The Tranquil Rose Cruising Schedule
Cruising Holidays – price per guest
|5 nights||6 nights||7 nights||8 nights||10 nights|
|Premium Single Cabin||£875||£995||£1145||£1300||£1610|
Walking Holidays – price per guest
|4 nights||7 nights|
|Premium Single Cabin||£620||£1040|
6th to 18th April and 13th to 27th October
In 2018, we have two walking “seasons”; one during early April, and the second during the first couple of weeks in October. 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 stick 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.
Spring Walking Holidays
6th to 18th April
Our Spring Walking holidays this year return to the Wey Navigation in Surrey. The River Wey has been used for navigation by small boats since medieval times but was made into a Navigation by the addition of 9 miles of artificial cut and 12 locks which dropped the water 22mtrs from Guildford to the Thames at Weybridge in 1653. The line of the Navigation has remained with few changes ever since, and walking the towpath it is easy to slip back those 350 plus years to a slower way of life. Even though the Wey connects busy Guildford and Godalming with Weybridge it is always a surprise how quiet and relaxed the towpath is as you walk through picturesque farm land, water meadows, past pretty locks and ancient buildings, or just sit in the gardens of a waterside pub enjoying a lunchtime pint.
Cruise No.2 Braunston to Cosgrove - Grand Union Canal walk
21st April to 25th April – 4 nights, 8 miles per day
Our second walking cruise starts from the bottom of the Braunston flight of six locks and an early morning transit through the 1867 metre Braunston Tunnel; either join us on board or start your trip by walking over the hill. At Norton Junction we turn south and descend the Buckby Lock Flight, a series of seven locks over 1 ½ miles. At the second lock there is a great little canal craft shop located in one of the many canal side cottages; well worth a twenty-minute browse. Continuing south, we pass the village of Weedon with the canal on a high raised embankment. There is a great deal of interest in the village if you can make time to explore it. Continuing past the villages of Nether Heyford and Bugbrooke we reach our second tunnel at Blisworth. After travelling through the tunnel (again an 8am start), we will pass through Stoke Bruerne with its Canal Museum, down a flight of seven locks and on to our final mooring at Cosgrove.
There are several options for walking during your stay; you may prefer a slow meander along the towpath beside the boat (we only travel at about 2 – 2 ½ mph), or tackle one of many set walks combining the towpath and surrounding countryside. Alternatively, you may prefer to “mix and match” and walk in the morning and relax in the afternoon back on board the boat.
Walking Holiday No.1, Weybridge to Godalming
6th April to 10th April - 4 nights, 6 to 10 miles per day
We start our journey traveling upstream towards Woodham and the junction with the Basingstoke Canal. A short detour can take you along the Basingstoke to where you will be able to cut back to rejoin the Wey at Pyrford. Continuing upstream we pass several locks, many with idyllic lock cottages, and catch a glimpse of the deserted priory at Newark. For those who would like longer walks, there are many paths into the surrounding countryside to explore. The towpath continues upstream to Dapdune Wharf in Guildford where you may have time to explore the wharf or Guildford town with its interesting cathedral completed after a 25-year build in 1961. A final shorter walk takes us through flood plains and farmland to the head of the Navigation at the lovely old town of Godalming.
Walking Holiday No.2, Godalming to Weybridge
10th April to 14th April – 4 nights, 6 to 10 miles per day
Our second walking holiday of the season sees us retrace our steps as we follow the towpath downstream to Weybridge on the River Thames. There will be plenty to see as you walk the footpaths, with ducklings and signets beginning to make an appearance, and the occasional cormorant and kingfisher on the way.
Walking Holiday No.3, Weybridge to Guildford
14th April to 18th April – 4 nights, 5 to 8 miles per day
Our final walking holiday of the spring takes us upstream from Weybridge to Guildford, and being slightly shorter, allows for a few additional detours on route, a couple of extra pints at a lunchtime hostelry, or perhaps a half day visit to the Royal Horticultural Gardens at Wisley.
