Some suggested routes
                    weeks           Short breaks  
  south oxford canal fenny compton and return
  ashby canal hawkesbury junction and return  
   the warwickshire ring stoke bruerne and return  
  south on the grand union canal warwick and return  
  leicester line of grand union welford and return  
  grand union birmingham and return    
  to stratford on avon and return    
  the leicester ring    
  the grand ring    


To OXFORD and return                                                                                                                       Back to top
about 48 hours cruising including 78 locks               


Half a mile from base is the junction with the Southern Oxford Canal. There is a feeling of relaxation from your very first meeting with this meandering contour canal. Its miniature lock flights and long lingering vistas across rolling uplands encourage contemplation, and the local hostelries beckon at regular intervals. It is not surprising that many people never make Oxford, but everyone enjoys the route; it's a favourite.

To SNARESTON and return                                                                                                                           
about 32 hours cruising including 8 locks


Once this was London's main route to the coal fields, now rural, rolling and wooded. Two hours from base you descend the locks at Hillmorton. The following day passing Coventry close by (but not too close) you enter the 22 lock free miles of the Ashby Canal. The further you go the more beautiful it becomes. Places not to miss include the site of The Battle of Bosworth Field and the little town of Market Bosworth, especially on a Wednesday (Market Day)

THE WARWICKSHIRE RING                                                                                                                       Back to top
about 52 hours cruising including 93 locks


Follow the previous route to Kingswood Junction, carry straight on up Knowle Locks to Camphill. The return is via The Birmingham and Fazely Canal at Salford Junction and Coventry Canal to Marston Junction where you rejoin the Snareston and return route No. 2.

South on THE GRAND UNION and return                                                                                            about 44 hours cruising including 54 locks


A wider canal this, the main line of the Grand Union. Not at all busy, especially after you have passed Stoke Bruerne where the Canal Museum is the oldest, and still, we think, the best. Then on to Milton Keynes where bus routes connect to the fabulous city centre, if you decide on a shopping spree. The 3 locks (and pub) at Soulbury signals the start of the climb up the Chilterns and most people wisely make their turning point a few hours on at Leighton Buzzard.

To MARKET HARBOROUGH and return                                                                                          Back to top
about 32 hours cruising including 46 locks


Immediately from base you start to climb, up through Braunston's 6 locks and tunnel (2042 yards). In a few hours the Watford staircase will bring you to the solitude of the twenty mile pound where flowers, animals and bird life abound. A leisurely day sees you on the lower slopes of Laughton Hills with the countryside extended below, an unreal feeling. There is the Foxton double staircase and Inclined Plane Museum before going on to explore the old market town of Market Harborough.

The FRYING PAN - a short circuit and return                                                                                about 60 hours cruising including 142 locks


Not for the faint hearted, this one, and calculated to make the kids sleep. Follow the previous route to Kingswood Junction (that's the handle) and keep straight on up Lapworth and along the beautiful wooded cuttings of the North Stratford Canal to Kings Norton. Then through the very centre of Birmingham, including the dramatic descent of Farmers Bridge Locks, with buildings towering over head, and back round by Knowle to complete the pan.

To STRATFORD on AVON and return                                                                                              Back to top
about 56 hours including 164 locks


Green and rural Warwickshire nearly all the way down to the aqueduct over the River Learn, a quick look at historic Warwick and then the exhilarating climb up the "twenty one steps to heaven' of the Hatton flight before Shrewley Tunnel followed by Kingswood Junction and the turning into the tiny South Stratford Canal and Shakespeare country. The opportunity to tie up over night in Stratford Basin close by the theatres (did you remember to book?).

THE LEICESTER RING                                                                                                                                       
about 67 hours cruising including 100 locks


Follow the Market Harborough route to below the Foxton Staircase and continue on to join the River Soar before Leicester. Meander slowly over the wide flood plain and enjoy beautiful wooded cuttings of the Soar Valley to join the mighty River Trent for a mile or two before re-entering the canal system at the well preserved canal port of Shardlow. The Trent and Mersey takes you to the famous Swan at Fradley Junction, returning via Coventry and Northern Oxford Canals.

THE GRAND RING                                                                                                                                           Back to top
about 124 hours cruising including 175 locks


Down the Grand Union, route 4, pass Bulls Bridge, descending to the Thames through Syon Park and Osterly. On to the river via two sets of double locks, where operating times vary with the tides. The Lock Keeper will advise on the best time to pass through. From Teddington you cruise the non tidal river through keeper operated locks to Oxford. The return is as route 3.


Remember. The River Thames between Teddington and Oxford is a separate navigation authority and you will need to purchase an additional licence before starting your cruise. Unlike the canal system, water and moorings along the way have to be paid for. At peak periods there can be queues for the locks.

Fenny Compton and return                                                                                                         Back to top               about 14 hours cruising including 18 locks


On the beautiful and rural South Oxford canal there are pleasant places to moor overnight. From Braunston there is a short cruise before ascending the nine locks at Napton then meander across the summit level to the turning point and hostelry at Fenny Compton

Hawekesbury Junction And Return                                                                                                      about 14 hours cruising including 8 locks


This route on the Northern Oxford canal takes you through rolling countryside meandering around the outskirts of Rugby to the three locks at Hillmorton. A short distance to the small tunnel at Newbold village. From there on you are in open countryside until you decide to turn around either through the shallow lock at Hawkesbury junction or before.

Stoke bruerne and return                                                                                                             Back to top       about 16 hours cruising including 26 locks


You initially ascend the six locks at Braunston on the Grand Union Canal through Braunston tunnel and cruise for about an hour to Buckby locks, descend through these and another three to four hours cruising will bring you to the long Blisworth tunnel and Stoke Breurne. A very varied trip which should keep the crew busy.

warwick and return                                                                                                                                               about 21 hours cruising including 50 locks


A busy route along the Grand Union Canal north from Braunston descending through locks with green and rural countryside all the way to Leamington where it is possible to turn or continue on to Warwick.


Welford and return                                                                                                                              Back to top       about 20 hours cruising including 28 locks


Another busy route. Proceed  up Braunston locks and through the tunnel cruise for a further hour then at Norton junction turn left on to the Leicester section of the Grand Union Canal. A further one and a half hours ahead you reach the Watford staircase flight of locks which is locked at night. Beyond this you meander through beautiful countryside another tunnel at crick. To turn  at either Elkington or Welford junction