How to choose your Route

The canals traverse the country, and there is something for everyone along the network of 2000 miles of Canals & rivers which take you through beautiful countryside and pretty villages, and past our industrial heritage where old Canal wharves have been converted into vibrant shops and restaurants.

There are literally hundreds of routes to choose from, and this can be a bit daunting so we have put together some suggested routes with details of how long they take, how many locks there are, and what there is to see and do, with suggested stops which are usually near a pub or town!

These are the criteria you should be looking for when choosing a route:

Week cruise, short Break cruise, city cruise, ring- a circular route, lock free, rural, popular, long, lots of locks, points of interest, routes for kids

Choose which location you wish to start your cruise from

This can be based on how far you have to drive your car to get there, or which marina is closest to an airport or train station. See also directions to the marina under locations. It can also be based on which route you want to do.

Which cruise is right for the crew?

Do you want lots to see and do along the way, or have a lot of locks to keep everyone busy, or a few locks if you don't want to do anything too strenuous. Do you want a few towns to visit along the way, or something very rural to get away from it all!!

Know what you want?

If you know what you're looking for, try our route search.


New route?

On your holiday if you do a route that we don't show, we would love to know as we can add it to the list!

Popular Cruising Routes
Popular Routes

One of our most requested canals is the Kennet and Avon which meanders it way for 86 miles linking the River Thames at Reading to the Bristol Avon. You can cruise the entire length of the beautiful Kennet and Avon Canal from Aldermaston via the picturesque market town of Newbury and then on to Hungerford.

Short Break Routes
Short Routes

A short break is a perfect introduction to a UK Canal Boating Holiday. Whether you are looking for a romantic break for two or a stag night or hen party for 12 a short break on a canal boat is a perfect choice.

Long Cruising Routes
Long Routes

UK Canal Boating Holiday guests lucky enough to be able to take a three week holiday or longer will be able to have a holiday of contrasts, taken at a really slow pace. The cruising will be diverse and the variety of places to visit endless. Meander through the countryside and moor up in exciting cities, navigate both wide and narrow canals and experience river cruising.

City Cruising Routes
City Routes

If you are looking for an easy lock free cruise, that leads you through some of Britain's finest industrial architecture, choose the Alvechurch to Birmingham route. Explore Gas street basin with it's wealth of cosmopolitan restaurants or Brindley place for it's waterside pubs. Visit the Sea Life Centre and the Jewellery Quarter or shop at the famous Bull Ring Market.

Rural Cruising Routes
Rural Routes

If you want a rural cruise start your UK Canal Boating Holiday from Union Wharf and journey through the Foxton Locks to Stoke Bruerne. This is a tranquil route through rolling countryside. Pass through Weedon, well known for its antique shops and with a number of good pubs. There are also three tunnels to pass through the Husbands Bosworth, Crick and Blisworth.

Lots of Locks
Lots of locks routes
Lots of Locks Routes

If you would like to try a lock or two, and after your first one you will be an expert, choose the route from Rugby to Coventry and return. The route only has two locks each way and is ideal to give you an insight of how they operate. Maybe next time you will choose Worcester and navigate your way through the Tardibigge Locks, which are one of the longest flights on the canal system.

Points of Interest
Points of Interest Routes
Points of interest Routes

Featuring the Bridgewater Canal, the first canal to be built, the Cheshire Ring takes you on a wonderful journey of discovery. Navigate the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal to Great Haywood Junction and join the Trent and Mersey Canal heading north towards the Potteries and Peak District. Moor at Castlefields to explore the city of Manchester, including Old Trafford, home of Manchester United F.C., the huge Arndale shopping centre and the Science and Industry Museum