About The River Thames

Boating on the Thames, you discover historical cities and untouched countryside.

Boating vacations on the Thames are a pleasant way to travel through South East England, a region soaked in history and luscious nature. As you gaze at magnificent Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace or the Bridge of Sighs in Oxford, you feel transported back in time.

The river meanders through large towns and cities with shops, pubs and museums. You’ll also stop in small villages where the pace is slow and the living is easy!

 

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Map showing where the Thames boating region is in England

The perfect boating region for...

Thames Region map

 = Le Boat Base           = Navigable river           = No navigation beyond this point

The perfect boating region for...

History & heritage

British guard soldier

The Thames River is perhaps one of the world's most historic waterways. That becomes obvious as you travel to Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace and Cliveden House. But the history and heritage is everywhere! Often you'll dine in a pub that was built 500 years ago!

Family

Family on Horizon on the Thames

Kids will love LEGOLAND Windsor Resort with its fun rides and live shows! While the family is seeing Hampton Court Palace near Kingston-upon-Thames, why not build time in to enjoy Chessington World of Adventures. It's perfect for kids under age 12!

Fishing

Fish and Lemon segments

The beautiful Thames River boasts gorgeous reaches where the riverboat fishing is superb! There are free fishing sites set up for anglers anxious to land roach, perch, barbel, chub, pike or carp! Fish free at Oxford and Reading!

2021 season for this region
Starts on April 12 and ends on October 31, 2021. More detail and restrictions

2022 season for this region
Starts on April 1 and ends on October 31, 2022.

  

Useful information

Safe Travels

We’ve been awarded the World Travel & Tourism Council's Safe Travel Stamp. The WTTC stamp enables international travellers to recognise destinations around the world which have adopted global standardised protocals - so they can experience "Safe Travels". We look forward to seeing you.

Download our region guide

Check out our region guideWe've produced a handy PDF guide for this region to give you an overview of all the stops and things to do along the waterway.

Download our region guide

The River Thames has been England’s most important river for millennia. It served as a major artery for shipping goods at home and abroad, and as a protected base for the British navy. It’s still busy in places. From its source in the Cotswold Hills it flows 346 kilometres (215 miles) to the North Sea. Only the Severn River is longer. At its mouth, the Thames is five miles wide and home to delta wetlands teeming with birds and marine life. It helps to have this general Thames River information to get an idea of the size of the waterway. Your Boating Vacations on the Thames will take you from just above London to lovely Benson. You’ll find it’s a perfect stage for a River Thames boat rent! The river flows past meadows, woodlands, mediaeval villages and castles, and it’s simply delightful!

Great rivers almost always spawn great cities, and the Thames is no exception. The first settlers to arrive were probably Stone Age nomads, based on the discovery of Neolithic manmade shards. Bronze Age wanderers also came. In A.D. 43, Roman legionnaires occupied England and built a seaport they called Londinium near present-day London Bridge. The Thames became the lifeblood of England from then on, assuming its important place in world history.

The Thames River is easy to navigate and suitable for beginners. Traffic can be heavy at times.

We've partnered up with some of the best local businesses from the towns and villages along the River Thames to help you get the most out of your Le Boat Vacation.

 

Discover our range of exclusive offers, only available to Le Boat customers. 

Take a look at our waterway and lock closures page to find out if there are any scheduled cruising restrictions that will affect your vacation plans.

Going through locks is one of the highlights of a boating holiday. All locks on the Thames are electronically operated and, most of the time, a lock keeper will be present to do most of the work. When they are not, the lock gates will display a blue ‘self-service’ sign – which means you are allowed to operate it yourself. But don’t worry… it’s easy! By the end of your holiday you will pass through locks confidently and become an ace at throwing ropes over mooring bollards!

 

Lock keepers’ duty times (locks are closed for lunch between 13:00-14:00)

May – Jun: 9:00 – 18:00

Jul – Aug: 9:00 – 19:00

Sep: 9:00 – 18:00

 

When the lock keep is not on duty, operating the weir, maintaining the lock site or taking a break, they will display blue ‘self-service’ signs on the lock gates. This means you can operate the lock yourself, at your own risk. The controls are located by each gate on a big green metal box.

 

There is no charge to go through locks. Cruising beyond Teddington Locks towards central London is prohibited.

 

Moorings are plentiful on the Thames River.

To find out how to get to each of our bases in this boating region, as well as what facilities and amenities are available at each base or nearby, click on the relevant base below:

  • Rental of the boat and its onboard equipment
  • A fully equipped kitchen
  • Towels and linen for all passengers
  • A boat handling demonstration prior to departure
  • Technical support
  • On-board maps and visitor information
  • Passage through locks
  • Optional vacation extras
  • Boat damage waiver
  • Running costs (diesel, gas, engine wear and tear) - charged by the engine hour (by the litre in Scotland).
  • Travel to and from the base(s)
  • Waterside services if you use them (i.e. moorings where a charge is applicable, pump-out if needed, water, etc)
  • Cancellation plan & any travel/personal insurance
  • Food and drink

Interactive map of the Thames 

Le Boat base = Le Boat base  Point of interest = Point of interest

Great to see...

Must see
The spires of Oxford
Oxford, the City of Dreaming Spires, will inspire and enchant you with its architecture and vibrant atmosphere. Home to royalty and scholars for over 900 years, it is full of old buildings, many owned by the famous University. Excellent shopping, museums and tours will keep you busy for a whole day at least.
Abingdon, a lovely market town, has some 56 buildings from the 17th century and prior. Evidence also exists of a 6,000 year old settlement, making this the oldest, continuously-occupied town in Britain. By contrast, it's known for its MG car manufacturing and was one of the UK's first towns to offer free wi-fi for all.
Dorchester-on-Thames is a village at the confluence of the River Thames and its tributary The Thame. It is ideal for exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside by foot or bicycle. For something different to do, nearby Day's Lock hosts the World Pooh Sticks Championships every spring.

