Recommended Canal Routes

For those who like to plan in detail we can supply the appropriate waterways guides in advance. Timing also depends on how long you wish to cruise and how long you wish to spend sightseeing. The route suggestions are just ideas, you could just head out and see where you end up for a real voyage of discovery.

Our Clifton-upon-Dunsmore Base near Rugby in Warwickshire

Warwickshire boasts some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside, a delight for photographers, artists and for those who just love watching the wildlife. Major tourist attractions such as Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, Coventry Cathedral and Warwick Castle are all within reach.  Other cruising routes can take in the Battlefield at Bosworth, the Stoke Bruerne Waterway Museum and even Windsor Castle. For the more energetic there is all the fun of Drayton Manor Park, the Snow Dome at Tamworth and for the chocoholics there is Cadbury World!

There are at least 10 different routes from our yard. To view some of them please use the tabs below.

These are ideal routes for 3 & 4 day breaks.

S1 South Oxford Canal
To Fenny Compton and return: Passing through the canal centre at Braunston and up to the Napton flight of locks, following the meandering course of the Oxford Canal to Fenny Compton.

S2 Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Canal: To Norton Junction and return. Passing through Braunston and its famous tunnel, along to Norton Junction. From here it is a short walk to the New Inn at Buckby Locks or turning into the Leicester section and turn at the bottom of the Watford flight of locks.

S3 Oxford, Coventry & Ashby Canals
To Stoke Golding and return; an ideal route for a leisurely cruise, with only one lock at Hawkesbury Junction. On to the Coventry canal and the rural Ashby canal to the delightful village of Stoke Golding, turning the boat at Sutton Cheney Wharf for the trip back.

S4 Oxford and Coventry Canals
To Atherstone and return. Similar to route S4, but staying on the Coventry canal, past the charming British Waterways Maintenance Yard at Hartshill, to turn at the top or the bottom of the locks at Atherstone (11 locks each way).

Some interesting out and back and a good ring.

W1 South Oxford Canal
A very popular route to Banbury and return; A very rural route, along one of our prettiest canals passing small Cotswold Stone canal-side villages with a steady procession of narrow locks.

W2 Leicester Section
A good sampler route, giving a great selection of canal features; Head south to Braunston then Norton Junction and then along the Grand Union Leicester arm summit. For the less energetic turn down the Welford Arm and then return. For something spectacular go down the staircase locks at Foxton, site of the inclined plane, then into Market Harborough. This trip has narrow locks, broad locks, staircase locks, tunnels and a swing bridge gives you plenty of variety but also long stretches of quiet cruising. Highly recommended! NOTE as this route includes two sets of staircase locks there are time restrictions and there can be queues at busy times. Probably not the best route for young families.

W3 Oxford, Coventry & Ashby Canals
Ideal for first timers, or those wanting a very relaxing holiday; Only one lock at Hawkesbury, allowing you to cruise the length of the attractive and rural Ashby canal, 22 lock free miles, passing the Battlefield of Bosworth, Shackerstone Steam Railway and many small villages.

W4 Warwickshire Ring
100 miles and 100 locks so bring a fit crew! An interesting and energetic week’s trip taking you through Royal Leamington Spa, Warwick and Birmingham, bringing you back via the Birmingham & Fazeley and Coventry canals. We recommend cruising the Ring in a clockwise direction so that you get most of the locks behind you during the first half of the week. This trip is even better in 10 – 14 days.

W5 Grand Union South
A real countryside cruise taking you south through pretty scenery to Stoke Bruerne, a picture postcard village where the main street is the canal; home of the Waterways Museum. Further south over the River Ouse Aqueduct to Linslade before retracing your steps. Can be noisy as it runs close to the M1.

If you have the time the canals can keep you occupied!

T1 Leicester Ring 2 Weeks
Travel to Braunston, turn left at Norton Junction continuing north to Leicester and the quiet scenery of the River Soar. Turn onto the Trent and take the Trent & Mersey Canal to Burton, then south via the Coventry and Oxford canals back to Rugby.

T2 Thames Ring 3 Weeks
Follow route W5 above, continue to through Linslade and onto the Thames at Brentford, to cruise upstream through Windsor & Hampton Court, Maidenhead, Henley into Oxford and join the southern most point of the Oxford canal via Banbury back to Rugby. Note both these routes include rivers, which may flood making passage impossible or delayed. Please advise us in advance if you plan to do these routes so your boat can be correctly prepared. Life jackets will be issued to all crew members.  Also you have a responsibility to return the boat on time.

T3 Stratford-upon-Avon 2 Weeks
Travel part of the Warwick Ring to Kingswood Junction and then down the South Stratford canal to Bancroft Basin, outside the theatre and return.

T4 River Nene 2 weeks
Pass through Braunston and Gayton Junction and down the 17 locks of the Northampton arm onto the river Nene. ONLY FOR VERY EXPERIENCED CREWS when weather permits.  Special conditions apply.

T5 Warwick Ring Extended 2 Weeks
Travel to Kingswood junction and turn onto the North Stratford canal joining theWorcester Birmingham canal at Kings Norton visit Cadbury Bournville and Gas Street Basin the heart of Birmingham’s canal network, Return via Farmers Bridge and AstonLocks onto the Birmingham and Fazeley canal to Rugby.


Routes T1, T2 & T4 include rivers, which may flood making passage impossible or delayed.  It is your responsibility to ensure safe and timely return of the boat.

Please advise us in advance if you plan to do these routes so your boat can be correctly prepared.  Life jackets will be issued to all crew members.

We reserve to right to bar these routes if water levels are high.

Trip One
This trip was part of a three week trip, but it can be included in a 10 day or 2 week trip around the Warwickshire ring. At Kingwood Junction leave the Grand Union and head North on the Northern section of the Stratford Canal. Join the Worcester and Birmingham at King’s Norton Junction past the University grounds and into the very heart of the Canal system at Old Turn Junction – View route on Google Maps.

Trip Two
This trip is a must for canal enthusiasts! We did it on a Sunday afternoon! Leaving Cambria Wharf in the centre of Birmingham we went out on the Wolverhampton New line from Old Turn Junction along the original winding canal loops the first three are called Oozells, Icknield and Soho and then returning along the main line. These were the bits of canal which made Birmingham such a centre of manufacturing and industry – View route on Google Maps.

Trip Three
This map could cover part of a 2 week from the yard but would be better taking a little longer as the South Stratford canal whilst very attractive is narrow and winding and busy in the height of the season, we went in September and it was glorious! The canal finishes in the heart of Stratford in front of the theatre – View route on Google Maps.

These maps were recorded in Motion X GPS an iPhone application. Tracks recorded in this system can be viewed in Google Maps or Google Earth.

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