The Tranquil Rose Cruising Schedule
Cruising Holidays – price per guest
|5 nights||6 nights||7 nights||8 nights||12 nights|
|Premium Single Cabin||£1010||£1190||£1370||£1550||£2270|
Walking Holidays - price per guest
|Premium Single Cabin||£1160|
30th September to 15th October
With a busy schedule organised for 2020, our walking holidays are planned for the Autumn. As usual, the concept is simple; we will provide your accommodation and meals throughout your stay, (mooring at different locations each afternoon), and you will be free to walk as much or little as you would like, safe in the knowledge that you are never too far away from somewhere to rest and put your feet up. If you stay to the towpath the mileage will be as indicated, but there are plenty of detours you can take to extend the distance if you are a hardier walker, just ask the crew who will be pleased to offer suggested changes to your route.
Your day will start with a continental or cooked breakfast, whilst we prepare a pack lunch for your departure around 10am (after confirming our afternoon mooring location of course!) We have maps and guides to help you plan your day, but if you change your mind, just ring and we will arrange to meet you mid walk at a convenient location. Following your day’s exertions, a hot shower, freshly prepared three course evening meal, and large saloon with a warming stove and a fully licenced bar will help you recharge your batteries for the following day.
Walking Holiday, Cruise No.21, Teddington to Reading
Wednesday 30th September to Wednesday 7th October – 7 nights, 8 to 12 miles per day
This cruise is ideal for those who would like to walk a good section of the Thames Path in one holiday, and takes us from Teddington to Reading, roughly a third of the path’s total length. During this trip, most of our daily walks will be between 8 to 12 miles, although there may be one longer and one shorter day. This will enable us to moor for the evening at places such as Runnymede, Windsor, Marlow and Henley, allowing for a little site seeing along the way. If all our guests agreed, we could also allow ½ day for sightseeing at one of the many historic landmarks along this section of the Thames. Our journey upstream takes us almost immediately past the imposing Hampton Court, with further royal connections to be seen at Runnymede and Windsor. All along this route we will pass a variety of waterside homes, the majority (from my point of view) being out of reach but it’s great fun to look and see “how the other half live”! After a night in Windsor, our walk continues past Cookham, Marlow, Henley and Sonning, hopefully resplendent in Autumn colours, before we reach our destination at Reading.
Walking Holiday, Cruise No.22, Reading to Teddington
Thursday 8th to Thursday 15th October - 7 nights, 8 to 12 miles per day
Stating the obvious perhaps, but this is the reverse of cruise no.21 and finishes at the lower end of the non- tidal River Thames at Teddington. As with the previous holiday, most of our daily walks will be between 8 to 12 miles, although again there may be one longer and one shorter day. We will be mooring for the evening at locations including Henley, Cookham, Windsor and Hampton Court and if all our guests agree, we can allow ½ day for sightseeing at one of the many historic landmarks on this section of the Thames. Your walk will take you through or past Sonning, Marlow, Maidenhead and Cliveden Reach, which will be full of autumnal colour at this time of year. Passing Windsor, which needs little introduction, we continue towards Runnymede and Staines. Our penultimate evenings mooring will be at Hampton Court which will allow a few hours exploring the area before a short walk to our final mooring at Teddington.
17th April to 9th September
Cruise No.1, Pyrford to Weybridge via the Basingstoke Canal
Wednesday 15th to Wednesday 22nd April - 7 nights, 35 miles, 62 locks
Wey Navigation and Basingstoke Canal
This holiday has quickly become a favourite with our guests and on this occasion, we are visiting the canal during Spring. This often-forgotten canal opened in 1794 and passes through a variety of countryside; often wooded, sometimes open meadows, but always full of nature which can be a surprise when you consider how close we are to suburbia for much of the time. With 62 locks there is plenty of time to learn the dark art of lock wheeling and if you fancy a little exercise on your holiday – just ask a crew member, I am sure they will be happy to accept your help! There will be plenty of opportunities to wander along the towpath during the day and to explore the beautiful parkland in the afternoons after we reach our evenings moorings.