Cruising from Benson takes in the best of the great British countryside.If you like tranquil, pretty stretches of water and acres of open pastures, hills and farmland - this is the right end of the Thames for you.

The Royal Borough of Wallingford was once home to 14 churches! While most are long gone, there’s still plenty to see, from independent shops and markets to cafes and restaurants. Markets are held every Friday with a farmers’ market on the third Tuesday of each month. The castle ruins and gardens are a nice place for a picnic. Wallingford is perhaps most famous for being the home of Agatha Christie and the setting for many of her stories.

A small, but pretty village which faces South Stoke on the opposite bank. South Stoke has a quaint church and a 17th century village pub. Neither village has any shops but the highlight in Moulsford is the famous Beetle and Wedge Hotel.
This pretty town sits between the Chilterns and the Berksrent Downs within a designated 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. The Norman church of St Thomas can be seen overlooking the river and there are many shops, restaurants and bars to help while away a lazy afternoon.
Pangbourne dates back to Saxon Times. Lord Nelson's Bo'Sun lived in Pangbourne and is buried at St James the Less church, built in 1660. The individual shops are full of character and the surrounding area is ideal for walkers, photographers and artists alike.
Mapledurham is one of the most picturesque spots on the Thames with views of Mapledurham House and the country's last working mill, which still produces stone-ground flour. Mapledurham has one pub, The Pack Saddle, in Chazey Heath.
Famous as one of the UK's top ten retail destinations, the heart of Reading offers much more than superb shopping. The Forbury Gardens, a nationally acclaimed Victorian formal garden, leads you beautifully to the ruins of Reading Abbey, an ancient monument and burial place of a King of England.
Sonning-On-Thames is a picturesque riverside village with half timbered Tudor houses and is one of the prettiest stops along the Thames. Sonning Lock, with its colourful gardens, is lovely place for a stroll and the impressive arched bridge, built in 1775, spans the River Thames perfectly.
Must see
Henley Rowing Museum
Best known for its Royal Regatta, Henley is synonymous with rowing and attracts some of the world's finest rowers. Just a few strides from the riverbank is the heart of Henley with its historic church, town hall and market square, the latter bustling with busy stall-holders and shoppers on market days.
Marlow is a charming Georgian market town, spanned by an elegant suspension bridge. Marlow is the venue for the annual royal ceremony of 'Swan Upping' when cygnets are tagged, and for the Marlow Town Regatta, held in June. With its many restaurants and bistros, every month in Marlow has a vacation feel.
Cookham is a pretty village with a delightful High Street that has changed little over the centuries. Today it boasts many fine restaurants and inns. Kenneth Grahame lived in Cookham and is said to have been inspired by the River Thames at Cookham to write The Wind in the Willows.
Must see
Cliveden House
As the river snakes past Cookham, the beechwoods rise steeply and you will see the Cliveden Estate. A country retreat on a grand scale, it was once the glittering hub of society; visited by virtually every British Monarch since George I.
Maidenhead is an ancient town with a history going back to early Saxon times. This bustling town is now a centre of rowing excellence. It is a popular destination for shoppers and, for those who love fine dining; the area is home to some fantastic restaurants including some Michelin-starred venues.
Must see
Royal guards marching in Windsor
The Royal Town of Windsor is full of history and charm and is home to Britain's largest inhabited castle and royal residence of over 900 years – Windsor Castle. You'll also find a bustling town centre with contemporary shopping, fine dining and leisure activities. Well worth a stop for the day.
Across the river from Windsor is Eton, home to the famous public school, Eton College, one of the most exclusive schools in the world with annual fees of around £20,000. The ancient desks and benches bear the graffiti of generations of former pupils, which include 19 former British Prime Ministers.

Nearly 800 years ago, King John met with a group of barons on Magna Carta Island in Runnymede. It was here he signed a historic document which is seen by many as the symbolic first step on the road to modern democracy. Today, in this spirit, Runnymede has several memorials to the ongoing struggle for liberty - a trio of thought-provoking places which are worth a stop at to reflect, ponder and remember.

Staines is a bustling town which attracts scores of visitors to its impressive retail areas - The Elmsleigh Centre and Two Rivers, as well as the town centre with its pedestrianised shopping area offering a wide range of shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs.
This water-meadow alongside the Thames makes a great place to moor up and enjoy a stroll or reflect on world history. It was near here, at Runnymede in 1215, that the historic Magna Carta was sealed. This charter laid down the foundations of much of the current British constitution and law.

Chertsey is a town steeped in history. Wander the pretty streets to find restaurants, shops and even a 12th century parish church. See if you can spot the bronze sculpture of Chertsey's 15th century romantic heroine Blanche Heriot, and find out how she stopped time to save her lover's life. 

Must see
Hampton Court Palace sculpture
Hampton Court Palace, billed as 'The Greatest Palace in Britain', offers a magical journey through 500 years of royal history. Resident included King Henry VII, William III and Queen Mary, who each expanded and modernised various parts. Experience the grandeur and splendour of the state apartments, tour the largest kitchens of Tudor England and get lost in the gardens and the UK's oldest surviving hedge maze.
Kingston-upon-Thames was once the coronation place of Saxon Kings (902 – 978). Today this busy market town has developed into a major shopping and entertainment hub, although it retains much of its original charm. It also has a strong arts culture and a vibrant festival programme.

