Cruise Details 2019

Takara Hotel Boat
Cruise 1

CRUISE DETAILS 2018

Stratford-upon-Avon to Warwick.

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 1

Cruise Details

Takara Hotel Boat
Cruise 2

Warwick to Atherstone

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 2 

Cruise Details

Leaving our mooring at Warwick, we descend towards the valley of the River Avon at Leamington Spa. Then we begin to climb slowly and will continue to do so for many miles through Radford, Fosse and Bascote locks. We arrive at 8 locks at Stockton, with various reminders of the former days of clay quarrying here. 

We climb three more locks at Calcutt, then pass a reservoir on our right soon to reach the joint Grand Union. Turning left towards Braunston, we head towards Rugby which is followed by Brinklow Stretton Stop with its small swing footbridge. Passing under the M6 motorway bridge, the canal winds in an open landscape and goes beyond Ansty, then onto our favourite junction which is Hawkesbury (also known as Sutton Stop). 

Here we turn right onto Coventry arm passing an engine house to reach Marston Junction, then head on towards Nuneaton, Mancetter. Upon arriving at Atherstone, we travel down seven locks to our destination.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 3

Atherstone to Nottingham

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 3

Cruise Details

Leaving Atherstone, we travel down 6 locks towards Polesworth and, under the M42, soon arriving at Tamworth, we see some well-kept gardens, then two locks (very slow filling). After Fazeley Junction, we continue on passing farmland and an army shooting range after the village of Coton. The route includes a few more villages and proceeds alongside the busy A38 - an old Roman road.  

At Fradley Junction, where you can see the Swan Pub, a famous canal landmark, which is very popular with Gongoozlers (spectators), we turn right onto the Trent and Mersey Canal towards Alrewas, now known for The National Arboretum and which was officially opened to the public in May 2001. 

Then we join the River Trent for a short time and, after a few miles, we arrive at Burton upon Trent, which is known for its Breweries and where there is one more narrow lock. After 7 miles, we start to descend wide and very deep locks. Still in the open countryside, we will see plenty of man-made lakes which are old gravel quarries. 

After a few flood locks, we join Sawley Cut and Trent Junction, where we carry straight on to Cranfleet Cut, soon reaching The River Trent and passing Attenborough Nature Reserve. One more lock at Beeston and we get to Beeston Cut, where there is a large factory of boots - The Chemist. Shortly after, we arrive at our destination on The Nottingham Canal. 

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 4

Nottingham to Stone

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 4

Duration:
20th April to 26th April for 6 Nights. 

Price:
£695

Distance:
59miles, 30 locks

Nearest Railway Stations: 
Nottingham, Stone, Stock-on-Trent, Stafford. 

Cruise Details

As we leave Nottingham on the Beeston Cut, we go through the Attenborough Nature Reserve on the River Trent and then the Cranfleet Cut, heading to Trent Junction, where we join the Sawley Cut. 

Going up some wide and deep locks on the way to Burton upon Trent, we continue on Trent and Mersey Canal towards Alrewas. 

Heading for Fradley Junction, we enter the quiet countryside as we wind our way towards Armitage, where we can admire the Armitage pottery and church, then reaching Rugeley. Pleasant surroundings continue as we approach Shugborough Park with its impressive hall. 

At Great Haywood Junction Stone, we are only 6 locks away from our journey’s ends.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 5

Stone to Northwich 
(via the Anderton Boat Lift).

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 5

Cruise Details

After our departure from the friendly mooring at Stone, the cruise takes us through the Potteries of the Etruria Industrial Museum. 

We travel through the Harecastle Tunnel (2926 yards), which is the only remaining one of the three built on this canal. The first tunnel had to be closed because of subsidence, whereas the third – which was a railway tunnel - was closed when the railway was re-routed. 

At Red Bull, we start the descent towards Wheelock through a flight of 26 locks aptly named 'Heartbreak Hill'. Passing through the salt-producing area, we arrive at Middlewich, then on towards the Anderton Lift. 

Leaving the lift, we turn left on the River Weaver and cruise quietly towards Northwich with its very interesting Salt Museum.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 6

Northwich to Llangollen 
(via the Anderton Boat Lift).

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 6

Cruise Details

On leaving Northwich, we rise up in the magnificent Anderton Boat Lift and turn right to head for Middlewich, skirting around the environs of industrial Northwich. We cruise through pleasant countryside equally beautiful to many other stretches in the country. 

