HOTEL BARGES / MAGNA CARTA

Itinerary

Hampton Court Palace - Henley on Thames

Sunday - Hampton Court Palace
Guests are met at the Stafford Hotel in Central London for afternoon English Cream Tea, before being transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Magna Carta . Champagne reception and welcome by the Captain and crew. Dinner on board.

Monday - Hampton Court Palace to Runnymede
This morning we explore the magnificent Hampton Court Palace. We tour Henry VIII’s apartments and the Royal Chapel, feel the chill in the haunted gallery and wonder at the Tudor kitchens. Outside, the gardens are breathtaking with The Great Vine, the oldest in the country still producing grapes and the famous maze. After lunch, we cruise through Molesey Lock and moor at Runnymede. Dinner on board.

Tuesday - Runnymede to Windsor
After breakfast, we have the option to use the spa facilities of the newly refurbished Runnymede-on-Thames Hotel. Then we cruise to Windsor, past the Magna Carta Memorial and Magna Carta Island where in 1215, King John was forced to put meet the powerful barons and seal the historic document. Our afternoon excursion is to Windsor Castle. Built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and a royal home for over 900 years by the Royal Family, this is the largest inhabited castle in the world. We explore the State Apartments, see Queen Mary's Dolls House, St George's Chapel and enjoy the far-reaching views. Dinner on board.

Wednesday, Windsor to Cookham
This morning we take a short drive to the Tudor manor house of Dorney Court, a very special home that has been owned by the Palmer family for more than 450 years and used regularly as a film location. Later, we cruise upstream past the fabulous waterside houses of Bray and through the spectacular Cliveden Reach to moor en route at Cliveden House itself. Once home to the Astor family, it has amazing gardens and was, of course, the scene of much political scandal and intrique . Late afternoon cruise to Cookham. Dinner on board.

Thursday - Cookham to Hurley
After breakfast, we visit the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham and take a walk around the village he once described as ‘Heaven on Earth’, before cruising through Marlow to Hurley. We tour Peter Freebody’s boatyard nearby and watch in wonder as the traditional craftsmen build and restore classic wooden craft. We have time to explore the ancient village, including Ye Olde Bell, reputed to be the oldest inn in the country, before returning to the hotel barge. Dinner on board.

Friday - Hurley to Henley on Thames
A morning cruise to Henley-on-Thames through fabulous countryside to our final mooring along the famous Henley Regatta Rowing Course. Then, an earlier lunch, followed by a drive to Oxford for a fascinating tour of Christ Church, Oxford’s grandest college, founded by Cardinal Wolsey and then again by King Henry VIII. The magnificent surroundings were also where Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.

Saturday - Henley on Thames to London
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Central London.

On alternate weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction. This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.

 

Hampton Court to Henley on Thames (Including Downton Abbey)

Sunday - Hampton Court Palace
Meet the Captain or a crew member at the Stafford Hotel in London at 3pm for afternoon English Cream Tea, before being transferred at 4pm to the Magna Carta . Champagne reception and welcome moored outside Hampton Court, former Tudor Palace of Henry VIII, where we remain overnight. Dinner aboard.

Monday - Hampton Court Palace to Runnymede
This morning we have ample time to really explore Hampton Court Palace, the most fabulous Tudor home of Henry VIII, though used as a Royal home until Victorian times. We walk through Henry’s great hall and haunted gallery and see his chapel, still used for worship today and with the finest Tudor ceiling in existence. There is much more to see including the stunning privy gardens, the world’s oldest growing grape vine and the famous maze! After lunch we enjoy our first cruise, up through Molesey Lock and following the meandering path of the river through Sunbury, Chertsey , and Shepperton to our overnight mooring on Bell Weir Lock at Runnymede . Dinner on board.

Tuesday - Runnymede to Windsor
After breakfast we have the option to use the spa facilities of the newly refurbished Runnymede-on-Thames hotel including pool, sauna and steam room. Beauty therapies, massages and other treatments are available but are best booked in advance. This morning we cruise to Windsor before enjoying lunch on board. Our river journey takes us through Runnymede where King John faced the barons in 1215 and was forced to put his seal on the Magna Carta , the document which was the very first Bill of Rights and from which our vessel takes its name. From the hotel barge we see the Magna Carta memorial and Magna Carta Island where the sealing took place. Our afternoon excursion is to Windsor Castle. Built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and lived in for over 900 years by the Royal Family, this is the largest inhabited castle in the world. We explore the State Apartments, see Queen Mary's Dolls House and St George's Chapel and enjoy the far-reaching views from its elevated fortress position. Dinner on board.

Wednesday - Windsor to Cookham
This morning, we cruise upstream past the fabulous waterside houses of Bray and through the spectacular Cliveden Reach to moor en route at Cliveden House itself. Once home to the Astor family, it has amazing gardens and was, of course, the scene of much political scandal and intrigue. Late afternoon cruise to Cookham . Dinner on board.

Thursday - Cookham to Hurley
After breakfast we drive to Highclere Castle ( Downton Abbey), one of England's most beautiful Victorian castles set amidst 1,000 acres of spectacular parkland. The Carnarvon family has lived at Highclere since 1679, and the current castle stands on the site of an earlier house, which in turn was built on the foundations of the medieval palace owned by the Bishops of Winchester for some 800 years. A longstanding friend of the Carnarvon family, Julian Fellowes had Highclere Castle in mind as he wrote " Downton Abbey". He often commented he wanted a house which spectacularly testified to the confidence and soaring optimism of the Edwardian period. After lunch we visit the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham and take a walk around the village he once described as ‘Heaven on Earth’, before cruising through Marlow to Hurley. Dinner on board.

Friday - Hurley to Henley-on-Thames and Oxford
This morning we tour Peter Freebody’s boatyard nearby and watch in wonder as the traditional craftsmen at work, build and restore classic wooden craft. We have time to explore the ancient village, including Ye Olde Bell, reputed to be the oldest inn in the country, before returning to the barge and cruising through fabulous countryside to our final mooring along the famous Henley Regatta Rowing Course. Then, an earlier lunch, followed by a drive to Oxford for a fascinating tour of Christ Church, Oxford’s grandest college, founded by Cardinal Wolsey and then again by King Henry VIII. The magnificent surroundings were also where Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.

Saturday - Henley-on-Thames to London
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Central London.