Itinerary suggestions

To help you get an idea of how far you can travel in the time you have, here's a selection of routes to and from our bases in this region. You dont have to stop at all the places listed or follow the route exactly. So long as you return your boat to your end base by the date you've booked - you're free to enjoy your cruise however you like. For a comfortable pace, allowing you time to regularly stop and explore, we'd recommend an average of 2 - 4 hours cruising each day.

 = Click the arrow icon on each route suggestion, to flip the 'card' and reveal more details.

Old English town on the River Thames

The Willow Tree Short Break

Benson
Wallingford
Moulsford
Goring
Pangbourne-on-Thames
Reading
Sonning-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames
Marlow
Benson

14 hr(s) of cruising

75km 28 locks 3 nights

The Willow Tree Short Break

Benson RETURN via Marlow

Benson RETURN via Marlow

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right

Overview

When approaching Henley-on-Thames, you gaze at a postcard-perfect scene — sculling crews row sleek craft, and colorful waterfront pubs and shops look inviting. You know you’re in the midst of quintessential England, so you stop for a lunch of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding washed down with a pint of local ale, a favourite on River Thames cruises!

Top highlights:

  • Wallingford's castle and famous market
  • Goring's Hartslock and Withymead nature reserves
  • The Georgian Manor and exotic animals of Beale Park in Pangbourne

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation

  • Wallingford: The Royal Borough of Wallingford was once home to 14 churches! While most are long gone, there’s still plenty to see, from independent shops and markets to cafes and restaurants. Markets are held every Friday with a farmers’ market on the third Tuesday of each month. The castle ruins and gardens are a nice place for a picnic. Wallingford is perhaps most famous for being the home of Agatha Christie and the setting for many of her stories.
  • Moulsford: A small, but pretty village which faces South Stoke on the opposite bank. South Stoke has a quaint church and a 17th century village pub. Neither village has any shops but the highlight in Moulsford is the famous Beetle and Wedge Hotel.
  • Goring: This pretty town sits between the Chilterns and the Berksrent Downs within a designated 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. The Norman church of St Thomas can be seen overlooking the river and there are many shops, restaurants and bars to help while away a lazy afternoon.
  • Pangbourne: Pangbourne dates back to Saxon Times. Lord Nelson's Bo'Sun lived in Pangbourne and is buried at St James the Less church, built in 1660. The individual shops are full of character and the surrounding area is ideal for walkers, photographers and artists alike.
  • Reading: Famous as one of the UK's top ten retail destinations, the heart of Reading offers much more than superb shopping. The Forbury Gardens, a nationally acclaimed Victorian formal garden, leads you beautifully to the ruins of Reading Abbey, an ancient monument and burial place of a King of England.
  • Sonning: Sonning-On-Thames is a picturesque riverside village with half timbered Tudor houses and is one of the prettiest stops along the Thames. Sonning Lock, with its colorful gardens, is a lovely place for a stroll and the impressive arched bridge, built in 1775, spans the River Thames perfectly.
  • Henley-upon-Thames: Best known for its Royal Regatta, Henley is synonymous with rowing and attracts some of the world's finest rowers. Just a few strides from the riverbank is the heart of Henley with its historic church, town hall and market square, the latter bustling with busy stall-holders and shoppers on market days.
  • Marlow: Marlow is a charming Georgian market town, spanned by an elegant suspension bridge. Marlow is the venue for the annual royal ceremony of 'Swan Upping' when cygnets are tagged, and for the Marlow Town Regatta, held in June. With its many restaurants and bistros, every month in Marlow has a vacation feel.

14 hr(s) of cruising

75km 28 locks 3 nights
Oxford town

The Scholars Cruise

Benson
Dorchester-on-Thames
Abingdon-on-Thames
Oxford
Wallingford
Moulsford
Goring
Pangbourne-on-Thames
Mapledurham
Reading
Sonning-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames
Marlow
Benson

24 hr(s) of cruising

186km 30 locks 7 nights

The Scholars Cruise

Benson RETURN via Oxford & Henley

Benson RETURN via Oxford & Henley

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right

Overview

England’s city of learning, venerable Oxford, rises in understated grandeur over the shimmering blue of the Thames. You’re all set to go ashore to sightsee, shop, dine and trek the river’s excellent trail. The laid-back quality of the landscape has soothed you, and you’re glad you made sure your Thames riverboat cruise included some bird-watching at Benson Lock.

Top highlights:

  • Abingdon's historic market town with seventeenth century buildings 
  • The Anglo-Saxon architecture of Oxford, with an endless array of beautiful libraries
  • Wallingford's castle and famous market 
  • Strolling through the half-timbered houses of Sonning-On-Thames

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation:

