01303 261 870

No.8 - Great Canals of Northern France

No.8 - Great Canals of Northern France

Another chance to follow the great canal arteries across the region of Artois as we travel via the Somme, Canal du Nord, Canal de la Sensée and Canal de St Quentin between Corbie and Cambrai.

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This economical 4-day break will offer a good opportunity for those interested to try our tour-and-cruise model.  At early-season rates it should make for a reasonably-priced tour-cruise, and whilst in mid-April we shouldn’t count on the weather behaving, the days are longer and we can at least relax knowing we can experience these fascinating waterways from the comfort and shelter of our air-conditioned saloon. As this is a U-shaped cruising route we stay at a hotel in Arras which means we are no more than 45 minutes from our embarkation and disembarkation points.  And if tunnel engineering is your passion this is another interesting cruise as we pass through the remarkable 4.3km Souterrain de Royaulcourt on the Canal du Nord.


This is a full-board cruise-tour including beers and wines on board the boat (but not at the hotel where you should please pay your own bar bill!)

Day 1

On our outward travel day we aim to leave Folkestone via Eurotunnel mid-morning so that we are checking into our hotel in Arras in good time for lunch. In the afternoon the choice will be to stay in Arras and explore at leisure, or take the coach to visit the Canadian memorial at nearby Vimy Ridge (no extra charge).


Day 2

On Sunday we rejoin the coach for the short journey south to Corbie, where we board the Natalia. Our cruise initially takes us along the canalised River Somme through the villages of Cappy, Frise as far as Feuillères where we conclude for the day having cruised 32km and passed through 6 locks.

B, L, D

Day 3

Next morning we return to Feuillères and continue following the Canal de la Somme to join the Canal du Nord just west of Peronne. We now turn northwards, following the canal through the village of Moislans and on to the summit pound of this northern section of the canal, where we pass through the great Souterrain du Royaulcourt, a 4.3km tunnel completed just before the Great War. We conclude for the day near to the village of Marquion having cruised 41km and passed 11 locks - a long day!

B, L, D

Day 4

Before our final day of cruising we check-out of our hotel and board the coach to re-embark at Arleux, where we turn on to the Canal de La Sensée. This great arterial waterway was built in 1820 and extended in 1968 as part of a major development to support European gauge barge traffic. Although it is by no means congested it gives us a fascinating glimpse of heavy barge movements of aggregate, grain and containers travelling between the Meuse, Brussels, Antwerp and Dunkerque ports and southwards via the Canal du Nord and River Oise to the Seine and Paris. On reaching Paillencourt we again branch off, this time to the south to follow the Canal de St Quentin to our final stop in the city of Cambrai, 27km on the day and 4 locks. This takes our total distance cruised to 100km with 21 locks and also a sprinkling of lift bridges along the Eastern end of the Somme. From Cambrai we head back to Calais, only 90 minutes away, and for our return crossing we take the ferry to allow passengers the chance for a break and evening meal on board before their onward journey home.


B=Breakfast Included, L=Lunch Included, D =Dinner Included

This is a full-board cruise-tour including beers and wines on board the boat (but not at the hotel where you should please pay your own bar bill!)


What’s Included:


Executive Coach Travel

Assistance with booking taxi connections and/or hotel stay pre-departure (in Ashford)

Eurotunnel (outbound) or ferry (return) crossings

Three full days of cruising

Stay at a 3* hotel in Arras, with breakfast and dinner

On Board lunch on both cruise days

Tea and coffee, soft drinks, wines and beers throughout cruising

Optional excursion to Vimy Ridge Memorial and preserved trenches

Free time in Arras


Our Hotel:


The 3* Campanile in Arras is located in the quiet suburb of St-Nicolas a few minutes north of the city centre.  The hotel has 42 rooms with double beds or two single beds, top-of-the-range bedding and cosy duvets.   Rooms feature a flat-screen HD television with digital channels, a desk, direct-dial telephone and free Wi-Fi. There is also an en-suite bathroom with bath and hair-dryer or magnifying mirror.   There are tea and coffee-making facilities and biscuits in each room.





Our tour and cruise package includes all meals with the exception of lunch on our travel days outbound and homebound.  Wine is served both with lunch and dinner.



On Board Facilities:


Our boat has been designed to comfortably accommodate a coachload of passengers in lounge-standard seating and there is additional seating outside for those wanting to take in the views and fresh air.  There are 3 bikes on board free of charge for anyone who would like to ride the towpath.  The boats has two WC/washrooms and a galley. Tea, coffee, soft drinks, beers and wines are always available at no charge.  There is no smoking on board.



Environmental Policies


Our boat is hybrid-engined and normally charges overnight from shore supply.  Its diesel engines are only used if battery power is exhausted, so most of the time you can look forward to silent cruising.  The saloon roof is bedecked with solar panels which reinforce battery endurance and support the boat's air conditioning system.


We also operate to a strict waste-avoidance policy.  We try to completely avoid the use of single-use plastics and we operate to a responsible recycling code.  All meals and drinks on board are served using normal crockery, cutlery and glassware.  Our crew also has a brief to support the recovery from rivers and canals of floating litter whenever this is practicable.



Departure from Kent:


Anyone from further afield please feel welcome to join us on this or any other Buzzlines tour.  We are happy to arrange parking for you here in Kent, or we can pick you up from Ashford International Station – only 37 minutes by HS1 from London St Pancras – and help you to find overnight hotel or B&B stops. 



International Guests


If you are an international visitor and you would like to book a cruise/tour with Backwaters whilst you are already in France, you are welcome to make your own way to the hotel and join the tour there.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Ashford International Htl Ashford International Hotel
Folkestone Bus Station Bay E, Folkestone

If you wish to make an online booking please follow these instructions:-
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Note: If the trip is unavailable, please use the Call Back facility to enquire about being put on the waiting list for this tour or to explore other possibilities

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Contact Us

Buzzlines Travel
Unit G1, Lympne Distribution Park, Lympne, Nr. Hythe, Kent, CT21 4LR
01303 261 870

Opening Hours

Monday – Friday
09:00hrs – 17:00hrs

Saturday & Sunday