19th April to 12th October
Cruise No.4, Guildford to London-Little Venice
19th to 25th April – 5 nights, 48 miles, 28 locks, 1 aqueduct
Wey Navigation, River Thames, and Grand Union Canal
Our first cruising holiday of 2017 starts from Dapdune Wharf in the market town of Guildford; if you have the opportunity, arrive early and explore the wharf buildings with their exhibition explaining the development of this 17th C navigation. On leaving Guildford we find ourselves in the countryside, passing through flood meadows and several pretty locks including Papercourt lock where we catch a glimpse of the deserted priory at Newark. Continuing downstream we alternate between the twists and turns of the river and the artificial cut, passing the imposing Coxes Mill before grand houses signal the approach to Weybridge. Here, after negotiating the unusual Thames locks, we join the River Thames and turn downstream. We pause at the royal palace at Hampton Court before passing Kingston and Richmond Hill. At Teddington, we join the tidal stretch of the Thames and continue downstream under some fabulous bridges, before turning onto the Grand Union Canal at Brentford. We ascend the 8 locks of the Hanwell flight (plenty of opportunity to learn the art of locking here!) to Bulls Bridge Junction, where we turn onto the Paddington Arm. There follows a 13 mile lock free pound as we pass through a surprisingly green West London before arriving at our destination, the tranquil Browning’s Pool at Paddington, also known as Little Venice.
Cruise No.5 London-Little Venice to Ware
26th April to 3rd May – 6 nights, 48 miles, 48 locks
Regents Canal and Lee Navigation
Although within a relatively short distance of London, this cruise has a surprisingly rural aspect, as we leave the bustling streets of London behind to find such tranquillity close by. From Little Venice, we pass though Regent’s Park and London Zoo, before catching a glimpse of the bustling activity at Camden Lock. Here we begin our decent towards the Thames through a series of locks to Kings Cross where we hope to moor alongside the London Canal Museum. Continuing through the 877 mtr Islington Tunnel past Victoria Park, we arrive at Limehouse Basin with time to explore the old docklands area. From the bustling atmosphere of the basin and the Ship Lock onto the River Thames, we start our journey along the Limehouse Cut and onto the wider River Lee at Bow Locks. Early in our journey we pass The Three Mills, followed by the site of the 2012 Olympics before travelling through the 10,000 acre Lee Valley Regional Park. We cruise past 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 a short distance up this delightful river, and then turn back to the River Lee and our destination at the market town of Ware.
Cruise No.6 Ware to London-Kings Cross
4th to 11th May – 6 nights, 49 miles, 47 locks
Lee Navigation and Regents Canal
This cruise takes us from delightful stretches of the rivers Lee and Stort, into the heart of London at Kings Cross. From Ware, we cruise downstream on the River Lee to join the River Stort, and cruise in splendid isolation amongst water meadows, past several old water mills and Pishiobury Park. We then retrace our steps, re-join the River Lee, and continue our journey south towards London. We will pass Broxbourne, where we cross the prime meridian just below Carthagena Lock, Waltham Abbey and Enfield Lock, close to the site of the Royal Small Arms Factory and the home of the Lee Enfield rifle. There are many pretty reservoirs to our left that supply around 15% of London’s water and form part of the Lee Valley Park. As we pass the eastern junction with the Hertford Union Canal and Old Ford Lock, we see the site of the 2012 Olympics and Three Mills before arriving in the famous Limehouse Basin for a glimpse of the tidal Thames. The following morning, we leave the basin and join the Regent’s Canal to cross London, passing the western end of the Hertford Union Canal, Victoria Park, traveling through the 877 metres of the Islington Tunnel before reaching our destination at the London Canal Museum in Kings Cross.
Cruise No.7 Kings Cross to Rickmansworth
12th to 18th May – 5 nights, 28 miles, 12 locks, 1 aqueduct
Regents and Grand Union Canals
There are plenty of interesting sights to be seen during this cruise; from the London Canal Museum at our starting point in Kings Cross, to Camden and Little Venice and then out through West London and into the countryside as we approach Rickmansworth. Leaving our mooring in Battlebridge Basin beside the museum, we travel west along the Regents Canal to Camden where we hope to stop for a short visit at the market to explore the eclectic market and food stalls. Continuing through Regents Park and London Zoo we finish our first days cruising at Little Venice. The following morning sees us continuing west along 18 lock free miles passing Kensal Green, an aqueduct over the North Circular road, Horsenden Hill, Perivale Wood and Greenford Golf Course to Bulls Bridge, where we turn north onto the main line of the canal. At Cowley Peachey, we reach Cowley Lock, marking the end of the lock free pound and the start of a climb up the Colne valley and the Chilterns Hills. Two miles north we reach Uxbridge Lock with its turnover bridge and begin to leave the outer suburbs of London. Continuing up the Colne Valley we pass Denham village, Black Jacks Lock, and Copper Mill Lock before reaching Rickmansworth and the small, volunteer run, Canal Centre at Batchworth Lock.