  • Dorchester: Dorchester-on-Thames is a village at the confluence of the River Thames and its tributary The Thames. It is ideal for exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside by foot or bicycle. For something different to do, nearby Day's Lock hosts the World Pooh Sticks Championships every spring.
  • Abingdon: Abingdon, a lovely market town, has some 56 buildings from the 17th century and prior. Evidence also exists of a 6,000 year old settlement, making this the oldest, continuously-occupied town in Britain. By contrast, it's known for its MG car manufacturing and was one of the UK's first towns to offer free wi-fi for all.
  • Oxford: Oxford, the City of Dreaming Spires, will inspire and enchant you with its architecture and vibrant atmosphere. Home to royalty and scholars for over 900 years, it is full of old buildings, many owned by the famous University. Excellent shopping, museums and tours will keep you busy for a whole day at least.
  • Wallingford: The Royal Borough of Wallingford was once home to 14 churches! While most are long gone, there’s still plenty to see, from independent shops and markets to cafes and restaurants. Markets are held every Friday with a farmers’ market on the third Tuesday of each month. The castle ruins and gardens are a nice place for a picnic. Wallingford is perhaps most famous for being the home of Agatha Christie and the setting for many of her stories.
  • Moulsford: A small, but pretty village which faces South Stoke on the opposite bank. South Stoke has a quaint church and a 17th century village pub. Neither village has any shops but the highlight in Moulsford is the famous Beetle and Wedge Hotel.
  • Goring: This pretty town sits between the Chilterns and the Berkshire Downs within a designated 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. The Norman church of St Thomas can be seen overlooking the river and there are many shops, restaurants and bars to help while away a lazy afternoon.
  • Pangbourne: Pangbourne dates back to Saxon Times. Lord Nelson's Bo'Sun lived in Pangbourne and is buried at St James the Less church, built in 1660. The individual shops are full of character and the surrounding area is ideal for walkers, photographers and artists alike.
  • Reading: Famous as one of the UK's top ten retail destinations, the heart of Reading offers much more than superb shopping. The Forbury Gardens, a nationally acclaimed Victorian formal garden, leads you beautifully to the ruins of Reading Abbey, an ancient monument and burial place of a King of England.
  • Sonning: Sonning-On-Thames is a picturesque riverside village with half timbered Tudor houses and is one of the prettiest stops along the Thames. Sonning Lock, with its colorful gardens, is lovely place for a stroll and the impressive arched bridge, built in 1775, spans the River Thames perfectly.
  • Henley-upon-Thames: Best known for its Royal Regatta, Henley is synonymous with rowing and attracts some of the world's finest rowers. Just a few strides from the riverbank is the heart of Henley with its historic church, town hall and market square, the latter bustling with busy stall-holders and shoppers on market days.
  • Marlow: Marlow is a charming Georgian market town, spanned by an elegant suspension bridge. Marlow is the venue for the annual royal ceremony of 'Swan Upping' when cygnets are tagged, and for the Marlow Town Regatta, held in June. With its many restaurants and bistros, every month in Marlow has a vacation feel.

 

24 hr(s) of cruising

186km 30 locks 7 nights
Windsor from the river Thames

The Royal Cruise

Benson
Wallingford
Moulsford
Goring
Pangbourne-on-Thames
Reading
Sonning-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames
Marlow
Cliveden
Cookham
Maidenhead
Eton
Windsor
Benson

24 hr(s) of cruising

155km 34 locks 7 nights

The Royal Cruise

Benson RETURN via Windsor

Benson RETURN via Windsor

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right

Overview

You have fun trying to make the palace guards at Windsor Castle smile, but you don’t succeed! Then you take a picnic lunch to the Royal Gardens to relax under the warm sun, vastly content from the rigors of the morning. Royal Cruise boat vacations on the Thames have bewitched with the grand castles and homes you’ve seen so far!

Top highlights:

  • The Georgian Manor and exotic animals of Beale Park in Pangbourne
  • Maidenhead's multitude of Michelin-starred restaurants
  • Windsor's Abbey and Castle
  • Stopping for tea at Cliveden House

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation:

  • Wallingford: The Royal Borough of Wallingford was once home to 14 churches! While most are long gone, there’s still plenty to see, from independent shops and markets to cafes and restaurants. Markets are held every Friday with a farmers’ market on the third Tuesday of each month. The castle ruins and gardens are a nice place for a picnic. Wallingford is perhaps most famous for being the home of Agatha Christie and the setting for many of her stories.
  • Moulsford: A small, but pretty village which faces South Stoke on the opposite bank. South Stoke has a quaint church and a 17th century village pub. Neither village has any shops but the highlight in Moulsford is the famous Beetle and Wedge Hotel.
  • Goring: This pretty town sits between the Chilterns and the Berkshire Downs within a designated 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. The Norman church of St Thomas can be seen overlooking the river and there are many shops, restaurants and bars to help while away a lazy afternoon.
  • Pangbourne: Pangbourne dates back to Saxon Times. Lord Nelson's Bo'Sun lived in Pangbourne and is buried at St James the Less church, built in 1660. The individual shops are full of character and the surrounding area is ideal for walkers, photographers and artists alike.
  • Reading: Famous as one of the UK's top ten retail destinations, the heart of Reading offers much more than superb shopping. The Forbury Gardens, a nationally acclaimed Victorian formal garden, leads you beautifully to the ruins of Reading Abbey, an ancient monument and burial place of a King of England.
  • Sonning: Sonning-On-Thames is a picturesque riverside village with half timbered Tudor houses and is one of the prettiest stops along the Thames. Sonning Lock, with its colorful gardens, is a lovely place for a stroll and the impressive arched bridge, built in 1775, spans the River Thames perfectly.
  • Henley-upon-Thames: Best known for its Royal Regatta, Henley is synonymous with rowing and attracts some of the world's finest rowers. Just a few strides from the riverbank is the heart of Henley with its historic church, town hall and market square, the latter bustling with busy stall-holders and shoppers on market days.
  • Marlow: Marlow is a charming Georgian market town, spanned by an elegant suspension bridge. Marlow is the venue for the annual royal ceremony of 'Swan Upping' when cygnets are tagged, and for the Marlow Town Regatta, held in June. With its many restaurants and bistros, every month in Marlow has a vacation feel.
  • Cliveden: As the river snakes past Cookham, the beechwoods rise steeply and you will see the Cliveden Estate. A country retreat on a grand scale, it was once the glittering hub of society; visited by virtually every British Monarch since George I.
  • Cookham: Cookham is a pretty village with a delightful High Street that has changed little over the centuries. Today it boasts many fine restaurants and inns. Kenneth Grahame lived in Cookham and is said to have been inspired by the River Thames at Cookham to write The Wind in the Willows.
  • Maidenhead: Maidenhead is an ancient town with a history going back to early Saxon times. This bustling town is now a centre of rowing excellence. It is a popular destination for shoppers and, for those who love fine dining; the area is home to some fantastic restaurants including some Michelin-starred venues.
  • Eton: Across the river from Windsor is Eton, home to the famous public school, Eton College, one of the most exclusive schools in the world with annual fees of around £20,000. The ancient desks and benches bear the graffiti of generations of former pupils, which include 19 former British Prime Ministers.
  • Windsor: The Royal Town of Windsor is full of history and charm and is home to Britain's largest inhabited castle and royal residence of over 900 years – Windsor Castle. You'll also find a bustling town centre with contemporary shopping, fine dining and leisure activities. Well worth a stop for the day.

