The River Thames weaves through an elaborate patchwork of English history. Eclectically turning through the centuries, it connects royal palaces with 11th-century villages and World War II history with lush country gardens. Serene and sublime, this unique 9-day Thames River cruise tour traverses the paradigms, connecting Hurley-on-Thames with Hampton Court. Split your time between tranquilly cruising through rural England and exploring the mysterious charms of the country's past.
Hampton Court – English Cream Tea and a Welcome to the Thames
Leisurely English introductions can only come in one form: traditional afternoon tea. A tiered silver platter adorns the table, embellished with a menagerie of scones, finger sandwiches, and sensational pastries. Tea leaves brew in fine china teapots while the separate milk and sugar jars reveal the English dedication to detail. An atmosphere of elegance pervades through the ballroom as you slowly sample the variety of cakes that line up on the table. This English tradition is running strong after countless centuries and provides a fitting introduction to the style of your itinerary. Afternoon tea can't be rushed. It's something to savor, an experience that runs on for two or three hours as you lounge in the luxury of the setting. Teapots are refilled, another platter of treats come out, and the crumbs pile up on your china plate.
After landing in England, you'll be transferred to a five-star hotel in London. Day access to a hotel room enables you to shower and freshen up before the relaxed afternoon of tea and treats in the hotel's ballroom. Once you're fully settled into the salubrious style, you're transferred out to the luxury barge, moored amidst a canopy of green at Hampton Court. The River Thames is gentle. Unlike an ocean cruise, there's no rocking from side to side or sporadic crashing waves. Over the centuries, most of the river has been controlled by locks, meaning the water moves at an almost imperceptible speed. Enjoy a welcome reception that befits the regal backdrop and sit down to a lavish gourmet dinner on board. The salon enjoys panoramic windows, enabling you to continue the immersion in rural life at all times. So sit back and watch the sultry summer evening spill into an elongated sunset. Consider reading some of our England traveler reviews, and gain some inspiration to further perfect your own England itinerary.
Runnymede – Cruising Through the Early 16th Century
Runnymede to Windsor – The World's Oldest Inhabited Castle
Boveney Lock to Cliveden Reach – Ornate Country Estates in Rural England
Cookham to Hurley-on-Thames – Tranquil Cruising on the Historic River
Hurley-on-Thames – Traditional Crafts and a Day Trip to Oxford
Day 7 - 8
Mayfair – Luxurious Relaxation in the Heart of London
Mayfair – Departure
- Spend nine days tranquilly cruising along England's famous waterway on a luxury canal barge
- Explore the rich tapestry of history that cascades from the riverfront, including quaint millennia-old villages and mazy riverside gardens
- Discover the scale and detail of Windsor Castle, residence of Her Royal Majesty and the largest inhabited castle in the world
- Enjoy closed-door access to sublime estates and gardens, such as Dorney Court and Cliveden Reach
- See an off-the-beaten-track side to England as you slowly cruise down the river and admire local life
- Wander through the ancient halls of Oxford University and wallow in its grandeur
- Admire traditional craftsmen that continue centuries of history as they work along the Thames
- Complete the itinerary with two days of relaxed luxury in the heart of Mayfair, London's premier central address
Traditional England spills out from its rivers and canals, the old waterways revealing life as it always has been. Mazy gardens hide behind canopies of oak trees; 11th-century villages reveal streets of cobblestone and allure; craftsmen line boatyards and local life slowly cruise by. The River Thames charts a course through the eclectic patchwork of English history, connecting the charms of yesteryear with the stately opulence of royal excess. Weaving a path through the centuries, the river unveils a lesser-seen side to England, one that's far from the elbow-barging crowds of the famous attractions. Serene and sometimes surreal, this luxury Thames River cruise itinerary allows you to admire the charms of historic rural England. Just sit back and enjoy the show.
For the first seven days, you cruise along the Thames in a luxury barge. The traditional craft rekindles the beauty of 17th-century royal cruising, featuring four deluxe cabins, a sumptuous salon area, and a broad split-level sun deck. Panoramic views come from both inside and outside, and there's a feeling of security when you first take a step on the thick hardwood flooring. Meals and alcoholic drinks are included, along with the use of mountain bikes for when the barge docks.
River cruising is slow travel. At the relaxed speed, you can take in all the country's exquisite detail; manor houses poke out through the foliage, smoke emits from the chimney of traditional inns, and ancient architecture leans and crumbles with an air of elegance. You dock in sublime settings, surrounded by green and settled into the beauty of rural England. Day trips unravel the patchwork of life that has always settled close to the River Thames. There's Hampton Court Palace from the 16th century, magnificent Windsor Castle, private Dorney Court, and the glamorous history of Cliveden Reach. Keep traveling slowly and you explore Stanley Spencer's gallery, and then the craftsmen that continue to work in Peter Freebody's boatyard. A day trip to Oxford reveals college grandeur while the country's oldest inn is found beside the river.
For these seven days, it's wonderfully tranquil, just a small handful of passengers cruising along England's famous river. Completing the itinerary is two nights in Mayfair, London's premier address. So much of the iconic city is within easy walking distance from here, enabling you to tick off the famous attractions and explore the shops and theaters of the West End.
Consider browsing some of our other England tours, and read how you can customize your England vacation to your particular interests and desires.
$5,845 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
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- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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