Reaching Middlewich, we turn right to join the 11 miles of the Middlewich Arm, which is all open country, punctuated by 4 locks. At Barbridge Junction, we join the Shropshire Union main line and follow a brief stretch of this canal until we reach Hurleston Junction. 

Afterwards, we turn right onto the Llangollen Canal and immediately climb the four locks by Hurleston Reservoir. 

The canal travels through lovely scenery and reaches Wrenbury, where we encounter the first of several lift bridges. We continue until we reach Grindley Brook with its three chamber staircase lock. After Grindley Brook, the canal crosses Whixall Moss, a bog rich in flora and fauna. 

Over the next few miles there are several meres (small lakes formed in the Ice Age) on either side of the canal, which are followed by the short Ellesmere Tunnel (87 yards). Ellesmere town is at the end of a short arm. A few miles further on comes Frankton Junction, where we continue past up to New Marton Locks, the last of the canal, and cross the Chirk Aqueduct overlooked by the railway viaduct and into Chirk Tunnel (459 yards). 

Whitehouse Tunnel (191 yards) follows quickly after and then we reach the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct 126 feet above the River Dee. Immediately after the aqueduct, there is a ninety degree turn as the canal continues its short journey to Llangollen. This stretch of the canal is very narrow and slower with one-way working in places. We finish our cruise in the marina at Llangollen.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 7

Llangollen to Great Haywood

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 7

Duration:
12th may to 22nd May for 10 Nights.

Price:
£1095

Distance:
106 Miles and 62 Locks. 10 Moveable Bridges, 2 Aqueducts, 4 Tunnels
Cruise Details

As we leave Llangollen, we sail on a stretch of the canal that is very narrow and slower with a one-way working in place. There is a ninety degree turn as the canal continues its short journey till we reach the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct 126 feet above the River Dee. 

Whitehouse Tunnel (191 yards) follows quickly, after which comes Chirk Tunnel (459 yards). We wind our way to Chirk Aqueduct overlooked by the railway viaduct, then on to New Marton Locks and next Frankton Junction. Turning sharp left at the junction, we soon enter Ellesmere tunnel and open countryside towards Whitchurch and Grindley Brook with its staircase locks. 

Keeping in tune with the rural scene, we slowly cruise towards Hurleston descending the four locks onto the Shropshire Union Canal, known as The "Shropie". Then we turn right at Hurleston Junction, heading for Nantwich and a small Aqueduct over A534 Chester Road. Continuing to Hack Green (known for a secret bunker), we navigate through 2 locks and then go on a run-up to Audlem, which is then followed by other 15 locks. 

Leaving the top lock, after 2 miles we arrive at Adderley climbing 5 locks soon to be at Market Drayton. On leaving, we have 5 more locks at Tyrley Wharf, then on to Woodseaves Cuttings (a very deep rock cutting). Cruising on, you will see a high bridge with an extra arch with a short telegraph mast built across it. 

Arriving at Norbury Junction, there is a hive of activity with a few boat yards that once formed a large waterways yard. After filling up with water, we carry on to Brewood, then soon arriving at a stop lock at Autherly Junction. 

Turning left on The Stafford and Worcester Canal and winding our way through wooded countryside, we reach Gailey, where we pass under Watling Street to find the quaint round Lock Keeper's Cottage by the lock. Then we reach Penkridge; passing on through the tiny villages of Acton Trussell, Milford and Tixall Wide, we turn left past a bridge to enter the Trent and Mersey canal to Great Haywood. 

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 8

Great Haywood to Leighton Buzzard

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 8

Cruise Details

Leaving Great Haywood, we pass close to Shugborough Hall, the home of the Earl of Lichfield, which now belongs to the National Trust. We continue through this lovely countryside near Cannock Chase, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

At Fradley Junction, we turn right onto the Coventry Canal. Then we travel past Fazeley Junction to the two locks at Glascote. Eleven locks at Atherstone complete our climb to the level of the Ashby Canal. We pass it and at Marston Junction we continue on to Hawkesbury Junction, where The Greyhound Pub is. 