 

24 hr(s) of cruising

155km 34 locks 7 nights
Cruising on the Thames

The Heart of England Short Break

Benson
Wallingford
Moulsford
Goring
Pangbourne-on-Thames
Reading
Sonning-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames
Marlow
Cliveden
Cookham
Maidenhead
Eton
Windsor
Runnymede
Staines
Chertsey

15 hr(s) of cruising

96km 22 locks 5 nights

The Heart of England Short Break

Benson to Chertsey ONEWAY

 Benson to Chertsey

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right

Overview

Every medieval village you pass draws the eye with ornate buildings and beautiful waterfronts. You’ve just gone by Beale Park outside Goring, but you didn’t stop for a picnic. Instead, you travel on to spend the night in Henley-on-Thames. You’ve decided to take it slow and easy on your River Thames boat rent, savouring the delights of cycling, golf and hanging out in friendly pubs!

Top highlights:

  • Windsor's Abbey and Castle 
  • Goring's Hartslock and Withymead nature reserves
  • Maidenhead's multitude of Michelin-starred restaurants 
  • Stopping for tea at Cliveden House

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation:

  • Wallingford: The Royal Borough of Wallingford was once home to 14 churches! While most are long gone, there’s still plenty to see, from independent shops and markets to cafes and restaurants. Markets are held every Friday with a farmers’ market on the third Tuesday of each month. The castle ruins and gardens are a nice place for a picnic. Wallingford is perhaps most famous for being the home of Agatha Christie and the setting for many of her stories.
  • Moulsford: A small, but pretty village which faces South Stoke on the opposite bank. South Stoke has a quaint church and a 17th century village pub. Neither village has any shops but the highlight in Moulsford is the famous Beetle and Wedge Hotel.
  • Goring: This pretty town sits between the Chilterns and the Berkshire Downs within a designated 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. The Norman church of St Thomas can be seen overlooking the river and there are many shops, restaurants and bars to help while away a lazy afternoon.
  • Pangbourne: Pangbourne dates back to Saxon Times. Lord Nelson's Bo'Sun lived in Pangbourne and is buried at St James the Less church, built in 1660. The individual shops are full of character and the surrounding area is ideal for walkers, photographers and artists alike.
  • Reading: Famous as one of the UK's top ten retail destinations, the heart of Reading offers much more than superb shopping. The Forbury Gardens, a nationally acclaimed Victorian formal garden, leads you beautifully to the ruins of Reading Abbey, an ancient monument and burial place of a King of England.
  • Sonning: Sonning-On-Thames is a picturesque riverside village with half timbered Tudor houses and is one of the prettiest stops along the Thames. Sonning Lock, with its colourful gardens, is a lovely place for a stroll and the impressive arched bridge, built in 1775, spans the River Thames perfectly.
  • Henley-upon-Thames: Best known for its Royal Regatta, Henley is synonymous with rowing and attracts some of the world's finest rowers. Just a few strides from the riverbank is the heart of Henley with its historic church, town hall and market square, the latter bustling with busy stall-holders and shoppers on market days.
  • Marlow: Marlow is a charming Georgian market town, spanned by an elegant suspension bridge. Marlow is the venue for the annual royal ceremony of 'Swan Upping' when cygnets are tagged, and for the Marlow Town Regatta, held in June. With its many restaurants and bistros, every month in Marlow has a vacation feel.
  • Cliveden: As the river snakes past Cookham, the beechwoods rise steeply and you will see the Cliveden Estate. A country retreat on a grand scale, it was once the glittering hub of society; visited by virtually every British Monarch since George I.
  • Cookham: Cookham is a pretty village with a delightful High Street that has changed little over the centuries. Today it boasts many fine restaurants and inns. Kenneth Grahame lived in Cookham and is said to have been inspired by the River Thames at Cookham to write The Wind in the Willows.
  • Maidenhead: Maidenhead is an ancient town with a history going back to early Saxon times. This bustling town is now a centre of rowing excellence. It is a popular destination for shoppers and, for those who love fine dining; the area is home to some fantastic restaurants including some Michelin-starred venues.
  • Eton: Across the river from Windsor is Eton, home to the famous public school, Eton College, one of the most exclusive schools in the world with annual fees of around £20,000. The ancient desks and benches bear the graffiti of generations of former pupils, which include 19 former British Prime Ministers.
  • Windsor: The Royal town of Windsor is full of history and charm and is home to Britain's largest inhabited castle and royal residence of over 900 years – Windsor Castle. You'll also find a bustling town centre with contemporary shopping, fine dining and leisure activities. Well worth a stop for the day.
  • Runnymede: Nearly 800 years ago, King John met with a group of barons on Magna Carta Island in Runnymede. It was here he signed a historic document which is seen by many as the symbolic first step on the road to modern democracy. Today, in this spirit, Runnymede has several memorials to the ongoing struggle for liberty - a trio of thought-provoking places which are worth a stop at to reflect, ponder and remember.
  • Staines: Staines is a bustling town which attracts scores of visitors to its impressive retail areas - The Elmsleigh Centre and Two Rivers, as well as the town centre with its pedestrianised shopping area offering a wide range of shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs.

