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Canal Trips

Waterways experiences.

Canal Trips

About the Activity

Waterways Experiences is an award-winning, volunteer-run charity, operating three canal boats from a beautifully landscaped boat base on the Grand Union Canal, near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. We enable everyone, including the disabled, the disadvantaged, the young and the old to experience the fun and the beauty of our waterways.

Venue, Address and Contact Details

Activity address, organiser .

Nash Mills Recreation Centre, Hemel Hempstead HP3 9TE, UK

Duty Volunteer

01923 723819 (option 1), email address, age group/s, https://wexp.org.uk/contact-us/, www.wexp.org.uk, meet day/s and times, fees and charges, venue restrictions, activity source information, this listing has been created from information in the public domain by our volunteers. if you wish to comment or if this is your activity please let us know with any corrections.

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The southern Grand Union forms the backbone of the canal system in the southern half of the country, was once a busy trade artery.

canal boat trips kings langley

When it was opened, the route from Braunston to London created a short-cut for freight traffic from the Midlands to London.

canal boat trips kings langley

Completed in 1805, this direct route knocked over 60 miles off the old route between the Midlands and London via the Oxford canal and the River Thames. It was also created as a broad canal with locks wide enough to accommodate two narrowboats.

canal boat trips kings langley

Built as the Grand Junction Canal, it became part of the Grand Union in a merger with other adjoining canals in 1929. Despite railway competition it remained a busy commercial waterway until the early 1960s. A British Waterways publication for 1957 states that almost one million tonnes of freight was carried on the Grand Union in that year. Commodities included coal from the Midlands, plus timber, grain, iron, steel, cement and tar.

canal boat trips kings langley

However, improved road communications and the severe winter of 1962-63 finally put the nail in the carrying coffin as far as regular long-distance freight was concerned.

canal boat trips kings langley

A Transport Trust plaque at Braunston describes the village as ‘the hub of the English canal network’. Braunston is still a very busy boating centre just as it was in its commercial heyday, except that now it’s pleasure boating as opposed to working boats. However, on one summer weekend (29-30 June this year) old working craft gather at Braunston for an annual rally and the canal is crowded with historic vessels.

canal boat trips kings langley

The village with its prominent church spire sits on a hill overlooking the canal. It has a store, a butcher’s, and pubs alongside the waterway below. For boaters, Braunston has a marina, boatbuilders, boatyards, chandleries and hire fleet beside the start of six locks climbing to a long tunnel.

The tunnel is wide enough for two narrowboats to pass inside, and emerges into a pleasant green cutting and then to Norton Junction. This is where the Grand Union Canal’s Leicester Section starts its journey northwards to Foxton, Leicester and beyond. The main line begins its descent from the summit at Buckby Top Lock where the New Inn (currently closed, but a reopening is rumoured) stands next to the busy A5 trunk road. Seven locks carry the canal down to Whilton Marina which stands between the canal and the main line railway.

Now follows a delightful stretch from Whilton to Weedon passing through Brockhall Spinney. Weedon has several pubs in the village and one by the canal at Stowe Hill overlooking a number of boatyards. The former Royal Ordnance Depot at Weedon once had its own canal arm, the remains of which can still be seen.

In seven miles of pleasant undulating countryside the canal passes a marina at Bugbrooke and reaches Gayton. This is the junction with the Northampton Arm which leads down a flight of locks to the River Nene and eventually to the Fenland waterways. Gayton now has a large new marina close to the junction.

Blisworth village is just a mile further on, with another boatyard, village shops, pubs and post office. Now comes Blisworth Tunnel, at 3,056 yards the third longest navigable tunnel in the country. It’s a long way in the dark, but all the delights of Stoke Bruerne lie at the other end.

Much of the scene around the top lock at Stoke Bruerne would still be recognisable to the working boatmen. Fifty years ago the old corn mill was transformed into the Canal Museum but the cottages and the pub are still there, pretty much intact with the odd extension. A second pub which reopened in the 1990s (after being closed for well over a century) on the other side of the bridge is usually busy with customers sitting outside in fine weather watching the boats pass by. Boat trips to the tunnel leave from outside the waterside cafe next to the museum.

Seven locks carry the canal away from Stoke Bruerne, into the countryside leading to Cosgrove. This is a charming village with a fine decorative sandstone bridge, a narrow pedestrian tunnel under the canal, and the junction with the defunct Buckingham Arm whose first few yards are used for mooring – but which is subject to restoration plans. The Iron Trunk Aqueduct over the River Great Ouse is about half a mile further on.

The canal now reaches Old Wolverton, once famous for its railway works, but now the watery entrance to Milton Keynes. The canal environs are mostly very pleasant in its ten mile journey around the new town. Banks are well kept as the canal steers clear of the centre – but it usually stays within reach of a pub. There is a new aqueduct over a main road at Bradwell and a marina at Peartree Bridge. Former villages like Great Linford and Woughton on the Green have managed to keep a lot of their character despite being absorbed into Milton Keynes. The area around Bridge 82 at Newlands could be the future junction for the proposed Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway. Newlands is also the location for the Gulliver’s Land children’s theme park, and Willen Lakes are nearby.

