Foxton Locks

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Foxton Locks

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Foxton Locks

You’ve never seen anything like Foxton Locks. Enjoy the peaceful countryside surroundings as you watch canal boats pass through 10 locks up a steep hill. And then grab some food or drink at the nearby café or pub while you see the world float by.

Foxton Locks is home to Britain’s longest set of staircase locks.

See how 19th century canal engineers solved the problem of getting boats up and down a steep hill at Foxton, with the grand Victorian inclined plane boat lift and the flight of ten canal locks that are over 200 years old. The locks are recognised as one of the most important industrial heritage sites in Europe.  The locks and surrounding area are open and accessible to the public all year round.

Visitors to Foxton Locks can step back in time at the Boiler House and get a breath-taking virtual experience of how boats travelled in the boat lifts to improve the canal network in the 19th century. To make the most of your visit, we recommend downloading the Foxton Discover App ahead of your visit. Visitors can also make the most of passenger boat trips, which run most weekends from April to October, or hire a boat for the whole day to experience the canals first hand.

At the base of the locks is a canal-side shop and two pubs; Bridge 61 and Foxton Locks Inn. Enjoy eight flavours of locally made ice-creams and a wide range of hot and cold food and drinks in what once the Lock Keepers cottage, the Top Lock Coffee Stop.

Foxton Locks is 4 miles west of Market Harborough and close to the village of Foxton. If you want to get fit and active whilst enjoying beautiful scenery, Foxton Locks is the place to go for a walk. With long and short routes available along canal towpaths and fields, it’s the perfect chance to get out in the open Leicestershire air. Most routes are dog-friendly. If you fancy a real challenge, the canal walk from Market Harborough is the perfect way to build up an appetite before a nice Sunday Lunch.

There is a bus service (bus 44 or rural rider) from the Market Harborough station which brings you to the top of Foxton village. There are two ‘pay and display’ car parks on site for long and short stay, which are free after 5pm.

When visiting Foxton Locks please show respect and consideration for others, following the advice around social distancing at all times and keeping your distance from both other people and moored boats where people may be living aboard

 

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Visitor Details

Key Information

Botton Lock, Gumley Lock, Foxton, Market Harborough, Leics, LE16 7RA

Opening Times

Open: (1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2021)
Monday - SundayOpen
Bank HolidayOpen

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  • Uncover the story - How do you lift a fully loaded narrowboat up a 75ft hill? <hr> Engineers of the past 200 years have come up with not one but two ingenious solutions at Foxton and, together, they offer a day out like no other. <hr> There are flights of locks all over the nation’s canal network but there’s nowhere quite like Foxton Locks – the longest and steepest staircase of locks in the country. Ten locks back-breakingly carved by hand through the Leicestershire countryside. <hr> An innovative boat lift, or inclined plane, was built next to the locks to carry boats up and down the steep hill in giant bathtubs, or caissons, of water. Expensive to operate, and under increasing competition from the railways, it was mothballed after just 11 years but today visitors can stand on the remains and find out more about how it worked in the nearby museum. <hr> Two centuries ago Foxton would have bustled with the sights, sounds and smells of a working waterway but today it offers a peaceful escape where you can almost feel life slowing down. There’s a friendlier feel too, where people passing on the towpath say hello and there’s always a smiling lock keeper on-hand for a chat. <hr> Maybe you’ll enjoy a spot of ‘gongoozling’, the art of watching the beautifully painted narrowboats make their way through the locks. With around 5,000 boats passing through each year, Foxton is the perfect place to try it. <hr> A stop-off at one of the canalside cafés or pubs is a must and those visiting the Top Lock Café might be lucky enough to meet Eric, the resident robin who often sits with visitors looking for crumbs. <hr> With research showing that time spent by water can help us to feel happier and healthier a visit to Foxton is the perfect way to recharge the batteries, enjoy some quality family time and glimpse into Leicestershire’s colourful history.

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