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-England on Barge Magna Carta-

Cruise Details:

  • Up to 8 guests
  • 117 Ft. Long
  • Rating: Deluxe
  • Charter & Cabin bookings
  • Host: Captain Dominic Read
  • English Speaking Crew of 5
  • 4 Bicycles
  • Air Conditioned
  • Last Visited 2016

Cruise Rate Includes:

6 nights/7 days in a cabin with a private bath, chauffeured transfers from London to the barge & return, English Cream Tea the Sunday of your departure, all meals on board, from dinner the first night to breakfast the last morning, all wines with lunch & dinner, open bar, daily escorted excursions and use of onboard bicycle

Cruise Rate Does NOT Include

Airfare to and from England, any meals taken on shore during the cruise, cancellation insurance and crew gratuity (suggested minimum amount is 5% of the cruise price)


Magna Carta

** Downton Abbey Cruise dates for Spring 2017 have been announced! Cabins are available on April 9, April 16 and  April 30, 2017 cruise weeks. These cruises are sure to sell out quickly!**

Barge Lady Ellen cruised on Magna Carta in 2016.

Ellen says: “Barge Magna Carta fits very well into the cruising route on the River Thames. The vessel itself is comfortable, unpretentious, and, above all, welcoming. Picture windows in the lounge allow passengers to admire the gorgeous passing scenery, and sink-in couches are cheerfully arranged into intimate seating areas. The adjacent deck expands into two levels with plenty of space for socializing. Eight guests can be seated in one congenial group on the upper level, while others looking for a bit of privacy can relax and read on the lower level -- or laze in the hot tub! Spacious 200 square foot cabins feature a modern bathroom with tiled flooring and full size shower. Typical of the care taken on the Magna Carta, a unique underfloor heating system keeps these cabins cozy in cooler weather.

Presiding over Magna Carta is experienced Dominic Read, pictured at right, a local Captain well versed in the history, scenery and most of all, historic river tales and local inhabitants. “Guests are surprised to find such a rural area within a short distance from London,” he says. “We really do get involved with people: chatting with lockkeepers, waving to fisherman, and visiting local pubs.’ Captain Reed expertly guides the Magna Carta through sixteen locks, some shallow and some very deep. With its charming moorings and pastoral attractions, the river has all the intimacy of a canal. The nearby villages are especially adorable, and some look as if Miss Marple could pop out at any second.

Those looking for a very stimulating cruise should consider Magna Carta, as the route between Hampton Court Palace and Henley-on-Thames contrasts great historical sites with small slices of life. Mansions and boathouses line the shore. Rowers and fisherman make for a lively river scene. Major attractions include Hampton Court Palace, where Magna Carta moors, the Tudor-style palace of King Henry the 8th, and where each of his six wives lived; Windsor Castle, home to British royalty, and Christ Church College in Oxford University, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. The local and supremely eccentric experiences add to the fun. Visit the Peter Freebody Boatyard, where traditional craftsman have been building and restoring boats for centuries, and wander the gorgeous gardens of Clivedon, home to British aristocrats and lively scandals. Enjoy a private tour of Dorney Court, a home dating from Tudor times, having been owned by the same family for 450 years. And the swans! Found all along the route, they belong to none other than Her Majesty the Queen.

Back on board, an attentive crew of five assures top service. Captain Read leads a senior team of a Tour Guide and two Hostesses. Of course, one cannot forget the Chef! Barge Lady Ellen can now say from direct and delicious experience: don’t pre-judge the food on the basis of outdated ideas about British cuisine! Magna Carta’s modern menus are fresh and creative, utilizing the best of locally-sourced produce, meats, and fish. A broad selection of Old and New world wines is carefully matched to the food, expanding the culinary exploration of sophisticated flavors. To see one of many delicious dinners I enjoyed on board, click on the menu tab.

Of course, there is no proper vacation in England without a spot of tea! Adding to the Magna Carta’s exciting cultural programming is the sumptuous cream tea in London at the Hotel Stafford, which begins the cruise with a memorable and ‘veddy British’ experience! I am confident recommending the Magna Carta to those for whom history and modernity are of equal interest, or perhaps a group of friends celebrating a graduation, retirement, or other life event. Cheers to the Magna Carta!”


Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise

** Downton Abbey Cruise dates for Summer 2017 have been announced! Cabins are available on July 9, July 16, July 30 and August 6, 2017 cruise weeks. These cruises are sure to sell out quickly!**

2017 Value Season rates

Whole-Boat Charter of 6: $30,900
Whole-Boat Charter of 7:
$32,300
Whole-Boat Charter of 8:
$33,700
Individuals:
$4,550 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $1,450

2017 Value Season dates
March 26 - April 1 April 9 - 15 April 23 - 29 October 15 - 21
April 2 - 8 April 16 - 22 October 8 - 14 October 22 - 28

 

2017 Regular Season rates

Whole-Boat Charter of 6: $35,900
Whole-Boat Charter of 7:
$37,500
Whole-Boat Charter of 8:
$39,100
Individuals: $5,350 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $1,700

2017 Regular Season Dates
April 30 - May 6 June 11 - 17 July 23 - 29 September 3 - 9
May 7 - 13 June 18 - 24 July 30 - August 5 September 10 - 16
May 14 - 20 June 25 - July 1 August 6 - 12 September 17 - 23
May 21 - 27 July 2 - 8 August 13 - 19 September 24 - 30
May 28 - June 3 July 9 - 15 August 20 - 26 October 1 - 7
June 4 - 10 July 16 - 22 August 27 - September 2
Barge Cruise