Turning left here, we reach our first lock, which is only a stop lock about a foot. Travelling on, we will go under the M69, after which the canal runs through quiet farmland and passes a pretty Boat Inn Cottage before we reach All Oaks Wood. Soon we go through Newbold Tunnel (250 yards), reaching the outskirts of Rugby. 

Travelling a further four miles, we arrive at Hillmorton Locks. Now we are heading to Braunston which is regarded as the heart of the canal system, and the village on its hill is not to be missed. We turn left at Braunston to get on The Grand Union Canal, going through the 6 locks before Braunston Tunnel (830 yards). Then comes Norton Junction with the 7 Buckby Locks, and we wind our way through Weedon and on to Gayton Junction, where the Northampton Arm leads to the River Nene. 

Soon after we reach Blisworth Tunnel (3056 yards) and Stoke Bruerne with its Waterways Museum from which we now descend 7 locks. At Cosgrove Village look out for Solomon's Bridge. Turning left, we drop down a lock to go lock-free round Milton Keynes until Fenny Stratford, which is only 1 foot 1 inch drop. 7 more miles and 5 locks with open landscape later, we reach our destination - Leighton Buzzard.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 9

Leighton Buzzard to Leighton Buzzard via Aylesbury and Berkhamsted. 

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 9

Duration:
2nd June to 9th June for 7 Nights. 

Price:
£795

Distance:
31 Miles 62 Locks. 2 Moveable Bridges 

Nearest Railway Stations: 
Leighton Buzzard
Cruise Details

From Grove Lock Marina, we will be travelling south on the Grand Union Canal and start to climb again through the lovely Chiltern countryside towards Marsworth Junction. Through 10 locks, we turn onto the Aylesbury Arm, which descends through attractive farmland to reach our destination. 

Then we make our way back through 14 locks, turning right towards Berkhamsted, back on the Grand Union Canal, and finally making our way back to Grove Lock Marina.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 10

Leighton Buzzard to Long Buckby

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 10

Duration:
12th June to 16th June for 4 Nights. 

Price:
£495

Distance:
 42 Miles and 15 Locks. 1 Tunnel

Nearest Railway Stations: 
Leighton Buzzard; Long Buckby.
Cruise Details

As we leave our mooring at Leighton Buzzard, the canal enters the valley of the Ouzel and meanders softly, soon to arrive at the Soulbury flight of three locks and another one at Stoke Hammond. Soon passing Fenny Stratford and Milton Keynes, we head on towards Old Wolverton and Cosgrove. 

After 6 miles, we arrive at Stoke Bruerne, home of the BW Waterways Museum. Then it's onto Blisworth Tunnel which is the third longest waterway in Britain open to navigation. At Gayton Junction, we pass the GUC Northampton Arm which branches away to the north east. 

We continue north-west, entering a relatively empty stretch of agricultural land and open fields falling away to the north and steep hill to the south. As we approach Bugbrooke and onto Weeden, a quiet open stretch follows north to Long Buckby (Wilton Marina).

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 11

Long Buckby to 
Stratford-upon-Avon

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 11

Duration:
19th June to 26th June for 7 Nights. 

Price:
£795

Distance:
 45 Miles and 93 Locks. 2 Tunnels, 1 Aqueduct

Nearest Railway Stations: 
Long Buckby; Stratford Upon Avon.
Cruise Details

Leaving Long Buckby on The Grand Union Canal, we travel north past Norton Junction towards Braunston Tunnel. Through 6 locks going left at Braunston Turn, we carry on down to Napton-on-the-Hill and then Napton Junction. 

We leave the Oxford Canal on to the Grand Union Canal. We descend through wide locks from now on starting with Calcutt, Stockton, Bascote, Fosse and Radford locks. 

The canal then passes through Royal Leamington Spa and onto Saltisford Canal Centre in Warwick. 
Next, it's on up the Hatton flight of twenty-one locks, which is known as ‘The Stairway to Heaven”. At the top of these, there is Shrewley Tunnel (433 yards) which leads to Kingswood Junction at Lapworth, where the Grand Union is linked by a short arm to the Stratford Canal. 

We take this link and join the Stratford by a re-opened channel between two cottages, one of which has a barrel roof, a feature of this canal. Another feature is the design of the bridges, which have a slot through the middle of them to take the horses rope, to save it having to be removed. 