Cruise No. 8 Rickmansworth to Pyrford
20th to 26th May - 6 nights, 39 miles, 27 locks
Grand Union Canal, River Thames & Wey Navigation
This varied cruise includes the lower part of the Grand Union canal, a little taster of the River Thames, and finishes on the pretty Wey Navigation, owned and managed by the National Trust. We start by following the course of the River Colne and head “downhill” through open countryside towards London. We reach the first signs of urbanisation are in Uxbridge, but bypassing London, we eventually descend through a flight of locks at Hanwell (plenty of opportunity to learn the art lock wheeling here) to join the River Thames at Brentford. From Brentford to Teddington we travel along the upper extent of the tidal Thames, passing Kew, Richmond and Twickenham on the way. From there it’s a short hop to Weybridge via the royal palace at Hampton Court. Leaving the Thames, we turn onto the charming Wey Navigation. Weybridge, with its grand houses and large gardens gives way to the imposing Coxes Mill, and on to our final mooring beside the waterside Anchor pub at Pyrford. After mooring, we hope to have some time free to explore the local area including the RHS gardens at Wisley.
Cruise No. 9. A round trip from Pyrford and back via the Basingstoke Canal
26th May to 3rd June - 8 nights, 42 miles, 60 locks
Wey Navigation and Basingstoke Canal
Yet again we are running our trip into the unknown, as at the time of scheduling this cruise, we have not completed our 2017 schedule including our first journey along the Basingstoke Canal. If you would like a bit of adventure, and enjoy lovely countryside and plenty of locks, this is for you. Starting and finishing at Pyrford, we have a short length of the Wey Navigation to negotiate before we join the Basingstoke at Woodham. We immediately begin our climb past a secluded houseboat world that has existed here for many years, towards Woking where the last commercial consignment of timber was loaded in 1949. After a short flight of 4 locks followed by 3 locks at Brookwood, we will prepare ourselves for the 14 locks of the Deepcut or Frimley flight. At the top of the 28 mtr climb, we enter the 914 mtr Deepcut cutting, lined with large mature trees creating a pleasantly shaded and remote location. Continuing south past the Canal Authority Offices we will reach Ash Wharf Bridge, which may well be the extent of our journey along the Basingstoke Canal. If we have made it that far, it will be time to turn and run back downhill to the relative “safety” of the Wey Navigation and our finish at Weybridge. If all else fails, we will have a great week on the Wey Navigation instead!
Cruise No.10 Guildford to Oxford
4th to 14th June - 10 nights, 94 miles, 42 locks
Wey Navigation and River Thames
This cruise is the first of two 10 night cruises we have planned for the season. On this occasion, we will be travelling along two very different waterways, with plenty of time for sight-seeing on the way.
The Wey Navigation which is in the care of the National Trust and features many pretty meandering stretches and flood meadows, is a contrast to the wider and busier reaches on the River Thames. We travel downstream from Guildford, and are soon into farming land as we wind our way through surprisingly tranquil surroundings so close to London’s commuter belt. The river continues to twist and turn as we pass many pretty locks including Papercourt and Coxes Mill before entering Weybridge. Here we leave the quiet environment of Wey Navigation and join the larger River Thames. Heading upstream we see many grand houses, wonderful houseboats and river cruisers as we travel towards Staines and then Runnymede, the site of the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. After a couple of hours motoring upstream, we begin to see The Home Park on our left with glimpses of the castle as we approach our evening mooring in Windsor. Our journey upstream passes Maidenhead, where the famous Boulter’s Lock heralds the lovely wooded stretch of Cliveden Reach and shortly afterwards the old village of Cookham.