Magna Carta Accommodations and Amenities

  • 117 Feet Long
  • Four cabins each with tiled ensuite bathroom/shower
  • Henry VIII Cabin - 200 sq ft, 1 king or 2 twin beds
  • Christopher Wren Cabin - 200 sq ft, 1 queen bed
  • Shakespeare Cabin - 200 sq ft, 1 king or 2 twin beds
  • Winston Churchill Cabin - 200 sq ft, 1 king or 2 twin beds
  • Also in each cabin
  • Under floor heating in the cabin and bathroom
  • Flat screen television and DVD player
  • In the Public Areas
  • Spacious salon and dining room
  • Lined with picture windows
  • WIFI with limited availability
  • 2 decks
  • Hot tub
  • 4 Mountain Bicycles









 

 

 Suite on England hotel barge Magna Carta
England hotel barge Magna Carta salon
ensuite bath on England hotel barge Magna Carta

Magna Carta River Thames Barge Cruise Itinerary

Hampton Court to Oxford On England's Royal River Thames

Sunday: Hampton Court Palace
An English Cream Tea Begins your Cruise in Style

Meet the Captain or a crew member at the Stafford London Hotel, 16-18 St James's Pl, London at 3:00 pm for afternoon English Cream Tea, before being transferred at 4:00 pm to the Magna Carta moored outside Hampton Court, former Tudor Palace of Henry VIII, where we remain overnight. Meet your crew at the welcome Champagne reception. Tonight enjoy the first of many gourmet dinners on board.



Monday: Hampton Court Palace to Runnymede

gardens at hampton court palaceTour the finest Tudor Palace in Existence
This morning we have ample time to really explore Hampton Court Palace, the most fabulous Tudor home of Henry VIII! Though used as a Royal home until Victorian times. We walk through Henry’s great hall and haunted gallery and see his chapel, still used for worship today and with the finest Tudor ceiling in existence. There is much more to see including the stunning privy gardens, the world’s oldest growing grape vine and the famous maze! After lunch we enjoy our first cruise, up through Molesey Lock and following the meandering path of the river through Sunbury, Chertsey, and Shepperton to our overnight mooring on Bell Weir Lock at Runnymede. Dinner aboard.

Tuesday: Runnymede to Windsor
Windsor Castle - Where the Royals Live
After breakfast we have the option to use the spa facilities of the newly refurbished Runnymede on Thames hotel including pool, sauna and steam room. Beauty therapies, massages and other treatments are available but are best booked in advance. This morning we cruise to Windsor before enjoying lunch on board. Our river journey takes us through Runnymede where King John faced the barons in 1215 and was forced to put his seal on the Magna Carta, the document which was the very first Bill of Rights and from which our vessel takes its name. From the boat we see the Magna Carta memorial and Magna Carta Island where the sealing took place. Our afternoon excursion is to Windsor Castle. Built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and lived in for over 900 years by the Royal Family. This is the largest inhabited castle in the world. We explore the State Apartments, See Queen Mary's Dolls House and St George's Chapel and enjoy the far-reaching views from its elevated fortress position. Dinner aboard.
cruise to windsor castle in England on Magna Carta

Wednesday: Windsor to Cliveden
Visit the Manor where Henry the VIII Stayed
Leaving Royal Windsor behind us we cruise up to Boveney Lock and take a walk to Dorney Court. This very special home has been owned by the Palmer family for more than 450 years passing from father to son through 13 generations. King Henry VIII has stayed here and the manor is regularly used for filming including “Poirot” and most recently “The other Boleyn girl” We are lucky to enjoy a private tour of the house. Our cruise continues past the fabulous waterside homes of Bray and Maidenhead, Boulters Lock (made famous in Victorian times) and into the spectacular Clivedon reach where we have special permission to moor at the house itself. Cliveden was once owned by the Astor family, though the original house dates back to 1666. The gardens are simply amazing and include a Parterre, Chinese water garden and topiary. We discuss the political intrigue and scandal for which Cliveden is famous!! A late afternoon cruise takes us to a stunning mooring at Cookham Lock. Artist Sir Stanley Spencer, one of England’s greatest and most eccentric painters, once described Cookham as ‘Heaven on Earth’. Much of his work was painted in and around Cookham. Dinner aboard.

Magna Carts cruises through countryside on River Thames England
Thursday: Cookham to Hurley
Cruise Through Gorgeous Countryside
After breakfast we visit Stanley Spencer’s gallery and take a walk around the village before cruising through Bourne End and Marlow to Hurley. We tour Peter Freebody’s boatyard and watch in wonder at the traditional craftsman at work, building and restoring wooden boats as they have done for generations. We have time to explore the ancient 11th century village including Ye Olde Belle, reputed to be the oldest inn in the country before returning to the barge. Dinner aboard.

Friday: Cookham to Henley-On-Thames and Oxford
Christ Church College at Oxford
A morning cruise to Henley on Thames through fabulous countryside to our final mooring situated along the famous Henley Regatta Rowing Course. An earlier lunch followed by a 40 minute drive to Oxford. A fascinating tour of Christ Church, Oxford’s grandest college, founded twice, once by Cardinal Wolsey and then by King Henry VIII. The magnificent surroundings were where Lewis Carrol wrote Alice in Wonderland. For our final night we enjoy the Captains’ Farewell Dinner aboard.

Saturday: Return to London
A Sad Farewell
Following breakfast, disembark at 9:30 am and be chauffeured to Stafford London Hotel or Heathrow Airport. Estimated arrival time is 11am. Please make all travel plans on the basis of this timing. We hope that your Magna Carta cruise will provide a lifetime of memories!



Downton Abbey Cruise Itinerary

Hampton Court to Oxford On England's Royal River Thames

Downton Abbey Cruise on Magna Carta
Sunday: Hampton Court Palace
An English Cream Tea Begins your Cruise in Style

Meet the Captain or a crew member at the Stafford London Hotel, 16-18 St James's Pl, London at 3:00 pm for afternoon English Cream Tea, before being transferred at 4:00 pm to the Magna Carta moored outside Hampton Court, former Tudor Palace of Henry VIII, where we remain overnight. Meet your crew at the welcome Champagne reception. Tonight enjoy the first of many gourmet dinners on board.


