Kennet and Avon Canal

Kennet and Avon Canal

A walk through changing landscapes and charming settlements, following alongside the Kennet and Avon Canal.

3 to 14 nights
23-96 miles
Easy / Moderate to Moderate

From £420 per person

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About the trail

The Kennet and Avon Canal Walk travels from Reading to Bristol across the South of England. On this self-guided walking holiday, you'll walk alongside a major water transport route, built over 200 years ago during the heyday of the British canals.

The trail passes through the chalk hills of the North Wessex Downs in the east and southern fringes of the Cotswolds in the west. The changing landscape offers plenty of opportunities to spot wonderful plants and wildlife. This largely rural walk features rolling fields, quiet woodlands and pretty valleys. Along the way you will also visit picturesque villages and bustling towns. Among the most exciting places are the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Bath and the vibrant harbour town of Bristol.

Choose your route

  • Kennet and Avon Canal
  • This route includes dog friendly tour options Kennet and Avon Canal - Stile-Free

Dog friendly tours available

Dogs are welcome on select routes along this trail. Look for the pawprint icon when choosing your holiday.

About this route

6 to 14 nights
96 miles
Easy / Moderate to Demanding
2nd January to 24th December

From £840 per person

Kennet and Avon Canal

The full Kennet and Avon Canal walking trail enjoys 95 miles of gentle canal towpaths and easy paths. The route stays close to the River Avon as it meanders through the North Wessex Downs from Reading to Bristol. Along the way you will find plenty of beautiful scenery, as well unique insights into England’s industrial history. The walk passes the Caen Hill flight of locks and the ornate aqueducts at Avoncliff and Dundas, to name a few enticing sites. The route also visits the iconic Roman city of Bath – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and Bristol’s vibrant floating harbour. With all this and more to discover along the way, this trail has something for everyone to enjoy.

Available tours

Code Tour Duration Difficulty Price per person
KAC1 From Reading to Bristol 6 nights, 5 days walking Demanding £840
KAC2 From Reading to Bristol 8 nights, 7 days walking Moderate / Demanding £1110
KAC3 From Reading to Bristol 10 nights, 9 days walking Moderate £1385
KAC4 From Reading to Bristol 14 nights, 13 days walking Easy / Moderate £1935

Kennet and Avon Canal 6 nights, 5 days walking

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Route profile
  • Travel info
  • Weather
  • Holiday Highlights

Travel to Reading where your first night's accommodation will be booked

Day 1

Reading to Newbury. 19.5 miles (31.5km)

Day 2

Newbury to Crofton(T). 16 miles (25.5km)

Day 3

Crofton(T) to Devizes. 19.5 miles (31.5km)

Day 4

Devizes to Bath. 23 miles (36.5km)

Day 5

Bath to Bristol. 18 miles (28.5km)


Depart from Bristol after breakfast

Your Itinerary

This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this tour. Sometimes there may be a shortage of available accommodation in a preferred location, in which case we will transfer you from the trail to your accommodation and back again at no extra charge. Overnight stops marked with a (T) will always require transfers as standard.

Overnight stops marked with an (L) have very limited accommodation, and therefore more often than not will also require a transfer, particularly on bank holidays and weekends. We will use non-transfer accommodation wherever possible.

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to travel more than a mile from the trail to your accommodation in most cases; should your accommodation be further than this, transfers will be provided as standard if practical. A very limited number of stops will require you to travel on foot up to two miles off the trail, however these instances will be clearly communicated to you if applicable.

Further transfers may also be required due to some accommodations having a two-night minimum booking policy, especially at weekends.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Dog-friendly tours are subject to a Daily Dog Charge, which will be listed below if applicable. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Traveller or Single Supplements apply respectively:

A note about transfers
Solo Traveller Supplement
£70.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£50.00 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Bath)
£75.00 per person / per night
© Contours Walking Holidays Kennet and Avon Canal map
Reading to Bristol
96 miles (154 km)
2nd January to 24th December

Holiday highlights

Wandering at your own pace along well-laid, clear paths through quintessentially English countryside, with wonderful views throughout.

Counting all 105 canal locks along the route and learning about the amazing industrial history of this waterway.

Exploring the magnificent architecture in Bath, as well as the range of facilities and attractions on offer in Bristol.

What's included?

  • 6 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail, or a short distance away via taxi provided at our expense.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

For many walkers, the Kennet and Avon Canal offers far too many interesting sights to take in without adding an extra night or two to stop and explore further. We can arrange for you to do this at any of our overnight rest stops.

As an example, we would recommend Reading as a good choice for an extra night, and would also give you chance to prepare before embarking on your journey. The town's extensive history can be discovered in Reading Museum, which is housed in the Victorian Gothic Town Hall, and there are plenty of other examples of historical architecture to find here too. As well as this, Reading also boasts a full range of services and amenities, including restaurants, pubs, shops and tea rooms to enjoy.

