Steeped in history, the upper reaches of the River Thames are leafy, tranquil and a haven for wildlife. Join the elegant Hotel Barge, Magna Carta in Hampton Court and cruise north to Runnymede, Windsor, Cookham and Henley-on-Thames, visiting important houses, palaces and gardens.
Explore the lavish palace of Henry VIII at Hampton Court before sailing to Runnymede, a water meadow and the site where King John sealed the Magna Carta in 1215. Close by is 11th-century Windsor Castle surrounded by graceful parkland, where a tour takes in the State Apartments and St George's Chapel.
The lovely Dorney Court is an early Tudor manor house mentioned in the Domesday Book and the location for 'Poirot'. Visit the Stanley Spencer Gallery and explore the ancient village of Hurley, before travelling to Henley-en-Thames, where Magna Carta follows the course of the legendary Regatta.
Magna Carta is a a stylish vessel accommodating just 8 passengers with an experienced crew of four. Teak and oak decks and furnishings have been used throughout, and large picture windows afford fantastic views from the saloon and dining areas. Enjoy the passing scenery from the sun deck and spa pool, or enjoy the comforts of your spacious en suite cabin. Bicycles are available for passengers to follow the tow path or explore on their own.
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Thames on Magna Carta Itinerary
Day 1 - Hampton Court Palace (England)
You will be met at The Stafford Hotel, London for afternoon English Cream Tea, before being transferred to the Magna Carta. Champagne reception and welcome moored outside Hampton Court, former Tudor Palace of Henry VIII, where we remain overnight. Dinner aboard.
Day 2 - Runnymede
This morning we have ample time to really explore Hampton Court Palace, the most fabulous Tudor home, once belonging to Cardinal Wolsey until acquired by Henry VIII! We tour Henry VIII's apartments and the Royal Chapel. 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.
Day 3 - 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. 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 boat 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.
Day 4 - Cookham
This morning, we take a short drive to the Tudor manor house of Dorney Court, regularly used as a film location. Later, we cruise upstream past the waterside houses of Bray and through the Cliveden Reach to moor en route at Cliveden House. Dinner on board.
Day 5 - Cookham - Hurley
After breakfast, we visit the Stanley Spencer Gallery and enjoy a walk around this beautiful village, before cruising through Marlow to Hurley. Tour Peter Freebody's boatyard and watch the traditional craftsmen build and restore the classic craft. There is also time to explore the ancient village, including Ye Olde Belle, reputed to be the oldest inn in the country. Dinner on board.
Day 6 - Henley-on-Thames
A morning cruise to Henley-on-Thames through beautiful countryside to our final mooring along the famous Henley Regatta Rowing Course. Enjoy an early lunch, followed by a drive to Oxford for a tour of Christ Church. Captain's Farewell Dinner on board.
Day 7 - Henley-on-Thames
Following breakfast, disembark and transfer by minibus to Central London.
PLEASE NOTE: On Downton Abbey departures, Highclere Castle will be visited on Day 5, and Peter Freebody's boatyard will be visited on Day 6. Please contact us for the detailed itinerary. Itinerary above is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.