Cruise No.3, Reading to Goring via Oxford
24th April to 1st May - 7 nights, 65 miles, 23 locks
This gentle cruise features the middle Thames and is always popular with guests. On leaving our mooring in Reading we head west through Mapledurham and Pangbourne, and impressive riverside properties come thick and fast. Continuing upstream we pass through Wallingford, Shillingford and Abingdon to arrive at Oxford. We hope to moor for half a day so that you can get a glimpse of this famous university town. Retracing our steps, we head back downstream, stopping at Abingdon to visit this busy ancient market town with its Market Place museum, early 19th century goal, St Helens church and the Long Alley Almshouses built in 1446. We continue back downstream through open countryside, and if the mooring gods are with us, we will stop for the night in Saxon and Medieval Wallingford, with its 17-arch bridge (possibly built as early as 1141), town hall and Norman castle remains – all well worth a visit if we manage to moor for the night. Our cruise finishes around lunchtime the following day at Goring when you are free to explore the small village and its neighbour Streatley, on the other side of the river.
Cruise No.2, Weybridge to London/Limehouse
Thursday 23rd to Wednesday 29th April - 6 nights, 43 miles, 27 locks, 2 tunnels
River Thames, Grand Union and Regents Canals
This cruise offers a great contrast between the beautiful open views along the Thames, the surprisingly green approaches into London, and the busy city views of the Regents Canal. Starting at Weybridge we travel downstream to our first stop at Hampton Court. After passing through Teddington Lock onto the tidal river, we pass through Richmond and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, where we leave the river via the junction with the Grand Union Canal at Brentford. Here we lock up into the canal basin and make our way via the Hanwell Locks to Bulls Bridge Junction where we turn onto the Paddington Arm of the canal and wind our way past Norwood and Kensal Green to arrive at our evenings mooring, the tranquil basin known as Browning’s Pool or Little Venice. From Little Venice we pass through Regent’s Park and London Zoo, and catch a glimpse of the bustling activity at Camden Lock, before overnighting at Battlebridge Basin in Kings Cross. An early start sees us passing through the 877 meter Islington Tunnel as we continue through East London, past Victoria Park and the entrance to the Hertford Union Canal, to reach our destination at the Limehouse Basin.
Cruise No.3, London/Limehouse to Roydon Marina
Thursday 30th April to Thursday 7th May – 7 nights, 50 miles, 42 locks
Regents Canal and Lee Navigation
This cruise starts from the heart of London in Limehouse Basin. This basin was once Britain’s gateway to the canal system from the River Thames and is a great place to explore before joining the cruise. Our journey out of London takes us along the Limehouse Cut to the River Lee at Bow Locks and continues past Three Mills with a detour around Bow Backwaters and the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park (the site of the 2012 Olympics). The navigation continues through the 10,000 acres of the Lee Valley Regional Park with its many reservoirs supplying 15% of London’s water, through Enfield, Waltham Abbey and Broxbourne before reaching the entrance to the River Stort. We will travel up this delightful river, as far as Sawbridgeworth where we will turn back to the junction with the River Lee and our destination at Roydon Marina.
Cruise No.4, Roydon Marina to Rickmansworth
Friday 8th to Friday 15th May – 7 nights, 51 miles, 36 locks
Lee Navigation, Regents and Grand Union Canals
This cruise takes us on the surprisingly pretty stretches of the Lee Navigation, through the heart of London and out to the west where we join the Grand Union to our final destination at Rickmansworth. Starting at Roydon Marina on the River Stort, we soon join the River Lea and cruise down the Lee Navigation past Broxbourne, Waltham Abbey and the many pretty reservoirs supplying 15% of London’s water. We will stop for the night at Limehouse Basin beside the River Thames before joining the Regent’s canal to cross London, through Islington, Kings Cross, Camden and Regent’s Park to an overnight mooring in Little Venice. On the way we hope to stop at the London Canal Museum and Camden Market, and pass “blow up bridge” with its interesting but unfortunate history. We continue on our way to meet the Grand Union Canal at Bulls Bridge before turning northwards, passing Cowley Peachey, Denham Deep and Black Jacks locks to finally finish at Rickmansworth.
