Living & Traveling Around the UK in a Narrowboat Home

by Simplify

Paul and Anthony live in a 57-foot narrowboat home. They sold their previous home to go live on their boat. They travel most of the northwest of the UK while still being close to work. There are 3000 miles of canals to navigate in the UK with a narrow boat.

A narrowboat is no wider than 6-foot-10 and has a flat bottom. They are not seafaring vessels. The shell of the boat is made from stainless steel. The inside is finished with oak wood. There’s a stainless-steel sink and a mini-fridge.

They were surprised by how much you can have on a boat. They have a washing machine, central heating, and a nice bathroom. Their shower is the same size as the shower they had in their home. The dinette collapses to become an extra bed for guests.

Paul and Anthony love meeting other narrowboat homeowners. They met lots of interesting people and made lifelong friends when they docked at the marina but that can get expensive. To save money they dock along the canals, which they are allowed to do for up to two weeks.

Narrowboat home

Downsizing their belongings to be able to fit in the boat was an interesting journey. They realized how many material items they had that they didn’t need at all. Material possessions are important but they learned it’s better to have one or two high-quality items than to overstock on mediocre things.

The couple has no regrets about living on the boat. They are still able to work, and they even started a YouTube channel about their journey. They are so happy living on the boat that they can’t imagine going back to dry land.

Narrowboat home

For more alternative living stories, discover this windowless tiny home in Yokohama or this cute caboose tiny home.

To see more videos, check out the Exploring Alternatives YouTube channel.

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2 of 5 comments
  • Kir12556722 Kir12556722 on Aug 19, 2023

    Hello Paul and Anthony

    Your adventure on the canals of the UK is inspiring. I had not heard of the extensive canal system the UK. The thousands of miles of the canal system is just one more delightful aspect of your country that I love from afar in my home in the hills of New Hampshire, New England, US. Your approach to how you live your life is both refreshing and enticing. Your life on your narrowboat seems like a wonderful way to explore your country and, among many other wonderful benefits, learn about the nuances of nature —possibly so close sometimes when you are traveling you might get to see baby birds in their tree nests rocking in the breeze on a spring or summer day, and perhaps other wildlife that, like you, loves life near the water. Thank you for kindly sharing your experience! Donna

  • Susan Susan on Mar 25, 2024

    Quite amazing and what beautiful scenery. I would be worried about safety these days though.