Continuing along this attractive section of the river, we pass through Marlow with its fine suspension bridge, and on through Hurley to arrive in Henley. Here, we will have time to visit the River and Rowing Museum, as well as some fine shops in the town. We continue past Sonning, which is a delightful and peaceful riverside village, and then Caversham and busy Reading. A particularly attractive stretch of the river takes us past Mapledurham and Goring and on to Wallingford. After passing through the ornate bridge at Clifton Hampden, we pause at the lovely little town of Abingdon. From here, the river changes its character again and becomes narrower as we pass Sandford, the boat houses at Christ Church Meadow and The Head of the River pub at Folly Bridge. Finally, we arrive in Oxford, at our delightful mooring beside East Street beside a lovely terrace of Victorian cottages.
Cruise No.11 Oxford to Newbury
21st to 28th June - 7 nights, 57 miles, 36 locks
River Thames and Kennet & Avon Canal
This cruise allows us to sample the contrast between some of the finest stretches of the River Thames and the Kennet Navigation. From Oxford, we travel downstream through Abingdon on stretches of the Thames that are quite narrow and mysterious, through Culham and Shillingford to Wallingford. The river widens and we see many fabulous waterside properties as we head downstream past Goring, with great views all around. Passing through open farmland we approach Mapledurham lock, before entering Caversham. Below Caversham lock, we turn sharply to the right to join the Kennet & Avon Canal. We pass the recently closed Reading Goal and wind through the centre of town on a single passage section of canal that is controlled by push button operated traffic lights! Once we leave the outskirts of Reading, the numerous water meadows and the peaceful rural surroundings take us ever westwards towards Aldermaston. The numerous swing and lift bridges offer extra entertainment on this stretch, along with Garston and Monkey Marsh locks which are examples of the few remaining turf sided locks, and the unusual scalloped sided lock at Aldermaston has been rebuilt to the original dimensions, designed for the early barge traffic. Following an “challenging” couple of corners and the lift bridge at Woolhampton, we make our way to Newbury, with time to explore this pretty market town before your holiday ends.
Cruise No.12 Newbury to Bath
29th June to 6th July - 7 nights, 54 miles, 71 locks
Kennet & Avon Canal
This cruise takes us from the valley of the River Kennet to the Avon valley. Our gradual climb starts past the picturesque village of Kintbury and on to sleepy Hungerford, known for its many antique shops. We continue to ascend, passing Crofton pump house where a flight of locks take us to the summit of the canal. A short tunnel at Savernake and a gentle flight of locks takes us “downhill” to the quaint little village of Wootton Rivers. The canal now winds its way across open countryside to Devizes, with its canal centre and theatre. On leaving Devizes, we tackle one of the seven wonders of the waterways at the incredible Caen Hill flight of 29 locks (with plenty of opportunity to learn the art of lock wheeling!). Back on the level again, we pass through Seend and Semington before arriving at Bradford on Avon. This town exudes a charming atmosphere of a past age. We are now in the picturesque valley of the River Avon, which we cross twice on great stone aqueducts, still bearing masons’ marks in the golden Bath stone. We pass Claverton with its water wheel pump and Bathampton, before getting our first panoramic views across the fine Roman city of Bath.
Cruise No.13 Bath to Bradford-on-Avon via Bristol
7th to 14th July – 7 nights, 43 miles, 29 locks
Kennet & Avon Canal and River Avon
The highlights of this cruise are almost too many to mention, but with historic locations like Bath, Bradford on Avon and Bristol you may be spoilt for choice. We leave Bath by descending a pretty flight of locks (including Bath Deep lock, UK’s second deepest canal lock on the system) to join and cruise downstream on the River Avon. The river meanders through a wooded valley past Saltford and Keynsham before we arrive in Bristol and its floating harbour. There will be plenty of time to enjoy the many delights of this famous city, including Brunel’s iron steamship - the SS Great Britain. After an overnight stay we head back upstream to Bath, and re- join the Kennet & Avon canal, continuing to cruise the Avon valley at a higher level. As we leave Bath through the charming Sydney Gardens look out for glimpses of the crescents of grand houses, all constructed from local sandstone. The scenery is marvellous as the canal clings to the side of the valley, crossing it on great stone aqueducts at Dundas and later, Avoncliff. These are worthy of a closer look, as they still show many original masons’ marks in the stone. Finally, we reach our mooring in Bradford on Avon, with its huge old tithe barn and wonderful local shops.