Milton Keynes is finally left behind after Bridge 99 as the canal drifts into open countryside leading to Stoke Hammond. At Soulbury a pub overlooks the three locks. The length between Soulbury and Leighton Buzzard was called ‘The Jackdaw Pound’ by the working boatmen. It includes the renowned Globe Inn at Linslade situated on the towpath and liberally bedecked in flowers during the summer months.

After Leighton Lock we enter Leighton Buzzard, passing a popular hire fleet base. There’s a waterside supermarket so it’s a good place to stock up. Once clear of the town, eight miles of open country lead to Marsworth. Locks are well spaced out and there are wide views across the fields towards the Ivinghoe Hills, a marina and pub at Grove Lock and a boatyard at Pitstone Wharf. This is Great Train Robbery country: it took place near Cheddington 50 years ago on 8 August 1963.

Marsworth is a real gem of a canal centre situated in open country next to the huge reservoirs that feed the canal’s summit level. There are seven locks climbing to the summit, a couple of good pubs, and a tea room at Startops End near the reservoir. The Aylesbury Arm leaves below the locks, descending through 16 locks (one of them currently closed for emergency repairs) to Aylesbury Basin six miles away. Above Marsworth Locks is a second junction, where the Wendover Arm begins: presently navigable for just over a mile to a winding hole beyond Tringford, it’s under restoration back to Wendover. Bulbourne Workshops where lock gates used to be made can also be seen above the top lock, opposite a popular pub with a garden.

We are now on the two-mile long Tring Summit. In a beautiful wooded cutting, it is reputedly at a similar altitude to the top of St Paul’s Cathedral. You emerge at the delightfully named Cowroast Lock where there is a large marina. There are more locks at Dudswell and Northchurch as the canal descends into Berkhamsted.

A supermarket stands next to the towpath soon after Lock 52, and there are plenty of shops and services in the town centre, while three canalside pubs provide sustenance for the weary boater. Look for the totem pole that stands in a former timber yard and was given to the owners by a Canadian customer. The remains of Berkhamsted Castle can be seen just beyond the railway.

Locks come thick and fast now, with the consolation of a canalside pub by the swing bridge at Winkwell and another by Fishery Lock at Hemel Hempstead. Apsley has a marina and a new steel footbridge connecting housing developments which have replaced the paper mills that once used the canal.

More locks at Nash Mills are followed by a welcome gap before reaching Kings Langley. This was the home of Ovaltine which had its own fleet of boats for over 30 years and was one of the last regular commercial users of the southern Grand Union.

It gets a bit noisy with the M25 striding across the canal and the A41 trunk road alongside the locks at Hunton Bridge, but things improve after Lady Capel’s Lock as the canal nears Watford. The ornamental Grove Park Bridge is one of the finest of its type. The estate belonged to the Earl of Clarendon whose Grove Park mansion is now a luxury hotel with golf course.

Cassiobury Park was the estate of the Earl of Essex; the Fourth Earl who was on the board of the canal company and allowed them to build it through his property. This is a very beautiful section with the park on one side and the extensive forest of Whippendell Woods on the other – it will be an attractive setting for the 2013 IWA National Festival.

The canal heads south passing a large boatyard at Cassio Bridge to Croxley Green and then on to Rickmansworth, where Batchworth Lock has a Canal Centre and is also the home of restored former wooden working boat Roger. Rickmansworth also has a large waterside supermarket with moorings which does great business during the annual canal festival in May.

Take time out to look at Rickmansworth’s Aquadrome set around a series of lakes. A farm by Stockers Lock was used for the filming of the television series Black Beauty.

The canal is now following the River Colne with a succession of lakes made from worked-out gravel pits. Some are used for sailing and various water sports while others are nature reserves. Details can be found in the Denham Country Park Visitor Centre, a short walk from Denham Deep Lock. The five mile section between Stockers Lock and Denham is one of the finest on the canal, especially considering the proximity of West London. There are pubs by both Copper Mill and Widewater Locks. Before reaching Uxbridge be sure to visit Fran’s Tea Garden at Denham Deep Lock and try her home-made cakes in idyllic surroundings.

Uxbridge has a boatyard and several canalside hostelries, including a pub and a tea room in an old toll house next to Cowley Lock. Packet Boat Marina has all boating facilities and is situated by the junction with the five-mile long Slough Arm (currently closed – see our news pages). The canal environs become increasingly built up as it passes through Stockley Park and Hayes. At Bulls Bridge, the Paddington Arm leaves on its 13 mile journey through London’s north-west suburbs to Little Venice. Bulls Bridge was once an important stopping place where working boatmens’ families could attend to necessary chores while awaiting orders. The canal company had a repair yard and offices which later became a maintenance yard for British Waterways. It is now a large 24-hour supermarket.

