Short Break Route Suggestions (3 & 4 nights):
Relaxed route: Oxford, Abingdon and Return – 32 miles, 14 locks, 13 hours total
Begin your journey by heading north, following the bend of the river and remaining on the River Thames, passing the outskirts of Wytham Great Wood and heading through King’s Lock. Follow the contours of the river towards Godstow, where there are a couple of pubs and the remains of Godstow Nunnery. Continue cruising towards Oxford which is only three hours' cruise from the base. Moor up close to Osney Bridge or at the moorings by Isis Lock for an easy walk into Oxford city centre - the 'City of Dreaming Spires'. Famous for being home to one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Oxford offers a host of museums, shops, pubs and restaurants, as well as numerous attractions such as the Bodleian Library and Oxford Castle. Continue from Oxford along the River Thames heading south and travelling through pleasant, wooded scenery on the approach to Abingdon Lock. Pass through the lock and cruise a short distance to the moorings, allowing you to visit the historic market town of Abingdon. Visit the remains of the Abbey, along with the Abbey Gardens and St Helen’s Church before choosing from one of several pubs and eateries on offer. Turn at one of the boatyards in Abingdon to return back to base.
Intermediate route: Lechlade and Return – 44 miles, 14 locks, 16.5 hours total
A real rural escape travelling through quiet, open meadowland, past picturesque riverside pubs and villages. Cruise west along the Thames, passing through Pinkhill Lock and the waterside pub at Hythe, then under one of the oldest stone bridges on the River Thames at Newbridge. Continue through Shifford Lock, following the contours of the river past the riverside pub at Tadpole and through a couple of locks on the way to Radcot. Cruise under the impressive triple-arched 13th Century stone bridge at Radcot, continuing through Grafton Lock. Drift alongside beautiful countryside to the pristine village of Kelmscott, home to Kelmscott Manor which was built in 1570 - the house and gardens are open to the public at selected times of the year. The river meanders its way to St John’s Lock, after which there are several mooring points for the market town of Lechlade. A tall spire visible from the river belongs to the 15th Century church of St Lawrence. Take a stroll around this idyllic Cotswold town or sample one of its many pubs, cafes or cocktail bars. Turn either at one of the boatyards or at the Round House winding hole a little further on, to return.
Active route: Wallingford and Return – 58 miles, 22 locks, 22 hours total
Follow the relaxed short break route to Abingdon (shown above) and then continue south to the delightful town of Wallingford. The town has strong links to murder mystery fiction – Agatha Christie lived here and it is here that ‘Midsommer Murders' is filmed. Wallingford itself has numerous independent shops, including plenty of antique stores. The town also has plenty of pubs, cafés and restaurants for your enjoyment. Wallingford is very attractive, with some lovely architectural features including the Corn Exchange which overlooks the Market Place in the centre of town and the medieval building that houses Wallingford Museum. The Castle Gardens and Meadow are also worth a visit. Moor near Wallingford Bridge for easy access to all amenities. Turn and return to our Oxford base.
Active route: Aynho and Return – 44 miles, 26 locks, 23 hours total
This route offers boaters the opportunity to travel along one of our most tranquil, scenic canals - the South Oxford Canal - which is best explored over a midweek break. Start your journey on the River Thames, passing Wytham Great Wood along the riverbank and making your way to Duke’s Cut. Cruise from here on to the South Oxford Canal (an additional licence is required to cruise on the South Oxford - please ask for more details). Cruise through the outskirts of Oxford to the village of Thrupp, where there are a couple of pubs and a canalside cafe. Cruise under one of the many lift-bridges along the South Oxford, some of which you will find left open, wending your way through the picturesque Cherwell Valley. Cruise past the canalside pub at Enslow, continuing through a deeply wooded stretch of canal with trees forming a tunnel overhead, on the approach to Lower Heyford. The scenery changes here to open farmland and water meadows. Pass through Upper Heyford, with its lift-bridge, thatched houses and two pubs, then cruise on through the village of Somerton, and Somerton Deep Lock, until you reach Aynho Wharf. Moor up here for a pleasant mile-long walk into the village or stop at the popular canalside pub for food, before turning around to start your journey back to base.
Weekly Route Suggestions:
Relaxed route: Banbury and Return – 57 miles, 34 locks, 29 hours total
A relaxing weekly route travelling along both the River Thames and one of the most peaceful canals on the network- the South Oxford Canal. Cruise from the base along the River Thames, past Wytham Great Wood and up to Duke’s Cut Lock. Here you join the South Oxford Canal (an additional licence is required to cruise on the South Oxford - please ask for more details) and cruise through the outskirts of Oxford to the village of Thrupp, stopping at one of the canalside pubs or at the café for refreshment. Cruise through the Cherwell Valley, with the scenery changing from deep wooded stretches to wide open countryside and water meadows, as you pass through Lower and Upper Heyford. Continue past the village of Somerton and through Somerton Deep Lock, to Aynho Wharf. Moor up here for a pleasant mile-long walk into the village or to stop at the canalside pub. Continue along a pleasant rural stretch, passing through some locks and lift-bridges on the way to the market town of Banbury. Use the moorings available in the town centre (or just before) to visit the Market Place, walk through the Old Town, or have a spending spree at the Castle Quay shopping centre. Turn at Banbury to begin the journey back to base.