Cruise No.5, Rickmansworth to Stoke Bruerne
Monday 18th to Monday 25th May - 7 nights, 52 miles, 69 locks, 1 aqueduct
Grand Union Canal
This cruise contains all the aspects of the Grand Union Canal, clearly showing the importance of this last bastion of canal transport between London and the Midlands. We pass many reminders of the importance of this link, not least its last-ditch attempt to expand in the early ‘30’s and its importance in both World Wars. We start with the ascent to Watford and the beautiful wooded Cassiobury Park, with its ornate bridge and (hopefully) kingfishers. Continuing through Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted (Hemel and Berko to the working boatmen) we climb gently towards the summit of the canal at the intregingly named Cowroast Lock. Next follows the deeply wooded Tring cutting which is a masterpiece of engineering and a place of tranquillity, and once more, kingfishers. After passing Bulbourne, we start the long gradual descent of the Chiltern foothills, down the curling flight of locks at Marsworth. There follow many miles of open countryside as well as the old town of Leighton Buzzard, new town of Milton Keynes, and industrial railway town of Wolverton. A long lockless section takes us to Cosgrove and the Great Ouse Aqueduct, and finally, after a couple of miles meandering through the countryside, we arrive at the Stoke Bruerne flight and our destination at the village of Stoke Bruerne, home of the famous Canal Museum.
Cruise No.6, Stoke Bruerne to Warwick
Tuesday 26th to Sunday 31st May - 5 nights, 55 miles, 55 locks, 2 tunnels, 2 aqueducts
Grand Union Canal
This cruise will take us as far north as we can travel in Tranquil Rose. Initially we motor south through Cosgrove, and over the Great Ouse Aqueduct (known as the “Iron Trunk”) where we will turn and moor for the night. From Cosgrove we will return to Stoke Bruerne and stop for half a day to allow a visit to the excellent Canal Museum. An 8am start will see us travel through the 2,813 metre Blisworth Tunnel and then on towards Braunston via lovely open countryside, the large embankment high above Weedon and the 7 lock Buckby Flight running close to the motorway and railway line (as all modes of transport squeeze together through the infamous Watford Gap). The following day sees another early start as we travel through the 1,867 metre Braunston Tunnel and down the 6 lock Braunston Flight into Braunston. Continuing on the Grand Union canal, we turn towards Warwick and Birmingham. We descend Calcutt locks and then those at Stockton. This section of canal was rebuilt in the 1930s, so it is relatively modern, but still very pretty. The staircase locks at Bascote enable us to pass under two historic roads - the drovers’ Welsh Road and the Romans’ Fosse Way, before we arrive in Royal Leamington Spa. From here it is just a short cruise to Warwick.
Cruise No.7, Warwick to Marsworth
Monday 1st to Monday 8th June – 7 nights, 70 miles, 63 locks, 2 tunnels, 3 aqueducts
Grand Union Canal
From our start in Warwick, we cross the River Avon and skirt Royal Leamington Spa towards the locks at Stockton and Calcutt. At Napton Junction we join the Oxford Canal for a short stretch, re-joining the Grand Union at Braunston, with its village situated on a hill above the canal and well worth a visit. An early start finds us entering the Braunston tunnel, which has a wicked kink part way through – hold on tight! The summit pound is at first tree-lined, then opens out to rolling countryside before we reach the Buckby flight of seven locks and descend towards Weedon with its Napoleonic barracks, Blissworth village, and the long cutting to the Blisworth Tunnel. A second early start takes us through the Blissworth tunnel (straight as a die but it often leaks!) and on to Stoke Bruerne. Continuing south and east through Cosgrove we reach the outskirts of Milton Keynes. Whatever your perceptions of Milton Keynes, you may be surprised how pretty the cut is as we travel through mature parks and woodland and around the Medieval Village of Great Linford. If you do not mind leaving the boat for a few hours, the Code Breaking Museum at Bletchley Park would be an interesting visit. We leave Milton Keynes and head south through Leighton Buzzard to our final destination, the delightful village of Marsworth.