Two locks at Norwood are followed by six on the Hanwell flight. The River Brent joins below the bottom lock where there is a popular pub. Consider a walk to Bunny Park Zoo (see inset). Gallows Bridge at Osterley, one of the last on the canal, is a Horseley Ironworks bridge: very common on Midland canals, but a rarity this far south.

Brentford Depot was a hive of industry but all the warehouses apart from one have been replaced by modern housing. Stop before the Gauging Locks to stock up with provisions from the High Street or visit a local pub. Beyond, the canal is semi-tidal, and at Thames Locks you are into the tidal water as a short length below leads to the Thames. Turn right for Teddington and the non-tidal river; or left for an adventurous journey (in a suitable craft) through central London to Limehouse.

Image(s) provided by:

Derek Pratt

by Derek Pratt

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Making life better by water

When the Grand Union Canal was cut through Apsley, it put the town on the main trade route to London. Today, the old towpath serves as a wonderful cycle route from nearby Hemel Hempstead or Kings Langley.

Apsley was once an important centre for paper manufacture. The Grand Union Canal transported huge amounts of raw materials on barges to the paper mills here. Full-scale production of paper only ended in the Second World War. Today, the old industrial buildings are now cafés and pubs.

Things to do and see

Check out all the boats in the marina, or even better get a birds-eye view from the corkscrew bridge. There is also a small kids playground near the hump-back bridge just off the canal.

Planning your visit

Stationers Place, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP3 9RH

Towpath open daily

Once you're parked up, it won't cost you a thing

For customers of the local pub/café

Getting here

There's parking for customers of the pub, and some on-street parking behind the marina

Apsley Station is a five-minute walk

Nine regions to choose from - over 120 fantastic places to visit

An amazing oasis of calm so close to London

Paper mill at Apsley

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Waterways Canal Boat Tour

August 28 @ 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm.

Image of two Revitalise guests sitting inside a boat, while enjoying a canal tour in London. Both guests are holding a warm drink and are smiling at the camera.

Take a fabulous barge trip from Kings Langley up the Grand Union Canal. Help the skipper with the locks and steer the narrow boat. Treat yourself to some fish and chips.

Entry Fee: £30pp payable at the centre

Subject to change and availability. Only available to Revitalise Jubilee Lodge guests with a confirmed holiday booking. To make a holiday booking, call 0303 303 0145 or enquire online .

About Revitalise Respite Holidays

Revitalise are the UKs leading provider of full-board package holidays in the UK that include expert care support. Our two holiday centres are purpose-built to be wheelchair and disability friendly, with fully accessible facilities and en suite guest rooms throughout. We can support over 150 different disabilities, including MS, cerebral palsy, stroke, spina bifida, dementia and more. Learn more on our Respite Holidays page .

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Grand Union Canal: 8 places you need to see along the canal route in Herts

The canal runs through parts of Herts offering gorgeous views, hotspots and walks

  • 14:17, 25 AUG 2020

The Grand Union Canal is a stunning slither of Herts countryside

Stretching 137 miles, the Grand Union Canal is a cherished part of our great county.

Starting in London and running right up to Birmingham, the waterways flow through some of our most loved Herts towns and villages.

It was a challenge for the canal to survive in the early 20th century due to the competition from railways and because of its narrow locks.

But the heritage still rings true today.

There's also something for everyone. Seasoned trekkers, first-time walkers, families and history fanatics all love what the canal has to offer.

We're fortunate to have it running through Herts and with the stresses and strains of inner-city and suburban life, it provides welcome respite and a slither of tranquillity.

If you follow the Grand Union Canal map through the county we find several places that are worth putting on your bucket list.

Batchworth Lake/Rickmansworth Aquadrome

This is a three-and-a-half mile circular walk from Rickmansworth's Aquadrome and is the perfect way to soak up some of the county's stunning local waterways.

The walk in total, should you wish to take in it all, lasts around around an hour-and-a-half, gifting you a unique chance to blow away the cobwebs one Sunday afternoon perhaps.

The walk begins along a stretch of the Grand Union Canal before turning to run alongside the railway where you reach Rickmansworth town centre.

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From here, you can head on on through to the Aquadrome Local Nature Reserve to reach the start point.

The wide mix of colourful narrow boats - and the tranquillity of the rivers - makes it a truly stunning wander. You'll likely forget just how close you are to civilisation on these most serene of walks.

The walk is also flat, so you won't have to worry too much about those steep inclines. If the weather is on the wet side you may want to take some wellies though. After all, this particular trek is a mixture of tarmac, stone paths and muddy woodland.

The walk starts from the Aquadrome car park in Rickmansworth and is marked with brown signs, with the car park being accessed from Frogmoor Lane off Harefield Road. The approximate post code is WD3 1NB.

Cassiobury Park

The River Gade in Cassiobury Park

Cassiobury Park in Gade Avenue, Watford , is more than 190 acres and was originally built around the Cassiobury House which was subsequently demolished in 1927.

