The Grand Union Canal

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A journey through Milton Keynes by water

Take a journey through Milton Keynes by water on the Grand Union Canal. Built over 200 years ago the canal was originally created to provide a transport link between London and Birmingham. Today the canal offers a serene option for those who want to travel by water to explore Milton Keynes.

This map, created by The Parks Trust, shows the section of the Grand Union Canal that passes through Milton Keynes. The route includes an 11-mile lock-free section between Fenny Stratford in the south and Cosgrove in the north. When Milton Keynes was being designed, the New Town plan incorporated the Canal as a key feature in the city’s distinctive linear park network. As you can see from this map, where the Canal winds its way through Milton Keynes it passes numerous parkland areas, many of which are managed by The Parks Trust, who are the self-financing charity that cares for over 6,000 acres of greenspace in Milton Keynes.

If you were to join the Grand Union Canal to the south at Fenny Stratford, your journey would take you up past Caldecotte Lake. This is an ideal spot for those who enjoy outdoor pursuits particularly if you have a love of watersports.  If you are stopping off for a bite to eat there is a family friendly pub serving food throughout the day whilst you take in beautiful views over the lake. Once you’ve travelled past Caldecotte Lake you enter the heart of the city, this is where our Marina based.

At Campbell Wharf Marina, you'll find yourself just a few minutes’ walk from Campbell Park boasting beautiful views and landscaping as well as a host of community activities and events throughout the year. You will also be in walking distance of Willen Lake which is Milton Keynes’ most popular park and offers a number of commercial attractions including a variety of watersports, the country’s only urban high ropes course and a large splash park for children as well as a place to stop for refreshments. There is also a popular theme park, Gulliver’s Land directly opposite.

Central Milton Keynes is home to a variety of shops and leisure attractions. You can take a short walk from Campbell Wharf Marina, to the centre of Milton Keynes via Campbell Park. This central city park stretches from the theatre end of Central Milton Keynes down to the Grand Union Canal. Once at central Milton Keynes you’ll find a large shopping centre, MK Gallery, the theatre, Xscape plus much more.

When you are ready to resume your trip along the canal you will be making your way over to Great Linford Manor Park with a history that dates back to Saxon times. This park is well worth a visit and is currently undergoing restoration work through the National Lottery Heritage Fund - the park will be open to visitors throughout.

As you continue your journey and before you leave Milton Keynes as you travel out through Cosgrove you will be able to take in Wolverton which was founded in the early 19th century as a railway town and part of the town ‘Old Wolverton’ was a historic village that was recorded in Domesday - you can still see field markings of the medieval settlement to this day. You will pass over the Iron Trunk Aqueduct which carries the Grand Union Canal over the River Ouse and stands at an impressive 10.8 metres high.

The Grand Union Canal through Milton Keynes offers a truly incredible opportunity to take in all that this fantastic city has to offer from its beautiful green spaces, lakes and woodlands to its leisure, culture and entertainment activities and attractions – you will be spoilt for choice!

Find out more about mooring pricing and availability here, visitor rates are available.

Download the Grand Union Canal Map:

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Discover our parks

  • Waterhall Park


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    Hidden at the very southern corner of Milton Keynes, Waterhall Park is the perfect place to spot wildlife.

  • Caldecotte Lake


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    Planning an outdoor adventure in Milton Keynes? Explore the beautiful location of Caldecotte Lake. Whether its watersports, bird watching or children’s activities, you’re sure to have a great family day out, with lots of space for little ones to run around, plus some tranquil corners to relax as well.

  • Campbell Park


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    Located at the heart of Milton Keynes, Campbell Park hosts many of Milton Keynes’ major festivals and events. Its imaginative mix of formal gardens, water features, woodland and open pasture mean it’s an ideal spot to enjoy the changing seasons.

  • Willen Lake South


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    Willen Lake is Milton Keynes’ most popular park. Visitors take part in watersports activities, go cycling, enjoy the playground, try the high ropes course or simply picnic along Willen’s shores. It’s a great place to entertain all ages of family and friends, whether it’s a visit to the café or restaurant, a stroll, trying a beginners’ course in sailing or hiring a pedalo or bike.

  • Great Linford Manor Park


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    Great Linford Manor Park is a special, heritage-rich park set within the old village of Great Linford. It contains features that were first laid out centuries ago, including ponds and a Wilderness Garden which represent the English Landscape style of garden design that became popular for country estates during the 18th Century.

  • Ouse Valley Park


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    The Ouse Valley Park lies in the floodplain of the Great Ouse which flows from Oxfordshire to the Wash. The park is the most rural of any found in Milton Keynes and is a great place to go to experience the feeling of the countryside without leaving the city. Old trees, hedgerows, meadows, and new plantations combine to provide excellent habitats for wildlife.