Cruise No.8, Marsworth to London/Kings Cross
Tuesday 9th to Tuesday 16th June – 7 nights, 50 miles, 55 locks
Grand Union and Regents Canals
This cruise starts from the pretty village of Marsworth, just north of Tring. The first half of this cruise is a lock wheelers paradise. We immediately jump in at the deep end with the 7 lock Marsworth Flight to the Tring Summit, where we begin our decent into London via the wonderfully named Cowroast Lock. The locks come thick and fast as we descend through Berkhamsted with its castle remains and pretty high street. Within a few miles we travel through Hemel Hempstead and south under the M25 to Cassiobury Park and Rickmansworth. Below Rickmansworth we pass through Black Jacks, Denham Deep, Uxbridge and finally Cowley locks where we begin a 19 mile lock free pound. At Bulls Bridge we turn off the main line onto the Paddington Arm and begin our journey into the heart of London via Little Venice. We are now nearing our final destination, but there is still time to pass Regents Park Zoo and Camden Lock before arriving at the excellent London Canal Museum in Battlebridge Basin, Kings Cross.
Cruise No.9, London/Kings Cross to Guildford
Wednesday 17th to Wednesday 24th June – 7 nights, 51 miles, 29 locks
Regents and Grand Union Canals, River Thames and Wey Navigations
The Kings Cross area has been wonderfully redeveloped in recent years and is well worth a visit (as is the London Canal Museum) before joining us at 5pm. We start our journey heading west along the Regent’s Canal, past many converted warehouses, new-build apartments and listed Victorian properties. Our journey out of London takes us through Camden, Little Venice and Kensal Green, to the Bulls Bridge Junction, where we join the main line of the Grand Union Canal and descend via Hanwell Locks to join the River Thames at Brentford. Traveling upstream we pass Richmond, Hampton Court and Sunbury before reaching Weybridge and the junction with the Wey Navigation. From the rush and bustle of London and the mighty Thames, everything suddenly calms down. Joining the navigation, we pass the grand houses and ‘back gardens’ of Weybridge and travel upstream past Coxes Mill towards Pyrford. We are now cruising through lovely open countryside past the unusual turf sided lock at Walsham Gates, the deserted priory at Newark, and Papercourt Lock, perhaps one of the best locks on the navigation. Finally, we will arrive at the busy market town of Guildford, and moor at Dapdune Wharf, once a bustling wharf and now a visitor centre for the National Trust.
Cruise No.10, Guildford to Reading
Thursday 25th June to Wednesday 1st July – 6 nights, 59 miles, 31 locks
Wey Navigations and River Thames
This cruise features the Wey Navigation, a little-travelled jewel of a waterway, which is in the ownership of the National Trust. Despite its closeness to London, this is a picturesque and rural waterway that should be on everyone’s canal bucket list. Leaving Dapdune Wharf we travel downstream through flood meadows and open countryside and pass the pretty locks of Bowers, Triggs and Papercourt, before reaching Newark Lock where the remains of the priory can be seen in the distance. Passing through Walsham Gates, a rare turf sided lock, we enter the last 5 miles of cut before re-joining the Wey and locking down onto the River Thames at Weybridge. The second part of our journey reads like a list of ‘must see’ locations on the ‘Royal River’; Runnemede - the sight of the signing of the Magna Carta, Windsor - with its castle, Maidenhead and the picturesque Cliveden Reach, Cookham - home of the Stanley Spencer Art Gallery, Marlow and its fine suspension bridge, Hurley, Henley, Sonning …… and on it goes until our final destination of Reading. We may not be able to stop at all of these locations, but fingers crossed we can moor at many of them at the end of each day.
Cruise No.11, Reading to Devizes
Thursday 2nd to Thursday 9th July - 7 nights, 54 miles, 58 locks, 1 tunnel
Kennet & Avon Canal
This is a gentle cruise along some of the finer sections of the Kennet & Avon Canal, featuring the River Kennet as well as the winding and lockless long pound through to Devizes. Leaving our mooring on the Thames we immediately enter Reading with its unusual traffic light-controlled town centre section. Beyond Reading we pass through water meadows and continue through to Aldermaston, Woolhampton (often a bit of an adventure!) to arrive at the market town of Newbury. Still surrounded by open countryside we pass Hungerford and Great Bedwyn on our way towards the Crofton flight of locks, with its restored steam pumping house. This was built between 1807-09 and was used to supply water to the summit of the canal. The top lock of the Crofton Flight announces our arrival at the summit and the 459 meter Savernake tunnel, after which we start our decent through a flight of locks to the charming village of Wootton Rivers. Onwards past Pewsey Wharf, we meander along a 13mile lock free pound past isolated hamlets such as the quaintly-named Honey Street, (with its pub the Barge Inn, home to the intriguing phenomenon of crop circles) before reaching our final moorings in the market town of Devizes.
