Grand Union Canal Walk
Follow the towpath of Britain's longest canal from London to Birmingham on this fabulous waterside walk. You start in West London in a lively and attractive area with canalside bars and restaurants, before heading towards the Chiltern Hills, on through rural Northamptonshire and Warwickshire and into the Birmingham suburbs. Highlights include:
- Little Venice - the start of the walk in West London with trendy bars/cafes and historical old factories and warehouses. From here the towpath follows the Paddington Canal Arm to Hayes.
- Iron Trunk Aqueduct - a magnificent Georgian structure, which carries the Grand Union Canal over the River Ouse, connecting the villages of Cosgrove and Wolverton
- Willen Lake - Milton Keynes most popular park with cycling, pedalos, mini-golf and a cafe.
- Tring Reservoirs - These four reservoirs in Tring are one of the best places for birdwatching in England. They are located next to the Wendover Canal Arm which will take you into the town of Wendover.
- Linford Lakes-this lovely nature reserve in Milton Keynes has a number of pretty lakes and ponds
- Hatton Locks - located near Warwick, this flight delivers 21 locks in less than two miles
- The Canal Museum - located at the lovely village of Stoke Bruerne the museum houses stories, films, collections and displays all about our waterways.
- Cassiobury Park and Whippendell Woods are right next to the canal in Watford and are worth exploring if you have time.
- Views of the River Nene as you pass along the Northampton Canal.
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Grand Union Canal Walk Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Grand Union Canal Walk Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Grand Union Canal Walk OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Grand Union Canal Walk Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
There's lots of great canalside pubs to relax in on your walk. On the canal near Kingswood you will find the the Navigation Inn which has a lovely canalside beer garden to relax in. You can find at postcode B94 6NA. Near here on the Stratford Canal, just to the east of the village of Lapworth you will find the Boot Inn which has another fine beer garden for the summer months.
The village of Stoke Bruerne has some good options for canalside refreshments. The Boat Inn is located right next to the canal, opposite the interesting Canal Museum where you can enjoy an audio guide taking you on a journey through the stories and traditions of Britain's historic canals. The pub has been owned and operated by the Woodward family since 1877 when it formed part of the Duke of Grafton's 'Wakefield' estate. In those early days, the inn was run in conjunction with the family's other businesses - the local butchery, bakery, smallholding and working narrowboats. The Boat Inn is believed to be the longest running family pub, that has maintained the same family name throughout (140+ years), and is therefore claimed to be the longest lineage of licensee in the country. The Navigation is another delightful country pub in a gorgeous setting overlooking the Grand Union Canal in the village. Find a spot on the patio and watch the narrow boats negotiate the locks with a pint of real ale.
Near Milton Keynes in Cosgrove there's the noteworthy Barley Mow. Housed in a lovely 17th Century building the pub boasts a large beer garden to relax in during the summer months. You'll also pass the notweworthy Cosgrove aqueduct here. The cast iron trough structure carries the Grand Union Canal over the River Great Ouse, just to the south east of the village.
At Batchworth Lock in Rickmansworth you can enjoy some refreshments at the Cafe at Lock 81. They have a variety of sandwiches, hot food, hot and cold drinks, chocolate, crisps and sweets. There's also the adjacent Canal Centre with a wealth of information and the excellent Little Union Canal. This miniature working model canal shows how a lock and canal works. You can find the cafe at 99 Church Street with a postcode of WD3 1JJ for your sat navs. The cafe is also dog friendly if you have your canine friend with you.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
Near Uxbridge you'll pass the lovely Denham Country Park. The rivers Colne and Misbourne and the Grand Union Canal pass through the park and there is a variety of wildlife, including herons, kingfishers and dragonflies. The Colne Valley Park Visitor Centre is also located in the park and well worth a visit. There's a wealth of information about the area and a nice cafe which is a good place to stop for refreshments on the walk.