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Napton: North Oxford Canal
Boat Availability
Sat 2.30pm - Tues 9.30am  |  Tues 2.30pm - Sat 9.30am

Fri 2.30pm - Mon 9.30am  |  Mon 2.30pm - Fri 9.30am

Ideally situated at the head of the North Oxford Canal, Napton is an ideal base for a large number of interesting routes. The circular route if the Warwickshire Ring is ideal for the more energetic and has the contrasts of beautiful countryside around Warwick, then industry near Birmingham and Spaghetti Junction. Out and back trips of beauty and interest can also be achieved, including Stratford-on-Avon, Oxford, Snarestone, or a visit to the Waterways Museum at Stoke Bruerne, depending on the number of locks you wish to negotiate

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Suggested Routes From Napton
Route A  |  Route B  |  Route C  |  Route D

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106 Miles  |  8 Locks  |  1 Week Cruise  |  6 hours per day
Our Snarestone and return canal boat holiday is an easy route that is great for first timers as it contains only a few locks and runs through rural England. Your journey begins at the head of the Oxford Canal before joining the Grand Union Canal, the longest in the UK, at the busy junction of Braunston.

Braunston village has several sights of interest, including the All Saints Church and Braunston Manor, two beautiful buildings within a tranquil countryside setting. After visiting these, you could take a look at the village’s old windmill before settling down in one of its cosy pubs. Once you have resumed your journey, you will turn up the North Oxford Canal into narrow locks near Rugby at Hillmorton.

Head in to Rugby and you will find statues of the war poet Rupert Brooke, the author Thomas Hughes and the man usually credited with inventing the sport of Rugby Football – William Web Ellis. If you’re a fan of the sport you can visit the Rugby Football Museum. After Rugby you will move on to Hawkesbury, where you’ll find the lock with the smallest lift on the system at only six inches! Finally, you coast down the lock-free and rural Ashby Canal, a very quiet and extremely peaceful journey with few boats to disturb you. The canal was once an important part of the local mining industry, but now exists as a calm cruise area with beautiful views.

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100 Miles  |  95 Locks  |  1 Week Cruise  |  8 hours per day
Choose a week or longer to take a fascinating and energetic trip through the historic towns of Royal Leamington Spa, Warwick and Birmingham, bringing you back via the more relaxing Birmingham and Fazeley and Coventry canals. The Warwickshire Ring involves one hundred miles and ninety-five locks, so you need to be prepared for a strenuous one week holiday, or you can choose to enjoy it over a more relaxed longer break.

You can access the Warwickshire Ring from both our Napton canal boat hire base and Clifton hire base. We recommend cruising the Ring in a clockwise direction so that you get most of the locks behind you during the first half of the week. Your canal boat holiday from Napton starts on the wide locks of the Grand Union Canal or if starting from our Clifton-upon-Dunsmore base, on the Oxford Canal, you will travel south to Braunston before heading west at Napton Junction onto the Grand Union Canal.

Just past Napton Reservoir you’ll hit your first flight of eight locks, the Stockton Locks and then the set of four Bascote Locks. Then it’s the run up north along the wide locks of the Grand Union Canal to the Hatton Flight Good places to stop off and visit include Royal Leamington Spa. Often described as ‘the best bits of London, all in a ten-minute walk’, this beautiful Victorian town has visitor moorings both sides of bridge 40 (and winding holes at both ends of the town if you miss them) and from here you can enjoy an easy walk into the center of town. Cure your gout and rheumatism at the Royal Pump Rooms, stroll around the Jephson Gardens and marvel at the Georgian and Edwardian architecture of the central shopping area.

Just west of Leamington, Warwick is another historic town worth a visit and if you are travelling with children then you must make time for Warwick Castle, a fun attraction that brings history to life in a very dynamic way. Onward to the Hatton Flight, or the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ as it’s known due to it containing twenty-one locks. This area is renowned for it’s varied wildlife, with great views at the top of the flight when you need a rest! You can divert at Kingswood along the South Stratford Canal to Stratford Upon Avon where you can moor opposite the Theatre. The town is one of the UK’s most prominent cultural areas and was the birthplace of the playwright William Shakespeare – it is now home of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

One you reach Birmingham you can explore England’s second largest city and discover a variety of attractions, from shops and bars to art galleries and exhibitions. You can also take in the University, Botanical Gardens or Cadbury World, depending on your area of interest. The Botanical Gardens exhibits fifteen acres of nature and over 7000 plants, whilst Cadbury World is perfect for those with a sweet tooth. You can even play in chocolate rain.

Leaving the city via narrow canals to Fazeley, you return southwards past Coventry. Diversions into Coventry, Stratford Upon Avon, or onto the peaceful Ashby Canal should be considered, but don’t forget to allow extra time for this. In Coventry you can go and see the remains of the 14th century cathedral, which was destroyed during World War II. The Herbert Art Gallery, Midland Air Museum and Coventry Transport Museum are also notable points of interest. If you fancy a more peaceful journey, head instead down the Ashby Canal for a calm cruise with lovely views.

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62 Miles  |  60 Locks  |  1 Week Cruise  |  6 hours per day
Our Stoke Bruerne canal boat holiday begins at the Black Prince Napton Base at the head of the Oxford Canal. This route is ideal for beginners and includes long stretches on the Grand Union Canal, the longest in the country. In this area the locks are around 14 feet wide, which will allow you to share the work with another boat.The start of this trip is lock-free until you get to Braunston Junction, where you reach a hive of activity. This is a busy marina which is usually filled with pleasure boats.