Cruise No.12, Devizes to Bristol
Friday 10th to Friday 17th July - 7 nights, 36 miles, 50 locks, 2 aqueducts
Kennet & Avon Canal and River Avon
This leisurely cruise takes in the Kennet & Avon Canal as well as the River Avon, with plenty of opportunities to explore the local towns and countryside our way. We start the cruise with a rush as we descend the Caen Hill flight of 29 locks, an energetic start to the week for our crew. If you would like to lend a hand, just ask, the more the merrier! After working our way down the locks, this first day’s cruise finishes at moorings in the garden of the Barge Inn, Seend, for a well-earned pint! We continue through relaxing landscapes to Bradford on Avon with its huge old tithe barn and interesting local shops. The scenery just gets better and better as we cruise through the Avon Valley where the canal clings to the sides of the hill, twice crossing the river on stone aqueducts at Avoncliff and Dundas. We approach Bath through the charming Sydney Gardens and catch glimpses of the magnificent crescents of grand houses, all constructed from the local sandstone. From Bath we descend a flight of six locks to join the picturesque River Avon (keep your eyes open for Kingfishers) and on to the Floating Harbour at Bristol, where time is available to wander and perhaps visit Brunel’s SS Great Britain, harbour side cafes or the Clifton Suspension Bridge before you depart.
Cruise No.13, Bristol to Reading
Friday 24th July to Wednesday 5th August – 12 nights, 90 miles, 108 locks, 1 tunnel, 2 aqueducts
River Avon and Kennet & Avon Canal
This is a new cruise for our schedule as it gives an opportunity to travel the complete length of the Kennet & Avon Canal and River Avon from the heart of Bristol to Reading, on the River Thames. If you have not visited Bristol before, take this opportunity to arrive early and enjoy the many delights of this famous city, including Brunel’s iron steamship, the SS Great Britain. After our initial cruise through Bristol’s floating harbour we sample the pleasures of the River Avon, (most of it set in an impressively wooded valley), before arriving in Bath. At this point we join the Kennet & Avon Canal, and continue to cruise along the Avon valley. The scenery is amazing as the canal clings to the side of the valley, crossing it on stone aqueducts at Dundas and Avoncliff. Bradford on Avon follows, with a little time to visit its huge old tithe barn and wonderful local shops. We will journey on through isolated locks and rolling countryside past Semington and Seend, and then prepare for the incredible Caen Hill flight up to Devizes. It’s all hands to the pumps (or windlasses) as we tackle the 29 locks to the summit and moor for a well-earned pint. Leaving Devizes, we begin 13 lock free miles, meandering our way to Wootton Rivers before the final three locks to the summit of the K&A at the 459 meter Bruce Tunnel. Descending the Crofton flight with its massive pumping house, we continue “downhill” through Great and Little Bedwyn to the town of Hungerford, famous for its antique shops. Beyond Hungerford we are immediately in open countryside as the canal takes us past Kintbury, through parkland to the market town of Newbury. From here we are back in open countryside again, past Thatcham and then Monkey Marsh Lock, one of the last turf sided locks on the K&A and listed as an Ancient Monument by English Heritage. Continuing eastwards, we pass Aldermaston, through wooded fields and join the winding River Kennet for our final descent into Reading.
