Starting from the small boating centre of Aldermaston Wharf, cruise west to the picturesque market town of Newbury. There are some nice pubs at the canalside village of Kintbury before arriving at Hungerford, stop off and visit the numerous antique shops and admire the charming canalscape. Then it’s on to Great Bedwyn and Crofton Pump Station, home to the world’s oldest working beam engine.
Don’t miss the historic conservation village at Wootton Rivers on your way to the traditional village of Pewsey with its beautiful thatched cottages.
A short cruise takes you to Reading, with its host of facilities where you join the Thames and cruise downstream through the rowing town of Henley, the charming town of Marlow, where Shelley and T.S. Eliot once lived, and Cookham, home to the Stanley Spencer art gallery.
Moor up at Taplow for a visit to Cliveden House and, if your budget is up to it, at Bray, where you could enjoy a fine meal at either Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck or the Roux brothers’ Waterside Inn.Visit Eton College before arriving at the royal town of Windsor, famous for its castle, and nearby Legoland
If you have more time to explore into London then this route will take you down onto the River Thames, past Henley, Marlow, Hampton Court Bridge, Tedington, then onto the Grand Union Canal up to Little Venice, London Zoo and Camden Market.
At Henley you could visit The River and Rowing Museum. You will pass Runnymede near Egham which is notable for it’s association with the Magna Carta and current collection of memorials. At Staines there is Thorpe Park.
Cruise almost the entire length of the beautiful Kennet and Avon Canal going west from Padworth via the picturesque market town of Newbury and then on to Hungerford.
The historic conservation village of Wootton Rivers is well worth a visit before you reach Devizes, with its amazing flight of locks at Caen Hill. Bradford-on-Avon is a pretty market town with a 14th century tithe barn, which lies a few miles from highlight of your cruise – the graceful Georgian city of Bath, which boasts a host of good restaurants and some great shopping.
If travelling East, and not wanting to stop for lunch, then you should be able to get to Garston Lock no 102 and back in one day. This takes about 7 and a half hours in total, with 12 locks and 12 moveable bridges.
If travelling East and wanting to stop somewhere for lunch, then we suggest you can travel to the winding hole just below Tyle Mill Lock no 99 where it is possible to moor and walk less than 10 minutes to The Spring Inn for lunch.
The journey time to this point and back is a little over 4 hours (with 6 locks and 8 moveable bridges). If you would prefer not to stop for very long (no more than about an hour and a half) then you could even continue on to Sulhamstead Lock and turn after there instead. This journey would take 5 hours and a half hours in total with 8 locks and 10 bridges
If you are not wanting to stop anywhere for lunch, then travelling West, may be a better option for you. Heading out towards Thatcham, you will carry on the Monkey Marsh Lock no 90, which is possible in 6 and a half hours, with 10 locks and 6 moveable bridges.