16 May Five things to do on the River Thames in 2018
ThamesRiverCruisesThe mid and upper Thames running through Berkshire and Oxfordshire is a magical mix of open countryside, picture postcard towns, bridges and locks. Dig a little deeper and the river valley is teaming with wildlife, boats and walkers, all blending perfectly into the beauty of the upper reaches of the Thames.
The river is a hidden gem so we thought we would list our top five things to do, all starting in Caversham.
An entire day out
For the adventurous, a day trip along the river has to be high on the list. Take the boat from Caversham, sailing up-river, the boat will go all the way to Goring but you don’t have to. This trip is so many options in one as you can hop off and walk a stretch of river path, cycle off around the country highways and byways or simply stop for a picnic. Those staying on the boat all the way to Goring and Streatley will see real Wind in the Willows country, navigate through two locks and three reaches of unspoilt Thames.
We love this trip because you can bring the family, take the bikes and make your own day of it.
Music on the river
Something totally different on a Sunday afternoon is live jazz. In our opinion, live music and the river were made to go together and there is nothing more mellow and well-matched than the lush notes of jazz drifting across the water. Jazz has made a come back in recent times and the variety of artists who have joined the live jazz season is a testament to this. A smile-inducing afternoon which works just as well for the jazz enthusiast as the newcomer. There is always something new to look at, a full bar onboard and just one of the most pleasant ways to spend a Sunday.
We recommend this for the sheer variety of jazz and the perfect mix of river and music.
A quick break
It seems strange but one of our shorter trips, an 80-minute cruise to Mapledurham weir is also one the highlights. Taking a little bit out of your day, the boat quickly whisks passengers away from the hustle and bustle of Reading, passing islands, luxury houses and open countryside before reaching Mapledurham – in our opinion of the best locally kept secrets. So tucked away yet only 45 minutes from Caversham, the lock weir and hidden country house feel like a world away. Rushing water has a cooling effect on a hot day making this a great trip for the summer.
Hugely popular with all age ranges, plenty to see out the window or from the foredeck and turning in front of the weir is always a hit.
The wildlife ferry
The word ferry does not always make you think of a lovely river cruise. In fact, the Beale Park Ferry is the perfect river cruise, the difference being it is your transport from Caversham to a wildlife park. After an hour and a half winding your way along the river through two locks and under Whitchurch toll bridge you arrive at Beale Park. The Wildlife park is always a hit with young and old, gardens to explore, animals to see and adventure playgrounds to conquer.
This is a real day out, don’t be surprised if children sleep well after such a day of excitement
Tea on the Thames
For some, we have saved the best until last. Picture a warm summer’s day, the gentle lapping of water as you meander along the Thames and afternoon tea. Can there be anything more British? The Afternoon Tea cruise is an indulgence, cakes and naughty things, served to your table on vintage crockery and with a beautiful river backdrop. Homemade with passion, the tea cakes are always a hit.
We can’t think of anyone who would turn down tea on the Thames, a guaranteed hit with old and young.