Short Routes

Short Break Holidays


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 18 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 there is a short cruise of 3 hours, giving you time to get used to the boat, before you ascend the nine locks at Napton to reach the wonderful ‘The Folly Inn’. Continuing onwards, meander across the summit level to the turning point at Fenny Compton, where you will find ‘The Wharf Inn’.


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

You will initially ascend the six locks at Braunston on the Grand Union Canal, travel through Braunston Tunnel and cruise for about an hour (3 in total) to Buckby Locks. Here, you will find ‘The New Inn’ serving food and beverages, a great stop for the first night. The following day, after descending Buckby Locks (7), you will pass a selection of pubs: ‘The Narrowboat’ at Stowe Hill; ‘The Heart of England’ at Weedon and The Wharf at Bugbrooke. Once through the Blisworth Tunnel you will find Stoke Breurne village with its Canal Museum, two pubs and Indian restaurant. The journey from the top of Buckby Locks to Stoke Bruerne should take approx 5 hours. All in all, a very varied trip with lots to see and do.


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.


Opencanalmap is a free App based on google maps that we highly recommend to our customers, it is great to use while you are planning your holiday and also while on the boat it will locate you.