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You can do this route from :
Sawley Marina

Visit the final resting place of Richard III who died in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth.

In the City of Leicester there are secure moorings at Castle Gardens . The city centre is remarkably compact with everything surprisingly close to these moorings.
Leicester is an exciting cosmopolitan city with a proud history stretching back 2000 years, and is now the final resting place of Richard III so be sure to go to the Visitor Centre.

Leicester is brimming with things to see and do, with state-of-the-art, award-winning venues including Curve, Highcross Shopping Centre and the National Space Centre, renowned museums and galleries, a range of cuisines, areas of natural beauty and ancient heritage.

A modern city, rich in arts, culture, sports and heritage, Leicester offers something of interest for all ages.

Set in the heart of one of England's most attractive counties and on the way back visit the UKs only mainline Heritage Railway in Loughborough. It’s the only place in the world where full size steam engines can be seen passing each other – just as it was when steam ruled the rails

Route Info

Route Facts & Figures

Recommended Holiday
Duration : 7 nights.

Total Cruising Days : 5.00 to 8.00
(Partial or full days)

Total Cruising Time : 25.00 hours

Total Distance : 52.00 miles

Number of Locks : 38

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.


Download the Cruising Notes

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Download our cruising notes.





Cruising Notes

Day 1

From Sawley marina turn right towards Nottingham.
It takes less than 2 hours to get to Trent Lock, where the River Trent meets the River Soar and the Erewash canal.
The Trent Lock Inn with moorings and Steamboat Inn are located canalside, as are the Lockhouse tearooms, and this is a good place to moor.

Day 2

At the very busy Trent Lock, go South on the River Soar. Cruising may be restricted in times of flooding.
Boaters are reminded that this is basically a River & navigation is liable to flooding in wet weather. There are red flood warning lights along the River Soar. Boats negotiating the junction of the rivers Soar & Trent should keep well away from Thrumpton Weir, which is just downstream of the big iron railway bridge.

The River is a tributary of the River Trent & is about 40 miles long and it meanders down to Loughborough , with a few villages & pubs on the way.

You will soon reach Loughborough, and the Loughborough Navigation becomes the Leicester navigation, and the start of the Grand Union canal.
The canal circles Loughborough to a T Junction. You can moor near Loughbrough Wharf, or moor just past Bridge 36, or before Bridge 38.
Loughborough has all the usual services for a busy town.

The Bell Foundry museum is south of bridge 38.

The museum at John Taylor & Co, tells the story of the Bellfoundry going right back to its links with bellfounding in the 13th Century. An extensive range of exhibits and memorabilia tells the story of one of the oldest manufacturing industries in the world.

Charnwood museum in Granby street features a wide range of exhibits reflecting the history, geology, archaeology and industries of Charnwood and the surrounding area. Permanent displays include ‘Coming to Charnwood’, ‘The Natural World of Charnwood’, ‘Living off the Land’ and ‘Earning a Living’. Each contains exhibits from the past and present including interactive displays, computers and audio-visuals. Visitors can handle rocks from Charnwood’s volcanic past, walk beneath the giant oak tree, investigate the 4,000 year old burial of the Cossington Boy, visit the Victorian grocers shop or zoom-in on a fly’s eye with the video microscope.

Great Central railway in Great central Rd Loughborough is 8 miles of preserved main line taking you back to the days of express steam haulage. Voted number 12 on the list of the 50 greatest railway journeys in the world the Great Central Railway is the UK's only double track, main line heritage railway. It’s the only place in the world where full size steam engines can be seen passing each other – just as it was when steam ruled the rails. Trains run every weekend of the year, bank holidays and selected week days through the summer. You soon pass Barrow on Soar a village to the left of you, with good moorings before Mill bridge 28, and various shops in the village for supplies. There is a train station in the village for those attractions not so close at hand.

Leaving Loughborough and continuing South, by the village of Barrow-upon-Soar the Barrow deep lock is just that, a very deep lock to change the level of the canal. There are shops in the village and pubs.

