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You can do this route from :
Sawley Marina

This Trent & mersey canal cruise can be done over three days, or more leisurely over four days with plenty of time to go and explore the area along the route.

Burton on Trent is home to the National Brewery Centre which has an excellent Visitors centre. Along the way there are numerous pretty villages and Canalside Pubs.

Route Info

Route Facts & Figures

Recommended Holiday
Duration : 3 nights.

Total Cruising Days : 4.00
(Partial or full days)

Total Cruising Time : 14.00 hours

Total Distance : 34.00 miles

Number of Locks : 14

Number of Tunnels : 0

Number of Aqueducts : 0

Read the Cruising Notes

Read our cruising notes to help you plan your canal boat holiday

Read our cruising notes.


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Cruising Notes

Day 1

Leaving the marina, you will first be heading towards Derwent Mouth Lock, the first lock on your cruise. This is where the Trent and Mersey canal meets the River Trent.

Within an hour or so of departure, you arrive at Shardlow. This is an attractive canal village with a restaurant and a number of Canalside Pubs, including the Navigation Inn by Bridge 3,
a haunted pub with moorings. Also near the Canal is the Old Crown .

This is a good place for the first night’s mooring. There is a Heritage Centre where you can gain an insight to canal life from the early 18th century, near Shardlow Lock, as you leave the village. If you feel like a stroll around the village then try the village trail.

Everywhere, there are examples of large-scale canal architecture. By the Shardlow lock is the biggest and best of these buildings- the 18th century Trent Mill, now the Clock Warehouse, an attractive eating and drinking establishment.

There are local stores, post office, etc in the village.

Day 2

A little further along the canal, and past Hicken's Bridge, you will reach Aston Lock No. 3,

Leaving Aston Lock, you will head towards Weston-upon-Trent, en route to Swarkestone. Weston-upon-Trent village is near Weston Lock, the bottom gates of which are short, but extremely wide. In the village, there are a couple of pubs with restaurants.

Away to your left, you may just catch sight of Donington Park, where numerous motor racing and motorbike racing events take place, including the MotoGP.

If you want to moor up along here, it is a pleasant walk down the lane, opposite King's Mills. There is a lov There is a lovely view of the Trent valley, and on the hill you will see the church and rectory. There is a pub here in the main street – The Old Plough Inn – where children are welcome.

The canal now wends its way through Cliff Wood, towards Swarkestone Lock, where there is a short arm to the right, which used to be the Derby canal, but is now disused. There is an old toll house at this junction, which is now the HQ of Swarkestone Boat Club. The lock here is very deep – 11ft – so extra care must be taken.

Swarkestone has, as its main feature, an C18th five-arch stone bridge spanning the main channel of the River Trent.
The Crew & Harpur Arms at Swarkstone is near the river bridge, The Ragley Boat Stop Pub is a large pub 300yds west of Bridge 17

A little further on is Barrow-upon-Trent, to your left, a small village set back from the canal. There is a lane from the church which leads down to the canal, and a row of old workmen's cottages.

There is a good pub alongside the Stenson Lock & Marina, about hour before you get to Willington, ‘The Bubble Inn’ . Moor up at bridge 19 for a pub full of character, it even has a ghost of an old lock keeper!!!

The next main village is Willington, about 5 hours cruising from Shardlow. This has an open village green area and pubs, shops and a Post Office. The Green Dragon is a popular & welcoming pub with low beams & moorings
There are more pubs here – The Rising Sun and The Green Dragon – again, where children are welcome. A local store and post office can also be found here.

Egginton is the next quiet little village along the canal. There is a pretty church here, but no shops or pubs. Ideal if you just want a quiet walk.

Along this stretch of canal there are a series of small aqueducts, leading into the suburbs of Burton-upon-Trent, via Stretton and Horninglow, where you can moor at Horninglow Basin for fish and chips.

As you approach Burton-on-Trent, you will notice that many of the old canalside buildings have been demolished, but it has all been tidied up and makes for pleasant cruising towards the town, especially with the aroma of malt and hops from the local brewery.

The canal doesn't actually go through the centre of the town, but along one side of it, so you might like to moor up and have a stroll into the town.

As you might expect from a brewery town, the National Brewery centre is based here and has a visitor centre open to visitors and a Museum of Brewing.
Brewing originated here at Burton Abbey when monks in the C13th discovered that because of the high gypsum content of the town's water, they could brew an excellent beer!

There are many pubs and restaurants in Burton-on-Trent, serving real ale and good food, for example: The Navigation Inn, The Loaf and Cheese and The Blacksmith's Arms, to name just three, where children are welcome.
It is 6 hours from Shardlow to here.
Moor near Horninglow Basin as you can turn here.

Day 3
Day 4
It is 7 hours back to Sawley marina

Leave your mooring today to make the return journey.


NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.


The following boats operate on this route (subject to availability)

Maps and Guides

Pub Guide

Sorry, we have no pub guide for this route currently.


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The information above is provided in good faith to assist you with planning your canal boat holiday. Information accuracy cannot be guaranteed, however, if you do see something that needs updating, please don't hesitate to contact us.