All these routes have many pubs in which to dine and numerous places to visit. Some are more suitable for a longer holiday depending on how long you wish to stop and explore the area.
For more information please ring +44(0)1788 890784 and let us know how we can help you make the most of your holiday.
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.
About 48 hours cruising including 78 locks
Half a mile from our 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 narrow 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 quite Oxford but turn at Lower Heyford. This is a favourite route enjoyed by everyone.
Snarestone and return
About 32 hours cruising including 8 locks with a tunnel
This was once London’s main route to the coal fields, through rural Warwickshire. An ideal place to stop is The Old Royal Oak pub about three hours from Braunston. The following day you descend the 3 locks at Hillmorton pass near Coventry and enter the 22 lock free miles of the Ashby Canal with a selection of pubs serving food. The further you go the more beautiful it becomes. Places not to miss include the site of The Battle of Bosworth Field, The Battlefield Line (steam railway) and the little town of Market Bosworth, especially on market day (Wednesday)
South on the Grand Union and return
About 44 hours cruising and 54 locks with 2 tunnels
On the main line of the Grand Union Canal through the 6 Locks and Braunston Tunnel to Norton Junction, you will find The New Inn a restful place for the night. Leaving Long Buckby Locks behind and a few hours boating, will bring you to Blisworth Tunnel. On the other side of the tunnel is the small canal centred village of Stoke Bruerne with its two pubs an Indian Restaurant, ice cream shop and canal museum. Leaving Stoke Bruerne Locks behind, the canal meanders its way to Cosgrove and over the iron aqueduct then through Milton Keynes, where the canal passes through the country park with the city centre not far away, should you decide on a shopping spree. The 3 locks and pub at Soulbury signal the start of the climb up the Chilterns and most people wisely make their returning point a few hours on at Leighton Buzzard.
Market Harborough and return
About 32 hours cruising including 46 locks
Immediately from our base you start to climb, up through Braunston’s 6 locks and tunnel (2042 yards). At Norton Junction there is a tight turn into the Leicester section of the Grand Union Canal a wise place to stop for the night and you can visit The New Inn for refreshments. An hour further on the Watford Staircase Locks with its intricate layout of side pounds as a method of preserving water, will take you to the beauty of the twenty-mile summit pound where flowers, animals and bird life abound. There is the opportunity to moor up and walk into a few villages to find refreshments in friendly local pubs. Passing by the Laughton Hills you soon arrive at The Foxton Double Staircase Locks and adjacent Incline Plane Museum. Descend the locks and turn right into the Market Harborough Arm. Two hours on and you will the basin with the Waterfront Restaurant and access to the old market town.
Stratford on Avon and return
About 56 hours including 164 locks
Heading west from Braunston, meandering through scenic countryside and dropping down 3 locks at Calcutt leads to a good first night stop at The Boat near the top of Stockton Locks.
Travelling down 21 locks spread out over 10 miles of green and rural Warwickshire takes you all the way down to the aqueduct over the River Leam. Take a quick look at historic Warwick and prepare for the exhilarating climb up the “21 steps to Heaven” of the Hatton Flight, and Shrewley Tunnel followed by Kingswood Junction and the turning into the South Stratford Canal and Shakespeare Country. From Kingswood Junction it is a 12 mile journey interspersed with 33 locks travelling over the early 19th century Edstone Iron Aqueduct the longest in England, to Stratford. Arriving at Stratford Basin for mooring overnight with lots of opportunities for entertainment and sightseeing.
The Frying Pan – Birmingham a short circular route and return
About 60 hours cruising including 142 locks
Not for the faint hearted, this one, and calculated to make the kids sleep. Starting off across the Warwickshire Plains, you soon descend the Grand Union Canal all the way down to the aqueduct over the River Leam at Leamington Spa. Take a quick look at historic Warwick and prepare for the exhilarating climb up the “21 steps to Heaven” of the Hatton Flight, and Shrewley Tunnel. Turn into Kingswood Junction (that’s the handle) and head up the pretty flight of 19 locks at Lapworth and along the beautiful wooded cuttings of the North Stratford Canal to Kings Norton. You can make time to stop at Cadburys World for a quick chocolate break. Then through the very heart of Birmingham, with The Mail Box, Gas Street Basin, The Symphony Hall and Sea Life Centre all beckoning for your attention. Then it’s a very dramatic descent of Farmers Bridge Locks, with buildings towering overhead; turning right at Aston University past The Thinktank for a science experience and back via Camp Hill and Knowle Locks to Kingswood Junction and home.
Oundle and return
About 60 hours cruising including 116 locks
This journey starts by heading south on the Grand Union Canal through the 6 Locks and Braunston Tunnel to Norton Junction, you will find The New Inn a restful place for the night. Turning at Gayton Junction before Blisworth Tunnel. It descends the 17 locks towards Northampton into the Nene Valley. You will join the River Nene at Becketts Park; once on the river you leave the towns behind and head off into rural Northamptonshire with its small riverside villages, a peaceful trip to Oundle.
Remember: The River Nene is regulated by The Environment Agency and you will need to purchase an additional licence online or at their marina in Northampton. Unlike the canal system, water and moorings along the way may have to be paid for.