Exploring the Most Famous Canal Boats in the UK

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The luxury canal boat life has a particular appeal to many people who enjoy exploring the beautiful pastoral sights of the various canals and watercourses around the United Kingdom, and many celebrities and famous personalities have used it as a way to get away from it all.

However, there are cases where the boats themselves become very famous in themselves, often for rather unique reasons.

Midnight

Midnight is one of many canal boats with a celebrity owner, in this case, the former writer and actor on the Sooty Show Matthew Corbett.

What made it more unique, however, was that Midnight was the start of a 2006 Grenada TV show called Locks and Quays, where it travelled from the east coast to the west coast of England, travelling through some wonderful waterways including the Humber River and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Ragdoll

Arguably the most famous narrowboat on television, Ragdoll was the start of the popular decade-spanning television show Rosie and Jim, which starred the eponymous puppets, a wooden duck and the owner of the boat as they explore the world along the canal.

It ran from 1990 to 2000 and was for a generation of children their first exposure to canal boats and a life lived on the water and holds a special nostalgic place in many people’s hearts as a result.

Astoria

Astoria has lived two fascinating lives, 70 years apart and has become an exceptionally unique part of two very unique musicians’ lives.

The first was Fred Karno, a music hall impresario who wanted to have a boat that would stand out as it would be permanently moored next to his Karsino hotel on Tagg’s Island.

Built to support an entire 90-piece orchestra, it has exceptionally ornate balustrades and metal canopies to provide a luxury aesthetic.

After he went bankrupt in 1927, the Astoria stood dormant until the 1980s, when prog-rock guitarist Dave Gilmour saw it advertised in an episode of Country Life and converted it into a music studio, which has since produced several albums and audio mixes.

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