The K & A Canal, which stretches across south west England from Bristol to Reading, was fully restored in the 1990s and features some of Britain's most spectacular waterways. Bradford on Avon is a fantastic town, nestling in the heart of the Avon Valley within a stone's throw of Bath - a World Heritage City!
West from Bradford on Avon, the canal clings to the side of the Avon Valley, crossing two splendid aqueducts toward Bath, then descending one of the country's deepest locks to offer the world famous view of Pulteney Weir. Cruise down the tranquil River Avon into Bristol's Floating Harbour with the magnificent SS Great Britain in its dock. Brunel's engineering masterpiece - the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge - is not far away.
East of Bradford the rural cruising ascends a number of wide locks, culminating in the famous Caen Hill Flight of 29 locks. After all that work, enjoy a break in the charming canalside market town of Devizes (home to the superb Victorian Wadworth Brewery). Head east into the idyllic Wiltshire countryside (home of the White Horse) with the canal meandering through a countryside of thatched villages and country pubs, then climbing the last few locks to the summit deep in the heart of Savernake Forest. At the eastern end lies Crofton and its famous steam-pump, marking the beginning of a long descent along the pretty Kennet Valley through Hungerford, Newbury and Thatcham before joining the River Thames at Reading.
Our most popular weekend break - ideal for beginners. Head west for an almost lock free cruise to Bath. Heading east you'll encounter several wide locks as you approach Devizes - you can choose to climb the Caen Hill flight; but many prefer to moor up and walk or cycle into Devizes. It's possible to combine all of this into one boating weekend - a canaloholics' ideal short break!
With the extended time a midweek break offers, cruise beyond Bath towards Bristol and enjoy this most maritime of cities. Alternatively strike east and cruise up through Devizes as far as the idyllic hamlet of Honey Street, where the original Kennet Barges were built.
A leisurely cruise could allow exploration both east to Devizes and west to Bristol or Bath. Or, heading directly east, you could comfortably reach the pretty town of Hungerford before turning homebound - but lots of locks if you choose this route!
With two weeks and some experience you could enjoy the whole of the K &A Canal, but you'd have a few long days. We recommend an easier itinerary as far east as vibrant Newbury, offering a taste of the variety that the K &A can uniquely offer. Excellent towpath walking or cycling throughout makes this the perfect activity holiday for all the family!