Cruise No.14 Bradford-on-Avon to Devizes via Bath
15th to 22nd July – 7 nights, 31 miles, 49 locks, 2 aqueducts
Kennet & Avon Canal
We start this cruise heading west towards Bath along the lovely valley of the River Avon. We cross the river twice on stone aqueducts at Avoncliff and Dundas, and pass Claverton with its water wheel pump, before approaching Bathampton to get our first glimpse of Bath with panoramic views across this fine Roman city. Following an overnight stay we should have time for a few hours in Bath before turning to retrace our steps beside the river valley and pass once more through Bradford on Avon. Continuing eastwards, we will journey on through isolated locks and rolling countryside past Semington, Seend and Foxhangers, before arriving at the bottom of the Caen Hill flight of locks. We will spend our penultimate evening at the bottom of the flight before it’s all hands to the pumps (or windlasses) as we tackle the 22 locks to the summit and moor for the end of our adventure at Devizes wharf.
Cruise No.15 Devizes to Reading
23rd to 30th July – 7 nights, 59 miles, 57 locks, 1 tunnel
Kennet & Avon Canal
This cruise on the Kennet & Avon Canal starts with a 12 mile lock free section of the canal, through Honey Street (home to the “invention” of crop circles) to our first nights mooring at Pewsey. On the following morning, we will continue through unspoilt countryside past the delightful Wootton Rivers, to the summit of the canal and dive through the short Bruce Tunnel. We pass the Crofton steam pump house and the gradual descent past the Berwyn’s takes us to sleepy Hungerford, well worth an hour or two exploring. Beyond Hungerford, we meander through lovely water meadows, through pretty Kintbury and arrive at the market town of Newbury which is marked by a quaint lock and a fine old stone bridge over the navigation. Continuing eastwards, we pass through Monkey Marsh lock, one of only two remaining turf sided locks on the K&A and listed as an ancient monument by English Heritage. At Aldermaston, we will hold up the road traffic as we pass under the huge lift bridge, before more secluded cruising brings us to County Lock, which heralds the swift journey through the bustling centre of Reading (on a section operated by traffic lights) and our final moorings for this trip.
Cruise No.16 Reading to Weybridge
31st July to 7th August – 7 nights, 42 miles, 18 locks
This cruise includes some of the finer parts of the River Thames and will allow plenty of time for sight-seeing along the way. We start our journey heading down river passing through Sonning with its lovely 18th century bridge and soon we arrive and moor at Henley. We will have time to visit the town or excellent Rowing Museum, before continuing through green open parkland to Hambleden Lock, with a fine weather-boarded mill alongside. Further down river, we pass the lovely Hurley and Temple Locks and continue through 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. Passing more beech woods, we come upon Cliveden Reach, a long deep wooded valley leading to the famous Boulter’s Lock. After marvelling at Brunel’s railway bridge at Maidenhead, we arrive at Windsor. Below Windsor is The Home Park, best seen from the river, before we wind our way past Runnymede, with more royal connections. The river continues to wind its way past Staines, Chertsey, before arriving at Weybridge, our final destination of the week.
Cruise No.17 A round trip from Weybridge and back via Godalming
8th to 15th August - 7 nights, 39 miles, 32 locks
This is a slow, lazy trip along the Wey Navigation, with time to sit back and relax or visit the occasional local hostelries and the interesting Dapdune Wharf in Guildford. Leaving Weybridge on the River Thames we will find the hidden entrance to the Wey Navigation and begin to head upstream into very rural surroundings. We will pass the imposing Coxes Mill and sleepy hamlet of Pyrford, and the flood gates at Walsham Gates with its historic turf sided lock chamber, until we catch a dramatic glimpse of the deserted priory at Newark Lock. We pass through Papercourt lock with its idyllic lock cottage and weir before reaching Guildford, which makes the most of the river and the cathedral standing on a hill overlooking the town. Leaving Guildford, the meadowland continues to belie our closeness to suburbia until finally we reach the end of the navigation at Godalming. We then return downstream stopping for a few hours to visit Dapdune Wharf in Guildford, the site of the National Trust visitor centre and the barge building sheds for the last owners of the navigation, William Stevens & Sons. We continue retracing our steps down stream, passing countryside and farming land and the occasional lock, until we re-enter Weybridge to finish back at our mooring on the Thames.
