Watford, Weedon and Return

~ Boutique Shopping~

Cruising pace: 4/5

Holiday: midweek break


watford locks on our canal boat hire

Cruise highlights

  • Spectacular flight of locks at Watford
  • Antiques centre at Weedon
  • The Heart of the Shires shopping village
  • Dinner at The Moorings canalside pub

Narrowboat holiday pub stop at Crick

At a glance

  • 43 miles
  • 2 tunnels
  • 14 narrow locks
  • 14 broad locks
  • 4 canalside pubs

Suggested itinerary

Monday: 3 hours cruising

  • Comprehensive boat handling training at North Kilworth marina.
  • Cruise southwards on the Grand Union Canal, keeping right through Welford Junction.
  • Enjoy the splendid isolation of the waterway, navigating the red-brick bridges which characterise this stretch.
  • Find a peaceful spot to moor the night around Smart’s Bridge number 24.

Tuesday: 6.5 hours cruising

  • Cruise on south, down through Crick tunnel.
  • Stop at the top of Watford Locks and book your descent with the lock-keeper.
  • Once you are through the lock flight, moor up for a well-deserved towpath picnic.
  • Cruise on, bearing left at Norton Junction to begin the Buckby locks.
  • The Buckby locks are unstaffed but much further apart than those at Watford. They are double locks, meaning that you can pair up with another boat if one comes along, and share the operation of the locks.
  • Pause at Lock 8 at Anchor Cottage Crafts, for an icecream and to browse the canal souvenirs.
  • Moor up for the night once you are through the bottom lock number 13, just past Whilton Marina.

Wednesday: 5 hours cruising

  • Your holiday takes a different tone, today. Less about the canals and more about exploring!
  • At Bridge number 18 visit the boutique shopping village, The Heart of the Shires (www.theheartoftheshires.co.uk) and enjoy a coffee and cake in their teashop.
  • Travel on south through Weedon village and turn (wind) at Weedon Wharf, just before Weedon Beck Bridge number 25.
  • If you miss this Winding Hole, there is another just after bridge 28.
  • Moor up at Weedon Bridge number 24 to enjoy lunch at The Heart of England (www.theheartofenglandpub.co.uk)
  • While there, browse the lovely Village Antiques Centre (they only take cash but there is a cashpoint at the Tesco Express nearby.) There are several other Antiques Shops on the same road.
  • Allow 2.5 hours to return to the Buckby Locks and complete the ascent before dark.
  • Once through the locks (last one is beside The New Inn), moor up for the night and walk back to enjoy a waterside pub dinner.

Thursday: 6 hours cruising

  • Bear right onto the Grand Union Canal.
  • Find the volunteer lock keeper at Watford Staircase Locks and book your ascent.
  • Crick Tunnel is shortly after the locks.
  • Enjoy a leisurely cruise through the waterways, bearing left at Welford Junction.
  • Moor up at North Kilworth Marina for the night.


  • 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, using the following link:

Live updates on canal closures and restrictions on the Grand Union canal (Leicester line), Market Harborough and Welford arms.