Monday: Hampton Court Palace to Runnymede

Tour the finest Tudor Palace in Existence
This morning we have ample time to really explore Hampton Court Palace, the most fabulous Tudor home of Henry VIII! Though used as a Royal home until Victorian times. We walk through Henry’s great hall and haunted gallery and see his chapel, still used for worship today and with the finest Tudor ceiling in existence. There is much more to see including the stunning privy gardens, the world’s oldest growing grape vine and the famous maze! After lunch we enjoy our first cruise, up through Molesey Lock and following the meandering path of the river through Sunbury, Chertsey, and Shepperton to our overnight mooring on Bell Weir Lock at Runnymede. Dinner aboard.

Tuesday: Runnymede to Windsor
Windsor Castle - Where the Royals Live
After breakfast we have the option to use the spa facilities of the newly refurbished Runnymede on Thames hotel including pool, sauna and steam room. Beauty therapies, massages and other treatments are available but are best booked in advance. This morning we cruise to Windsor before enjoying lunch on board. Our river journey takes us through Runnymede where King John faced the barons in 1215 and was forced to put his seal on the Magna Carta, the document which was the very first Bill of Rights and from which our vessel takes its name. From the boat we see the Magna Carta memorial and Magna Carta Island where the sealing took place. Our afternoon excursion is to Windsor Castle. Built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and lived in for over 900 years by the Royal Family. This is the largest inhabited castle in the world. We explore the State Apartments, See Queen Mary's Dolls House and St George's Chapel and enjoy the far-reaching views from its elevated fortress position. Dinner aboard.


Wednesday: Windsor to Cliveden
Visit the amazing Cliveden gardens
This mornng we cruise through the Boveney Lock and past the fabulous waterside homes of Bray and Maidenhead, through Boulters Lock (made famous in Victorian times) and into the spectacular Clivedon reach where we have special permission to moor at the house itself. Cliveden was once owned by the Astor family, though the original house dates back to 1666. The gardens are simply amazing and include a Parterre, Chinese water garden and topiary. We discuss the political intrigue and scandal for which Cliveden is famous!! A late afternoon cruise takes us to a stunning mooring at Cookham Lock. Artist Sir Stanley Spencer, one of England’s greatest and most eccentric painters, once described Cookham as ‘Heaven on Earth’. Much of his work was painted in and around Cookham. Dinner aboard.
Highclere Castle Downton Abbey Cruise England
Thursday: Cookham to Hurley
Visit the Castle where Downton Abbey is Filmed!
After breakfast, we are chauffeured to Highclere Castle, pictured above, scene of the popular television series Downton Abbey. Highclere Castle is one of England's most beautiful Victorian Castles set amidst 1,000 acres of spectacular parkland. The Carnarvon family has lived at Highclere since 1679, and the current Castle stands on the site of an earlier house, which in turn was built on the foundations of the medieval palace owned by the Bishops of Winchester for some 800 years. Longstanding friend of the Carnarvon family, Julian Fellowes had Highclere Castle in mind as he wrote Downton Abbey. Our public tour of the Castle will take in several grand reception, drawing, and dining rooms on the first floor, along with a brief look into a select few of the home’s 50 bedrooms! The estate is larger than New York’s Central Park, and there will be time to visit the gardens. After lunch we visit Stanley Spencer’s gallery and take a walk around the village before cruising through Bourne End and Marlow to Hurley. Dinner aboard.

Friday: Cookham to Henley-On-Thames and Oxford
Christ Church College at Oxford
A morning cruise to Henley on Thames through fabulous countryside to our final mooring situated along the famous Henley Regatta Rowing Course. An earlier lunch followed by a 40 minute drive to Oxford. A fascinating tour of Christ Church, Oxford’s grandest college, founded twice, once by Cardinal Wolsey and then by King Henry VIII. The magnificent surroundings were where Lewis Carrol wrote Alice in Wonderland. For our final night we enjoy the Captains’ Farewell Dinner aboard.

Saturday: Return to London
A Sad Farewell
Following breakfast, disembark at 9:30 am and be chauffeured back to  the Stafford London Hotel or Heathrow Airport. Estimated arrival time is 11am. Please make all travel plans on the basis of this timing. We hope that your Magna Carta cruise will provide a lifetime of memories!

Please note: this is a sample itinerary which may be subject to change depending on local conditions. The route will run in reverse on alternate weeks. Contact The Barge Lady for reservations and more information about Barging in England. Or call us toll free at (800) 880-0071.

Magna Carta Sample Menus

Dinner
Barge Lady Ellen enjoyed this dinner aboard Magna Carta

Gravlax
Raw Filet of Salmon cured in Mustard and Dill
Red Chard and Spinach Salad

* * *
Black Angus Chateaubriand
Bernaise Sauce, Jus de Cuisson
Duck Fat and Parsnips,  Watercress Salad

* * *
Cheese Board
Brie
Claxton Bleu
Cheddar

* * *
Profiteroles, Chocolate and Salted Caramel
* * * * *

Lunch
Gorgonzola and Smoked Bacon Tart
* * *
Tossed Baby Spinach and Watercress Salad
Walnut Dressing
* * *
Roasted Tomato, Olive and Artichoke Salad
Balsamic Syrup
* * *
Sauterne and Raspberry Jelly
Elderflower Cream and Tuile biscuits
* * * * *

Dinner
Crispy Scotch Egg
Fresh Tomato Chilli and Sicilian Tomato Relish
* * *
Poached Salmon on Mascarpone and Lime Risotto
Spicy Orange Glaze
* * *
Selection of Cheeses
* * *
Chocolate Baileys Coeur Fondant with Vanilla Ice
* * * * *

Red Wines
Cote-du-Rhone 2009,  Rasteau, France
Rioja 2010,  Baron De Barbon, Spain
* * *

White Wines
Petit Chablis 2010, France
Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Split Rock, New Zealand
* * * * *

Picture a Cruise in England on Magna Carta

 River Thames Cruise in England on barge Magna Carta

Magna Carta Guest Book

"I have been fortunate to have traveled the world since I was 25. My husband was in international shipping, and we took many business related trips, as well as pleasure trips with our daughters. However, I had never been on a barge cruise. I feel that my cruise on the Magna Carta was one of the best travel experiences I've ever had.