Intermediate route: Wallingford, Lechlade and Return – 102 miles, 36 locks, 39 hours total
Begin your journey by heading east, passing the outskirts of Wytham Great Wood and passing through King’s Lock. Cruise past Godstow towards the City of Oxford, which is only a three hour cruise from the base. Moor up close to Osney Bridge or by Isis Lock for an easy walk into Oxford city centre. Oxford has numerous museums, historic buildings, attractions, shops, pubs and restaurants. Continue south from Oxford along the Thames, travelling through Abingdon Lock and onto the historic market town of Abingdon. Cruise through open countryside and past the 17th century Greystone Manor at Culham, heading towards a very picturesque stretch of canal near Clifton Hampden, with beautiful thatched cottages scattered on the hillside. Continue past the outskirts of the Roman town of Dorchester and the village of Shillingford, where there is a riverside pub. Cruise through Benson Lock to the beautiful market town of Wallingford - mooring up by Wallingford Bridge (small fee may apply) for a short walk into the town- one of our oldest Royal Boroughs. Visit the Castle Gardens with the remains of a Norman castle or browse the shops in the town centre, before turning your boat around for the journey to Lechlade. Cruise back past the base, through Pinkhill Lock and scenic open countryside, to the small hamlet of Radcot. At Radcot, cruise under the oldest bridge on the River Thames – an impressive triple-arched 13th Century stone bridge and continue to the pristine village of Kelmscott. The river meanders its way to St John’s Lock, after which there are several mooring points - from here you can visit the market town of Lechlade. The tall spire visible from the river belongs to the 15th Century church of St Lawrence. Take a stroll around this idyllic Cotswold town or sample one of the pubs, cafes or cocktail bars. Turn either at one of the boatyards or at the Round House winding hole a little further on to cruise back to base.
Intermediate route: Henley-on-Thames and Return – 109 miles, 38 locks, 42 hours total
A great weekly route travelling downstream along the River Thames. Begin your journey heading east past the outskirts of Wytham Great Wood and through King’s Lock. Cruise to the City of Oxford, only a three hours away. Moor up close to Osney Bridge or by Isis Lock for an easy walk into Oxford to visit the numerous attractions there. Travel to the historic market town of Abingdon and past the 17th century Greystone Manor at Culham. Cruise through Benson Lock to the beautiful market town of Wallingford. Moor up by Wallingford Bridge (small fee for overnight mooring) for a short walk into the town - one of our oldest Royal Boroughs. Visit the Castle Gardens with the remains of a Norman castle, or browse the shops in the town centre. Cruise from Wallingford along a broad stretch of river which narrows on the approach to Goring, where there are several pubs and restaurants within easy reach of the moorings. Continue towards Basildon, where there are moorings for the Beale Park Wildlife Park. Travel through Pangbourne with its riverside pub and on towards Mapledurham, where you’ll pass a cluster of period houses and cottages on the riverbank. From here you’ll be on the approach to the busy town of Reading - moor by Reading Bridge to visit numerous attractions such as Reading Gaol, the Abbey Ruins or The Oracle shopping centre, not to mention a fantastic array of bars and restaurants. Cruise past the pretty village of Sonning to the attractive market town of Henley-on-Thames. Use one of the several mooring spots available close to the town to visit an array of independent shops, the River & Rowing Museum or some of the many pubs, bars and eateries. Turn here for the return journey back to base.
Active route: Cookham and Return – 133 miles, 46 locks, 50 hours total
Follow the intermediate route to Henley-on-Thames (above) then continue east past Hurley, towards Marlow. Marlow is renowned for its Michelin-starred restaurants and pubs, such as The Compleat Angler Hotel, The Vanilla Pod and The Hand & Flowers – each run by famous chefs. Marlow itself is a handsome Georgian town with some attractive buildings to admire and links to some great literary figures; such as Shelley and T.S. Eliot. Cruising further down the river, you'll pass the hamlet of Bourne End before arriving at the bustling village of Cookham. Stop near Cookham Bridge for easy access to an excellent choice of pubs, restaurants and shops – from antiques and boutiques. Pretty cottages line the village lanes and there are other historic buildings to visit if you wish to, such as the old Wesleyan Chapel and Holy Trinity Church (c. 1140). Turn here and return to our Oxford base.
