Sunday, Day 1 - Hampton Court Palace
Guests are met at 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, moored outside Hampton Court, former Tudor Palace of Henry VIII, where we remain overnight. Dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 - Hampton Court Palace to Runnymede
This morning we have an exclusive tour of Hampton Court Palace. We take in 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 breath-taking, with The Great Vine, the oldest in the country still producing grapes and the famous maze. For this visit, we will be accompanied by Lesley Richardson, a member of the palace community who has lived and lectured in this Royal Residence for over 20 years, Lesley plays regularly on the Royal Tennis Court at the palace and can explain to you the intricacies of the ancient game of Real Tennis. She also has a vast store of historical information and anecdotes about the famous – and infamous – residents of the palace. After lunch, we cruise through a number of locks including Sunbury and Molesey to moor at Runnymede. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 - Runnymede to Windsor
After breakfast we have the option to use the spa facilities of the 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 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 to the Royal Family, this is the largest inhabited castle in the world and is also home to the College of St. George and the ancient and noble institution of the Military Knights of Windsor. First founded in 1348 to support the The Most Noble Order of the Garter, the highest ranking order of chivalry in Europe which is presided over by the sovereign and royal family, the College and the Knights have a colorful history and a modern ceremonial role.
You will be met at Henry VIII's gate by a serving Military Knight and taken on a special "behind the scenes" tour of parts of the castle including St Georges Chapel with access to many private areas including the Vestry, Edward IV Chantry and the Albert Memorial Chapel. You will learn about how Knights are appointed, where they live in the Castle and what duties they are required to perform. Afterwards, you will have time to venture around the other parts of Windsor Castle including the glorious State Apartments. Dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 - Windsor to Cliveden
This morning begins with a private visit 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 13 generations. King Henry VIII has stayed here and the manor is regularly used for filming including "Poirot" and more recently "The Other Boleyn Girl". We are fortunate enough to enjoy a private tour of the house. Later, we cruise upstream past the fabulous waterside houses of Bray and through the spectacular Cliveden Reach to our exclusive mooring on the Cliveden estate. Dating as far back as 1666, Cliveden House has played host to every British Monarch since George I and has been home to three Dukes, an Earl, Frederick Prince of Wales, as well as William Waldorf Astor, then America's richest man in the early 20th century. The gardens are simply divine and include a Parterre, Chinese water garden, and topiary. We take you inside where you will be served a traditional English afternoon tea whilst one of the House's knowledgeable staff gives you a "butlers talk", telling you some of the "Upstairs Downstairs" history of the estate and revealing secrets, revelations and scandals of over 350 years of aristocratic life at Cliveden. Dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 5 - Cliveden to Hurley
After breakfast we cruise further upstream to Hurley. Lunch will be served on board before a short drive to Stonor Park. Home to the Stonor family for over 850 years, Stonor Park is one of the oldest stately homes still lived in today, here we will be greeted by the honorable William Stonor, son of the present Baron Camoys and heir to the title (or another member of his family) who will accompany us around the house on a private tour. As well as being architecturally fascinating, each room contains a lifetime of experience and anecdotes. Discover art and treasures collected from across the globe and view historic maps and documents that reveal generations of service to the country. A stroll through this house is a vivid walk through history. On return we will have time to explore the ancient 11th century village of Hurley including Ye Olde Belle, reputed to be the oldest inn in the country. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 - Hurley to Henley-on-Thames and Oxford
This morning we tour Peter Freebody's boatyard, where we will see traditional craftsman building and restoring wooden boats, just as they have done for generations. Afterwards we cruise through fabulous countryside to our final mooring situated along the famous Henley Regatta Rowing Course. An early lunch is followed by a drive to Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey) for an exclusive private tour. The seat of the Earls of Carnarvon since 1679, you will have this vast stately home with its 5000 acre estate to yourselves as you take a tour through the staterooms, bedrooms and servants quarters as featured in the Downton saga plus view the Egyptian treasures brought home by the 5th Earl who famously discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922. During this tour, you will meet members of the household and perhaps one of the Earl's family. Captain's Farewell Dinner on board.
Saturday, Day 7 - Henley-on-Thames
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to central London (other locations available for private charter bookings).
NOTE: On alternate weeks, cruise will be in reverse direction. This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. Designated meeting and drop off point is The Stafford Hotel in central London. Other options are available for charter groups.