The Canal continues on to Mountsorrel, which is only a few yards from the canal and is a useful place for supplies. The lock is is very much a waterways show-place, & the extensive moorings and lockside pub, make it a very busy one.(The Waterside Inn by Lock 50).

Stonehurst Family farm & museum is in Loughborough Rd., Mountsorrel, a chance to see a working farm, a museum of memorabilia & old cars & small animal farm for the kids to touch. Also tea shop & farm shop.

Moor up nr the lock, its only a few yards from here to the centre of the village.

You pass the village of Cossington, the Cossington Mill restaurant is canalside at Bridge 21 & the Red Lion is west of Cossington Lock, at crossroads up the hill & under the by-pass.

Moor for the night at Bridge 19 - Hope and Anchor Bridge where there are good moorings, and a Hungry Horse Inn.

It is 9.5 hours to here

Day 3 to end

Cruise past Watermead Country park and Boating lakes, which are now the attractive remains of old gravel workings.
Then to the large city of Leicester.

In the City of Leicester There are secure moorings at Castle Gardens (on the left past Bridge 3). The city centre is remarkably compact with everything surprisingly close to these moorings.

Places to see in Leicester
Richard III Visitor Centre - Find out about the archaeological search and monumental discovery of the final resting place of Britain's last Plantagenet king in Leicester's city centre
Belgrave House & Gardens,- 1709 Queen Anne House www.leicestermuseums.ac.uk
Abbey Pumping Station- 1891 with Victorian steam powered beams engines that used to pump the towns sewerage. Also unique public health exhibition & managers house circa World War 2. Moorings here.
Castle Gardens & Motte (where you moor) The Motte or raised mound dates from the 11th C. Cathedral- Guildhall Lane, dating from 14th & 15th Centuries & restored in 19 C.
Eco House- Environmently friendly show house Tel 0116 285 5489. Buses from High Street.
NATIONAL SPACE CENTRE- close to Belgrave Lock 44.
www.spacecentre.co.uk . A great day out for the whole family is at The National Space Centre. View the space age building as you approach from you narrowboat.
The opportunity to explore many facets od space travel, to meet the furthest reaches of our universe face to face & to interact with both science fact & science fiction. Open Tues -Sun all year & Mon pm -school hols.
St Mary de castro- Founded in 1107 with excellent examples of Norman glass, stone & wood carving.
De Montfort Hall- Prime venue for touring Opera & Ballet companies & Orchestras & Soloists Haymarket Theatre- Venue for hit shows bound for the West End. www.lhtheatre.co.uk. Phoenix Arts Centre – Cinema & live performances of contemporary dance, mime, jazz & folk. Restaurants
Golden Mile- an area centred on Belgrave Rd., to the north of the city, where the focus lies on the superb range of Asian cultural delights & cuisine.
In a large city such as Leicester, there is a wide range of pubs & restaurants , these are near the canal:
The Hat & Beaver- close to the Shires shopping centre. The Northbridge Tavern- by North Lock.
The Mulberry Tree , Birstall, riverside gastro pub. Markets
Market Place – the Food hall selling fresh meat , poultry, dairy produce & fish from all over the world. Tues – Sat.
The retail market with over 300 covered stalls is open also.
Jewry Wall Museum- Collection of the count's archaeology up to the Middle Ages, overlooking the Jewry Wall, which dates from 2nd C & is thought to be part of Roman Baths. Two Roman Mosaic pavements can be seen in situ.
New walk Museum & Art gallery- www.Leicestermuseums.ac.uk you will discover the mighty dinosaurs as you walk in their footprints, be on the lookout for the ‘Barrow Kipper’ and the Rutland dinosaur.
Newarke Houses Museum- The social history of the area from 1500 to the present day, inc the history of hosiery, costume & lace industries.
Royal In firmary Museum- history from 1771. Wygston's House Museum of Costume.
Shires Shopping Centre- All the usual big name stores under one high, glass-arched roof plus cafes, pizzzeria, etc.

It is 12.5 hours back to Sawley, so if you are only on a 4 night stay there is unfortunately not too long to explore too much, so turn around and start making your way back, it will take 2 leisurely days, but if you have the boat for a week then check out the City.


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

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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.