Location Spotlight: Mountsorrel, Grand Union Canal (River Soar)

Our location at Mountsorrel on the Grand Union Canal (River Soar) is perfect for a romantic getaway. Situated on a more undiscovered stretch of water, our beautiful 2 berth boat “Little Rocket” is perfect for first time boaters and will allow you to navigate the waterways with ease.

Heading north from the base you’ll pass through Loughborough before joining the River Trent. Loughborough is a busy industrial town but there is a bric-a-brac market every Friday. As you stroll through the town you’ll notice lots of art deco architecture. For a day of sightseeing you could visit the local steam railway or Charwood Museum or maybe even the Great Central Railway Museum.

On heading back to the boat you might want to stop off at The Boat Inn with its welcoming canalside patio area. From here it is just a short 10 minute walk back to the canal basin.

If you are looking for something more tranquil, continue through Loughborough to Pillings Lock Marina. The town of Quorn is a short distance away where the Great Central Railway passes through. This was where Thomas Cook chartered his first one day steam rail journey taking 500 passengers from Leicester to Loughborough in 1841. This landmark route still exists today where you can enjoy a steam railway journey from Leicester to Loughborough.

Continuing on you’ll come to Kegworth, before arriving at the junction with the River Trent. Kegworth itself is in an attractive location and the easiest access for mooring up is at Kegworth Shallow Lock.  There are a variety of options for dinner. The Anchor is right near the Shallow lock and offers both fireside and al fresco dining. From Kegworth it’s a 30 minute walk or a 5 minute taxi ride to take you to Whatton House which is a stately home with beautiful manicured gardens which are open to the public. Why not spend an afternoon here surrounded by peace and tranquillity, enjoying the beautiful colours of the season. 

Ahead of Kegworth you’ll come to Ratcliffe-on-Soar which has 2 distinct landmarks – a church spire and 8 cooling towers. Then, just before Red Hill Lock, the River Soar joins the River Trent. On reaching Trent Lock, cruise east along the scenic Cranfleet Cut which leads towards Nottingham. Trent Lock is a busy boating area with some nice pubs; it’s often referred to as “Waters Meet” because 4 different waterways converge here. The locks on this non tidal stretch of the Trent can be self-operated but they are often manned between Easter and October.

River Trent

Wildlife enthusiasts may wish to moor up at Beeston Marina to explore the Attenborough Wildlife Reserve. It is approximately a 40 minute walk to the visitor centre or a short taxi ride. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars for a spot of bird watching. The marina also offers a waterside café and bar, water points, electric hook up, laundrette and several moorings.

Nottingham city centre is easily accessible by tram from Beeston but another couple of hours cruising will bring you into Nottingham town centre and you can moor up near the shallow Castle Lock, close to Nottingham Castle and Gardens. This recently regenerated area provides a pleasant area to moor and to explore the City. Maybe take the time to visit the Castle and extensive cave network there, before dining in England’s oldest surviving inn “Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem” which was built into the Castle Rock and dates back to around 1189. If you need to stock up on supplies for your return journey you’ll find a supermarket right next to the moorings and if you don’t want to venture too far there is “The Navigation” pub right beside Castle lock.

Leicester Weekend Break

An alternative trip from our Mountsorrel base would be to take a relaxed route to Leicester.

Shortly after leaving the base you’ll pass through Lock 50 where there are extensive moorings and a canal side pub making this a popular stopping place. The cruise south is a relaxed one but with enough locks to keep the route interesting.  Head down to Sileby Lock with its restored mill dating back to 1608, which is now a private residence; then onwards to Cossington Lock where you can moor up near Bridge 21 for a short walk to Cossington village. Here you can stock up on any supplies you may still need. The village of Rothley is on the opposite side of the river to Cossington.

Pub moorings, ‘Little Rocket’ (1)

Continuing south you’ll pass through 2 further locks before approaching Birstall on the outskirts of Leicester. There is the possibility to moor up here just north of the city. Follow the path that leads past the White Horse pub, to take you into town.

Pub moorings, ‘Little Rocket’ (2)

If you’d like to visit the National Space Centre or Belgrave Hall and its botanical garden, moor up at Belgrave Lock. It’s approximately 30 minutes’ walk into the city centre from there. After Belgrave Lock the River Soar deviates to the west and the Grand Union Canal navigates round to the east of Abbey Park. This is a nice tranquil green space to enjoy before mooring up in town. Continue south towards to Castle Gardens or West Bridge moorings, which are convenient spots to access the town centre and its amenities. Here you are in the perfect location to visit Leicester Castle which is only a stone’s throw from your mooring. 

There are many more historic sites to explore in Leicester City such as the remains of the Roman Bath, the Guildhall Museum and King Richard III visitor centre. Take time to stroll round the 700 year old, largest outdoor covered market in Europe. A short walk will then bring you to the Haymarket Clock Tower. This intricate tower was constructed in 1868 and is a popular landmark and meeting place as it is at the central point of 5 streets converging. The area south of the west bridge moorings is known as the “Mile Straight” as it is has a tree lined avenue feel with ornamental bridges and beautiful buildings to admire. You’ll find an abundance of independent shops, pubs and restaurants to choose from in St Martins Square. Alternatively, you may prefer to pick up some fresh produce for dinner at the local market.

‘Little Rocket’ entering a lock

All in all Leicester makes for a relaxing but interesting city break, with beautiful parks, aspiring architecture and nightlife suitable for everyone.  This location should certainly not be overlooked and makes for an enjoyable few days of mixing the old with the new.