1 Week Cruise
6 hours per day
Locks: 26 (total for Welford and return)
Cruising Time: Around 22hrs return
The Black Prince canal boat base at Napton is perfect for a short break through the uninterrupted countryside and small towns and villages full of character, dating back to medieval times with inclusions in the Doomsday Book (a record of land ownership commissioned by King William the Conquerer in 1086).
This canal short break will give you either a busy three-day holiday or a more relaxed four-day journey. You can of course travel the waterway at your own pace; there are plenty of winding holes / turning places along the route, allowing you the opportunity to head back at a point to suit you.
The number of locks highlighted is the total number to Welford and back. It’s a route where you will encounter a tunnel and a mix of broad and narrow locks.
On leaving the base you’ll head through Braunston on the Grand Union Canal; there are no locks between these two areas until you reach the Leicester arm which branches off to Welford. It’s open English countryside at its best, with plenty of opportunities for spotting birds and wildlife in general.
Braunston village has several sights of interest, including the All Saints Church and Braunston Manor, two beautiful buildings within a tranquil countryside setting. If you have time to spare you could take a look at the village’s old windmill before settling down in one of its cosy pubs. Or note the pubs available for your journey back! At Braunston, you’ll head onto the Leicester Section.
This is where the short break becomes more active as you negotiate the Watford Locks. This is a group of seven locks being formed (looking from the south) of two single locks, a staircase of four, and a final single lock. Together they lift the canal 16 m (52 ft 6 in) to the “Leicester Summit”, which it maintains all the way to Foxton Locks.
The canal continues north until you pass through a short tunnel to Crick, a beautiful little village that dates back to the Doomsday Book. Stop here for supplies and a visit to the pub and if you are around at the end of May you can join in the festivities of the annual Crick Boat Show & Waterways Festival.
After Crick you can relax on a long stretch of waterway without any locks, passing the hamlets of Yelvertoft and North Kilworth. At Kilworth, you’ll head along the canal arm to Welford, a relaxing stretch of canal, again along a countryside route.