Passing through Lowsonford and Preston Bagot, we arrive at Wootton Wawen and cross the A3400 on an iron aqueduct. At Edstone, there is another aqueduct which, at 200 yards, is one of the longest in the country. The canal passes close to Mary Arden’s House at Wilmcote (she was Shakespeare’s mother). 

We now start the descent to Stratford, which we reach after sixteen locks, and arrive in the Bancroft Basin close to the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 12

Stratford-upon-Avon to Thrupp

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 12

Duration:
26th June to 6th July for 10 Nights

Price:
£1095

Distance:
66 Miles and 100 Locks, 3 Tunnels, 1 Aqueduct

Nearest Railway Stations: 
Stratford-upon-Avon - Oxford.
Cruise Details

Your trip starts at Bancroft Basin, Stratford-upon-Avon, where the River Avon joins the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. On leaving Stratford-upon-Avon, we climb sixteen locks to Wilmcote top lock. The canal passes close to Mary Arden’s House at Wilmcote (she was Shakespeare’s mother). 

At Edstone, there is an aqueduct which, at 200 yards, is one of the longest in the country. We arrive at Wootton Wawen and cross the A3400 on an iron aqueduct through to Preston Bagot and Lowsonford. At Kingswood, we reach Lapworth Junction, where the Stratford Canal is linked by a short arm to the Grand Union Canal. Taking this link, we join the Grand Union Canal by a re-opened channel between two cottages. 

Shrewley Tunnel (433 yards) is coming up next and just after is the Hatton Flight of twenty-one locks as we drop down to Warwick, soon passing the Cape of Good Hope Locks. Heading and passing through Royal Leamington Spa, we travel onto Welsh Lane and Fosse Way locks, soon to tackle the locks at Stockton and then onto the locks at Calcutt. 

We now have little run onto Napton Junction, where we turn right onto the Oxford Canal. Then we eventually clear the nine locks and pass Marston Doles. The canal meanders passing Fenny Compton, and we soon descend the flight of locks at Claydon. 

We pass Cropredy village with its sleepy churchyard and, just after Banbury, we go under the M40. Passing even more quite locks, you can see the church spire at King's Sutton. We then briefly cross the River Cherwell and reach Somerton. Next after this we follow the valley for many miles, and continue on to our final stop at Thrupp.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 13

Thrupp to Warwick

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 13

Duration:
12th July to 19th July for 7 Nights

Price:
£795

Distance:
 45 Miles and 45 Locks, 2 Tunnels

Nearest Railway Stations: 
Oxford; Warwick.
Cruise Details

On leaving Thrupp, we head north to Somerton and cross the River Cherwell at Aynho lock. 

Next on our itinerary, you can see the church spire at King's Sutton. Onto Banbury, we head towards Napton Junction; on the way we cruise through Cropredy Village. After 9 locks, we come to Wormleighton Reservoir, then Fenny Compton Tunnel where the top was taken off. 

Meandering on down through 9 locks to Napton-on-the-Hill then Napton Junction, we leave the Oxford Canal on to the Grand Union Canal.

From here onwards, we descend through wide locks starting with Calcutt, Stockton, Bascote, Fosse and Radford locks. The canal then passes through Royal Leamington Spa and onto Saltisford Canal Centre in Warwick. 

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 14

Warwick to Warwick

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 14

Duration:
19th July to 27th July for 8 Nights 

Price:
£895

Distance:
 41 Miles and 108 Locks, 2 Tunnels, 1 Aqueduct

For more info, click on links: Saltisford Canal Centre; Warwick Castle; Stratford-upon-Avon

Nearest Railway Stations: 
Warwick, Leamington Spa
Cruise Details

Upon leaving our helpful mooring in The Saltisford Arm, Warwick, we soon reach the foot of ‘The Stairway to Heaven” - the Hatton flight of twenty-one locks. At the top of these, there is Shrewley Tunnel (433 yards) leading to Kingswood Junction at Lapworth, where the Grand Union is linked by a short arm to the Stratford Canal. 

We take this link and join the Stratford by a re-opened channel between two cottages, one of which has a barrel roof, a feature of this canal. Passing through Lowsonford and Preston Bagot, we arrive at Wootton Wawen and cross the A3400 on an iron aqueduct. 