Cruise No.18 Weybridge to Limehouse
16th to 23rd August - 7 nights, 43 miles, 26 locks
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 wonders of the Regents Canal. Starting at Weybridge we travel downstream to our first stop at Hampton Court. We normally have a little time to walk around the outside of the Royal Palace and possibly explore the gardens, depending on the tide times dictating our journey to Teddington. After passing through Teddington Lock onto the tidal river, we approach the genteel outskirts of London at Richmond. As we reach the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, we turn sharp left to find the entrance to the Grand Union canal at Brentford. Here we lock up into the canal basin and make our way via Hanwell locks to Bulls Bridge Junction where we turn onto the Paddington Arm of the canal. Winding our way past Norwood and Kensal Green we arrive at our evenings mooring, the tranquil basin at Paddington 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 our last night moored at the London Canal Museum in Kings Cross. After an early morning journey through the 877mtr Islington Tunnel 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.19 Limehouse to Rickmansworth
24th to 31st August – 7 nights, 43 miles, 37 locks
Regents and Grand Union Canals
During this cruise, you will enjoy the delights of a journey through the capital, followed by the surprisingly green and tranquil surroundings to the west of London. We start in the Limehouse basin, built in 1820 to connect the Regents Canal with the River Thames. If you arrive early it is a great area to explore before joining us at 5pm. Leaving the basin we join the Regents Canal and head west through Mile End, past the Ragged School Museum, Victoria Park and through the Islington Tunnel before arriving at the London Canal Museum. From here we travel through Kings Cross to Camden Town and its wonderful market. After a short journey through Regents Park past London Zoo and “Blow up Bridge”, the Maida Tunnel, brings us to Little Venice and the junction with the Grand Union Canal. Following an overnight stay, we leave London by the ‘back door’; cruising west to Bulls Bridge Junction, where we join the Grand Union Canal. At this point we will divert from the obvious route and head south to Brentford where we will overnight before turning and retracing our steps up the Hanwell flight, passing Bulls Bridge again, to arrive at Cowley Peachy. We now start to climb up the Colne valley into the Chilterns Hills, passing Denham village, Black Jacks Lock, and Copper Mill Lock before reaching Rickmansworth and the small, volunteer run Canal Centre at Batchworth Lock.
Cruise No.20 Rickmansworth to Stoke Bruerne
31st August to 7th September – 7 nights, 58 miles, 69 locks, 1 aqueduct
Grand Union Canal
This cruise along the Grand Union canal clearly shows the importance of this last bastion of canal transport between London and the Midlands. We pass many reminders of its last-ditch expansion in the early 1930’s and its importance during the First and Second World Wars. Starting with the ascent to Watford and the beautiful wooded Cassiobury Park, thirty-six locks take us through Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted (Hemel and Berko to the working boatmen), towards the summit of the canal at the quaintly-named Cowroast Lock. At the summit, we pass along the deeply wooded Tring cutting; a great place to view Kingfishers. As we descend the Marsworth flight, we skirt the Marsworth reservoir, built as storage for water to be pumped via the Wendover Arm back to feed the Grand Union at the Tring summit. Continuing downhill, we pass though beautiful open countryside, yet more locks, and finally approach Milton Keynes. If you have ever considered visiting Bletchley Park, home to the WW2 codebreakers, this would be a great opportunity to do so. Spend half or a day at this brilliant exhibition, or remain on board as we bypass Milton Keynes past the old villages of Simpson and Great Linford. Beyond the railway town of Wolverton, we reach Cosgrove, which is a delightful place, with a secret horse tunnel under the canal and its ornate Solomon’s bridge. Finally, we will ascend a flight of locks to reach the canal village and museum of Stoke Bruerne.