Cruise No.14, Reading to Goring via Oxford
Thursday 6th to Thursday 13th August - 7 nights, 65 miles, 23 locks
This gentle cruise features the middle Thames and is always popular with guests. On leaving our mooring in Reading we head west through Mapledurham and Pangbourne, with impressive riverside properties coming thick and fast. Continuing upstream we pass through Wallingford, Shillingford and Abingdon to arrive at Oxford. We hope to moor for half a day so that you can get a glimpse of this famous university town. Retracing our steps, we head back downstream, stopping at Abingdon to visit this busy ancient market town with its Market Place museum, early 19th century goal, St Helens church and the Long Alley Almshouses built in 1446. We now turn back downstream through the open countryside, and if the mooring gods are with us, we will stop for the night in Saxon and Medieval Wallingford, with its 17-arch bridge (possibly built as early as 1141), town hall and Norman castle remains – all well worth a visit if we manage to find that illusive mooring. Our cruise finishes around lunchtime on the following day at Goring when you will have the opportunity to explore the small village and its neighbour Streatley, on the other side of the river, before our last night on board.
Cruise No.15, Goring to Windsor
Friday 14th to Friday 21st August - 7 nights, 39 miles, 15 locks
This is a slow and leisurely cruise on the River Thames that allows plenty of opportunities to explore the towns along the way. Starting from Goring, we travel downstream on one of the most scenic stretches of the river. Passing by Pangbourne and Mapledurham we approach Caversham Bridge and the outskirts of Reading, and the junction with the Kennet & Avon Canal. Our day finishes at the delightful village of Sonning where we will moor for the evening. A short journey the following morning brings us to Henley, with its River and Rowing Museum and many interesting historic buildings. Continuing down river, we pass through Hurley and Temple Locks and on to Marlow with its fine suspension bridge and large curved weir. Three miles below Marlow we arrive at Cookham, a pretty village with its Norman church built in 1140, and the Stanley Spencer Art Gallery. Cookham is a very popular mooring, but we will try to moor within walking distance of the village. With our cruise coming to an end, we will pass down the scenic Cliveden Reach, and iconic Boulters Lock in Maidenhead before making our way to Windsor and our mooring close to the historic Castle.
Cruise No.16, Windsor to London/Little Venice
Saturday 22nd to Saturday 29th August – 7 nights, 75 miles, 32 locks
River Thames, Grand Union Canal and Paddington Arm
This cruise includes a wonderful contrast between the beautiful open views along the Thames and the surprising green approaches into London. We start by travelling upstream from Windsor to pass through Boulter’s Lock, which is still recognisable from the many Victorian photographs of Edwardian bank holiday excursions on the Thames. This is followed by the lovely Cliveden Reach, with its lofty tree-lined banks. At Cookham, you may have time to visit the great little Stanley Spencer art gallery. We travel on to the handsome Georgian town of Marlow, where we turn Tranquil Rose to head back downstream. Returning back through Windsor and passing the large Royal Home Park we arrive at Runnymede, and the site of the signing of the Magna Carta. Continuing on, and passing Shepperton, we arrive at Hampton Court, where the Royal Palace and gardens are worth a visit. Downstream from here we pass through Teddington Lock onto the tidal river and start to approach the outskirts of London through Richmond. As we pass the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, we look for the junction with the Grand Union Canal at Brentford. Here we lock up into the canal basin and make our way via the Hanwell flight of locks to Bulls Bridge Junction. Next, we turn onto the Paddington arm of the GU and wind our way past Norwood and Kensal Green to arrive at our destination, the tranquil basin at Paddington - known as Little Venice.
Cruise No.17, Little Venice to Marsworth
Sunday 30th August to Sunday 6th September – 7 nights, 46 miles, 52 locks
Paddington Arm and Grand Union Canal
This cruise takes in the lower section of the Grand Union Canal with constant reminders of the last days of working boats on the canals between London and Birmingham. Leaving Little Venice, we soon reach the junction at Bulls Bridge, once the main layby for working boats awaiting orders from the Thames at Brentford or Limehouse, to be taken to the Midlands. At this point we join the main line of the GU, travelling northwards as we start to climb up the Colne valley and the Chilterns Hills. After reaching Uxbridge Lock with its turnover bridge we begin to leave the outer suburbs of London. Continuing up the Colne Valley we pass Denham Deep, Black Jacks, and Copper Mill locks before reaching Rickmansworth. After passing through the beautifully wooded Cassiobury Park, with its ornate bridge and (hopefully) kingfishers, a multitude of locks follow through Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted (Hemel and Berko to the working boatmen), before we reach and the summit of the canal at the quaintly-named Cowroast Lock. At Bulbourne, we may take a detour to visit the Wendover Arm for the evening before descending the curling flight of locks at Marsworth, and our final mooring.
