Spotlight on: North Kilworth

Our location at North Kilworth is suitably positioned for a variety of routes for the novice boater. On the Leicester section of the Grand Union Canal it is a popular choice due to what it offers whilst being off the main thoroughfare of the Grand Union Canal.  This location allows you to cruise northwards through the Foxton locks towards the pretty market town on Market Harborough. This fits in perfectly well for a short weekend away. North Kilworth offers a nice selection of boats suitable for either a romantic getaway, a family trip or a holiday with some friends.

Narrowboat ‘Precious Gem’

You will experience your first tunnel, the Husbands Bosworth Tunnel at 1166 yards before meandering northwards along the canal through rural countryside until you reach the undulating slopes on either side of Foxton village. Here you can moor up for a spot of lunch or dinner at the Foxton Locks Inn. This is located at the bottom of the Foxton Locks and has a nice pub garden overlooking the canal.

Foxton Locks Inn

Alternatively, if you wish to make steady progress and head through the locks there is a coffee shop at the top of the locks where you can moor up for a quick refreshment at the other end. This particular lock flight is a Grade II* listed site and is home to the longest, steepest staircase flight of locks in Britain. It also sits in 34 acres of natural green space with a wide variety of wildlife so if you have any children that need to expel some energy or pets that require some exercise then the Foxton Locks Country Park is nearby.

Foxton Locks

On entering the 2 staircase lock flights at Foxton you have to marvel at their engineering and uniqueness. These locks are the steepest and longest staircase lock flights in the UK.  It is a popular spot where you will see the public fascinated at their splendour and will treat it as it as a spectator sport as you pass through.  This is partly due to with the difficultly of their location and construction and of the moving of the canal from one level to the next. This is known as the inclined plane and there is still evidence of the remains of this today.  Perhaps take some time to explore the Foxton Canal Museum which has some machinery indicating how the incline operated. It was classed an early version of a boat lift.  

Foxton Locks

The locks are operated by red and white paddles. The red paddles will fill the locks and the white paddles will empty them and the journey time through the entire flight is around 45 minutes.  However you will probably find that there will be some Canal and River Trust volunteers available to assist you.   

On a short break the timings work quite nicely for you have a relaxing cruise down to Market Harborough which has been a well-established market town since 1203. The town hosts a museum, a leisure centre, 2 art galleries and a theatre. The basin wharf is a peaceful location which has recently been redeveloped. You will find a waterfront restaurant a few steps from your mooring or take a short walk to the town to investigate its amenities and eateries. If time permits take the opportunity to amble through the antique fair on a Sunday morning before heading back to your starting point. 

The Waterfront Bar and Restaurant

If you have time you may wish to cruise past your starting point at North Kilworth and head south towards Welford Junction and the Welford Arm. You will only find one shallow lock on this quiet secluded and tree lined stretch of canal. This is a nice location to finish your holiday and it is only a short cruise from your starting location. The canal wharf at Welford has been restored and has mooring, water and electricity facilities. You will find evidence of the old 7 Welford limekilns located just behind the wharf. The lime was transported by canal to the wharf from the 1800’s right up until the 1930’s. From the wharf it is a short 10 minute walk into the village with its local amenities or pop into the 200 year old Wharf Inn pub which is famous for its wide selections of gins, real ales and you can enjoy a fabulous Sunday lunch.