Devizes is another tempting option in which to spend a rest day. This market town offers a range of services and has a number of interesting sites to visit. For those interested in brewing, the Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre is certainly worth a look, whereas budding historians would enjoy the Wiltshire Heritage Museum and St John?s Church, as well as seeing the privately-owned Devizes Castle, built on the site of a former Norman stronghold.

The UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath would also be a great place for an extra night or two if you wish to explore the local area more thoroughly. This Georgian spa town's origins can be traced back to the Iron Age, and so boasts a vast amount of history to learn about while exploring magnificent buildings such as Bath Abbey and the iconic Roman Baths. There are also a few great circular day walks out into the local countryside, as well as a variety of shops, eateries and activities available, catering to every taste and ensuring that everyone has a wonderful stay.

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Bath)
£75.00 per person / per night

Tour Facts

Total distance: 96 miles (153.5 km)
Duration: 6 nights, 5 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 16 miles (25.5 km)
Maximum daily distance: 23 miles (36.5 km)
Code: KAC1 Grade: Demanding
Season: 2nd January - 24th December
Start of holiday: Reading
End of holiday: Bristol

Route Profile

Kennet and Avon Canal Route Profile

Travel Information

Useful information and travel links that will assist you in your plans to travel to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it are sent to you with your full tour pack. A summary is given below:

By Air

The most convenient major city and international airports are London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Bristol and Cardiff.

By Rail

There is a rail station at the start of the trail (Reading). There is a choice of stations at Bristol. Bristol Temple Meads or Bristol Parkway - which is best for you will depend upon the location of your accommodation.

By Bus

Various bus services run to Reading and from Bristol.

From London

Trains run from London Paddington station to Reading.

Return to Start

The easiest way to return to the start of the trail, is to take the train from Bristol to Reading.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.
"Boats on the Canal" by Carmen Matthews (2018) "Boats on the Canal" by Carmen Matthews (2018)
"West of Lock 15" by Carmen Matthews (2018) "West of Lock 15" by Carmen Matthews (2018)
"Great Bedwyn" by Carmen Matthews (2018) "Great Bedwyn" by Carmen Matthews (2018)
"Caen Hill Locks" by Carmen Matthews (2018) "Caen Hill Locks" by Carmen Matthews (2018)
"Balance" by Hannah Vernon (2018) "Balance" by Hannah Vernon (2018)
"Bradford on Avon Canal" by Claire Renard (2018) "Bradford on Avon Canal" by Claire Renard (2018)
"Vintage Steam Train" by Claire Renard (2018) "Vintage Steam Train" by Claire Renard (2018)
"Red Barge in the Sun" by Claire Renard (2018) "Red Barge in the Sun" by Claire Renard (2018)
"Bradford on Avon Canal" by Claire Renard (2018) "Bradford on Avon Canal" by Claire Renard (2018)

Customer reviews from the Kennet and Avon Canal

“All logistical aspects worked perfectly (taxi and luggage transfers, bookings etc.), and when an issue came up which we needed help with, it was resolved within the hour to our satisfaction. We thank you for that! Also, all breakfast options along the route were excellent - tasty and plentiful, which is important before a long day of hiking. The travel kit and the book+map were very helpful and clear.”
Dr Albelda, Israel
“Just so grateful to all the hosts - wonderful memories...and gorgeous breakfasts! Thank you so much for making the organisation of this trip so easy. We felt welcome all the way”
Mr Sharrad Jones, Australia
“Lovely gentle walk in good weather. Well organised.”
Ms Mackay, UK
“As well as the changing scenery as we walked from Reading-Bristol, we enjoyed visiting the many towns en route. e.g we will definitely go back to Newbury. Great B&Bs, plenty of places to eat and choose from and excellent luggage transfers.”
Mrs Watts, UK
“Another great holiday, Thank you for the organisation.”
Mr Richardson, UK
“The walk was challenging but so much fun. We often walked for hours without seeing anyone; just us, the ducks/geese/swans (and their babies) and the birds. Perfect. The walk was everything we wanted and more. Some of the route involved an almost non-existent path; nothing more than the canal bank. That added to the adventure. Would absolutely recommend, especially if someone wants an off-the-beaten-path experience.”
Ms Burda, USA
“We enjoyed the walk very much, beautiful scenes, many locks and comfortable walking paths, even the weather was helpful.”
Mr van der Meer, Netherlands
“Great trip! Wonderful time of the year.”
Mrs Rodgers, USA
“The route was very interesting and relaxing. Good variety of accommodation and the transfers ran efficiently.”
Mr Parry, UK
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