English Hotel Barge MAGNA CARTA
Cruising the Royal River Thames from Hampton Court to Henley-on-Thames, England
ITINERARY: WALKING CHARTER CRUISE
THE RIDGEWAY is thought to be the oldest existing road in the world and this is a walking experience that cannot be missed during your cruise this week. We will also enjoy walks at Royal Parks, England's most famous school, lakes, tiny villages and hunting grounds.
The Thames, England's longest river, meanders through unspoilt countryside, the wildlife abounds and the lock-keepers have time to chat as we pass through. Magna Carta cruises on literally 2000 years of liquid history and offers floating luxury beyond your expectations. The walks, the food and wine, the accommodations and the high level of friendly service await…
Day 1, Sunday : London to Hampton Court Palace
Meet the Captain or a crewmember at the designated meeting point for afternoon English Cream Tea, before being transferred to the Magna Carta. On arrival enjoy a 'Champagne Welcome' by the Captain. Early evening cruise to Hampton Court Palace, former Tudor Palace of Henry VIII, where we moor for the night. Dinner aboard.
Day 2, Monday : Hampton Court Palace to Shepperton
This morning we walk in Richmond Park. Here at the top of Richmond Hill we find 2500 acres of undulating grassland and bracken, dotted with coppiced woodland and wilder than anything for miles around. Eight miles across at its widest point, it is famed for its red and fallow deer, which roam freely, and for its ancient oaks. For the most part untamed, the park does have a couple of deliberately landscaped plantations. In the afternoon enjoy a meandering cruise upstream following the course of the Thames to Shepperton. Dinner aboard
Day 3, Tuesday : Shepperton to Runnymede
Morning cruise to Runnymede. We moor at Bell Weir Lock adjacent to a luxury spa hotel, where we have the opportunity to visit and use the pool and elaborate leisure facilities. After lunch we visit Windsor Great Park. Comprising about 4800 acres of wooded parkland and gardens, we walk around Virginia Water Lake, a large ornamental lake fringed by trees, paths and rides. This glorious walk perfectly reflects the changing seasons and never strays far from the water's edge. Virginia Water covers about 160 acres and was developed in the middle of the 18th century for the Duke of Cumberland after his victory at Culloden. Dinner aboard.
Day 4, Wednesday : Runnymede to Windsor
Walk the Runnymede Memorials and the Playing Fields of Eton. After breakfast we take a short cruise to the Runnymede pleasure grounds and then stroll across the meadows to theMagna Carta memorial. This commemorates the place where in 1215, King John faced the powerful barons and was forced to seal the Magna Carta. We then start climbing towards the JFK Memorial and continue up Coopers Hill to the Commonwealth Airforces Memorial, a most fitting site to remember the 20,000 or so commonwealth airmen who have no known grave. We then continue back to the boat before a spectacular cruise to Windsor. After lunch we walk the Playing Fields of Eton. Beginning with a worthy stroll along the Thames path we soon head for the famous playing fields where, according to Wellington, the battle of Waterloo was won. For the duration of this walk we are aware of Windsor Castle, its high defensive position dominating the view. After walking we take a late afternoon cruise to our private mooring. Dinner aboard.
Day 5, Thursday : Windsor to Cookham
Walk Cookham Dean and Winter Hill. Leaving Royal Windsor behind us we cruise past fabulous waterside homes through the spectacular Clivedon reach and the open English countryside. We moor in Cookham, once described as 'Heaven on Earth' by artist Stanley Spencer, one of England's greatest and most eccentric painters. This afternoon we take you for a ramble up the old packhorse way to Cookham Dean, where Kenneth Graham lived and was inspired to write 'The Wind in the Willows'. Look out for muntjac deer and other wildlife in this beautiful setting, and then climb to Winter Hill for panoramic views over the surrounding countryside. Dinner aboard.
Day 6, Friday : Cookham to Henley on Thames
Walk the Ridgeway, Kingston Lisle to Ashbury. A morning cruise to the village of Hurley where we have time to wander Peter Freebody's boatyard and watch in wonder at the traditional craftsmen at work. Return to the barge for lunch before cruising to Henley on Thames, our final approach being along the famous Henley Regatta Course. This afternoon we finish with a truly magnificent walk along the Ridge. Between Kingston Lisle and Ashbury are the undisputed highlights of the entire Ridgeway. Iron Age Uffington 'Castle', the White Horse of Uffington and the Wayland's Smithy Long Barrow. The countryside surrounding the Ridgeway is rich in wild flowers and bird life, and traces of early man are everywhere. As if what we have done is not enough, our return walk is along footpaths linking three of the lovely settlements that lie at the foot of the downs: Ashbury, Compton Beauchamp and Woolstone. Captains Farewell Dinner aboard.
Day 7, Saturday : Henley-on-Thames to London
Following breakfast, disembark the barge for your transfer to the designated drop off point.
Note: On alternate weeks, cruise will be in reverse direction. This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.
The Walking Charter Cruise Price includes a professional guide for the duration of the cruise.ooO
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