At Edstone, there is a 200-yard long aqueduct which makes it one of the longest in the country. The canal passes close to Mary Arden’s House at Wilmcote (she was Shakespeare’s mother). We now start the descent of sixteen locks to enter Bancroft Basin in Stratford. After staying a night, we retrace or route back to Warwick.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 15

Warwick to Stone

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 15

Duration:
27th July to 5th August for 9 Nights. 

Price:
£995

Distance:
95 Miles and 50 Locks, 1 Tunnel

Nearest Railway Stations: 
Warwick, Stone.
Cruise Details

Leaving our mooring at Warwick, we descend towards the valley of the River Avon at Leamington Spa. Then we begin to climb slowly and will continue to do so for many miles through Radford, Fosse and Bascote locks. 

We arrive at 8 locks at Stockton, with various reminders of the former days of clay quarrying here. We climb three more locks at Calcutt. Then we pass a reservoir on our right soon to join the joint Grand Union Canal. Turning left towards Braunston, we head towards Rugby and arrive at Brinklow Stretton Stop with is small swing footbridge. 
Continuing our trip, we pass under the M6 motorway bridge, where the canal winds in open landscape and beyond Ansty. Then we head to our favourite junction which is Hawkesbury (also known as Sutton Stop). Here we turn right onto Coventry arm, passing an engine house and then Marston Junction to head on towards Nuneaton and Mancetter. 

Then at Atherstone, we travel down the locks towards Polesworth and under the M42, soon arriving at Tamworth, we see some well-kept gardens, then two locks (very slow filling). 

After Fazeley Junction, we continue on soon passing farmland and, after the village of Coton, we pass an army shooting range. A few more villages farther, we travel alongside the busy A38 - an old Roman road. Reaching Fradley Junction, which is very popular with Gongoozlers (spectators), you can see the Swan Pub, a famous canal landmark.

Leaving the Pub behind, we enter quiet countryside as we wind our way towards Armitage with its Armitage pottery and church. Passing Rugeley, we continue our way towards Shugborough Park with its impressive hall. At Great Haywood Junction Stone, we are only 6 locks away from the end of our journey. 

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 16

Stone to Stone

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 16

Duration:
7th August to 17th August for 10 Nights. 

Price:
£1095

Distance:
110 miles, 93 locks; there are at least 22 small aqueducts or underbridges and 2 tunnels.

Nearest Railway Stations: 
Stone, Stoke-on-Trent, and Stafford.
Cruise Details

We leave the canal town of Stone on the Trent and Mersey Canal, heading to Great Haywood. Here we turn right under a bridge to enter the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. Passing over the River Trent, we next come to Tixall Wide. Passing on through the tiny villages of Milford and Acton Trussell, we reach Penkridge.
 
Winding our way through wooded countryside, we reach Gailey where we pass under Watling Street to find the quaint round Lock Keeper's Cottage by the lock. By twists and turns, we reach Autherley Junction. Making a right turn to a stop lock, we are immediately made aware of Telford’s influence as, after a long stretch of open countryside, we pass through deep shadowy sandstone cuttings and high embankments, after which we arrive at Norbury Junction. 

We continue through uncluttered countryside towards Tyrley, where we encounter our first flight of five locks and descend towards Market Drayton. Down this route, we pass the beautiful locks at Adderley and Audlem, then the Hack Green locks climbing towards Nantwich. Shortly after leaving Nantwich, we turn right at Barbridge Junction and head for the Trent and Mersey Canal at Middlewich. 

Here we turn right and start to ascend locks straight away. This is just a taste of the climb to come as we start to ascend what the working boatmen called 'Heartbreak Hill'. We pass under an aqueduct where the canal water is stained bright orange by deposits in the hills, and we await our turn to enter the magnificent Harecastle tunnel, which is over a mile and half long. Emerging from the far end of the tunnel, we enter the Potteries and then descend Stoke locks and pass the Wedgwood Centre at Barlaston. Meaford locks make a pleasant interlude before we arrive at the canal town of Stone.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 17

STONE to WHALEY BRIDGE

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 17

Duration:
18th August to 24th August for 6 Nights

Price:
£695

Distance:
48 miles and 25 locks, 5 moveable bridges; 11 small aqueducts or under bridges and 1 tunnel. 

