Sounds too good to be true right? Living aboard, travelling the English canals and rivers, and working from home. If you like boats, people, travel, food and canal heritage this could be the solution you are looking for. We are currently enjoying the rare opportunity to provide brokerage for this gorgeous pair of hotel narrowboats, which come with a fascinating history - if you’re into waterways heritage.

To really appreciate their history as hotel boats it’s interesting to note that they replace a much older pair of boats. The original motor boat and butty dated back to the 1930’s as cargo carrying narrowboats, but were converted to hotel boats in the early 1970’s as part of Peter Froud’s Inland Waterway Holiday Cruises. In 1974 a hotel boat cruise would have cost you £46but this price had increased to £85 by 1978. In 1988 the pair were bought by Derek Fearnley.

The boats have always been painted in a similar style to the original Cowburn & Cowpar livery: maroon, with black rose panels between the windows. This is because the first motor boat of the pair was built for Cowburn and Cowpar Ltd and usually carried chemicals from Manchester to Coventry. However, the original pair of hotel boats were retired and moored up during the 1990’s.

In 1994 a replacement motor boat took to the cut, and a new butty was purpose built in 1997.

A Grand Union Canal Carrying Company small Woolwich butty, dating from 1935 was fitted out at the Newbury Boat Company. Two single cabins and one double ensuite accommodated four guests. Like the original motor before her she is painted maroon with white window frames and rose panels.

Later the Newbury Boat Company also fitted out the new butty, which was built by Roger Fuller of Five Towns Boat building of Stone in Staffordshire. She’s in the style of a small Woolwich motor, but has rounded chines and a longer swim. There are three single cabins and one twin with a toilet and shower, so she can currently accommodate five guests. She now has a 68 bhp engine. The maroon livery was decorated by Tony Lewery.

In 2006 Neil and Corrine Thomsett took over operation of the boats and travelled the English waterways for seven years with a steady stream of hotel boat guests.

Check out this video to see what the modern hotel boat experience is like, and notice that they still retain their original maroon painted livery, just like the first hotel boat pair.

If you have been considering a change of lifestyle and career then this beautiful pair of hotel boats are ready to go, including towels and bedding. However, they could also be converted to comfortable residential accommodation and they may be considered for sale separately.

The Harland and Wolffe heritage butty, combined with the modern skill of traditional boat builder Roger Fuller gives a fascinating mix of old and new classic boats.

Offers on the asking price may be considered. See all the photos and the full specification: Narrowboat 70ft Pair of Hotel Boats.

Peggy Melmoth

Image below: Precious Cargo: 50 Years of Hotel Boats by Robin Smithett. A fascinating book with many beautiful photographs.

You may also like:

Living on a Boat: The Boatshed Guide (free) / How to Sell a Boat: The Ultimate Guide (free eBook) / Howto Buy a Boat: The Ultimate Guide / The best blog articles of 2013 / Don’t miss:The Boatshed Grand Union Daily/ A slideshow of our boat of the moment. / More articles.

New here? Come and say 'hello' on Facebook or Twitter :-)

Never miss an article: Sign up and get the latest blog articles sent directly to you, plus instantly receive our free eBook: How to Sell a Boat: The Ultimate Guide.