It has previously been voted as one of the top 10 parks in the UK by Keep Britain Tidy public poll and it's not hard to see why - it's loved in the town.

The park is filled with green grass fields and trees including American oak trees, there's a nature reserve and the River Gade flows through.

But did you also know the Grand Union Canal passes along the western side?

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There's a gorgeous hump-backed bridge just over the lock. You can sit and watch boats pass while enjoying the sun or later in the year as the autumnal leaves scatter all around.

A fine chance to escape the stresses of the world if there ever was one.

Either side of Cassiobury Park sits Cassiobridge Lock 78, Ironbridge Lock 77 and Lady Capels Lock 74 which are perfect for further exploring.

Kings Langley

Homes along the river in Kings Langley

There a number of walks you can embark on that take you through the lovely village of Kings Langley.

The scenic walk from West Drayton to Kings Langley isn't for the feint-hearted as it is, after all, more than 16 miles.

You could always split it into manageable chunks though so you still get to soak up the countryside without being too worn out come the end of it.

It's one for railway lovers as it starts at West Drayton Station and ends up at the station in Kings Langley.

You can turn left out of West Drayton Station and walk to the end of the road before turning right at a subsequent T-junction.

A bridge then follows a short distance before steps take you down the canal towpath.

When you reach the towpath, which is on the far northern side, you turn right, head under the bridge and follow northwards.

For those wishing for a much shorter - but equally peaceful - wander that incorporates two railway stations, Kings Langley to Hemel Hempstead serves up another treat.

You could, should you wish, drive to Kings Langley station, walk to Hemel Hempstead station and catch the train back. A lovely way to spend an afternoon out in the open. The best part is that the train trip is only six minutes and journeys run at regular half-hour intervals.

The Grand Union Canal put Apsley firmly on the main trade route to London as it cuts right through the town.

And this part of the canal's towpath proves popular for cyclists travelling from either Hemel Hempstead or Kings Langley.

Huge amounts of raw materials on barges used to be transported along the Herts waterways to the paper mills, although full-scale production of paper ended in the Second World War.

The old industrial buildings now house cafés, pubs and the Paper Trail visitor centre at Frogmore Mill.

You can get a tremendous birds-eye view from the corkscrew bridge and there's also a small kids' playground near the hump-back bridge just off the canal.

canal boat trips kings langley

If a taste of rural life is for you then a stop off in Boxmoor would be right up your street.

It's a short hop away from the busier pace of Hemel Hempstead but, despite it being so close, it has still managed to retain its undying and charming character.

In the past, the village has been notoriously popular with folk from London moving in search for something more peaceful.

For any walkers, a stop at the Fishery Inn is a must to quench your thirst and quell your hunger.

Berkhamsted

This is ideal because the canal is just a short walk from the town centre, meaning it's easily accessible for all.

If you're feeling adventurous and a little bit daring, there's a track that will take you all the way to London. The perfect excuse to dust off that push bike, no?

There's also a nearby castle ruin for the kids to explore, and the circular walk is a great way to take in all the sights.

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There's a stunning walk you can take in around the lovely village of Tring .

The walk is just under six miles long and takes in the Tring Reservoirs and a stretch of the Grand Union Canal at Bulbourne.

It actually featured the Royal Geographical Society’s ‘Discovering Britain’ series.

It's a true haven for wildlife. It starts and ends at Startop’s End Reservoir car park, Lower Icknield Way.

For any wishing to take in the scenery, the post code is HP23 4LJ.

In Tring, you could also stop off at the National History Museum at Tring. You'll need to be quick to pre-book a slot though, and free tickets can be found here .

The Cow Roast hamlet is a stunning part of Hertfordshire's countryside

Cow Roast is a gorgeous little hamlet.

It's quiet and peaceful and is a firm favourite for walkers along the canal.

It's also popular with boaters from London so there are plenty of weird and wonderful boats to cast your eye on while wandering along the canal.

Ideal for a picnic and a cuppa, it's a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and enjoy some of our much-loved countryside.

Are there any hidden gems along the Grand Union Canal that you've found? If you'd like to share, let us know on Facebook , Twitter or Instagram .

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canal boat trips kings langley

Longer Canal Holidays

Canal boat holidays - life in the slow lane.

One of the many delights of canal cruising is the wide choice of routes available. Indeed, in England and Wales there are over two thousand miles of rivers and canals that can be navigated aboard our narrow boats. Take your time and enjoy the slow and most relaxed pace viewing the best of the beautiful British countryside, all aboard a Wyvern Shipping canal boat.

Longer Narrowboat Holidays with Wyvern Shipping

The Grand Union Canal

Linslade is situated on the Northern Edge of the Chiltern Hills, just an hour's journey by road or rail from London. Linslade adjoins the Market Town of Leighton Buzzard, which over the last hundred years, has become famous for its sand. Much of this sand was transported by Narrow Gauge Railway to the canal and loaded aboard narrow boats. Many of these loading wharves can still be seen today.

