Foxton, Watford, Braunston and Rugby

~ Photographer’s dream ~

Cruising pace: 2/5

Holiday: 1 week

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Watford Locks on narrowboat hireCruise highlights

  • Restful pace
  • Explore the famous Braunston canal village
  • Stunning staircase locks at Foxton and Watford
  • Shopping afternoon in Rugby


Braunston Admiral NelsonAt a glance

  • 86 miles
  • 12 tunnels
  • 42 locks

Suggested itinerary

Friday: 3 hours cruising

  • Comprehensive boat handling training at North Kilworth marina.
  • Cruise through Husbands Bosworth tunnel to the top of Foxton Locks.
  • There’s no need to go through the locks unless you want to, but you can take some stunning photos here, so turn round (“Wind”) just after going under the Gumley Road Bridge (No 60) and moor up.
  • Walk down the towpath to enjoy a meal in the bar or restaurant at Foxton Locks Inn (0116 279 1515 to book at busy times).

Saturday: 6.5 hours cruising

  • You can buy breakfast rolls and coffee at the top and bottom of the locks to ease yourself into the day.
  • Set off back the way you came, back through Husbands Bosworth tunnel.
  • Cruise back past North Kilworth Marina, mooring up for a towpath lunch
  • Continue on through this winding and unspoilt section of the canal until you reach Bridge 12 at Crick, where you can moor up for the night and stroll into the village to enjoy the pubs. The Wheatsheaf is good (

Sunday: 6.5 hours cruising

  • Head on through Crick tunnel (wide enough for two narrowboats to pass.)
  • Moor up just before Watford Locks to book your passage down with the lock-keeper. This beautiful flight of locks is fully staffed by Canal and River Trust volunteers and they’ll “walk” you through the process if you forget how to operate the locks. There’s the added bonus of it being much less busy and “touristy.”
  • At Norton Junction, bear right towards Birmingham and then drive on through Braunston Tunnel, which is wide enough for two boats to pass.
  • Next are a series of six locks, well-spaced apart. These are wide enough to carry two boats at once, so if you meet any other boats going your way, it makes things much easier to share.
  • Moor up in between the locks when you’ve had enough – there is no rush to get through them all today. Braunston played a pivotal role in the English canal system and is has a fascinating heritage. Photograph opportunities include a beautiful pair of cast-iron bridges completed in 1834 and the 1730 Admiral Nelson pub ( beside lock number 3 which is said to be haunted by a figure in black. Read more on the village history here.

Monday: 6 hours cruising

  • Complete Braunston Locks and stop for brunch at The Gongoozler’s Rest, a quirky narrowboat café moored outside the Stop House.
  • Bear right onto the Oxford Canal and take a nice easy stretch through the countryside up to Rugby.
  • Moor up at Bridge 59 and take the short walk into town for a spot of shopping.

Tuesday: 6 hours cruising

  • Turn (wind) at the Winding Hole after Easenhall Lane Bridge number 34. If you miss this, there’s another half a mile away.
  • Cruise on back down through Rugby, back through the restful landscape, stopping for lunch en route.
  • Bear left at Braunston and moor up for the evening before the locks. Enjoy a wander down the towpath to choose a pub for dinner tonight.

Wednesday: 4.5 hours cruising

  • Move on back through the locks again and on through Braunston Tunnel.
  • If you moor up just after Norton Junction (be sure to keep left), you can take a short towpath walk for lunch back to The New Inn at Long Buckby, with its very cute lock-side beer garden.
  • Head for the Watford Lock flight and moor up for the night before the bottom lock.

Thursday: 4.5 hours cruising

  • Book your passage through Watford Locks with the lock-keeper.
  • Go on back through Crick tunnel and moor for a spot of lunch wherever takes your fancy.
  • Moor up at North Kilworth Marina for a restful night on board.


  • Enjoy a final breakfast aboard, before vacating the boat by 9.30am.

Please check that your route isn’t affected by any canal closures before you travel.