 

15 hr(s) of cruising

96km 22 locks 5 nights
The River Thames in sunshine

The Heart of England Cruise

Benson
Wallingford
Moulsford
Goring
Pangbourne-on-Thames
Reading
Sonning-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames
Marlow
Cliveden
Cookham
Maidenhead
Eton
Windsor
Runnymede
Staines
Kingston-Upon-Thames
Chertsey

23 hr(s) of cruising

128km 30 locks 7 nights

The Heart of England Cruise

Benson to Chertsey via Kingston-upon-Thames ONEWAY

Benson to Chertsey via Kingston-upon-Thames

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right

Overview

Hampton Court Palace, once the home of King Henry VIII, looms above you and the circular fountain in front murmurs in the background. You smile as you recall the varied charms of your Thames riverboat cruise, a unique way to travel! The world just looks different from a boat, and you know that now at the end of the trip! Cycling, pubs, historic sites — it was all part of the fun!

Top highlights:

  • Windsor's Abbey and Castle
  • Exploring the history of the Magna Carta in Runnymede
  • An exhilarating day of fun at Thorpe Park in Staines
  • Learning about the history of Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace in Richmond

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation:

  • Wallingford: The Royal Borough of Wallingford was once home to 14 churches! While most are long gone, there’s still plenty to see, from independent shops and markets to cafes and restaurants. Markets are held every Friday with a farmers’ market on the third Tuesday of each month. The castle ruins and gardens are a nice place for a picnic. Wallingford is perhaps most famous for being the home of Agatha Christie and the setting for many of her stories.
  • Moulsford: A small, but pretty village which faces South Stoke on the opposite bank. South Stoke has a quaint church and a 17th century village pub. Neither village has any shops but the highlight in Moulsford is the famous Beetle and Wedge Hotel.
  • Goring: This pretty town sits between the Chilterns and the Berkshire Downs within a designated 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. The Norman church of St Thomas can be seen overlooking the river and there are many shops, restaurants and bars to help while away a lazy afternoon.
  • Pangbourne: Pangbourne dates back to Saxon Times. Lord Nelson's Bo'Sun lived in Pangbourne and is buried at St James the Less church, built in 1660. The individual shops are full of character and the surrounding area is ideal for walkers, photographers and artists alike.
  • Reading: Famous as one of the UK's top ten retail destinations, the heart of Reading offers much more than superb shopping. The Forbury Gardens, a nationally acclaimed Victorian formal garden, leads you beautifully to the ruins of Reading Abbey, an ancient monument and burial place of a King of England.
  • Sonning: Sonning-On-Thames is a picturesque riverside village with half timbered Tudor houses and is one of the prettiest stops along the Thames. Sonning Lock, with its colorful gardens, is a lovely place for a stroll and the impressive arched bridge, built in 1775, spans the River Thames perfectly.
  • Henley-upon-Thames: Best known for its Royal Regatta, Henley is synonymous with rowing and attracts some of the world's finest rowers. Just a few strides from the riverbank is the heart of Henley with its historic church, town hall and market square, the latter bustling with busy stall-holders and shoppers on market days.
  • Marlow: Marlow is a charming Georgian market town, spanned by an elegant suspension bridge. Marlow is the venue for the annual royal ceremony of 'Swan Upping' when cygnets are tagged, and for the Marlow Town Regatta, held in June. With its many restaurants and bistros, every month in Marlow has a vacation feel.
  • Cliveden: As the river snakes past Cookham, the beechwoods rise steeply and you will see the Cliveden Estate. A country retreat on a grand scale, it was once the glittering hub of society; visited by virtually every British Monarch since George I.
  • Cookham: Cookham is a pretty village with a delightful High Street that has changed little over the centuries. Today it boasts many fine restaurants and inns. Kenneth Grahame lived in Cookham and is said to have been inspired by the River Thames at Cookham to write The Wind in the Willows.
  • Maidenhead: Maidenhead is an ancient town with a history going back to early Saxon times. This bustling town is now a centre of rowing excellence. It is a popular destination for shoppers and, for those who love fine dining; the area is home to some fantastic restaurants including some Michelin-starred venues.
  • Eton: Across the river from Windsor is Eton, home to the famous public school, Eton College, one of the most exclusive schools in the world with annual fees of around £20,000. The ancient desks and benches bear the graffiti of generations of former pupils, which include 19 former British Prime Ministers.
  • Windsor: The Royal Town of Windsor is full of history and charm and is home to Britain's largest inhabited castle and royal residence of over 900 years – Windsor Castle. You'll also find a bustling town centre with contemporary shopping, fine dining and leisure activities. Well worth a stop for the day.
  • Runnymede: Nearly 800 years ago, King John met with a group of barons on Magna Carta Island in Runnymede. It was here he signed a historic document which is seen by many as the symbolic first step on the road to modern democracy. Today, in this spirit, Runnymede has several memorials to the ongoing struggle for liberty - a trio of thought-provoking places which are worth a stop at to reflect, ponder and remember.
  • Staines: Staines is a bustling town which attracts scores of visitors to its impressive retail areas - The Elmsleigh Centre and Two Rivers, as well as the town centre with its pedestrianised shopping area offering a wide range of shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs.
  • Kingston-Upon-Thames: Kingston-upon-Thames was once the coronation place of Saxon Kings (902 – 978). Today this busy market town has developed into a major shopping and entertainment hub, although it retains much of its original charm. It also has a strong arts culture and a vibrant festival programme.

