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You can do this route from :
North Kilworth Narrowboats.

North Kilworth Narrowboats



Market Harborough is a market town within the Harborough district of Leicestershire. The town is located in an area which was formerly a part of the Rockingham Forest, a royal hunting forest used by the medieval monarchs starting with William I

Foxton Locks is home to two amazing feats of engineering in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside- Foxton Locks and the Inclined Plane.

The Grade II listed locks on the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal are over 200 years old. They demonstrate how 19th century canal engineers solved the problem of getting boats up and down a steep hill.

This impressive flight of ten locks are the longest set of staircase locks in Britain. It takes an average of 45 minutes for boats to travel the entire flight and on a busy day as many as 40 boats can make the trip. The lock keepers will be busy directing the traffic. Behind the Boiler House you will see the evidence of another amazing feat of engineering: A fine example of Grand Victorian industrial engineering – the inclined plane boat lift designed at a time when canals were the mass transport system for England it was to help improve the capacity of the canal network. The full story is told in The Boiler House where you can step back in time and see in breathtaking clarity how the boats travelled in the boat lift.

Route Info

Route Facts & Figures

Recommended Holiday
Duration : 3 nights.

Total Cruising Days : 4.00
(Partial or full days)

Total Cruising Time : 13.50 hours

Total Distance : 24.00 miles

Number of Locks : 20

Number of Tunnels : 2

Number of Aqueducts : 0

Read the Cruising Notes

Read our cruising notes to help you plan your canal boat holiday

Read our cruising notes.


Download the Cruising Notes

We also have the cruising notes available for download in PDF (acrobat Reader)

Download our cruising notes.





Cruising Notes

North Kilworth is the opposite side of the road to North Kilworth Wharf, with the White Lion Pub in the village.
Day 1

From the Wharf turn north along the Grand Union Canal towards Market Harborough.
You will soon reach Husbands Bosworth Tunnel, so reach for those waterproofs as you will get dripped on!, Also put your headlight and inside lights on as it helps inside the tunnel which is 1166 yards long.

You can stroll into the village of Husband Bosworth (off to your right) for a pub, newsagents and general store. The Bell Inn here serves Real Ale & food daily.

Look out over the vale of Welland and to the nearby Laughton Hills. Slow down, cruise on and watch mile after mile beautiful and unspoilt countryside unfold.

There is little sign on habitation in this remote stretch until you reach Foxton Locks.

It is 2.5 hours until you reach the top of the Foxton Locks which is your mooring for the night.

Foxton is the site of a steam-powered Inclined Plane, which replaced ten locks and lifted narrow boats 75 feet. It was opened in 1900 but suffered from mechanical and structural problems. The locks were reopened in 1908 and now work beautifully. Whilst here visit the Foxton Museum and gift shop. The well-stocked canalside shop offers you groceries, hardware as well as the traditional “roses and Castles” canal ware, made and hand-painted on site.

Stop for a cream tea in the canal-side cafe or a well-deserved pint in the Foxton Locks Inn. Spend a couple of hours watching the colourful narrowboats passing through the staircase locks.

Day 2
The locks are open from 10 am to 4 pm, with the last boat in by 3.15pm, so your first job after a hearty breakfast is to find the Lock-keeper and find out when you can pass through the locks, as everyone goes through in the order as directed by them!
You will often find many on-lookers who are willing to help, and the lock-keeper will advise you as to which paddles to open and general advice as to how to operate the locks.

At the bottom of the flight of 10 locks turn sharp right and take the lovely rural cruise to Market Harborough which is a couple of hours down this Canal Arm.

Market Harborough towpath moorings are well positioned to enjoy the benefits of a bustling market town, as well as being close to some of Leicestershire's most picturesque countryside. The mooring site is close to the terminus of the Grand Union Canal Market Harborough Arm, so you can either turn your boat in the Basin now and go back to the moorings or grab your mooring place now before you reach the end of the Canal.

Visit Welland Park, the town’s museum and the old grammar school, a 17th school built on stilts. Visit nearby Rockingham Castle built by William the Conqueror. If you need to entertain the children then visit Wicksteed Park one of the biggest and best playgrounds in Europe.

The town has many nice pubs and shops. there is an antique and collectors market every Sunday in the market hall.

Eat at the Waterfront Restaurant based at Union Wharf Marina which is the ideal place for a range of occasions from afternoon tea, drinks by the waterfront, or a romantic meal.

The Old Union Canal Society gives guided walks along the canal during summer months and follows the historic town trail.

It is 4 hours from last nights mooring to here, excluding any waiting time, you may have had this morning.

Day 3 Day 4
Make your way back to Foxton Locks and then to North Kilworth Wharf, enjoying the timeless scenery.
It is 6.5 hours back


NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.


The following boats operate on this route (subject to availability)
Little Otter Canal Boat
Class : K-Otter
(Sleeps a maximum of 2 People).

Precious Gem Canal Boat
Class : K-Gem
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).

Sophies Serenity Canal Boat
Class : Sophies
(Sleeps a maximum of 4 People).


Maps and Guides

Pub Guide

Pubs available on this canal route:-

  Pub Name Pub Address Distance from North Kilworth More Info
The Waterfront Terminus Union Wharf Marina Market Harborough LE16 7UW Full Details

NB: Distances are as the crow flies and will vary for actual canal boating travel distance.


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The information above is provided in good faith to assist you with planning your canal boat holiday. Information accuracy cannot be guaranteed, however, if you do see something that needs updating, please don't hesitate to contact us.