Routes and itineraries along the Grand Union Canal

Union Wharf marina near Foxton Locks is perfectly placed for you to enjoy a variety of routes, whether you are looking for a romantic weekend or a longer cruising holiday. From this starting point you can head into historic Leicester for a city break, complete with cultural highlights and restaurants, literally on your doorstep.

For those seeking a quieter pace of life, the tranquil countryside of the Leicestershire canals provides ample opportunity for photography, nature walks and relaxation, with a plentiful supply of towpath pubs and restaurants.


Planning your route

Our trainers and handover staff will discuss the best route for you on your first afternoon aboard, and no planning is actually necessary. However, for those who do like to look ahead, the Canal and River Trust publishes an online map which is very useful, particularly as it also features any current canal restrictions or closures. You can find it here:

CRT map

All the maps you will need are on board your Boutique Narrowboat, but if you’d like to be well-prepared, we suggest the following map will cover the distance you will go during all short breaks and most full week holidays:

  • Nicholson Waterways Guide 3 – Birmingham and the Heart of England

Alternatively, the Canalplan website is an independent and free website which is used by many boaters to create a personal itinerary:


Starting point – from Union Wharf Marina

Union Wharf Marina is based in the canal basin at Market Harborough. The postcode is LE16 7UW and you can check out full directions via Google Maps here:

Directions to Union Wharf Marina

When you arrive at Union Wharf, park up and come to the reception to check in. Once you’ve unloaded your car you can then park in our car park for full peace of mind while you enjoy your holiday.

Routes from Union Wharf, market Harborough

Union Wharf Marina ends the Harborough Arm of the Grand Union Canal (Leicester.) It takes around 2.5 hours to reach Foxton Locks and from there many choose to ascend the locks to the south. Alternatively, you can stop in the canal basin at the bottom of Foxton Locks to explore on foot, and then journey on through the rural landscape northwards. 

If you are a novice, we recommend the route through Foxton Locks and south. The lock keepers are on hand to support you here, and once you are through the locks, you have miles of uninterrupted countryside ahead of you. The northern route is a little more challenging; the locks are broader and heavier and spaced all along the route. There are no lock keepers on this route.


Through Foxton Locks then south

Foxton, Welford and return 3 days

Foxton, Welford and return 4 days

Foxton, Watford, Braunston and Rugby 7 days

Bypass Foxton Locks then north

Foxton, Kibworth and return 3 days

Foxton, Wistow and return 4 days

Foxton Leicester and return 7 days


If you would like to travel a particular route, you will need to check that there are no canal closures or restrictions on your travel dates by checking for live updates on the Canal and River Trust website.