Water activity

Oxford: Off-The-Beaten-Track River Cruise

4.8 / 5

51 reviews

Oxford: Off-The-Beaten-Track River Cruise

From US$ 39.90 per person

The Spirit of Oxford Cruise explores the areas of Oxford 'off the beaten track' that lie at the heart of the city's unique charm.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Mobile ticketing
Use your phone or print your voucher
Duration 2.5 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide


  • Relax aboard a 2.5-hour sightseeing tour
  • Pass through Osney Lock
  • Enjoy stunning scenery at Port Meadow
  • Take short stop at the historic Perch Inn
  • See Christ Church Meadow and college glimpses
  • Follow the river route that inspired Alice in Wonderland
Full description
Departing Folly Bridge in Oxford city center, the cruise travels upstream passing quaint residential suburbs before reaching Binsey and majestic Port Meadow. These areas of unexpected natural beauty have inspired the work of Oxford's best loved literary icons including Lewis Carroll, C S Lewis, Evelyn Waugh, and Gerard Manly Hopkins. These sights are off the tourist trail but represent some of Oxford's most beautiful and intriguing scenery. Port Meadow, a vast area of common land, has remained little changed since prehistoric times and supports plants and bird life in abundance. At the top of Port Meadow is Godstow. Godstow was the ultimate destination of Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll when they followed an identical route to this trip while composing 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. It is also the site of Trout Island, an inspiration for stories of the land of Narnia. As the boat returns to the city center the downstream route goes past iconic Oxford scenery including Christchurch Meadows and College, the University Regatta Course, the College Boat Houses, and Folly Island. During the cruise your skipper will offer a little of the history of these famous reaches of the river and will be happy to respond to any questions that you might have.
  • 2.5-hour cruise
  • Hotel pick-up
  • Food and drink
Not suitable for
  • Wheelchair users
Covid-19 precautions

You must book this activity online because the ticket office is closed

Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned

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Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

The cruise departs from the moorings at The Folly Restaurant, 1 Folly Bridge, Oxford, OX1 4JU.

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Important information

Not allowed

  • Pets
  • Smoking
  • Luggage or large bags
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.8 /5

based on 51 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money
  • Safety

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This is a great little River cruise to do and Nick (one of the skippers) is so informative and has lots of stories to tell.. The Perch stop off pub is a lovely riverside Pub excellent food and drink. I would thoroughly recommend this River Cruise, and if you can push the boat out the hampers look lovely which is an option on the cruise... Great cruise company.....

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September 17, 2021

Would have been excellent but as i had not ordered the picnic lunch i was made to feel a bit like a second class citizen! The best seats are definitely reserved for those that have booked lunch and the rest of us have to sit at the back of the boat. I was also 'told off' for boarding the boat too early and choosing my own seat! Otherwise it would have been perfect!

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August 12, 2019

A day of exploration ...seeing behind the scenes of The Thames.

We arrived at reception and made to feel really welcome. Coffee beside the Thames with the boats and the ducks was relaxing... We then met Nick, our skipper, who was enthusiastic and informative (apart from wild flowers...sorry Nick!) The boat was electric, so, quiet and unobtrusive and there was a lot to see along the river banks. The 2.5 hours flew by and we would highly recommend it ....

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July 13, 2019

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Product ID: 50194