Grand Union Canal Boat Hire in Leicestershire

Boutique Narrowboats offers the most romantic canal boat hire possible, through the stunning Leicestershire and Northamptonshire waterways.

Even if you are already be familiar with the Leicester section of the Grand Union canal, you will certainly never get tired of it. Follow the meandering waterways through stunning countryside and British woodland, savouring glimpses of pastoral agriculture beyond. Here, farm animals share their drinking spots with their wild cousins and if we are lucky we can enjoy the company of both.

Husbands Bosworth, Crick and Braunston all boast tunnels to navigate, whilst flights of locks at Watford and Foxton provide high points of any narrowboat cruising.

Waterside cafes and restaurants punctuate the landscape and there is nothing sweeter than mooring up to find refreshment in a canalside pub. Venture through the cities of Leicester, Rugby or Coventry and you will enjoy a different experience within their urban facades.

Back inside your narrowboat, you’ll find luxurious designer touches throughout, to help you feel relaxed and utterly pampered. But if you seek rural tranquility outside, we guarantee you will find it here in Leicestershire. Our part of the world is gentle and romantic and restorative. And we would love to share it with you.

Canal highlights along the Grand Union, Leicester Line

Grand Union Canal boat hire Leicester Foxton LocksFoxton Locks

One of the best known flights of locks in England, Foxton draws visitors from many miles around. Like at Watford (below), lock-keepers supervise the passage of canal boats up or down the flight and are on hand to offer instruction or advice. You’ll need to check opening times here and book your ascent or descent with the lock-keeper on arrival.

Pubs and cafes provide respite after an active afternoon, from where you can watch other narrowboats cruise by as the sun goes down. Luckily there are also lots of temporary moorings, even in high season.

Find out more things to do in the area here.

Union Wharf, Market Harborough

Make time for a cruise along the Harborough Arm, to experience one of the most peaceful routes through the Leicestershire countryside. Moor along the towpath for a secluded overnight stop. Or if you fancy the company of others, cruise on to Market Harborough for the Waterfront Gin Bar and restaurant. Walk into Market Harborough itself to find a lovely, vibrant market town with some exciting boutique shopping. To venture further afield, us the Choose How You Move website to plan your journey by bus or rail.

Grand Union canal boat hire in Leicestershire Watford LocksWatford lock flight

Volunteer lock-keepers supervise the flight of seven locks during opening hours (check times here.) On arrival at the top or bottom lock, you’ll need to book your ascent or descent with the lock-keeper before attempting to operate the flight. 

These are amongst the prettiest locks you will encounter, complete with their baskets of flowers and magnificient views. Over two hundred years old, these locks lift narrowboats 16 metres up to the Leicester summit and offer one of the most spectacular towpath picnic spots in the midlands.

Temporary mooring at Debdale

We are due to move to North Kilworth Marina (see below), likely to be spring 2019. In the meantime, we are located a few miles away at Debdale Wharf Marina, Debdale Lane, Smeeton Westerby, Leics LE8 0XA 

North Kilworth Marina

Our permanent location at North Kilworth Marina is in between Market Harborough and Lutterworth, on the A4304. The marina itself is fully-staffed and secure, all year round. You can drive round to our berth to unload your car and then park in our secure car park for full peace of mind while you enjoy your holiday.

Planning your route

Whilst planning can be a fun part of the holiday, do bear in mind that the joy of narrowboating is often in spending a few days “off grid.” You’ll probably change your mind as you go along, almost certainly take longer than you think you will and definitely build in more unscheduled detours! Whether you are a planner or a free spirit, this holiday may take you by surprise. 

If you would like to have a go at planning ahead of time, take a look here:

Planning your route




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> Blog – Grand Union Canal (Leicester Section)



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North Kilworth Marina hire narrowboat location


DEBDALE WHARF MARINA (temporary mooring)





From Spring 2019 onwards:


We will be moving to the newly-built North Kilworth Marina. We will keep you updated!