Specializing in European Barge Vacations Since 1998
For a completely unique cruise experience, immersed in the history and culture of the lush country around you, consider a barge cruise on the storied Thames River arranged for you by The Barge Connection. A river cruise draws you close to the country you travel through. The experience is steeped in the climate, rich history and culture surrounding you on all sides. With all details arranged to your complete satisfaction, you will visit lovely welcoming villages and enjoy destinations that define the region. Free to explore at an unhurried pace, your itinerary will feel completely natural and provide the best sampling of local ambiance that could be wished for. You’ll laugh with friends old and new over bangers and mash at a local eatery or bicycle through a quaint riverside village. Explore important historical sites and cultural monuments, spending your days steeped in delightful British character on an unforgettable and intimate Thames River cruise.
The mighty Thames flows some 346 km (215 miles) through the South of England, most notably via central London. River Thames cruises flow with the current alongside Richmond, Kingston upon Thames and Windsor. You barge may float past Henley-on-Thames, host of world-renowned rowing races, or stop in Reading for the evening. Depending upon your chosen route, you could see Dorchester, home of the 14th-century abbey and Oxford with its famed university. The Thames, dotted with more than 80 islands, encompasses both freshwater and seawater stretches, as it roils from Thames Head, in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, through the Thames Estuary into the North Sea.
Cruising down the life’s blood of southern England, your Thames boat trip will sail you effortlessly into and through towns and villages steeped in tradition, yet full of surprises and wonder. You will be sad to see each day end, while looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure, with not a worry in your head about the chores of unpacking and repacking, changing accommodations or any other tedious travel details. All arrangements are expertly handled in advance to provide you the opportunity to enjoy each moment fully. Floating on your barge or riverboat down the river in the company of such natural wonders as a seemingly infinite variety of bird and sea life, including swans, gulls, cormorants, geese, herons, kingfishers and more. Boat trips on Thames lead you under many famed bridges – 16 in London proper. Quite a number of the crossings will command your attention, such as famous London Bridge and the relatively youthful Millennium Bridge constructed in 2000. London’s many riverside landmarks will thrill the senses, such as The Houses of Parliament, The Tate Modern Museum, The Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Canary Wharf among others.
The rich history of the river makes a Thames river boat cruise even more enticing. Once a tributary of the Rhine River, the Thames came into its own as the Earth’s surface transformed over millions of years since. Providing an important link between river towns and turning London into an international trading capital, the river has brought strife as well as success. The tidal river floods have brought their share of misery, but enriched and fertilized the land at the same time. The Thames is rightly referred to as the liquid history of southern England - making a Thames barge trip an even richer experience. The waterway was heavily targeted during world War II, but like most mighty rivers, bounced back to continually provide the United Kingdom its essential water, power, food, drink, transportation and economic development. Experience the river’s immense power and beauty on a Thames river cruise.
Natural beauty and peaceful views abound on the Upper River as it flows through the Cotswolds. The Upper Thames cruise then gives way to the bustling middle river and Oxford with its famed University. Not to be missed is a small gem of a town along the banks known as Marlow, with historic Georgian architecture and its marvelous suspension bridge. Beyond those already mentioned, Thames boating holidays will introduce you to such major sights as Buckingham Palace and famed riverside landmark the Tower of London. This host of many famous executions and imprisonments will place you in awe. Next to the Millennium Bridge sits Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. On your Thames river boat cruise you will also thrill to the sight of the many royal palaces and castles, such as Westminster, lining the river. The Lower Thames, affected by the tides’ rhythms, will take you past the twin towers of Greenwich Naval College and on to the Thames Barrier’s glittering stainless steel structures, marking the gateway to the sea.
On our small crafts you will make new friends over a meal on-board while medieval castles and church spires glide slowly by or farmhouse lights twinkle on the bank. Bond with your significant other or new friends while enjoying a day trip, bicycling through a riverside hamlet or a night out in bustling London. Another day, you’ll share authentic English atmosphere over fish and chips at the local pub with newfound cruise companions and friendly locals.
If you are ready to fill your soul with the sights and sounds of southern England, we invite you to cruise the Thames on a trip arranged by barge travel experts The Barge Connection. Luxuriously carefree small ship cruises are our passion, with riverboat, barge and even self-drive barge vacations in our repertoire. If you have something in mind, share you ideal trip plan with us and watch us work our magic - or rely upon our in-depth knowledge of UK river cruising to shape your trip. Let us create an unforgettable boat tour itinerary just for you. Contact us today for detailed information about all your options.