 

 

23 hr(s) of cruising

128km 30 locks 7 nights
Swans on the river Thames

The Little Thames Short Break

Chertsey
Staines
Windsor
Eton
Maidenhead
Cookham
Cliveden
Marlow
Henley-on-Thames
Chertsey

16 hr(s) of cruising

75km 18 locks 3 nights

The Little Thames Short Break

Chertsey RETURN via Henley-upon-Thames

Chertsey RETURN via Henley-upon-Thames

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right

Overview

The easy going pace of a River Thames boat rent relaxes you almost immediately after you get going. The villages with waterside pubs and pretty greens tempt you to stop, and you often do! Cycling takes you into the countryside to get a real taste of beautiful England, and sightseeing is unforgettable in Windsor, where you can feel the presence of the Queen!

Top highlights:

  • Windsor's Abbey and Castle
  • Henley's extraordinary church and market square 
  • Maidenhead's multitude of Michelin-starred restaurants 
  • Stopping for tea at Cliveden House

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation:

  • Staines: Staines is a bustling town which attracts scores of visitors to its impressive retail areas - The Elmsleigh Centre and Two Rivers, as well as the town centre with its pedestrianised shopping area offering a wide range of shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs.
  • Windsor: The Royal Town of Windsor is full of history and charm and is home to Britain's largest inhabited castle and royal residence of over 900 years – Windsor Castle. You'll also find a bustling town centre with contemporary shopping, fine dining and leisure activities. Well worth a stop for the day.
  • Eton: Across the river from Windsor is Eton, home to the famous public school, Eton College, one of the most exclusive schools in the world with annual fees of around £20,000. The ancient desks and benches bear the graffiti of generations of former pupils, which include 19 former British Prime Ministers.
  • Maidenhead: Maidenhead is an ancient town with a history going back to early Saxon times. This bustling town is now a centre of rowing excellence. It is a popular destination for shoppers and, for those who love fine dining; the area is home to some fantastic restaurants including some Michelin-starred venues.
  • Cookham: Cookham is a pretty village with a delightful High Street that has changed little over the centuries. Today it boasts many fine restaurants and inns. Kenneth Grahame lived in Cookham and is said to have been inspired by the River Thames at Cookham to write The Wind in the Willows.
  • Cliveden: As the river snakes past Cookham, the beechwoods rise steeply and you will see the Cliveden Estate. A country retreat on a grand scale, it was once the glittering hub of society; visited by virtually every British Monarch since George I.
  • Marlow: Marlow is a charming Georgian market town, spanned by an elegant suspension bridge. Marlow is the venue for the annual royal ceremony of 'Swan Upping' when cygnets are tagged, and for the Marlow Town Regatta, held in June. With its many restaurants and bistros, every month in Marlow has a vacation feel.
  • Henley-upon-Thames: Best known for its Royal Regatta, Henley is synonymous with rowing and attracts some of the world's finest rowers. Just a few strides from the riverbank is the heart of Henley with its historic church, town hall and market square, the latter bustling with busy stall-holders and shoppers on market days.

 

 

16 hr(s) of cruising

75km 18 locks 3 nights
Traditional pub in Kingston

The Majestic Cruise

Chertsey
Kingston-Upon-Thames
Staines
Runnymede
Egham
Windsor
Eton
Chertsey

14 hr(s) of cruising

70km 18 locks 7 nights

The Majestic Cruise

Chertsey RETURN via Windsor & Kingston-upon-Thames

Chertsey RETURN via Windsor & Kingston-upon-Thames

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right 

Overview

Standing in front of the stately Hampton Court Palace near Kingston-upon-Thames, you think about King Henry VIII, who once lived there. You spend time sightseeing, and then your cruise on the Thames lures you past Chertsey to incredible Windsor Castle. Along the way, you stop often at waterside pubs for a bit of steak and kidney pie!

Top highlights:

  • The ancient markets in Kingston-upon-Thames
  • Windsor's Abbey and Castle 
  • Exploring the history of the Magna Carta in Runnymede

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation

  • Kingston-Upon-Thames: Kingston-upon-Thames was once the coronation place of Saxon Kings (902 – 978). Today this busy market town has developed into a major shopping and entertainment hub, although it retains much of its original charm. It also has a strong arts culture and a vibrant festival programme.
  • Staines: Staines is a bustling town which attracts scores of visitors to its impressive retail areas - The Elmsleigh Centre and Two Rivers, as well as the town centre with its pedestrianised shopping area offering a wide range of shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs.
  • Runnymede: Nearly 800 years ago, King John met with a group of barons on Magna Carta Island in Runnymede. It was here he signed a historic document which is seen by many as the symbolic first step on the road to modern democracy. Today, in this spirit, Runnymede has several memorials to the ongoing struggle for liberty - a trio of thought-provoking places which are worth a stop at to reflect, ponder and remember.
  • Egham: This water-meadow alongside the Thames makes a great place to moor up and enjoy a stroll or reflect on world history. Visit the Literary Institute to browse through archaeological items and paintings.
  • Windsor: The Royal Town of Windsor is full of history and charm and is home to Britain's largest inhabited castle and royal residence of over 900 years – Windsor Castle. You'll also find a bustling town centre with contemporary shopping, fine dining and leisure activities. Well worth a stop for the day.
  • Eton: Across the river from Windsor is Eton, home to the famous public school, Eton College, one of the most exclusive schools in the world with annual fees of around £20,000. The ancient desks and benches bear the graffiti of generations of former pupils, which include 19 former British Prime Ministers.

14 hr(s) of cruising

70km 18 locks 7 nights

Our Feefo reviews

Feefo is an independent and impartial review service that requests reviews directly from those who have been on a Le Boat vacation. Below you can read what our past customers think about their Le Boat experience, and trust that what you read is unfiltered, unedited and uncensored.

