These are ideas for a short break holiday from Union Canal Carriers base in Braunston. There are 5 destinations each offering a different level of boating, through wonderful English countryside with a good selection of canal side pubs to stop for refreshments.
Please see below for full descriptions, number of locks and cruising times.
Fenny Compton and Return
About 14 hours cruising including 8 locks and no tunnels
On the beautiful and rural South Oxford Canal there are pleasant places to moor overnight and unlike her ‘other half’ the North Oxford Canal she weaves and wanders. From Braunston it is a 3 hour cruise to Napton; at the bottom of the locks you will find The Folly Pub, a great place to stop before ascending the nine locks. Once at the top of the locks you then meander across the summit level to the turning point and The Wharf Pub at Fenny Compton.
Hawkesbury Junction and Return
About 14 hours cruising including 8 locks with tunnels
The route on the North Oxford canal is straighter than her ‘sister’ South Oxford Canal due to works carried out in the mid 1800’s to quicken the route to London. The journey to Hawkesbury takes you through rolling countryside with its ridge and furrow fields skirting Rugby. The Old Royal Oak pub is about 3 hours away. Mooring here you can walk to a few other pubs and the Co-op shop. If you enjoy in a curry continue to the next bridge ‘72’ then walk under the railway bridge where you will find the Exotica Bengal Spice next to a newsagent. Continuing your journey, you will reach the unusual pairs of three locks nestled in a small community appropriately called ‘The Locks’ with its 13th century church. A short distance on, just before the small tunnel at Newbold, is The Barley Mow pub. Over the road you will find a Co-op and a fish and chip shop. Once through Newbold Tunnel you are in open countryside again where you can either cruise past All Oaks Wood or stop for a stroll. The walk from bridge ‘34’ into Brinklow village will reward you with a choice of 3 pubs or a lunch at Pumpkins Deli. Travelling further along the canal, at bridge ‘14’ there is the Rose and Castle pub from there you soon arrive at Hawkesbury Junction with its shallow lock and famous pub The Greyhound.
Stoke Bruerne and Return
About 16 hours cruising and 26 locks with tunnels
Ascending the six wide locks at Braunston on the Grand Union Canal through Braunston Tunnel towards Norton Junction, will take approximately 3 hours. There is The New Inn at the top of Long Buckby Locks an ideal place to stop for the night and refresh the crew before descending the locks in the morning. Once down the 7 locks at Long Buckby, there are selection of places to stop. In Weedon you will find a Tesco Local and The Heart of England pub. Further along you will pass the award Narrowboat Pub at Stowe Hill. Bugbrook village also has pubs both canal-side or in the village. Just around a corner Blisworth Tunnel appears, one of the longest on the canal system. Coming out of the tunnel you reach Stoke Breurne a busy little village with its canal museum, trip boats, 2 pubs and an indian restaurant. A very varied trip which should keep the crew busy.
Welford Junction and Return
About 20 hours cruising including 28 locks with tunnels
South on the Grand Union Canal from Braunston immediately sends you up the 6 locks and through the tunnel. Cruise for a further 40 minutes and you arrive at Norton Junction with a tight turn left on to the Leicester section of the Grand Union Canal. Stopping here is a good idea for the first night as a stroll to The New Inn for a pint and dinner will be rewarding. The following day you reach the Watford Staircase Locks. Beyond this you meander through beautiful countryside though another tunnel at Crick where you will find The Moorings Restaurant; a short walk takes you into the village where you will find The Red Lion, Wheatsheaf and a Co-op. The next village along the canal is Yelvertoft at bridge ‘19’. The Knightley Arms will give you a warm welcome. The next 8 miles will take you to Welford Junction a peaceful stretch where flowers, animals and bird life are in abundance. Where you decide to turn is your choice, either at Elkington, Welford or you can adventure down the Welford Arm to the Wharf pub at the end.
Warwick and Return
About 21 hours cruising and 50 locks and no tunnels
The route from Braunston to Warwick will keep you busy with its locks. Heading to the top of Stockton Locks for the first night, will see you through 3 locks at Calcutt then moor near The Boat pub. The next morning requires team work and a bit of organisation to start descending the locks to Leamington Spa. Some find it hard to get past Long Itchington with its numerous pubs (7!) They are all double locks so sharing the lock work with another boat is a great way to socialise with other boaters whilst admiring the Warwickshire countryside. Leamington Spa has a lot to offer the boater, mooring around bridge ‘41’ gives good access to the town. Why not stroll around Jefferson Gardens, visit the Pump House Museum, browse around the shops, find small boutiques selling unusual clothes and trinkets. The swimming pool is always great to wear the children out if the locks haven’t done that already. Half a mile further along the canal is a big shopping complex with supermarket, bowling alley and food outlets. Turning can be at Bridge ‘38’, ‘43’, at The Cape (2 Locks) or at the foot of Hatton Locks.