Puddling Cruisers - Canal Boat Hire and Holidays
routes

Canal Cruising Routes

You will get the most out of your holiday if you take a little time to plan your journey before you set off. To help get you started, we have prepared the following routes to guide you on the limits of navigation for a one or two week cruise on board our widebeam cruiser, Serenity.

You will find maps, guides and general information about the Grand Union Canal and nearby attractions on board the boat so you will be well equipped to adapt these routes to suite the pace of your holiday.

Route Plans

All holidays must begin with an accompanied cruise south towards Fenny Stratford from our base at Milton Keynes Marina. The handover cruise will last just over an hour as we provide you with instruction on how to safely operate the boat. This short cruise will take you through 8 bridges and Fenny Stratford lock, after which you will be able to continue on your journey alone.


Milton Keynes > Stoke Bruerne > Slapton (1 week cruise)

Stoke Bruerne top lock on the Grand Union Canal

Stoke Bruerne Top Lock

Our first featured 1 week cruise covers 63 miles, passes through 36 locks and will take just over 30 hours to navigate.

You will experience miles of lock-free rural tree-lined canal, far reaching countryside views and a contrasting urban backdrop as you meander around the perimeter of Milton Keynes.

This route takes you to the picture-perfect canalside villages of Stoke Bruerne and Cosgrove to the north of Milton Keynes before turning you around for a journey south towards the twin towns of Linslade and Leighton Buzzard.

Click here to view this route

Saturday
  • Depart Milton Keynes Marina heading south
  • Simpson Bridge No 92
  • Skew Bridge No 94
  • Fenny Stratford Lock No 22
  • Accompanied handover cruise will finish at Fenny Stratford Lock.

  • Fenny Stratford Wharves
  • Hammonds Bridge No 97
  • Turn around at Water Eaton Winding Hole just past Bridge No 98.

  • Moor up just past Hammonds Bridge No 97
  • 3 Miles; 1.5 Hours; 1 Lock

    Sunday
  • Head north from Hammonds Bridge No 97
  • Fenny Stratford Lock No 22
  • Skew Bridge No 94
  • Simpson Bridge No 92
  • Continue past Milton Keynes Marina
  • Little Woolstone Bridge No 83
  • Little Woolstone a quarter of a mile east.

    Bridge 82A is within walking distance to Milton Keynes centre.

  • Great Linford Railway Bridge No 76A (disused)
  • Pubs and Inns : Black Horse (Bridge No 76)

  • Wolverton Railway Bridge No 71A
  • Wolverton Aqueduct
  • Cosgrove Lock No 21
  • Junction with Old Stratford Arm
  • Moor up just past Cosgrove Bridge No 65
  • Pubs and Inns : The Barley Mow (Bridge No 65) and The Navigation at Thrupps Wharf (Bridge No 64).

    11 Miles; 4.5 Hours; 2 Locks

    Monday
  • Continue north from Bridge No 65
  • Castlethorpe Wharf Bridge No 64
  • Castlethorpe village three-quarters of a mile northeast

  • Yardley Gobion (Bridge 60).
  • Yardley Gobion village half-mile west.

    Winding hole after Bridge No 56 is the last opportunity to turn around if you do not wish to climb the flight of 7 locks into Stoke Bruerne.

  • Stoke Bruerne Locks (Locks 20-14)
  • Turn around at Blisworth Tunnel Winding Hole just before the entrance to the Blisworth Tunnel.

    WARNING: It is not permissible to pass through the Blisworth Tunnel as part of a one week cruise on board our widebeam cruiser Serenity.

  • Moor up at the earliest opportunity before reaching Stoke Bruerne Top Lock No 14
  • This picture-perfect canalside setting with pubs, restaurants and waterways museum make this an ideal stopping place.

    7 Miles; 4 Hours; 7 Locks

    Tuesday
  • Head south towards Stoke Bruerne Top Lock No 14
  • Stoke Bruerne Locks (Locks 14-20)
  • Castlethorpe Wharf Bridge No 64
  • Junction with Old Stratford Arm
  • Cosgrove Lock No 21
  • Wolverton Aqueduct
  • Wolverton Railway Bridge No 71A
  • Pubs and Inns : New Inn at New Bradwell (Bridge No 72).

  • Moor up just before Newport Road Bridge No 74
  • 10 Miles; 5 Hours; 8 Locks

    Wednesday
  • Continue south towards Linford Wharf Bridge No 77
  • Little Woolstone Bridge No 83
  • Pear Tree Bridge No 88
  • Simpson Bridge No 92
  • Fenny Stratford Lock No 22
  • Willowbridge Bridge No 99
  • Stoke Hammond Lock No 23
  • Stoke Hammond village half a mile to the west.