Cruise No. 21 Stoke Bruerne to Braunston via Warwick
9th to 16th September – 7 nights, 55 miles, 59 locks, 2 tunnels, 1 aqueduct
Grand Union Canal
This cruise takes us as far north on the Grand Union Canal as we can travel with Tranquil Rose. Leaving the canal village of Stoke Bruerne with its great canal museum, we immediately enter the 2795mtr Blisworth tunnel, emerging to pass through Blisworth village. Following an 11 ½ mile lock-free pound, through mainly open fields and agricultural land we ascend the Buckby Locks Flight beside the motorway and railway line where all modes of transport squeeze together through the infamous Watford Gap. An early start see us enter our second tunnel, this time the 1867mtr Braunston tunnel, before descending a flight of locks to Braunston, regarded by many as the heart of the waterways. Continuing our journey, we join the Oxford Canal for a short distance before turning north towards Warwick and Birmingham. We descend Calcutt locks followed by yet another flight at Stockton. This section of canal was rebuilt in the 1930’s to prolong the lifespan of the canals, with an interesting “new style” of winding gear installed to improve the speed of passage. Beyond the unusual staircase locks at Bascote, we pass under two historic roads - the drovers’ Welsh Road and the Romans’ Fosse Way, before arriving in Royal Leamington Spa. From here it is just a short cruise to Warwick (famous for its castle), where, after a one night stop, we turn TR and retrace our steps to finish our cruise at Braunston.
Cruise No.22 Braunston to Winkwell
16th to 23rd September – 7 nights, 59 miles, 61 locks, 2 tunnels, 1 aqueduct
Grand Union Canal
Braunston, with its village on the hill overlooking the canals surrounding it, is often considered as one of the centres of the canal system. We will move up the six locks of the Braunston flight on the evening of your arrival ready for an early morning transit through the famous tunnel, which has a slight kink in the middle (hold on to your early morning teas and coffees!). The summit is at first tree-lined, then opens out to rolling countryside before we reach Long Buckby and descend to the peace of Brockhall Park. We pass Weedon with its Napoleonic barracks, before reaching Blisworth village. A long cutting leads to Blisworth Tunnel (which recently celebrated its bi-centenary). On emerging from the tunnel, we are in Stoke Bruerne, and will stop for a couple of hours to visit the lovely Canal Museum. We leave Stoke Bruerne by descending a short flight of locks before travelling through some wonderfully peaceful stretches of canal past Soulbury and Leighton Buzzard. From here we commence our gradual climb up the northern slopes of the Chiltern hills. At Marsworth we skirt the huge reservoirs feeding back into the Grand Union Canal which are a haven for wild birds of all sorts. The heavily wooded summit at the Tring cutting leads us to the curiously named Cowroast lock, where we commence our long descent towards the capital. We pass through Berkhamsted with its fine Norman castle, and continue our gradual descent of the Colne valley to our destination at Winkwell.
Cruise No.23 Winkwell to Teddington
24th September to 1st October – 7 nights, 54 miles, 43 locks
Grand Union Canal and River Thames
This cruise is a mix of environments; from the rural countryside around Hemel Hempstead, past the suburbs of West London down to the mighty River Thames. The cruise starts with a bang, with a first day descending 17 locks through Hemel Hempstead on our way to the peace and tranquillity of Cassiobury Park. From here we travel through Rickmansworth and on down the valley of the River Colne. The locks down this stretch have stories to tell; Black Jack’s, Widewater and Denham Lock, which is the deepest on the Grand Union canal. Continuing south through Uxbridge and Cowley Peachey, we arrive at the junction with the Paddington Arm at Bulls Bridge, and turn left along the arm for an overnight stay at Little Venice in the heart of London. After an overnight stay, we will return 13 miles along the Paddington Arm to Bulls Bridge, and then continue south down the eight locks of the Hanwell flight towards Brentford and the River Thames. (If you need any exercise, please feel free to join in with the lock wheeling, the crew are not too proud to accept your help!). At Brentford, having confirmed the local high tide times, we head upstream to Teddington and the finish of our cruise just above the lock.