The Grand Union Canal was one of the last canals to be built and opened in 1806 to provide a direct route from The Oxford Canal at Braunston to the River Thames at London. It has many outstanding engineering achievements, like the Blisworth and Braunston tunnels, the aqueducts at Cosgrove and Milton Keynes and the Weedon embankments.

Many of our experienced customers returning from holiday have commented on how the southern Grand Union Canal is one of the most beautiful, varied and quietest of canals with excellent pubs and leisure facilities.

Recommended Routes for Longer Cruises

The following are recommended 7 nights, 10-11 nights, 10-14 nights and 14-17 nights canal boating holidays:

  • Grand Union South
  • Grand Union North
  • North Oxford & Ashby Canals
  • Foxton & Market Harborough
  • South & London
  • Leicester Ring
  • Warwick Ring
  • Thames Circular Cruise
  • Stratford-upon-Avon

2-6 Week Canal Boat Holidays

An extensive six week cruise is a fantastic way of touring the heart of England at an affordable price with no expensive car hire or hotel bills, contact us for more information.

Remember our prices are inclusive of fuel, gas, car parking, TV, DVD player, VAT, bedding and damage waiver!

Canal Boat Holidays from Wyvern Shipping

Boatlife: Cruising Aboard NB Valerie

Life, death, love & all the other stuff in-between

How to Leave a Comment on Our Blog

Monday, june 09, 2014, kings langley.

canal boat trips kings langley

4 comments:

It is to be hoped that Mr Hatley's crew thoroughly cleaned the boats out before returning to London with another load of farm produce! Thanks Les. Another great insight into the lost working life of the canal system. Best wishes Alistair

"Toovey's lorry. An early 6 wheeled Scammell lorry, 1922.". An articulated lorry, no less! Like all hauliers, if you can, carry more by adding a trailer, and don't worry about the brakes (or transmission chains) until they actually break. The other interesting point is that cornering speeds were so low there was no need to rope, strap, or net, the load in place. An interesting post, thankyou.

canal boat trips kings langley

Hi Alistair Would imagine he did. Clever man to see the potential of his own transport. Les

Hi David I remember when Jaq and I were last in the states the artics had an extra trailer at the back. Les

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How to Plan Canal Boat Trips (What You Need to Know)

How to Plan Canal Boat Trips (What You Need to Know)

Canal boating is the most fun you can have at the slowest speed possible. No other form of boating  moves this slowly. You could walk quicker!

But that's the point. The passage is slow, sedate and beguiling. It hypnotizes as you slip quietly between green and pleasant lands. But relaxing canal boat trips need a carefully crafted plan.

Forward Planning: The Key Things to Do Ahead of Time

Here's what you need for the perfect canal boat trip:

Decide on the Canal You Want to Travel

Whether it's the country where you live or a country you're visiting, there are fabulous canals across the world.

  • New York has 524 miles of waterways between Albany and Buffalo (go on, admit that you're surprised to hear that).
  • Amsterdam is famous for its canals.
  • Germany has unspoiled waterways running through Brandenberg.
  • The UK has 2000 miles to explore.
  • France has some of the most beautiful waterways waiting to be discovered.

Because I'm UK based, I thought I'd focus on the network here.

Use a Guide Book

  • Pearson's Guides (Check Price on Amazon)
  • Nicholson Guides (Check Price on Amazon)

Both guides offer coverage of the UK network and provide similar information, including water points, locks, swing bridges and disposal points.

The Pearson's Guide is a more straightforward book to read. It offers an "At a glance" style with clear maps and brief information about points of interest.

The Nicholson Guides, while less easy to read, offer the same, but contain a higher level of knowledge for the boater.

The Pearson's Guides are better for the novice canal boater.

Using the Internet

The internet offers the most in-depth and updated information. You can find  boating apps  for almost anything, and canal boat travel is no exception. It's instant!

Some websites and apps act like sat-navs, plotting your progress along canal maps. All modern 21st-century for a mode of transport steeped in tradition and history.

I don't doubt, as the younger generation discovers canal boating, the internet will become the norm (ah, the marching boots of progress).

Using the internet, however, somehow lacks a guidebook's charm . I can hear you all scream at your computers that I'm living in the past, but a canal boat trip is meant to connect with the history and atmosphere of the ancient canal network.

Try and remember that you're traveling along canals that were dug by hand in some cases, two or three hundred years ago.

Staring at a phone screen, as in other walks of life, diverts our attention away from the beauty around us. Plus, it relies on good cell service at all times (often unreliable in remote countrysides).

Because canal boating is a traditional form of transport, I prefer physical guidebooks as they fit the old-fashioned style of travel.

The only website I fully-endorse is the  Canal and River Trust . As the charity who runs the canal system, they provide updates on network stoppages.

Boat Safety

Never leave safety on the waters to chance  even when traveling at four miles an hour. Canal boat travel lulls you into thinking danger doesn't exist at such a leisurely pace, but accidents happen in the most unexpected places.

