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Canal & River Trust Explorers: Foxton Locks

What will students see and do?

Take an interactive tour of the long history of England’s waterways at Foxton Locks. School trips to this Canal and River Trust site bring history to life through engaging workshops and outdoor learning activities.

Foxton Locks were built in 1814 during a boom in canal trading, and at the time they were very busy, with bottlenecks becoming a common occurrence. To ease the traffic, a boat lift was built to carry boats up and down a hill in tanks of water. However, the site was only open for ten years.

At Foxton Locks, pupils will learn all about Britain’s canals and the history of the people who designed and built them. The site not only has the remains of a boat lift, but it can also offer hands-on learning with its working staircase locks.

Free school visits to the locks offer learning opportunities across a variety of subjects. For instance, students will take part in science experiments to find out which objects float and which sink. Your guide will also teach the basics of engineering for kids to broaden their understanding.

Children will also have the chance to see nature up-close with a kids’ fishing course and pond dipping activities. Students should also be on the lookout for the area’s impressive birdlife, such as herons, swans, swallows and even kingfishers.

Plus, don’t forget to book a canal boat trip – groups should book a tour directly with Vagabond Boat Trips.

Teaching resources provided

Visit the website for a range of free teaching resources, including a Life on the English Waterways activity where students will discover how families lived and worked on the waterways, and a fact file about all of the different features of a river. Water safety posters and wildlife posters can also be downloaded from the website.

Group leaders can also have students visit the online Game Zone, where you’ll find a range of digital games and activities.

Minimum and maximum group size

Call to discuss how many pupils you’d like to bring on your trip.

Details of risk assessment

School trip risk assessments are available on the website, and group leaders can carry out a pre-visit to complete their risk assessment as required by their school or organisation.


Don't miss our downloadable A-Z guide on completing a risk assessment

icon for A-Z guide on completing a risk assessment

Facilities on-site

The Canal and River Trust offers free facilities for teachers, including pre-visits, risk assessments, and downloadable trails around Foxton Locks for walks.

An outdoor picnic area is also available for groups, and there are plenty of shops, cafés, restaurants and other things to do in the local area. Toilets are located in the upper and lower car parks.

Opening times

The site is open every day, but lock operating times vary. Call for details.



Visits to this venue are free.

Travel arrangements

For coaches arriving at Foxton Locks, parking is available in the pay and display car park.

There are disabled parking spaces in the short stay car park on the access road to the Canal Museum at the Boilerhouse.

By train: Market Harborough has a regular service from Leicester or St Pancras.

By bus: Take Route 44, RR2 (Rural Rider) from Market Harborough station. The bus will take you to the top of Foxton village. Follow the bridle way to the locks.


Foxton Locks, Gumley Road, Foxton, Leicestershire
LE16 7RA

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Book your school trip to Canal & River Trust Explorers: Foxton Locks

For information on booking your school trip to this venue, click below.

Book your school trip to Canal & River Trust Explorers: Foxton Locks

For information on booking your school trip to this venue, click below.

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