Fortnight Route Suggestions:
Relaxed route: Hampton Court Palace and Return – 191 miles, 70 locks, 74 hours total
A relaxed 14 night route allowing boaters time to stop off at the many attractions along the River Thames. Start your journey heading towards the City of Oxford, mooring at Osney Bridge or Isis Lock to visit the city. Travel through the historic market towns of Abingdon and Wallingford, stopping at riverside pubs en route for refreshment if needed. Continue towards Basildon, where there are moorings for Beale Park Wildlife Park. Travel through Pangbourne with its riverside pub and onwards to Mapledurham, where you’ll pass a cluster of period houses and waterside cottages. Cruise on towards the town of Reading, mooring by Reading Bridge to visit the town’s attractions such as The Oracle shopping centre, the Abbey Ruins and Reading Gaol. Travel past the pretty village of Sonning to the attractive market town of Henley-on-Thames, using one of several mooring spots available close to the town, to visit an array of independent shops, the River & Rowing Museum or some of the many pubs, bars and restaurants. Continuing along the River Thames you’ll pass many attractive towns and villages including Marlow and Cookham, both home to a selection of pubs and restaurants. Cruise from here to the town of Windsor, stopping to visit attractions such as Windsor Castle and Legoland. Continue cruising through Runnymede and Staines-upon-Thames, mooring at Penton Hook marina to visit one of the UK’s biggest theme parks- Thorpe Park. Travel past the towns of Chertsey and Weybridge on the approach to Royal Hampton Court, mooring at the 'palace moorings' to explore the home of Henry VIII; visit the grand gardens and the famous maze; spending time walking corridors steeped in Tudor history.
Intermediate route: Warwick and Return – 131 miles, 128 locks, 75 hours total
An interesting fortnights' cruise travelling along three different waterways- the River Thames, the South Oxford Canal and the Grand Union Canal. Cruise along the River Thames to Duke’s Cut lock, joining the South Oxford Canal (an additional licence is required to cruise on the South Oxford - please ask for more details). Cruise to the canal village of Thrupp, where there are 2 pubs and a canalside cafe. Meander through the picturesque Cherwell Valley, with the scenery changing from deep wooded stretches to wide open countryside and water meadows as you reach Lower and Upper Heyford. Cruise on past the village of Somerton and Aynho Wharf, where there is a canalside pub, continuing along a pleasant rural stretch. Pass through lift-bridges and locks en route to the market town of Banbury. Pass the pretty stone cottages at Cropredy and travel through the locks at Claydon, after which the canal winds its way towards the village of Fenny Compton and past the medieval village of Wormleighton. Cruise through rolling farmland to Marston Doles, where the windmill on Napton Hill will come into view. Travel through the Napton Locks, mooring by Napton Bottom Lock to walk into Napton-on-the-Hill. Cruise past the canalside pubs to Napton Junction and join the Grand Union Canal, heading west. Navigate through 10 locks at Stockton then cruise over a small aqueduct and past a couple of canalside pubs at Long Itchington, before tackling a further set of locks and continuing your descent into Warwick. Moor up either by Bridge 49B or 50A (or continue to the Saltisford Arm) for a pleasant walk into history-packed Warwick. Visit Warwick Castle, the 14th Century Lord Leycester Hospital and the Church of St Mary’s before turning your boat in the Saltisford Arm for your journey back to base.
Active Route: Guildford and Return- 210 miles, 91 locks, 85 hours total
A fairly busy 14 night route, requiring around 6+ hours cruising per day on average, but allowing boaters the opportunity to experience one of Surrey’s best kept secrets - the River Wey. Start your journey east past the City of Oxford and through the historic market towns of Abingdon and Wallingford. Continue cruising past picturesque riverside towns and villages on the way to the town of Reading, where the scenery changes from rural to urban. Reading is home to Reading Gaol, the Abbey Ruins and The Oracle shopping centre, as well as a multitude of restaurants, bars and pubs. Cruise on through the pretty village of Sonning and the attractive market town of Henley-on-Thames. Continuing down the River Thames you’ll pass attractive towns and villages including Marlow and Cookham, both home to a selection of pubs and restaurants. Two of the UK’s theme parks can be reached from the Thames, moor at Windsor to visit 'Legoland' or at Penton Hook marina to visit 'Thorpe Park'. Continue towards the town of Chertsey and through Shepperton Lock, where the River Thames meets the River Wey. Join the River Wey (a licence can be purchased from the Thames Lock) and make your way south down this delightfully peaceful river, travelling past waterside villages and riverside pubs. Make your way to the moorings near Onslow Bridge for a short walk into Guildford town centre to visit some of the many attractions there, including Guildford Castle and Guildford Cathedral or spend an afternoon indulging in a bit of retail therapy, finally sampling some of the many bars, pubs and restaurants Guildford has to offer. Use the winding hole by Guildford Town Bridge to turn your boat, ready for the return journey.