The crew was outstanding. Captain Dominic was a trustworthy captain, always willing to answer any and all of our questions, made us feel very welcome, and was in constant good humor. Pilot Stu was very caring and helpful. He was also a fund of information, very knowledgeable about the many places we visited, as well as numerous other subjects. He's obviously well educated and well read. A real treasure, not to mention fun to be around with a good sense of humor. The Hostesses, Maria and Anka, were delightful. Always smiling. Nothing we asked seemed to be too much for them. They constantly wanted to know if they could get anything for us. They certainly appeared to enjoy what they were doing. Their presentation of the white and red wines at every lunch and dinner was amazing. How they remembered all the details about each was impressive. They also kept our stateroom and bath very tidy and clean.

In my opinion, Vicky, our Chef, was irreplaceable. Her menus were always varied, creative, and gourmet. At each meal it was so nice that she explained in detail the ingredients she had used in each dish she had prepared. She was even gracious enough to allow two of us in her kitchen to watch her make creme brûlée. I enjoyed all the sightseeing excursions. They were a good mixture. While I had seen Hampton Court, Windsor Castle, and Christ Church College before, I still enjoyed seeing them again with perhaps a different perspective, as previously my husband and daughters were with me. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed cruising up the Thames and viewing the sights along the way.

Our cabin was very comfortable. I especially liked the nautical feel to the decor--white walls above the wood dado, navy bedspreads and curtains. I also appreciated the cross ventilation. Our pre-trip information was detailed and more than adequate. I would definitely consider taking another barge cruise with you."

Lee A., cruised September, 2016

"Beyond what I expected -- and I enjoyed it all! One of the most informative, relaxing trips I have taken. This cruise was partly a great success because of the compatibility of the other passengers and crew. We really enjoyed being together and sharing experiences and lifestyles.

Captain Dominic generated confidence and knowledge of the barge and the Thames. I always felt safe and in good hands with Dominic. He was enthusiastic and shared information about the Thames

 and sites along the way. Always answered our questions, no matter how elementary. Pilot Stu was a true gentleman. Cared about us and the barge. Extremely knowledgeable about the barge, the Thames, and all the sites along the way. Very bright and willing to share his knowledge of English history. A real asset to the Magna Carta. The hostesses were so helpful and accommodating, always ready to offer creature comforts when we were tired and thirsty. Great job presenting the wines of the day. It was good to have wines from different countries and states as well. Cabins were kept clean and in in good order during the cruise. Chef Vickie is a marvelous person and very talented cook. Her meals were well planned and lots of variety. Fresh meats and veggies were a must…great imagination, variety, and explanation of foodstuffs.

I enjoyed all the excursions. We were taken through Windsor and event though it was my second visit I saw so many things I had not noticed before. Loved the old stone walls and 11th Century pub! Tour Guide Sara Jane is so knowledgeable of the Thames, as well as English history and its royalty. I especially enjoyed the day she came to have lunch with us on the deck of the barge. She answered our questions about living on the Thames and history of the area Hampton Court.

The Stafford Hotel, which is the check-in location for the Magna Carta, was the greatest and convenient to so many things I wanted to walk to. I will go back there. The hotel has so much history itself and the buildings surrounding it. Overall, one of the best trips I have taken!"

- Elizabeth Witzel, cruised September, 2016

"The Magna Carta crew was fantastic. Each one of them went out of their way to keep us happy and see to our needs. We felt very comfortable with them, almost more like we were all just cruising along together. Chef Vicky's dishes were the highlight of the cruise. The four of us have eaten in some of the best restaurants in the world, and her offerings were right up there with those. Excursions were all enjoyable, and the amount of time spent at each was appropriate. Tour Guides were informative without giving lectures. Cabins were nicely appointed and very comfortable. A very relaxing and fun experience!"

- Roger Simak, cruised August, 2016

"Fantastic! Couldn't have asked for a better crew aboard the Magna Carta. They were so friendly and over the top helpful. We all were so impressed with the cuisine, which was as good if not better than most 5-star restaurants. Portions were perfect and so was the variety.Our cabin was larger than expected and very, very comfortable. We enjoyed everything and hated leaving the barge at the end -- we felt as if we were leaving our family. Thanks to the Barge Lady for excellent services and comprehensive pre-trip information."

- George Stevens, cruised August, 2016

"We enjoyed the cruise! As you know this was our seventh trip working with you. Everything was well done, as always. Crew was all very efficient, friendly, and able to take good care of us. We enjoyed chatting with them and learning about their backgrounds. The cuisine was excellent with breakfasts cooked to order, lovely lunches and well-prepared dinners. Each excursion was well done. Sara Jane was knowledgeable about each site and gave us good information. We visited places I had not seen before even though we have been in the UK several times, and I was glad for that. The other passengers were friendly and interesting. I made sure to tell them about our other trips and told them how to contact you. In fact, the pre-trip information you provided was more than adequate, and I shared some of it with the other passengers as they had not received similar information. Thank you, and we have always been glad to work with you."

-- Janet Brown, cruised April, 2016 (repeat Barge Lady guest)

Magna Carta Blog Posts, Recipes, Articles and Videos

Ask any Barge Lady, and she’ll tell you: when it comes to travel, more is better! Explore below for more of everything we love – videos, articles, blog posts, recipes and MORE!

 

 

Cheers for Downton Abbey Summer Cruises on Magna Carta
The Barge Lady blogs on Magna Carta's fan favorite Downton Abbey Cruise.