Added on 7 June 2021

Paul Plant said

Friendly helpful team, good solid boat, superb holiday. Very relaxing peaceful holiday. Even our dog had a brilliant time.
READ MORE
Hi Paul, Thank you for taking the time to provide a five star review of your boating holiday on the River Thames.We pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service and we are delighted to hear that you received just that from the team in Chertsey. We look forward to welcoming you on board again soon.The Le Boat Team
Chertsey - Chertsey
Consul
Added on 4 June 2021

Gemma Saville said

Excellent service throughout from picking the boat up to drop off (outside of office opening hours so very accommodating) We loved the boat and had an amazing weekend cruising from Benson to Sonning and back
READ MORE
Good Morning Gemma,Thank you for taking the time to provide a five star review of your boating holiday on the River Thames.We pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service and we are delighted to hear that you received just that from the team in Benson.We look forward to welcoming you on board again soon.The Le Boat Team
Benson - Benson
Mystique
Added on 29 May 2021

A trusted customer said

Have been boating with le boat over many years always friendly and never any issues always come out quick when there's an issue Very disappointed that they don't locate on the Norfolk broads anymore Brilliant holiday friendly staff
READ MORE
Good Morning, Thank you for taking the time to provide a five star review of your boating holiday on the River Thames. We pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service and we are delighted to hear that you received just that from the team in Benson. We look forward to welcoming you on board again soon. The Le Boat Team
Benson - Benson
Magnifique
Added on 28 May 2021

Rosario Giacobbe said

Excellent service , brilliant fun, boat had all essentials necessary, will definately hire another again in the future Excellent
READ MORE
Good Morning Rosario, Thank you for taking the time to provide a five star review of your boating holiday on the River Thames. We pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service and we are delighted to hear that you received just that from the team in Benson. We look forward to welcoming you on board again soon. The Le Boat Team
Benson - Benson
Crusader
Added on 8 May 2021

William Richardson said

Helpful, friendly service. The boat was ready when we arrived and we were able to get underway, without too much delay while the formalities were dealt with. The boat was comprehensively equipped, with everything working as it should. My only criticism is that the mooring ropes were too short to allow easy single-handed operation, being substantially shorter than the length of the boat. However, we managed Benson - Chertsey and return without major difficulty (31 hours) in the wettest May weather on record!
READ MORE
Good Afternoon William, Thank you for taking the time to provide a five star review of your boating holiday on the River Thames. We pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service and we are delighted to hear that everything was ready on arrival and that you had a smooth departure from Benson. We look forward to welcoming you on board again soon. The Le Boat Team
Benson - Benson
Tango
Added on 30 April 2021

Monica said

Was very nervous as first time boaters. Sharon and Ollie were very patient and put us at ease. Had a great time cruising and will definitely recommend and use again Great service. Holiday made easy.
READ MORE
Good Morning Monica, Thank you for taking the time to provide a five star review. We pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service and we are delighted to hear that you received a warm welcome from the team in Benson.Thank you for your kind comments which we will be sure to share with the team and we look forward to welcoming you on board again soon.The Le Boat Team
Benson - Benson
Horizon 1
Added on 30 April 2021

A trusted customer said

Very good would recommend Quick to respond to queries and everything was ship shape!
READ MORE
Good Morning, Thank you for taking the time to provide a five star review. We pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service and we are delighted to hear that you received just that. We look forward to welcoming you on board again soon. The Le Boat Team
Benson - Benson
Calypso
Added on 28 April 2021

Matthew Heyward said

well organised friendly and helpful team. Boat was excellent and in good condition little bit quiet on the river due to Covid
READ MORE
Good Morning Matthew, Thank you for taking the time to provide a five star review. We pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service and we are delighted to hear that you received just that.Thank you for your kind comments which we will be sure to share with the team and we look forward to welcoming you on board again soon.The Le Boat Team
Benson - Benson
Horizon 3
Added on 21 April 2021

Dean Mcgregor said

Staff really great help and talked us through everything, boat was perfect for what we needed Easy to find, secure car park and staff lovely
READ MORE
Good Morning Dean, Thank you for taking the time to provide a five star review. We pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service and we are delighted to hear that you received just that.Thank you for your kind comments which we will be sure to share with the team and we look forward to welcoming you on board again soon.The Le Boat Team
Benson - Benson
Horizon 1
Added on 16 April 2021

Jayson Luxford said

Le Boat have been a true pleasure to deal with whether on the phone to the main office or at base at Benson. Sharon, Ollie & the team made us feel like we were the only customers & looked after our every need sympathetically & professionally & also very friendly. We have holiday’ed with ale Boat twice now & already have another booking for the summer & we can’t wait. We know we will be looked after by Benson base & so there is no anxiety looming about our next trip. Just Excitement! I have great praise for Le Boat even when things go unforeseen problems arise they are quick to sort it out & are committed to making your time in their care enjoyable. Well done & thank you. Jayson & Amy A great team at Benson. Our boat was faulty, so the manageress sat us down with a hot drink while the technician repaired the fault. After 15 minutes is was apparent that it needed a new part. Sharon upgraded us to a vacant boat already prepared. They helped us move our belongings & Ollie took us up & down stream & through a lock to make sure we were happy with the new boat! Fantastic service & great holiday. Thank you! Jayson & Amy
READ MORE
Good Morning Jayson, Thank you for taking the time to provide a five star review. We pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service and we are delighted to hear that you received a warm welcome from the team in Benson. Thank you for your kind comments which we will be sure to share with the team and we look forward to welcoming you on board again in the summer. The Le Boat Team
Benson - Benson
Capri