Napton Base – Oxford and return

Napton Base Oxford and return canal boat holiday


Claydon ‘Bygones’ Museum


Banbury | Castle Quay Shopping Centre | Tooley’s Historic Boatyard & Chandlery | Floating Restaurant


Blenheim Palace




Oxford | University of Oxford | Bodleian Library | Ashmolean Museum | Botanic Gardens | Covered Markets

102 Miles | 78 Locks | 1 Week Cruise | 8 hours per day

If you’re looking for a unique boating holiday on the Thames, our Oxford canal boat holiday, lets you access the beautiful Oxford Canal from our base at Napton in Warwickshire.

A canal boat hire cruise from here takes you on a relatively busy week down the meandering Oxford Canal, which is one of the oldest in the country for narrowboat holidays and beautifully follows the contours of the land.

Oxford Canal junction sign

The only town you’ll pass on your luxury canal boat holiday to Oxford is Banbury, a market town on the lovely River Cherwell. Stop off to see Banbury Cross, which was erected in 1859 in the town centre after Puritans destroyed the crosses that previously adorned the town in 1600, and Tooley’s Boatyard, the oldest continuous working dry dock in Britain. Banbury Museum provides a wealth of information about the Victorian market town and Banbury’s role during the English Civil War.

After cruising your Oxfordshire narrowboat through Banbury, you will reach a series of wonderfully named villages including Thrupp, Lower Heyford and Shipton-on-Cherwell. Look out for the stone-built houses, cosy canal pubs, ancient churches and village greens. The canal waterways are a lovely way to view a different angle of these beautiful villages, and especially when you get closer to the bigger cities, self drive canal boat holidays in Oxford give you a really unique perspective.

Thrupp is a hamlet close to the River Cherwell. Its biggest attraction is the remains of a 15th century cross, carved from Jurassic limestone. Lower Heyford is an ancient village recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.

Shipton-on-Cherwell is a village most noted for the Holy Cross Parish Church, which overlooks the Oxford Canal, and Shipton Manor House, which dates from the 16th or 17th century.


The destination on your canal boat holiday is Oxford, which often feels familiar because it is used as the backdrop for so many films and TV programmes, most famously Inspector More and Harry Potter. The city is small and packed together so the main sites are easy to get around, which is ideal when you’re enjoying only short breaks in Oxford.

The world-famous University buildings include Christ Church College, Wadham College and Magdalene College. Other interesting sights are the Ashmolean Museum, Carfax Tower, Botanic Gardens – the oldest in Britain – and Sheldonian Theatre. You can even swap boat styles on your canal holiday and try a spot of punting in a flat-bottomed boat on the River Cherwell.

This Oxfordshire narrow boat holiday is a lovely mix of laid-back cruising and beautiful scenery. If you’re looking for narrowboats to rent in Oxford, this route is an ideal way to explore both the lovely countryside that surrounds the city as well as exploring the city itself.

Book our Oxford and return canal boat holiday by using our online Availability Search, or by calling Black Prince on 01527 575 115.

Other oxford canal boat routes from this base

Snarestone and return canal boat holiday

106 Miles
8 Locks
1 Week Cruise
6 hours per day

Warwickshire Ring canal boat holiday

100 Miles
95 Locks
1 Week Cruise
8 hours per day

Oxford and return canal boat holiday

102 Miles
78 Locks
1 Week Cruise
8 hours per day

Grand Union South

96 miles
54 locks
1 week
7 hours per day
Napton Route E

Stoke Bruerne, Blisworth Tunnel and return canal boat holiday

62 Miles
60 Locks
1 Week Cruise
6 hours per day

Napton Short Break Route

Locks: 26
22hrs return


Call today on ++44 (0)1527 575 115 and a Black Prince team member will be happy to help!

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