 

Downton Abbey' Sails the Thames With New Cruise
Conde Nast Traveler - Lilit Marcus

+ - Overview

Cruise Details:

  • Up to 8 guests
  • 117 Ft. Long
  • Rating: Deluxe
  • Charter & Cabin bookings
  • Host: Captain Dominic Read
  • English Speaking Crew of 5
  • 4 Bicycles
  • Air Conditioned
  • Last Visited 2016

Cruise Rate Includes:

6 nights/7 days in a cabin with a private bath, chauffeured transfers from London to the barge & return, English Cream Tea the Sunday of your departure, all meals on board, from dinner the first night to breakfast the last morning, all wines with lunch & dinner, open bar, daily escorted excursions and use of onboard bicycle

Cruise Rate Does NOT Include

Airfare to and from England, any meals taken on shore during the cruise, cancellation insurance and crew gratuity (suggested minimum amount is 5% of the cruise price)


Magna Carta

** Downton Abbey Cruise dates for Spring 2017 have been announced! Cabins are available on April 9, April 16 and  April 30, 2017 cruise weeks. These cruises are sure to sell out quickly!**

Barge Lady Ellen cruised on Magna Carta in 2016.

Ellen says: “Barge Magna Carta fits very well into the cruising route on the River Thames. The vessel itself is comfortable, unpretentious, and, above all, welcoming. Picture windows in the lounge allow passengers to admire the gorgeous passing scenery, and sink-in couches are cheerfully arranged into intimate seating areas. The adjacent deck expands into two levels with plenty of space for socializing. Eight guests can be seated in one congenial group on the upper level, while others looking for a bit of privacy can relax and read on the lower level -- or laze in the hot tub! Spacious 200 square foot cabins feature a modern bathroom with tiled flooring and full size shower. Typical of the care taken on the Magna Carta, a unique underfloor heating system keeps these cabins cozy in cooler weather.

Presiding over Magna Carta is experienced Dominic Read, pictured at right, a local Captain well versed in the history, scenery and most of all, historic river tales and local inhabitants. “Guests are surprised to find such a rural area within a short distance from London,” he says. “We really do get involved with people: chatting with lockkeepers, waving to fisherman, and visiting local pubs.’ Captain Reed expertly guides the Magna Carta through sixteen locks, some shallow and some very deep. With its charming moorings and pastoral attractions, the river has all the intimacy of a canal. The nearby villages are especially adorable, and some look as if Miss Marple could pop out at any second.

Those looking for a very stimulating cruise should consider Magna Carta, as the route between Hampton Court Palace and Henley-on-Thames contrasts great historical sites with small slices of life. Mansions and boathouses line the shore. Rowers and fisherman make for a lively river scene. Major attractions include Hampton Court Palace, where Magna Carta moors, the Tudor-style palace of King Henry the 8th, and where each of his six wives lived; Windsor Castle, home to British royalty, and Christ Church College in Oxford University, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. The local and supremely eccentric experiences add to the fun. Visit the Peter Freebody Boatyard, where traditional craftsman have been building and restoring boats for centuries, and wander the gorgeous gardens of Clivedon, home to British aristocrats and lively scandals. Enjoy a private tour of Dorney Court, a home dating from Tudor times, having been owned by the same family for 450 years. And the swans! Found all along the route, they belong to none other than Her Majesty the Queen.

Back on board, an attentive crew of five assures top service. Captain Read leads a senior team of a Tour Guide and two Hostesses. Of course, one cannot forget the Chef! Barge Lady Ellen can now say from direct and delicious experience: don’t pre-judge the food on the basis of outdated ideas about British cuisine! Magna Carta’s modern menus are fresh and creative, utilizing the best of locally-sourced produce, meats, and fish. A broad selection of Old and New world wines is carefully matched to the food, expanding the culinary exploration of sophisticated flavors. To see one of many delicious dinners I enjoyed on board, click on the menu tab.

Of course, there is no proper vacation in England without a spot of tea! Adding to the Magna Carta’s exciting cultural programming is the sumptuous cream tea in London at the Hotel Stafford, which begins the cruise with a memorable and ‘veddy British’ experience! I am confident recommending the Magna Carta to those for whom history and modernity are of equal interest, or perhaps a group of friends celebrating a graduation, retirement, or other life event. Cheers to the Magna Carta!”


Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise

** Downton Abbey Cruise dates for Summer 2017 have been announced! Cabins are available on July 9, July 16, July 30 and August 6, 2017 cruise weeks. These cruises are sure to sell out quickly!**

2017 Value Season rates

Whole-Boat Charter of 6: $30,900
Whole-Boat Charter of 7:
$32,300
Whole-Boat Charter of 8:
$33,700
Individuals:
$4,550 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $1,450

2017 Value Season dates
March 26 - April 1 April 9 - 15 April 23 - 29 October 15 - 21
April 2 - 8 April 16 - 22 October 8 - 14 October 22 - 28

 

2017 Regular Season rates

Whole-Boat Charter of 6: $35,900
Whole-Boat Charter of 7:
$37,500
Whole-Boat Charter of 8:
$39,100
Individuals: $5,350 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $1,700

2017 Regular Season Dates
April 30 - May 6 June 11 - 17 July 23 - 29 September 3 - 9
May 7 - 13 June 18 - 24 July 30 - August 5 September 10 - 16
May 14 - 20 June 25 - July 1 August 6 - 12 September 17 - 23
May 21 - 27 July 2 - 8 August 13 - 19 September 24 - 30
May 28 - June 3 July 9 - 15 August 20 - 26 October 1 - 7
June 4 - 10 July 16 - 22 August 27 - September 2

Floor Plan:

Barge Cruise

Magna Carta Accommodations and Amenities

  • 117 Feet Long
  • Four cabins each with tiled ensuite bathroom/shower
  • Henry VIII Cabin - 200 sq ft, 1 king or 2 twin beds
  • Christopher Wren Cabin - 200 sq ft, 1 queen bed
  • Shakespeare Cabin - 200 sq ft, 1 king or 2 twin beds
  • Winston Churchill Cabin - 200 sq ft, 1 king or 2 twin beds
  • Also in each cabin
  • Under floor heating in the cabin and bathroom
  • Flat screen television and DVD player
  • In the Public Areas
  • Spacious salon and dining room
  • Lined with picture windows
  • WIFI with limited availability
  • 2 decks
  • Hot tub
  • 4 Mountain Bicycles









 

 

 Suite on England hotel barge Magna Carta
England hotel barge Magna Carta salon
ensuite bath on England hotel barge Magna Carta

Magna Carta River Thames Barge Cruise Itinerary

Hampton Court to Oxford On England's Royal River Thames

Sunday: Hampton Court Palace
An English Cream Tea Begins your Cruise in Style

Meet the Captain or a crew member at the Stafford London Hotel, 16-18 St James's Pl, London at 3:00 pm for afternoon English Cream Tea, before being transferred at 4:00 pm to the Magna Carta moored outside Hampton Court, former Tudor Palace of Henry VIII, where we remain overnight. Meet your crew at the welcome Champagne reception. Tonight enjoy the first of many gourmet dinners on board.



Monday: Hampton Court Palace to Runnymede

gardens at hampton court palaceTour the finest Tudor Palace in Existence
This morning we have ample time to really explore Hampton Court Palace, the most fabulous Tudor home of Henry VIII! Though used as a Royal home until Victorian times. We walk through Henry’s great hall and haunted gallery and see his chapel, still used for worship today and with the finest Tudor ceiling in existence. There is much more to see including the stunning privy gardens, the world’s oldest growing grape vine and the famous maze! After lunch we enjoy our first cruise, up through Molesey Lock and following the meandering path of the river through Sunbury, Chertsey, and Shepperton to our overnight mooring on Bell Weir Lock at Runnymede. Dinner aboard.

Tuesday: Runnymede to Windsor
Windsor Castle - Where the Royals Live
After breakfast we have the option to use the spa facilities of the newly refurbished Runnymede on Thames hotel including pool, sauna and steam room. Beauty therapies, massages and other treatments are available but are best booked in advance. This morning we cruise to Windsor before enjoying lunch on board. Our river journey takes us through Runnymede where King John faced the barons in 1215 and was forced to put his seal on the Magna Carta, the document which was the very first Bill of Rights and from which our vessel takes its name. From the boat we see the Magna Carta memorial and Magna Carta Island where the sealing took place. Our afternoon excursion is to Windsor Castle. Built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and lived in for over 900 years by the Royal Family. This is the largest inhabited castle in the world. We explore the State Apartments, See Queen Mary's Dolls House and St George's Chapel and enjoy the far-reaching views from its elevated fortress position. Dinner aboard.
cruise to windsor castle in England on Magna Carta

Wednesday: Windsor to Cliveden
Visit the Manor where Henry the VIII Stayed
Leaving Royal Windsor behind us we cruise up to Boveney Lock and take a walk to Dorney Court. This very special home has been owned by the Palmer family for more than 450 years passing from father to son through 13 generations. King Henry VIII has stayed here and the manor is regularly used for filming including “Poirot” and most recently “The other Boleyn girl” We are lucky to enjoy a private tour of the house. Our cruise continues past the fabulous waterside homes of Bray and Maidenhead, Boulters Lock (made famous in Victorian times) and into the spectacular Clivedon reach where we have special permission to moor at the house itself. Cliveden was once owned by the Astor family, though the original house dates back to 1666. The gardens are simply amazing and include a Parterre, Chinese water garden and topiary. We discuss the political intrigue and scandal for which Cliveden is famous!! A late afternoon cruise takes us to a stunning mooring at Cookham Lock. Artist Sir Stanley Spencer, one of England’s greatest and most eccentric painters, once described Cookham as ‘Heaven on Earth’. Much of his work was painted in and around Cookham. Dinner aboard.

Magna Carts cruises through countryside on River Thames England
Thursday: Cookham to Hurley
Cruise Through Gorgeous Countryside
After breakfast we visit Stanley Spencer’s gallery and take a walk around the village before cruising through Bourne End and Marlow to Hurley. We tour Peter Freebody’s boatyard and watch in wonder at the traditional craftsman at work, building and restoring wooden boats as they have done for generations. We have time to explore the ancient 11th century village including Ye Olde Belle, reputed to be the oldest inn in the country before returning to the barge. Dinner aboard.

Friday: Cookham to Henley-On-Thames and Oxford
Christ Church College at Oxford
A morning cruise to Henley on Thames through fabulous countryside to our final mooring situated along the famous Henley Regatta Rowing Course. An earlier lunch followed by a 40 minute drive to Oxford. A fascinating tour of Christ Church, Oxford’s grandest college, founded twice, once by Cardinal Wolsey and then by King Henry VIII. The magnificent surroundings were where Lewis Carrol wrote Alice in Wonderland. For our final night we enjoy the Captains’ Farewell Dinner aboard.

Saturday: Return to London
A Sad Farewell
Following breakfast, disembark at 9:30 am and be chauffeured to Stafford London Hotel or Heathrow Airport. Estimated arrival time is 11am. Please make all travel plans on the basis of this timing. We hope that your Magna Carta cruise will provide a lifetime of memories!



Downton Abbey Cruise Itinerary

Hampton Court to Oxford On England's Royal River Thames

Downton Abbey Cruise on Magna Carta
Sunday: Hampton Court Palace
An English Cream Tea Begins your Cruise in Style

Meet the Captain or a crew member at the Stafford London Hotel, 16-18 St James's Pl, London at 3:00 pm for afternoon English Cream Tea, before being transferred at 4:00 pm to the Magna Carta moored outside Hampton Court, former Tudor Palace of Henry VIII, where we remain overnight. Meet your crew at the welcome Champagne reception. Tonight enjoy the first of many gourmet dinners on board.