Nearest Railway Stations: 
Stone, Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford, Whaley Bridge.
Cruise Details

After leaving our mooring at Stone, this cruise takes us through the Potteries with the Potteries Industrial Museum at Etruria. We travel through the Harecastle Tunnel (2926 yards), which is the only remaining tunnel out of three built in this area. The first canal tunnel had to be closed because of subsidence, whereas the third was a railway tunnel which was closed when the railway was re-routed. 

After the tunnel, we turn onto the Macclesfield Canal, which is very beautiful as it winds its way through the Peak District. Then we head to the Peak Forest Canal, followed by the valley of the River Goyt which leads to Whaley Bridge, and then onto the magnificent Bugsworth Basin.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 18

Whaley Bridge to Northwich

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 18

Cruise Details

Leaving our mooring at Bugsworth basin we cruise towards Marple passing the Goyt Valley Marple enjoying extensive views as the canal is perched high on the hillside. 

At Marple Junction we swing left to join the Macclesfield Canal and continue our journey through Marple, Higher Poynton, Bollington and Macclesfield. 

Just south of Macclesfield in a truly tranquil setting we descend the flight of 12 locks at Bosley dropping the boats 118 feet in a mile. Turning onto the Trent and Mersey Canal at Red Bull Junction we start the descent towards Wheellock through a flight of 26 locks aptly named 'Heartbreak Hill'. 

Passing through the salt producing area we arrive at Middlewich. We then head on towards the Anderton Boat Lift, Known as The Cathedral of the Canals this wrought iron feat of engineering was built in 1875 to connect the Canal to the Weaver Navigation, 50ft below and is a ‘must see’ for any canal enthusiast. 

Once we descend the lift we turn left on the River Weaver and cruise to Northwich.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 19

Northwich to Great Hayward

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 19

Cruise Details

On leaving Northwich, we rise up in the magnificent Anderton Boat Lift and turn right to head for Middlewich, skirting around the environs of industrial Northwich. We cruise through a beautiful stretch of countryside, heading to Bugsworth Basin, Middlewich. In Middlewich, which is known for its dairy, silk products and brine (the source of salt), you can see a large salt factory and salt mountain. 

We then head for Heartbreak Hill, a flight of 26 locks that unfold mostly in open countryside. We travel on past Hardings Wood Junction to Harecastle Tunnel, which in places is extremely low but is one of our favourites, because it's one way. After leaving the tunnel, we pass a large and long tile factory, soon to pass Westport Lake. 

At Etruria, we turn onto the Caldon Canal, which is acknowledged to be one of the most picturesque of the inland waterways. We pass through Hanley, the main town of 'The five towns' of the Potteries. The first part of the canal is projected against an industrial landscape background before it reaches open country. 

There are several lift bridges and, at Stockton Brook, a flight of five locks raises the canal over 40 feet into stone wall country. The canal passes under the Leek Branch at Hazelhurst Junction and continues on to Cheddleton, where there is one of several flint mills which supplied flint to the pottery trade. Beyond Oak Meadow Ford Lock, the canal joins the River Churnet. 

We continue for a further two miles and turn round at Flint Mill Lock and retrace our journey to Hazelhurst Junction. Next we make a very sharp left turn on to the Leek Branch for about 2 miles, and then turn around at bridge nine and retrace our steps back to the Trent and Mersey Canal. Turning left we immediately descend five locks, passing old factories, and two bottle kilns which have been restored amongst new apartments. Descending one lock at Barlaston and the Wedgwood factory, we continue to descend past Meaford and on towards Stone and Great Hayward Marina. 

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 20

Great Hayward to Market Harborough

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 20

Duration:
9th September to 18th September for 9 Nights.

Price:
£995

Distance:
48 miles, 53 locks, 1 tunnel. 

Nearest Railway Stations: 
Stafford, Rugeley, Stone, Market Harborough.
Cruise Details

After leaving Great Haywood, where we pass close to Shugborough Hall, the home of the Earl of Lichfield, which now belongs to the National Trust, we continue through a stretch of lovely countryside near Cannock Chase, an area of outstanding natural beauty. 

At Fradley Junction, where you can see the Swan Pub - a famous canal landmark, we turn right onto the Trent and Mersey Canal towards Alrewas, now known for The National Arboretum, which was officially opened to the public in May 2001. Then we join the River Trent for a short time, and, after a few miles, we arrive at Burton upon Trent, known for its Breweries. 

