Oxfordshire Narrowboats in Lower Heyford, Bicester
Open from 8.30am until 5.30pm, 7 days a week, from March to October.
Winter opening hours from November until February are 9am until 4pm, Monday to Friday.
After a positive experience on the Oxford canal in 2014, we decided to rent a boat from the Bradford-on-Avon location of this company. The problem was that the boat was quite old, very used with significantly damaged and peeling paint and a rather grimy interior. What completely ruined our vacation was the discovery that, under the pillow and duvet covers the bedding was stained with old, dried blood, saliva and black mold. We were disgusted! When we brought this to the attention of the management of the company, they told us that they clean the bedding only once a year and that mold stains can be expected after winter storage. An amazingly unhygienic condition, which we are in the process of reporting to the local health authority. Our advice to prospective renters is to inquire about the age and state of the boat and to be sure to ask to inspect the bedding. The people who run this company apparently have no good understanding of basic bed hygiene, disease prevention and sanitation.
Other than that, the canal is a must-see with lots of great sights, fine English pub food and good company at the locks and the many footpaths alongside and around the canal. Be careful who you rent from. There is a fair amount of competition and it is key to ask questions and not to assume anything. Have them tell you which age your boat is and what state it is in and have them commit to this in writing or chose someone else...