Monday: Hampton Court Palace to Runnymede

Tour the finest Tudor Palace in Existence
This morning we have ample time to really explore Hampton Court Palace, the most fabulous Tudor home of Henry VIII! Though used as a Royal home until Victorian times. We walk through Henry’s great hall and haunted gallery and see his chapel, still used for worship today and with the finest Tudor ceiling in existence. There is much more to see including the stunning privy gardens, the world’s oldest growing grape vine and the famous maze! After lunch we enjoy our first cruise, up through Molesey Lock and following the meandering path of the river through Sunbury, Chertsey, and Shepperton to our overnight mooring on Bell Weir Lock at Runnymede. Dinner aboard.

Tuesday: Runnymede to Windsor
Windsor Castle - Where the Royals Live
After breakfast we have the option to use the spa facilities of the newly refurbished Runnymede on Thames hotel including pool, sauna and steam room. Beauty therapies, massages and other treatments are available but are best booked in advance. This morning we cruise to Windsor before enjoying lunch on board. Our river journey takes us through Runnymede where King John faced the barons in 1215 and was forced to put his seal on the Magna Carta, the document which was the very first Bill of Rights and from which our vessel takes its name. From the boat we see the Magna Carta memorial and Magna Carta Island where the sealing took place. Our afternoon excursion is to Windsor Castle. Built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and lived in for over 900 years by the Royal Family. This is the largest inhabited castle in the world. We explore the State Apartments, See Queen Mary's Dolls House and St George's Chapel and enjoy the far-reaching views from its elevated fortress position. Dinner aboard.


Wednesday: Windsor to Cliveden
Visit the amazing Cliveden gardens
This mornng we cruise through the Boveney Lock and past the fabulous waterside homes of Bray and Maidenhead, through Boulters Lock (made famous in Victorian times) and into the spectacular Clivedon reach where we have special permission to moor at the house itself. Cliveden was once owned by the Astor family, though the original house dates back to 1666. The gardens are simply amazing and include a Parterre, Chinese water garden and topiary. We discuss the political intrigue and scandal for which Cliveden is famous!! A late afternoon cruise takes us to a stunning mooring at Cookham Lock. Artist Sir Stanley Spencer, one of England’s greatest and most eccentric painters, once described Cookham as ‘Heaven on Earth’. Much of his work was painted in and around Cookham. Dinner aboard.
Highclere Castle Downton Abbey Cruise England
Thursday: Cookham to Hurley
Visit the Castle where Downton Abbey is Filmed!
After breakfast, we are chauffeured to Highclere Castle, pictured above, scene of the popular television series Downton Abbey. Highclere Castle is one of England's most beautiful Victorian Castles set amidst 1,000 acres of spectacular parkland. The Carnarvon family has lived at Highclere since 1679, and the current Castle stands on the site of an earlier house, which in turn was built on the foundations of the medieval palace owned by the Bishops of Winchester for some 800 years. Longstanding friend of the Carnarvon family, Julian Fellowes had Highclere Castle in mind as he wrote Downton Abbey. Our public tour of the Castle will take in several grand reception, drawing, and dining rooms on the first floor, along with a brief look into a select few of the home’s 50 bedrooms! The estate is larger than New York’s Central Park, and there will be time to visit the gardens. After lunch we visit Stanley Spencer’s gallery and take a walk around the village before cruising through Bourne End and Marlow to Hurley. Dinner aboard.

Friday: Cookham to Henley-On-Thames and Oxford
Christ Church College at Oxford
A morning cruise to Henley on Thames through fabulous countryside to our final mooring situated along the famous Henley Regatta Rowing Course. An earlier lunch followed by a 40 minute drive to Oxford. A fascinating tour of Christ Church, Oxford’s grandest college, founded twice, once by Cardinal Wolsey and then by King Henry VIII. The magnificent surroundings were where Lewis Carrol wrote Alice in Wonderland. For our final night we enjoy the Captains’ Farewell Dinner aboard.

Saturday: Return to London
A Sad Farewell
Following breakfast, disembark at 9:30 am and be chauffeured back to  the Stafford London Hotel or Heathrow Airport. Estimated arrival time is 11am. Please make all travel plans on the basis of this timing. We hope that your Magna Carta cruise will provide a lifetime of memories!

Please note: this is a sample itinerary which may be subject to change depending on local conditions. The route will run in reverse on alternate weeks. Contact The Barge Lady for reservations and more information about Barging in England. Or call us toll free at (800) 880-0071.

+ - Menu

Magna Carta Sample Menus

Dinner
Barge Lady Ellen enjoyed this dinner aboard Magna Carta

Gravlax
Raw Filet of Salmon cured in Mustard and Dill
Red Chard and Spinach Salad

* * *
Black Angus Chateaubriand
Bernaise Sauce, Jus de Cuisson
Duck Fat and Parsnips,  Watercress Salad

* * *
Cheese Board
Brie
Claxton Bleu
Cheddar

* * *
Profiteroles, Chocolate and Salted Caramel
* * * * *

Lunch
Gorgonzola and Smoked Bacon Tart
* * *
Tossed Baby Spinach and Watercress Salad
Walnut Dressing
* * *
Roasted Tomato, Olive and Artichoke Salad
Balsamic Syrup
* * *
Sauterne and Raspberry Jelly
Elderflower Cream and Tuile biscuits
* * * * *

Dinner
Crispy Scotch Egg
Fresh Tomato Chilli and Sicilian Tomato Relish
* * *
Poached Salmon on Mascarpone and Lime Risotto
Spicy Orange Glaze
* * *
Selection of Cheeses
* * *
Chocolate Baileys Coeur Fondant with Vanilla Ice
* * * * *

Red Wines
Cote-du-Rhone 2009,  Rasteau, France
Rioja 2010,  Baron De Barbon, Spain
* * *

White Wines
Petit Chablis 2010, France
Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Split Rock, New Zealand
* * * * *

Picture a Cruise in England on Magna Carta

 River Thames Cruise in England on barge Magna Carta

Magna Carta Guest Book

"I have been fortunate to have traveled the world since I was 25. My husband was in international shipping, and we took many business related trips, as well as pleasure trips with our daughters. However, I had never been on a barge cruise. I feel that my cruise on the Magna Carta was one of the best travel experiences I've ever had.