Locks are extremely dangerous , especially with the strong flow of water entering the lock chamber. And remember, canal boats can weigh between 15 and 35 tons, so you'll want to avoid falling overboard while in a lock.

Embarking and disembarking the vessel is also dangerous. And more so in wet weather or at night. Keep a bright torch handy to light your way.

It's also a good idea to keep a boat emergency kit . Some basic items should include a well-stocked first aid kit (Check Price on Amazon) , along with life jackets and a water ring (especially if you're traveling on tidal rivers).

Lastly, always keep up-to-date charts and always keep your cell phone charged. It could be a lifesaver.

Featured Boating Safety Product

Check Price on Amazon - Better Boat's air horn is a necessary safety feature for boating, camping, running and RVing. Blasts can be heard up to 1/2 mile away. Small and compact, it's easily stored in a kayak, canoe, boat or jet ski. 

So, now that you've decided where you want to go, there are some basic housekeeping rules to follow.

An Essential Step: Engine Checks

  • Check for correct coolant levels
  • Make sure the alternator belts are tensioned correctly
  • Check for sufficient oil levels
  • Tighten hose connectors if necessary
  • Let the engine warm up before setting off

Some Basic Tools You'll Need

  • Windlass (Check Price on Amazon) :  An L-shaped tool with a square bracket at the end to wind the lock paddle mechanism. You won't be going anywhere without it. The design is so simple it's perfect. As locks and most swing bridges are manually operated, the windlass is a must.
  • British Waterways Key : This is a universal key that gives you access to waste facilities, electric swing bridges, and water points.
  • Mooring pins and mallet: Not all canal banks make it easy to moor. So having mooring pins is essential, especially if you're in the middle of nowhere and looking for a mooring.

Obstacles You Might Encounter During Your Trip

Because the canals cut through hills and valleys, ground levels can rise and fall with the contours of the land. Locks were invented to solve the problem, raising or lowering the level of boats where needed.

As an example: The Caen Hill lock flight has 29 locks, 16 in a sequence, which rise a staggering 72 meters in just 3.2 km.

How to Operate a Lock

The operation of a lock is quite simple: If you're traveling down an incline, the paddles on the gate nearest your approach should be opened to let the water equalize with the canal your boat is in.

When done, the gates are balanced finely to open easily. Once in the lock, close the gates and close the paddles.

Next, you'll open the paddles on the other gates at your bow. This allows water to empty from the chamber into the pound below. The boat will drop as the water drains until you've reached the same level as the pound below.

Again, the doors will open once the equalization is completed. Reverse the process to go uphill.

Water Points

These are marked on the guides and are situated frequently across the network, usually in favorite mooring spots. Make sure you have the British Waterways key handy. Otherwise, you can't operate them.

Swing Bridges

Because many canals cut through swathes of farmland and country tracks, pedestrians need access across the canals. That's where swing bridges come in.

These are an ingenious invention that allows for the bridge to swing open and shut to allow canal boats to pass and pedestrians to cross. You'll need your windlass to operate them as they have a locking nut holding them in place.

Featured Boat Care Product

Check Price on Amazon  - Better Boat's Fabric Waterproof Spray offers protection for Bimini tops, outdoor furniture, tents, boat covers and more. Use on canvas, leather, polyester and nylon for high-performance protection.

Where You Can and Can't Travel

Not all canals are the same! Most canals in the south of the UK were built for wide beam crafts to travel, whereas, in the North of the country, canals are typically much narrower, allowing only narrow boats.

Canals were often built on the cheap to save money. If like me, you own a wide beam craft, you'll have to accept that there are unreachable parts of the network.

On some canals, the boat's length also matters. Again, mostly in northern England, locks are restricted to narrow craft no longer than 57 ft in length.

So if you want a boat that can access the entire system, it should be no wider than 6 ft 10 inches and no longer than 57 ft.

However, returning to the start of this piece, if you decide to take your boat abroad, you'll have different restrictions. In France, for example, canals are much broader than UK equivalents, giving you plenty of space to explore.

Because most rivers are tidal, extra care is needed when traveling. Canals don't ebb and flow with the tide, and water levels don't dramatically rise. So having safety equipment is vital if you're taking a trip on the river.

They're also much deeper than the canals, which are only four or five feet deep. On the tidal River Thames, stricter rules apply: You must have a VHF radio on board to keep in contact with the lock-keepers and for any distress calls.

Most of the locks are manned on the tidal Thames, so it's vital that you call ahead on the radio to let the lock-keeper know you're coming.  

Often, you have to book passage through, and it's handy for them to know (if you've called to say you're coming and you don't arrive) that you could be in trouble and need help.

Check Price on Amazon - Better Boat's boat soap keeps your boat clean and shiny from bow to stern. Simply rinse with a garden hose and nozzle for a non-slip finish. Hard-to-reach places can be tackled with an extension rod and a mop head .

So What Have We Learned?

First, if you're thinking of coming to the UK and experiencing the history and tradition of the canals, go for it! There's no better way of slipping into history and seeing the UK from a different angle. You'll discover much more traveling at four miles per hour than speeding by car just to arrive at your next accommodation.

