About us

Rose Narrowboats Collage

About Rose Narrowboats

Rose Narrowboats is a long established family run narrowboat holiday hire company. We have 20 self-drive boats available for weekly or short break narrowboat holidays and a day hire boat.

Rose Narrowboats Ltd has a long history in canal holidays, dating back to Derek and Margot Ambrose’s purchase of the boat yard at Stretton Stop from Maid Line Cruisers in 1972. Maid Line, run by Captain Monk, were a famous and pioneering canal holiday hire fleet in the 1960’s. The base at Stretton was their first on a narrow canal. Opened in 1962 this was among the earliest canal holiday hire fleet bases. It was instrumental in aiding the rejuvenation of the UK canal network from an antiquated transport system to the amazing leisure resource it is today.

When the Ambrose family took over they did not continue the Maid Line fleet of small wooden river cruisers. They commissioned a number of well designed and constructed steel canal holiday narrowboats. Painted in our distinctive red white and green livery, all were named after roses, a tradition which continues to this day.

Their son, Bryan, joined them in the early years and as the canal holiday hire fleet expanded Bryan set up the chandlery which has grown steadily ever since.


Growth of the Fleet

Our canal holidays fleet grew steadily to 13 boats by the early nineties. A major expansion occurred in 1992 as Rose Narrowboats was joined at Stretton Stop by another well known company. Warwickshire Narrowboats, from Nuneaton, run by Colin and Maggy Steward were owners of the famous Magpie Line fleet of hireboats. Since then all the canal holiday hire boats have been operated under the Rose Narrowboats banner. Warwickshire Narrowboats has focused on building high quality new canal boats for the hire fleet and bespoke boats for a select number of private customers.

Derek and Margot retired from everyday running of the business in 1993, and by 2006 Bryan, Colin and Maggie decided the time had come to sell the business.


The Current Owners

The current owners are another family – Anne Bain, her son Anthony Grantham, and Christine Wood. Anne and Anthony are the second and third generations respectively of the Grantham family to have jobs related to the inland waterways. Christine trained at Rycote Wood College in furniture design and manufacture, and has been fitting out boats since 1992. In the same year Anthony began work at a local canal holiday hire company and drydock, before moving to manage a large chandlery business in the area for the 12 years up to 2006. Anne has worked for British Waterways in the legal and amenity services departments.

As Rose Narrowboats completes its fourth decade we believe we still have one of the finest canal holiday hire fleets. We think our many customers who book with us year after year from all around the world will confirm!

Looking ahead, our reputation for service to the private boat owner and hirer alike continues to spread. We are expanding our range of facilities for boat owners, and building new boats for our hire fleet. These new boats, built on to traditional lines by two renowned local boatbuilders, are fitted out internally by ourselves. They set new standards of quality and ease of handling to make the holiday experience, for novice or expert boater, the best possible.

Our goal is to ensure that all our customers, long standing or new, leave already planning their next adventure from Rose Narrowboats! Check out our Canal Holiday Information……

Anthony Grantham
Christine Wood
Anne Bain