Day hosts, rather than just those hosting on their narrowboat – but preparation for the big day is vital.

As we’ve previously mentioned, mooring in a smart location is imperative during the winter months – and this is especially the case over the Christmas season. If you’re tied up in a spot where you can easily buy provisions, it means you can do a lot of the food shopping in advance, taking the pressure off later on (and also means you can keep the mince pie supply topped up).

Make sure your water tank, fuel tank, and gas bottles are all full. After all, you don’t want the gas to run out halfway through cooking Christmas dinner! It’s also a good idea to test your smoke alarm – even the best cooks are prone to burning a roast potato or two!


It goes without saying that, with the limited space on your narrowboat, you can’t be too generous with the invitations. Work out how many guests you can comfortably fit beforehand (there’s nothing worse than feeling cramped after a big Christmas dinner). You can always see extended family and friends for a cosy festive pub trip on another day.

Depending on who you’re inviting, some of your guests will likely not be used to the narrowboat way of life. We’d recommend giving them a tutorial on how to embark and disembark your boat safely, and stocking up on bottled water – non-narrowboaters can be fussy about drinking from the water tank.

Festive food…

Arguably, the most important part of hosting Christmas day is the food. However, the compact design of a narrowboat kitchen means that a little more thought and preparation is required when preparing your festive feast.

As mentioned previously, doing your shopping in advance while you’re moored in a convenient location saves you a lot of stress further down the line. We recommend buying your perishable goods as late as possible though – this means they will be fresh for the big day, and it also saves on your limited fridge space!

Cooking a Christmas dinner on a narrowboat is a true badge of honour. If your guests are fellow narrowboaters, why not share the load with their boats? Give the boat with the largest oven the responsibility of the turkey, and share out the rest of the responsibility amongst the other guests. That way, everyone feels like they’ve played a role, and you’ve kept your stress levels to a minimum!

However, our number one piece of advice for cooking a Christmas dinner on your narrowboat is to measure your oven before you buy the turkey. This tip speaks for itself really…

And finally…

Our final tip for hosting Christmas Day on your narrowboat is to enjoy it! It’s very easy to get caught up in the stress of hosting at the best of times, let alone on a narrowboat. But if you follow our tips and make sure you’re prepared, you won’t go far wrong!

Maybe make sure your mooring spot is close to a good pub, in case all goes wrong. A quick dash for a festive drink will instantly rescue the day!

We’d love to see pictures of your decorated narrowboats, so share them with us on Twitter or Facebook. Merry Christmas from the Insure4Boats team!