After one more narrow lock in Burton upon Trent and 7 miles, we start to descend wide and very deep locks, still in the open countryside. Throughout this area, there are plenty of man-made lakes which are old Gravel Quarries. After a few flood locks, we join Sawley Cut, turning right towards Kegworth and Loughborough with two locks and plenty of gardens to see. 

Passing Barrow-upon-Soar, we wind our way towards Leicester travelling up four locks, and to our right you will see Watermead Country Park. Sailing through Leicester with a few large ornamental bridges, we get to see Leicester Football Stadium to our left, next to a large weir. After climbing eleven locks, we arrive at Kilby Bridge, where we are now travelling in open countryside with spaced-out locks and then reach Saddington Tunnel (880 yards). 

About three more miles, we reach Foxton Junction, where we turn left passing the bottom of Foxton Locks (there may be time for a look around) with its staircase of ten locks arranged in two five lock flights. To the side of the locks, there is the site of the inclined plane, which was built to replace the locks, but was not a success, and fell into disrepair. There is a museum here which has exhibits demonstrating how the inclined plane worked. Now on to the Market Harborough Arm, we wind our way to our mooring in the Basin.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 21

Market Harborough to Litchfield

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 21

Duration:
18th September to 27th September for 9 Nights. 

Price:
£995

Distance:
90 miles, 43 locks, 4 tunnels. 

Nearest Railway Stations: 
Lichfield, Market Harborough.
Cruise Details

We leave Market Harborough and travel to the bottom of Foxton Locks, which are two staircases of five locks each. At the side of the locks, there is the site of an inclined plane and a museum, which has exhibits that demonstrate how it worked. At the top of Watford Locks, which are also a staircase, there is a long lock-free pound. 

Soon after the bottom of these, there comes Norton Junction, where we turn onto the main line of the Grand Union Canal towards Braunston Tunnel. After 6 locks, we go left at Braunston turn, heading towards Rugby, followed by Brinklow Stretton Stop with is small swing footbridge.

Continuing our journey, we pass under the M6 motorway bridge, where the canal winds in open landscape and beyond Ansty. Then we reach our favourite junction which is Hawkesbury (also known as Sutton Stop), where we turn right onto Coventry arm passing an engine house and Marston Junction, and head on towards Nuneaton and Mancetter. 
At Atherstone, we travel down seven locks to our destination. 

Leaving Atherstone, we travel down 6 locks towards Polesworth and under the M42, soon arriving at Tamworth, we see some well-kept gardens towards the village of Whittington. Arriving at Fradley Junction, we turn left on Trent and Mersey Canal to Kings Bromley Marina going through our last 3 locks.

Takara hotel boat
Cruise 22

Litchfield to Thrupp

Takara Hotel Boat Cruise 22

Duration:
28th September to 6th October for 8 Nights. 

Price:
£895

Distance:
83 miles, 40 locks, 3 tunnels.

Nearest Railway Stations: 
 S: Lichfield, Oxford.
Cruise Details

Travelling south to Fradley Junction, we turn right onto the Coventry canal then travel past Fazeley Junction to the two locks at Glascote. Eleven locks at Atherstone complete our climb to the level of the Ashby Canal. 

We pass the Ashby Canal at Marston Junction and continue on to Hawkesbury Junction, where The Greyhound Pub is. 
Turning left here, we go through our first lock which is only a stop lock about a foot and then we go under the M69 motorway. From here onwards, the canal runs through quiet farmland and passes a pretty Boat Inn Cottage before we reach All Oaks Wood. 

Soon we go through Newbold Tunnel (250 yards), reaching the outskirts of Rugby. Travelling a further four miles, we arrive at Hillmorton Locks and then head to Braunston, which is regarded as the heart of the canal system and which has a not-to-be-missed village on its hill. Here, we turn right to get on The Grand Union Canal towards Napton Junction. 

Turning on to the Oxford Canal, we eventually clear the nine locks and pass Marston Doles. The canal meanders passing Fenny Compton and we soon descend the Claydon Lock Flight. We pass Cropredy village with its sleepy churchyard, and just after Banbury we go under the M40. 

Passing even more locks, you can see the church spire at King's Sutton. At Aynho Weir, we briefly cross the River Cherwell and reach Somerton. Next after this, we follow the valley for many miles, and continue on to our final stop at Thrupp.
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