The crew was outstanding. Captain Dominic was a trustworthy captain, always willing to answer any and all of our questions, made us feel very welcome, and was in constant good humor. Pilot Stu was very caring and helpful. He was also a fund of information, very knowledgeable about the many places we visited, as well as numerous other subjects. He's obviously well educated and well read. A real treasure, not to mention fun to be around with a good sense of humor. The Hostesses, Maria and Anka, were delightful. Always smiling. Nothing we asked seemed to be too much for them. They constantly wanted to know if they could get anything for us. They certainly appeared to enjoy what they were doing. Their presentation of the white and red wines at every lunch and dinner was amazing. How they remembered all the details about each was impressive. They also kept our stateroom and bath very tidy and clean.

In my opinion, Vicky, our Chef, was irreplaceable. Her menus were always varied, creative, and gourmet. At each meal it was so nice that she explained in detail the ingredients she had used in each dish she had prepared. She was even gracious enough to allow two of us in her kitchen to watch her make creme brûlée. I enjoyed all the sightseeing excursions. They were a good mixture. While I had seen Hampton Court, Windsor Castle, and Christ Church College before, I still enjoyed seeing them again with perhaps a different perspective, as previously my husband and daughters were with me. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed cruising up the Thames and viewing the sights along the way.

Our cabin was very comfortable. I especially liked the nautical feel to the decor--white walls above the wood dado, navy bedspreads and curtains. I also appreciated the cross ventilation. Our pre-trip information was detailed and more than adequate. I would definitely consider taking another barge cruise with you."

Lee A., cruised September, 2016

"Beyond what I expected -- and I enjoyed it all! One of the most informative, relaxing trips I have taken. This cruise was partly a great success because of the compatibility of the other passengers and crew. We really enjoyed being together and sharing experiences and lifestyles.

Captain Dominic generated confidence and knowledge of the barge and the Thames. I always felt safe and in good hands with Dominic. He was enthusiastic and shared information about the Thames

 and sites along the way. Always answered our questions, no matter how elementary. Pilot Stu was a true gentleman. Cared about us and the barge. Extremely knowledgeable about the barge, the Thames, and all the sites along the way. Very bright and willing to share his knowledge of English history. A real asset to the Magna Carta. The hostesses were so helpful and accommodating, always ready to offer creature comforts when we were tired and thirsty. Great job presenting the wines of the day. It was good to have wines from different countries and states as well. Cabins were kept clean and in in good order during the cruise. Chef Vickie is a marvelous person and very talented cook. Her meals were well planned and lots of variety. Fresh meats and veggies were a must…great imagination, variety, and explanation of foodstuffs.

I enjoyed all the excursions. We were taken through Windsor and event though it was my second visit I saw so many things I had not noticed before. Loved the old stone walls and 11th Century pub! Tour Guide Sara Jane is so knowledgeable of the Thames, as well as English history and its royalty. I especially enjoyed the day she came to have lunch with us on the deck of the barge. She answered our questions about living on the Thames and history of the area Hampton Court.

The Stafford Hotel, which is the check-in location for the Magna Carta, was the greatest and convenient to so many things I wanted to walk to. I will go back there. The hotel has so much history itself and the buildings surrounding it. Overall, one of the best trips I have taken!"

- Elizabeth Witzel, cruised September, 2016

"The Magna Carta crew was fantastic. Each one of them went out of their way to keep us happy and see to our needs. We felt very comfortable with them, almost more like we were all just cruising along together. Chef Vicky's dishes were the highlight of the cruise. The four of us have eaten in some of the best restaurants in the world, and her offerings were right up there with those. Excursions were all enjoyable, and the amount of time spent at each was appropriate. Tour Guides were informative without giving lectures. Cabins were nicely appointed and very comfortable. A very relaxing and fun experience!"

- Roger Simak, cruised August, 2016

"Fantastic! Couldn't have asked for a better crew aboard the Magna Carta. They were so friendly and over the top helpful. We all were so impressed with the cuisine, which was as good if not better than most 5-star restaurants. Portions were perfect and so was the variety.Our cabin was larger than expected and very, very comfortable. We enjoyed everything and hated leaving the barge at the end -- we felt as if we were leaving our family. Thanks to the Barge Lady for excellent services and comprehensive pre-trip information."

- George Stevens, cruised August, 2016

"We enjoyed the cruise! As you know this was our seventh trip working with you. Everything was well done, as always. Crew was all very efficient, friendly, and able to take good care of us. We enjoyed chatting with them and learning about their backgrounds. The cuisine was excellent with breakfasts cooked to order, lovely lunches and well-prepared dinners. Each excursion was well done. Sara Jane was knowledgeable about each site and gave us good information. We visited places I had not seen before even though we have been in the UK several times, and I was glad for that. The other passengers were friendly and interesting. I made sure to tell them about our other trips and told them how to contact you. In fact, the pre-trip information you provided was more than adequate, and I shared some of it with the other passengers as they had not received similar information. Thank you, and we have always been glad to work with you."

-- Janet Brown, cruised April, 2016 (repeat Barge Lady guest)

+ - More!

Magna Carta Blog Posts, Recipes, Articles and Videos

Ask any Barge Lady, and she’ll tell you: when it comes to travel, more is better! Explore below for more of everything we love – videos, articles, blog posts, recipes and MORE!

 

 

Cheers for Downton Abbey Summer Cruises on Magna Carta
The Barge Lady blogs on Magna Carta's fan favorite Downton Abbey Cruise.

 

Downton Abbey' Sails the Thames With New Cruise
Conde Nast Traveler - Lilit Marcus


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