You might enjoy taking the opportunity to have a stroll around the village. Braunston sits quaintly atop a hill above a series of canals. The village has lots of places to relax including various cosy pubs and there are plenty of sights, such as Braunston Manor and the All Saints Church.Cruise onwards to the 3,000-yard Blisworth Tunnel, which was opened in 1805 and is the third-longest navigable canal tunnel in the UK. If you have time, you could visit Northampton and see its stunning 19th century neo-gothic Guild Hall, Northampton Cathedral and the few remains of Northampton Castle.

Finally, you will reach the canal village of Stoke Bruerne. The village houses a Canal Museum located in an old corn mill, telling the story and traditions of canal people. The main attraction is a weighing machine, originally used to calculate boat cargo weight, and one of only three of its kind ever constructed. After visiting the museum you can eat at The Boat Inn, a canal-side public house originally opened in 1877.

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102 Miles  |  78 Locks  |  1 Week Cruise  |  8 hours per day
Hire from Napton and our Oxford canal boat holiday takes you on a relatively busy week down the meandering Oxford Canal, which is one of the oldest in the country and beautifully follows the contours of the land. The journey begins at the popular Napton narrowboat hire base, located at the head of the Oxford Canal.

The only town you’ll pass on your luxury canal boat holiday to Oxford is Banbury, a market town on the lovely River Cherwell. Stop off to see Banbury Cross, which was erected in 1859 in the town centre after Puritans destroyed the crosses that previously adorned the town in 1600, and Tooley’s Boatyard, the oldest continuous working dry dock in Britain. Banbury Museum provides a wealth of information about the Victorian market town and Banbury’s role during the English Civil War. After cruising your narrowboat through Banbury, you will reach a series of wonderfully named villages including Thrupp, Lower Heyford and Shipton-on-Cherwell. Look out for the stone built houses, cosy pubs, ancient churches and village greens.

Thrupp is a hamlet close to the River Cherwell. Its biggest attraction is the remains of a 15th century cross, carved from Jurassic limestone. Lower Heyford is an ancient village recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Shipton-on-Cherwell is a village most noted for the Holy Cross Parish Church, which overlooks the Oxford Canal, and Shipton Manor House, which dates from the 16th or 17th century.

The destination on your canal boat holiday is Oxford, which often feels familiar because it is used as the backdrop for so many films and TV programmes, most famously Inspector More and Harry Potter. The city is small and packed together so the main sites are easy to get around. The world famous University buildings include Christ Church College, Wadham College and Magdalene College. Other interesting sights are the Ashmolean Museum, Carfax Tower, Botanic Gardens – the oldest in Britain – and Sheldonian Theatre. You can even swap boat styles and try a spot of punting in a flat-bottomed boat on the River Cherwell. This trip to Oxford makes for a great canal boat holiday, a lovely mix of laid-back cruising and beautiful scenery.

Napton Base Information

Hotels / Guest Houses
Tarsus Hotel, Daventry Road, Southam, Warks, CV47 1NW
Telephone: 01926 813585
Price Guide: Double rooms from £70 Single rooms from £55 inc breakfast

The Red Lion, Hellidon, Nr Daventry, NN11 6LG.
Telephone: 01327 261200
Price Guide: Double rooms from £55 /  Single Rooms from £45 inc breakfast

Travelodge Regent Hotel, Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 4AT.
Telephone: 0871 984 6239
Price Guide: contact Travelodge directly for prices


Public Transport
Nearest Railway Station: Rugby
www.nationalrail.co.uk Tel: 08457 484950
www.thetrainline.com Tel: 0871 244 1545

Nearest Airport: Birmingham International Tel. 0121 767 5511

Taxi / Minicabs
Curtis Cars: Telephone : 01926 811517
Exec Cars: Telephone : 01926 817878
Cardalls Cars: Telephone : 01926 812145

Example Prices:
A taxi from Rugby station to the base at Napton would be approx. £20
A taxi from Birmingham International Airport to the base at Napton would be approx. £50
A taxi for 4 people from Stanstead or Heathrow Airport to the base at Napton would be approx. £110
(Prices courtesy of Curtis Cars Subject to change)

Car Hire
Hertz Car Hire has depots throughout the UK (including main airports). We have an exclusive agreement with Hertz who will provide reduced rates for all Black Prince customers. Drop-offs, collections and oneways are all available, allowing you to pick up a car at your arrival point and request a car to be waiting at the end of your holiday for onward travel. To book your car visit www.hertz.co.uk or call 0870 844 4844 and quote CDP 69481
Flying into London
From Heathrow airport - get the London underground tube to Euston station.
From Gatwick airport - get the Gatwick Express to London Victoria station, then get a London underground tube to London Euston.
From Stansted airport - get the London underground tube to London Euston.
From Euston - get a train to Rugby station (approx. 10 miles from Napton).
From Paddington - get a train to Leamington Spa station (approx. 9 miles from Napton).
Visit www.tfl.gov.uk to plan your route on the London Underground.

Flying into Birmingham
Get a train to Leamington Spa station (approx. 9 miles from Napton).
How To Find Us (By Car)

Napton is situated 2 miles east of Southam, Warwickshire, midway between Banbury and Coventry.

M1: Exit at Junction 16 onto the A45 to Daventry. Take the A425 towards Leamington and Southam. The entrance to the base is on the right hand side.

M6: Exit at Junction 2 and follow the signs for Coventry East (A46). At Ryton roundabout, follow the signs for Banbury (A423) until you reach Southam. At the second roundabout turn left towards Daventry (A425). The entrance to the base is on the left hand side.

M40 South: Exit at Junction 11 (Banbury) and follow the signs for Southam on the A423.

M40 North: Exit at Junction 12 (Gaydon) and follow the signs for Southam on the B4451. At the second roundabout turn right onto the A425 towards Daventry. The entrance to the base is on the left hand side.


For your groceries there is a large Budgens supermarket in Southam.

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