  • Soulbury Three Locks (Locks 24-26)
  • Moor up just past Stapleford Bridge No 108
  • 11 Miles; 5 Hours; 5 Locks

    Thursday
  • Continue south towards Sandhole Bridge No 110
  • Leighton Lock No 27
  • Leighton Buzzard Bridge No 114
  • Grove Lock No 28
  • Church Lock No 29
  • Slapton Lock No 30
  • Slapton village half a mile northeast

    Turn around at Slapton Wharf immediately after Bridge No 120.

  • Slapton Lock No 30
  • Moor up just past Church Lock No 29
  • Pubs and Inns : Grove Lock (Grove Lock No 28)

    9 Miles; 4.5 Hours; 6 Locks

    Friday
  • Head north through Grove Lock No 28
  • Leighton Buzzard Bridge No 114
  • Leighton Lock No 27
  • Three Locks Bridge No 107
  • Soulbury Three Locks (Locks 26-24)
  • Stoke Hammond Lock No 23
  • Moor up just past Water Eaton Bridge No 98
  • 10 Miles; 4.5 Hours; 6 Locks

    Saturday
  • Fenny Stratford Lock No 22
  • Skew Bridge No 94
  • Simpson Bridge No 92
  • Milton Keynes Marina
  • 2 Miles; 1 Hours; 1 Lock

    Grand Union Canal - Hire Boat Route
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    Milton Keynes > Chilterns > Tring Summit > Cosgrove (1 week cruise)

    Great Ouse Aquaduct on the Grand Union Canal

    Great Ouse Aquaduct

    Our second featured 1 week cruise covers 61 miles, passes through 48 locks and will take just over 35 hours to navigate.

    This route takes you into the Chilterns Hills and to Tring summit at Cowroast. You past through Leighton Buzzard before reaching Marsworth Junction where the Aylesbury Canal joins the Grand Union. This is the site of Tring Reservoirs, one of the best birdwatching spots in Southern England, and Bulbourne Junction where the beautiful Wendover Canal joins the Grand Union. The return journey allows you to sample some of the best canal side pubs on the Grand Union and takes you over the Great Ouse Aqueduct!

    Click here to view this route

    Detailed Route Instructions Coming Soon
    Grand Union Canal - Hire Boat Route
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    Milton Keynes > Little Venice > Regent's Park - London Zoo (2 week cruise)

    Little Venice on the Paddington Arm

    Little Venice

    Our first featured 2 week cruise covers 131 miles, passes through 138 locks and will take just over 74 hours to navigate.

    This route takes you into the Chilterns Hills and through Tring Reservoirs, one of the best birdwatching spots in Southern England. After Tring Summit you drop down towards the Thames until reaching Bull's Bridge Junction and turning into the Paddington Arm which cuts across north London. This is a lock free canal taking you to Little Venice and onto Regent's Park and London Zoo, looking splendid from the water. On the return journey to Milton Keynes you can enjoy many of the canalside pubs!

    Click here to view this route

    Detailed Route Instructions Coming Soon
    Grand Union Canal - Hire Boat Route
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    Milton Keynes > Blisworth Tunnel > Warwick Castle (2 week cruise)

    Warwick on the Grand Union

    Warwick Castle

    Our second featured 2 week cruise covers 111 miles, passes through 92 locks and will take just over 53 hours to navigate. This is our heritage tour!

    This takes you to the picture-perfect canalside villages of Stoke Bruerne and into the Blisworth tunnel, one of longest in Britain at 3076 yards. The route continues to head north to Braunston at the heart of the English canal system. The final part of the trip takes you through Royal Leamington Spa and into Warwick and the bottom of the Hatton flight of 21 locks! Passage through the Blisworth and Braunston tunnels must be booked in advance!

    Click here to view this route

    Detailed Route Instructions Coming Soon
    Grand Union Canal - Hire Boat Route
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    More routes coming soon!

    Navigation Notes

    Lock Restrictions and Stoppages

    There may be occasions when time restrictions or stoppages are put in place to prevent the movement of boats through certain locks in order to conserve or regulate water supplies, or whilst undertaking essential maintenance. We recommend that you check for stoppages or restrictions that could affect your holiday by visiting the Canal & River Trust website.


    Blisworth and Braunston Tunnels

    Widebeam passage through the Blisworth or Braunston tunnels must be pre-booked 48hrs in advance, and is restricted to 8am Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays).
    Because of these restrictions, passage through the Blisworth tunnel is not permitted for guests on a one week cruise, however we will arrange for passage through these tunnels for anybody wishing to travel north of Stoke Bruerne as part of a two week cruise on board Serenity.


    Narrow Waterways

    Cruising routes on Serenity are restricted to the Grand Union Canal (Main Line) only. It is not possible to navigate any of the narrow canals or arms which join the GUC Main Line, this includes the Aylesbury and Wendover arms to the south, and the Northampton arm, Grand Union Leicester Section or Oxford/Stratford canals to the north.

    Canal Lock Repair