07966 403132
Rugby Wharf
Bridge 53 North Oxford Canal

About Us

Early Bird Discount

We have an early bird discount for bookings between 26th Feb and 23rd March just contact Deb 07966 403132 for the reduced price


Willow Wren have been providing narrow-boat holidays for over 60 years.

We are a family owned canal boat hire company offering self drive narrow-boat holidays. Our boats range in size from 2 berth up to 12 berth and are flexible in layout to accommodate the most demanding of requirements.

We are based at Rugby Wharf in Rugby just off Junction 1 M6. We are ideally suited to cruise the shire counties across the midlands and our narrow-boats are available to hire ALL YEAR ROUND.

All our narrow-boats are fully insulated and have central heating – 2 also have wood burning stoves for those cosy winter evenings. Our usual collection and return days are Monday, Friday and Saturday but we can vary start days and length of hire please JUST ASK and we will do our best to accommodate.

  • Deb Bixter


    Deb Bixter – Owner, Head Honcho & Executive in charge of toilet emptying.

    Deb, never ever Debbie, has owned and operated Willow Wren and Canal Breaks fleets for nearly 20 years. She’s a dog lover, and has had 9 rescue dogs over the last 20 years so please don’t hesitate in bringing your doggy into the office – we just love doggy kisses especially from German Shepherds. Ernie is our big, boy GSD and you may see him around but we have to keep our eye on him as he loves to go away on boats and will take any opportunity to stow away.

    Deb and her husband, Dave, also run the boatyard and dry dock between Hillmorton Locks where we build and maintain boats (its where most of our hire boats started life) we do a lot of boat painting and fit out works so if you’re a hirer trying before you make that leap to ownership please have a chat with Deb if you want some advice or help – who knows you may become one of our many hire boat customers whose boat we go on to build and become a long term customer!
  • Ian

    Engineer & Painter

    Ian has worked for Willow Wren for over 35 years he started as a YOP way back when he was a mere youngster. There is nothing he doesn’t know about our boats, he’s seen and heard it all and bought the tee-shirt. He’s got the patience of job so if you’re a little overwhelmed with all the information we have to give you, don’t worry Ian’s there to settle you down.

    His claim to fame is he’s never fallen in the canal – there’s time yet!!

    His outside interests apart from narrowboats are American cars, he would love a Shelby mustang but his current love is Fiona – a very green morris minor, she takes as long to stop as our narrowboats. But if there is anything you want he can be sweet talked with a packet of M&M’s or a tub of ben n Jerrys ice-cream.
  • Chris


    Chris has worked for Willow Wren for over 17 years. He has worked with hireboat customers since 1986. He is one of our liveaboard engineers and lives at Willow Wren on his boat Kestrel. His family have been into boats since the 60’s and we call him Chris A Pedia as there isn’t much he doesn’t know about the history of canals and working boats. If your into motorbikes and you’ve got the time and you’re in no hurry to leave then ask him about his formula 1 side car career – he’s even in a computer game.

    Chris is one of the lucky few who can eat whatever he likes and he never puts a lb on and chocolate is his not so secret pleasure. So if you want to spend the last night at the yard and want an interesting evening stock up with chocolate and pop round to see him and talk bikes or boats, he’s our social butterfly.
  • Angie

    House Keeper

    Angie has worked for Willow Wren and Canal Breaks for over 15 years. She has worked within the leisure industry for well over 25 years. If you are in any doubt who she is,she is recognisable by her varied and brightly coloured boots and the strong smell of bleach that follows her around. If you change your bed set up she can change from single to double and vica versa in the blink of an eye. Her idea of heaven is a full line of bedding drying in the sun – good for the electric bill too.

"We had a great week, the boat was great value and well equipped and the Willow Wren team were very cheery and helpful – would recommend


Explore Britain's canal network