Cruise No.18, Marsworth to Stoke Bruerne
Sunday 6th to Friday 11th September – 5 nights, 34 miles, 24 locks
Grand Union Canal
If you arrive early for this cruise your time would be well spent exploring around the Marsworth Reservoir which sits beside the flight of locks and feeds water back into the summit level. Marsworth village is also worth a visit, perhaps rounded off with a pint or glass of wine in the delightful Red Lion, close to the canal. This trip mainly takes us through open countryside, with a day spent traveling around the outskirts of Milton Keynes. Its over 50 years since this ‘New Town’ was born, and in those intervening years the canal sides have transformed into a green corridor and you would hardly know the town was there. Whilst in the area and if you have an interest in Bletchley Park, the home to the WW2 codebreakers, this would be a great opportunity to spend a few hours exploring this historical location. As we leave Milton Keynes, we pass the old villages of Simpson and Great Linford and the old railway town of Wolverton before reaching Cosgrove, which is a delightful place with its secret horse tunnel under the canal and ornate Solomon’s bridge. Finally, we will ascend a flight of locks to reach the canal village and museum of Stoke Bruerne.
Cruise No.19, Stoke Bruerne to Hemel Hempstead/Winkwell
Monday 14th to Sunday 20th September – 6 nights, 43 miles, 47 locks, 1 aqueduct
Grand Union Canal
For those of you who enjoy your canal history this trip is a must, as it features the Grand Union Canal, the last viable canal of the short canal age. To start your holiday, you may like to arrive early and visit the excellent museum at Stoke Bruerne and spend a couple of hours wondering around the exhibits. Leaving Stoke Bruerne we descend a short flight of locks before travelling through peaceful and open countryside past Cosgrove with its amazing iron trunk aqueduct, to Milton Keynes (which is perhaps surprisingly rural). From here we commence a gradual climb up the northern slopes of the Chiltern Hills via Soulbury, Leighton Buzzard and the Marsworth flight of locks. If you care to walk up this flight you will see the huge reservoirs feeding the Grand Union Canal as well as the junctions with the Aylesbury and Wendover Arms, before we reach the summit at Bulbourne. The heavily wooded Tring cutting takes us to the curiously-named Cowroast lock, and here we commence our descent through Berkhamsted to our final moorings at Winkwell.
Cruise No.20, Hemel Hempstead/Winkwell to Teddington via London
Monday 21st to Tuesday 29th September – 8 nights, 69 miles, 51 locks
Grand Union Canal, Paddington Arm, Regents Canal and River Thames
Easy to access, Winkwell is situated 5 minutes from Hemel Hempstead Station and consists of a dozen or so cottages and the Three Horseshoes, a great pub beside the canal. If you arrive early, it should be easy to find the crew! If you are feeling energetic, this cruise gives our guests an excellent opportunity to learn the dark art of ‘lock wheeling’ with locks coming thick and fast. Of course, you can just sit back in the well deck and take in the views with a cuppa instead. The first lock arrives within 400 mtrs of our departure as we travel ‘downhill’ through Hemel Hempstead and out into the countryside towards the wooded Cassiobury Park where we will moor on the first evening. We continue down the Colne Valley through Rickmansworth, with locks at Copper Mill, Black Jacks, Denham Deep (the clue is in the name), Uxbridge and Cowley, before arriving at Bulls Bridge, once the main layby for working boats awaiting orders from Brentford or Limehouse to be taken to the Midlands. From Bulls Bridge we take the Paddington Arm into London to visit Little Venice, Camden Lock and Kings Cross where we will moor outside the London Canal Museum for the night. After an early start we will leave London and travel back to Bulls Bridge where we re-join the main line of the GU to descend the Hanwell flight of eight locks to join the River Thames at Brentford and finish our cruise with a short journey up the tidal Thames to Teddington.