Secondly, you learn to appreciate the countryside's diverse wildlife, as well as the different people. And you'll never meet a friendlier bunch of people than canal boaters.

Going so slowly does something to the brain. It unclogs it from stress, and that makes us happier individuals. But remember, canal boating, like all other forms of waterway travel, can be dangerous. Don't approach it with a flippant attitude, and always treat the water with respect. When you hit trouble, you'll be glad you forward planned your canal boat trip.

canal boat trips kings langley

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canal boat trips kings langley

The boats have well-equipped kitchens for self-catering. We provide tea, coffee, squash and condiments but ask you to bring your own milk and other consumables. There are full-sized cookers so you can bring things to re-heat – or even cook from scratch if that’s your thing! Check with the bookings team on inventory if you’re planning anything ambitious.

Catered lunch options

We don’t provide catering services ourselves but are happy to help you with suggestions. We have an arrangement with Kings Langley Fish and Chip Shop who can deliver your order to the boat. Their menu is on board the boats and includes chicken and sausages as well as fish. We need to know in advance if you would like to use this service, but ordering takes place once you’ve all boarded. The crew will phone through your order once you’ve chosen and advise them of the canalside delivery location and time.

Many of our clients have used other local caterers who deliver to our boat base and we have received favourable feedback regarding their services. These recommendations include Dalling & Co based in Kings Langley. You can view their menu options here . Also, The Kitchen at Inspired based in Kings Langley. You can view their menu options here .

Please ask the bookings team for details of other local caterers.

Pre or post trip, there’s always a welcome at the Red Lion , our close neighbour at Nash Mills.

CanalPlanAC

Kings Langley Lock No 69A

canal boat trips kings langley

  • Mooring here is:

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This is a lock with a rise of 8f9.

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Nearest water point

In the direction of gayton junction, in the direction of thames - grand union canal junction, nearest rubbish disposal, nearest chemical toilet disposal, nearest place to turn, nearest self-operated pump-out, nearest boatyard pump-out.

canal boat trips kings langley

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  3. Grand Union Canal, Kings Langley © Stephen McKay cc-by-sa/2.0

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  4. Highlights of Part 3 Grand Union Canal from King’s Langley Marsworth

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COMMENTS

  1. Canal boat trips: Hemel Hempstead, Apsley, Kings Langley

    You have the choice of travelling north or south along the canal. All trips start and finish at our Nash Mills base. This is on the Grand Union Canal to the south of Hemel Hempstead at Nash Mills Wharf, a small turning off Red Lion Lane between Apsley and Kings Langley where the railway crosses the A4251. There is ample free parking at the base.

  2. Waterways Experiences: Canal trips on the Grand Union

    Book your next trip with us now. Call 01923 723819. Waterways Experiences We are an all-volunteer charity operating three canal boats from a beautifully landscaped boat base on the Grand Union Canal near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. We enable everyone, regardless of age, physical ability or social disadvantage to experience the fun and the ...

  3. Boat trips on the Grand Union Canal, Hemel Hempstead

    Please call our friendly bookings team on 01923 723819 (option 1) or complete the booking enquiry form. *** Booking Availability Update, as of 23rd June***. We hope we can find you a date for your trip but we are extremely busy this year. Sheldrake 3, which takes up to 35 passengers, is now fully booked through to the end of the year.

  4. Canal Trips

    Canal Trips. Waterways Experiences. About the Activity. Waterways Experiences is an award-winning, volunteer-run charity, operating three canal boats from a beautifully landscaped boat base on the Grand Union Canal, near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. ... Content Also Provided by Kings Langley Volunteers ©2024 Website Design by Retail Back ...

  5. WATERWAYS EXPERIENCES (Hemel Hempstead)

    Waterways Experiences. We are a registered charity and operate three large canal boats from a beautifully landscaped boatyard on the Grand Union Canal just to the south of Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. Our mission is to promote well-being by providing affordable canal boat trips particularly for the disadvantaged.

  6. Grand Union Canal Junction

    Waterways experience Canal feature Canal feature Hire boats day trips Map Info. Bridge 156 (Railway) Map Info. Langley Laundrette Laundrette Laundrette Map Info. Bridge 157 Tooveys Foot.Br. ... Lock 69A Kings Langley Map Info. Fixed Weir, Kings Langley Map Info. Bridge 158 Water Lane Map Info. Fixed Weir, Ovaltine ...

  7. Kings Langley and the Grand Union Canal

    Kings Langley's All Saints Church contains a richly decorated alabaster and marble chest tomb adorned with shields, mostly with royal coats of arms. A royal tomb might seem odd in a relatively modest parish church, but this is Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, the fifth son of Edward III. He was born at Langley in 1341 and spent much of his ...

  8. Cruise Guide: Southern Grand Union

    The southern Grand Union forms the backbone of the canal system in the southern half of the country, was once a busy trade artery. When it was opened, the route from Braunston to London created a short-cut for freight traffic from the Midlands to London. Completed in 1805, this direct route knocked over 60 miles off the old route between the ...