Cruise No.24 Teddington to Lechlade
2nd to 12th October – 10 nights, 125 miles, 40 locks
This is the second of our 10 night cruises, on this occasion covering the complete length of the navigable non- tidal River Thames. Within half an hour of leaving our mooring in Kingston we are passing the royal palace of Hampton Court, the first of many reminders that we are on the ‘Royal River ‘. After passing through Sunbury, Shepperton and Staines (where the first lino factory was established in 1864!), we reach Runnymede, where in 1215, King John met with rebel leaders to sign what became known as the Magna Carta. Continuing the Royal theme, we are soon approaching Windsor, with The Home Park and the castle in the distance, and finally the town itself. The classic locations continue, with Boulter’s lock at Maidenhead followed by the lovely wooded stretch of Cliveden Reach. Arriving at Cookham, we may have time to visit the Stanley Spencer Art Gallery. Continuing up river, we pass through Marlow with its fine suspension bridge and Hambleden with its picturesque mill, to moor at Henley. Here we will have time to visit the River and Rowing Museum or some of the fine shops in the town. Leaving Henley, we continue upriver past Sonning, a delightful and peaceful riverside village, and then Caversham and busy Reading. A particularly attractive stretch of the river takes us past Mapledurham and Goring and on to Wallingford. After passing through the ornate bridge at Clifton Hampden, we will moor at the lovely little town of Abingdon. From here, the river becomes narrower as we pass Sandford, the boat houses at Christ Church Meadow and The Head of the River pub at Folly Bridge, before arriving in Oxford, the city of Dreaming Spires. We cruise gently through Oxford, and as we leave the city, the river changes character - becoming totally rural. We are now on the picturesque upper reaches of the Thames, which are quite unlike the more familiar downstream parts of the river. This is an idyll of water meadows, sleepy waterside villages and inns. The river twists and turns passing the old manor at Kelmscot (once the home of William Morris), and Buscot lock. Finally, we pass a fine statue of Old Father Thames reclining proudly by the side of St John’s lock before arriving at our destination of Lechlade.
Autumn Walking Holidays
13th to 20th October
Our two walking holidays in October are designed to allow guests to complete the non-tidal lengt
Cruise no. 25 Lechlade to Reading – Thames Path walking holiday
16th to 23rd September – 7 nights, 59 miles, 61 locks, 2 tunnels, 1 aqueduct
This cruise is the first of two planned to enable guests to walk the non-tidal section of the Thames Path, and takes us from Lechlade, within ½ mile of the limit for power craft on the River Thames, to Reading, a distance of around 75 miles. The schedule is for a walk of between 11 and 15 miles per day, with a shorter 7 mile walk on the Friday allowing a half day to relax or wander around Reading before departing on the Saturday morning. If you care to arrive in Lechlade a couple of days earlier, you can trace the Thames Path back to the source of the River Thames, which can be found beside an old ash tree in a Cotswold meadow not far from Kemble. A stone marker identifies this point, although for most of the year there is no water at all. We start our journey from Lechlade travelling along a very isolated, rural stretch of the river, meandering through meadowland, with little contact with the outside world. After a couple of days, we will have reached Swinford, close to the outskirts of Oxford, and to Abingdon by the end of the third day. Where possible, our evening moorings will be located close to “civilisation” allowing time to explore the surrounding area, if you feel fit enough! The second half of your holiday will take us close to or through larger towns including Dorchester, Wallingford, Goring and Pangbourne, before we finally arrive in Reading, and a well-earned rest.
Cruise no. 26 Reading to Teddington – Thames Path walking holiday
20th to 27th October - 7 nights, 8 to 12 miles per day
This cruise is the second of two planned to enable guests to walk the non-tidal section of the Thames Path, and takes us from Reading to Teddington at the lower end of the non-tidal River Thames. During this trip, most of our daily walks will be between 8 to 12 miles, although there will be one longer and one shorter day. We plan to moor for the evening at places such as Henley, Marlow, Windsor and Hampton Court. If all our guests agreed, we could also allow ½ day for sightseeing at one of the many historic landmarks on this section of the Thames. Our journey will take us downstream past pretty locks and grand houses, through 18th century bridges, and through historic villages and towns such as Sonning, Marlow and Cookham. As we approach Maidenhead, we will pass along Cliveden Reach which should be full of autumn colour at this time of year. The river becomes busier as we travel through Windsor, past The Home Park, and onwards towards Runnymede and Staines. Passing under the M25, we are now approaching the outskirts of London, and the variety of waterside properties will amaze and entertain you as come to the end of your walking holiday with Tranquil Rose. Our last mornings walk will take us past Hampton Court Palace and Park, and through Kingston to our final mooring at Teddington.