About Us

Nick Harborne and Paul Roberts have been keen boaters for a total of 35 years!  

Nick and Paul met in 1998 whilst working in Albania during the Kosovo crisis in 1999 for Children’s Aid Direct, a humanitarian aid and development organisation and found out they both owned narrowboats.  Working in the world’s troubled areas; Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, North Korea, Sierra Leone, Haiti, both had discovered the tranquillity of living on a narrow boat on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Berkshire and on the Grand Union Canal was a welcomed respite in between postings.

After 2000 Nick settled back in the UK with his partner Anne on their boat, and spent 6 years as Director of Reading Single Homeless Project – now called Launchpad, whilst Paul continued to escape the British winter periodically, working for Save the Children on short contracts.


Canal Experience 2007 onwards.

Nick and Paul started Canal and Tipi Experience in 2007 with one tipi and two boats.  

As boat owners they believe that a waterways holiday on the canal should be a memory that you will take away and reflect on.  Likewise, staying in a tipi is not really camping; it’s an alternative way of life.

A unique experience.

A Canal Experience.

A Tipi Experience.

Canal and Tipi Experience strives to provide you with an individual touch to create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere during your canal boat hire, or under the canvas of a tipi (teepee), for the duration of your holiday.

Now owning 5 boats, Canal Experience offers canal boat hire on the Kennet and Avon canal, on the River Thames, and up to Oxford.  They offer canal boat holidays, midweek or weekend breaks, day boat hire for groups up to 12 people, children’s parties and corporate team building days.


Involvement with the canals and waterways.


Charity support and the 1% Club.

Having worked for charities for all their working lives and knowing how difficult it is to fund raise, Nick and Paul have joined the 1% club.  Annually they have donated 1% of pre tax profits or made donations in kind to charities and good causes from the outset of their business partnership.