  9. Apsley

    Apsley. When the Grand Union Canal was cut through Apsley, it put the town on the main trade route to London. Today, the old towpath serves as a wonderful cycle route from nearby Hemel Hempstead or Kings Langley. Apsley was once an important centre for paper manufacture. The Grand Union Canal transported huge amounts of raw materials on barges ...

  10. Waterways Canal Boat Tour

    Take a fabulous barge trip from Kings Langley up the Grand Union Canal. Help the skipper with the locks and steer the narrow boat. Treat yourself to some fish and chips. Entry Fee: £30pp payable at the centre. ... Waterways Canal Boat Tour June 25 @ 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

  11. The 8 places you need to see along the Grand Union Canal in Herts

    The canal runs through parts of Herts offering gorgeous views, hotspots and walks ... The scenic walk from West Drayton to Kings Langley isn't for the feint-hearted as it is, after all, more than ...

  12. Grand Union Canal trips: Costs and prices

    Our prices include the services of the crew and a skipper. A "priority rate" applies for care homes, schools, youth groups and those arranging trips for people who are disabled or disadvantaged. We offer free introductory trips for children and young people with special needs. Half day and evening trips last up to 4 hours. Full days are up to 7 hours, daylight permitting.

  13. WaterwaysExperiences (@WaterwaysEXP) / Twitter

    WaterwaysExperiences. @WaterwaysEXP. Waterways Experiences is a charity promoting well-being by providing affordable canal boat trips particularly for the disadvantaged on the Grand Union Canal. Kings Langley wexp.org.uk Joined March 2015. 3,815 Following.

  14. Canal Route Planner

    Select place by name. Select place by location. Use nearest place to where you are. Start from home mooring. Do you want to: Plan an out-and-back trip to somewhere, returning to. Plan a one way trip starting at. Plan a trip round a cruising ring starting and finishing at. Find out how far you can travel from in a certain time.

  15. Longer Canal Boating Holidays · Canal Boat Holidays

    Recommended Routes for Longer Cruises. The following are recommended 7 nights, 10-11 nights, 10-14 nights and 14-17 nights canal boating holidays: ... Banbury; Lechlade; Oxford; Stratford-upon-Avon; 2-6 Week Canal Boat Holidays. An extensive six week cruise is a fantastic way of touring the heart of England at an affordable price with no ...

  16. Boatlife: Cruising Aboard NB Valerie: Kings Langley

    Canal bridges come in all shapes and sizes, some old some new and some like this one at Kings Langley, takes Water Lane over the cut, hav...

  17. Kings Langley Skew Railway Bridge No 156

    Information about the place. Kings Langley Skew Railway Bridge No 156 is a minor waterways place on the Grand Union Canal (Grand Junction Canal - Main Line - Gayton to Brentford) between Bulbourne Junction (Junction of Grand Union Wendover Arm with Main Line, Braunston 55¼ miles / Wendover 6¾ miles) ( 11 miles and 7½ furlongs and 24 locks to ...

  18. How to Plan Canal Boat Trips (What You Need to Know)

    Canal boating is the most fun you can have at the slowest speed possible. No other form of boating moves this slowly. You could walk quicker! But that's the point. The passage is slow, sedate and beguiling. It hypnotizes as you slip quietly between green and pleasant lands. But relaxing canal boat trips need a carefully crafted plan. Forward Planning: The Key Things to Do Ahead of Time Here's ...

  19. Food and drink

    Many of our clients have used other local caterers who deliver to our boat base and we have received favourable feedback regarding their services. These recommendations include Dalling & Co based in Kings Langley. You can view their menu options here. Also, The Kitchen at Inspired based in Kings Langley. You can view their menu options here.

  20. Kings Langley Motorway Bridge No 160

    Information about the place. Kings Langley Motorway Bridge No 160 is a minor waterways place on the Grand Union Canal (Grand Junction Canal - Main Line - Gayton to Brentford) between Bulbourne Junction (Junction of Grand Union Wendover Arm with Main Line, Braunston 55¼ miles / Wendover 6¾ miles) ( 13 miles and 3¾ furlongs and 26 locks to the ...

  21. Canal Boat Trips in Family Days Out

    [email protected]. 01246 551035. Tapton Lock Visitor Centre, Lockoford Lane, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S41 7JB. Claim Listing. The John Varley narrowboat does 45-minute trips every Sunday afternoon from Tapton Lock. Also available for charters throughout the year. Buffets can be arranged.

  22. Kings Langley Lock No 69A

    Information about the place. Kings Langley Lock No 69A is a minor waterways place on the Grand Union Canal (Grand Junction Canal - Main Line - Gayton to Brentford) between Bulbourne Junction (Junction of Grand Union Wendover Arm with Main Line, Braunston 55¼ miles / Wendover 6¾ miles) ( 12 miles and 5½ furlongs and 24 locks to the northwest ...