South East England Cruises & boat tours

Our most recommended South East England Cruises & boat tours

Oxford: Sightseeing River Cruise

1. Oxford: Sightseeing River Cruise

This river cruise takes you on a fascinating stretch of the Thames River, starting with the University Regatta Course and heading towards the quaint Iffley village. This section of the river – referred to by the locals as the Isis – is one of the liveliest, and paints an accurate picture of the bustling river life. As you make your way down the river, you'll see the ancient Folly Bridge, Christchurch College and Meadows, the university rowing houses, and Iffley Lock. The waterways next to you contain rowers, punt boats, and pleasure cruisers, and are equally interesting to watch. During the cruise, your captain will share some history of the river and gladly answer any questions. Your cruising vessel will be one from a fleet of many Edwardian-style river launches. These boats combine the elegant lines and teak interiors of the early 1900s with the environmentally-friendly, zero-emission electric technology of today.

Oxford: Afternoon Tea Sightseeing River Cruise

2. Oxford: Afternoon Tea Sightseeing River Cruise

Traveling down the University Regatta course, the boat passes Christ Church Meadows, the University College Boat Houses, and other landmarks on your way to Iffley lock. This is often a busy and vibrant section of the river where training rowing crews, punts, and pleasure boats jostle for river space in a wonderful display of Oxford at play. Passing through the lock at Iffley is an experience in itself. The river scenery and fascinating buildings combine to form a picture perfect location. Beyond Iffley you will travel into the tranquil water meadows that surround Oxford and there are abundant opportunities to spot wildlife amongst the green banks and overhanging willows. The boat turns for home at Rose Island, a favourite destination of Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell on their river journeys. Aboard the boat an indulgent afternoon tea is provided by the renowned riverside restaurant, the Folly. The traditional menu typically includes: a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, a selection of cakes, tarts, or petit fours, and tea.

Oxford: River Thames Sightseeing Cruise

3. Oxford: River Thames Sightseeing Cruise

Cruise along the glorious River Thames on a short but scenic boat ride departing from the quaint Folly Bridge and heading toward the charming Iffley Lock. Admire your beautiful surroundings, made up of lush trees and cozy brick cottages, immersing you in the lovely old-town vibe of Oxford. Board your boat to begin your journey, throughout which your skipper will point out all the major sites and answer any questions you may wish to ask. Marvel at the views of Christ Church meadows, college boathouses, and a mix of wildlife and countryside, whilst enjoying your time on board. You will either ride a stunning traditional-style vessel or a more modern cruiser. Either way, rest assured you'll have a spacious boat to sit back and relax on.

London to Southampton Cruise Terminal via Stonehenge

4. London to Southampton Cruise Terminal via Stonehenge

Travel by executive coach from London to the Southampton cruise terminal via Stonehenge on this 6-hour excursion. One of the greatest mysteries of the prehistoric world, Stonehenge has been described as a temple, as a clock, and by some as a burial site. Enjoy a visit with an audio-guided tour around the world-famous stones. After 90 minutes at Stonehenge you’ll depart on the 1-hour drive to Southampton. When you arrive at the cruise terminal all you’ll need to do is identify your luggage to the porters and then check-in to begin your cruise. The tour price includes travel by executive coach, admission to Stonehenge, the services of a tour manager, and drop off at Southampton Cruise Terminal.

Oxford Uni: Walk & Punt Tour w/ Optional Christ Church Entry

5. Oxford Uni: Walk & Punt Tour w/ Optional Christ Church Entry

See Oxford University through the eyes of Alumni and current students on this combo alumni-led campus walking tour and student-led punting trip. Get an authentic look at the colorful story of the oldest English-speaking university in the world.  Walking Tour Oxford is nothing without its students, and it’s the students who make this walking tour so special. Your guides will either be graduates or current students who combine their personal experiences of the city with their deep passion for its history, architecture, and stories. In just a 1.5-hour walk, follow your guide to discover pivotal moments of human history: from petty and outlandish rivalries to architectural masterpieces with confusing names. Inspiring, baffling, and downright outrageous: Oxford is a city full of stories waiting to be told. See the lamppost which inspired Narnia and the architecture that inspired His Dark Materials. Visit the meadows where Lewis Carroll first recounted the story of Alice in Wonderland. Marvel at some of the world’s greatest examples of Gothic and Baroque architecture. Hear all about what the students really get up to – from BOPS to secret societies to which all-night library permits outside snacks. Discover which college is the poshest and the oldest and which one has traditions designed only to mock the traditions of other colleges. As well as hearing it all from past and current students themselves, you’ll get to see inside colleges (entry included), with highlights including the Jesus College gardens. This is the real Oxford, experienced as a student, through busy streets and college grounds. Punting TourAfter your walking tour, enjoy a 30-minute student-led punting tour along the River Cherwell. As you set off south from the boathouse, you’ll be chauffeured past Oxford’s famous Botanic Gardens and Magdalen College School fields. Continue through Christ Church Meadows, where Lewis Carroll was teaching students in the mid-19-century when he wrote the famous Alice Through the Looking Glass and Alice in Wonderland. Pass St. Hilda’s College gardens and make your way back to the boathouse. You can ask questions throughout your trip and even have a free punting lesson upon request.

Oxford: Punting River Trip with Optional Walking Tour

6. Oxford: Punting River Trip with Optional Walking Tour

See Oxford from the river on this punting or rowing tour. Your guide will meet you and walk you along Broad street to the boat house. On route there, you will walk past some of the most famous sights of Oxford and learn about them from your guide.  Then, go out on the beautiful river for an hour. While on the river, you'll get lots of insight into Oxford student life and traditions. This is in fact how almost every Oxford university student celebrates their graduation.  Locals often take picnics or Pimms on the river, which is sold at the boat house. The boating activity is ideal for private groups couples and families as the boats only fit max 3 or 4 customers. You also have the option to book a private group or a public shared group walking tour which lasts 90-120 minutes to schedule either before or after the 1-hour boat trip.

Oxford: River Cruise and Walking Tour to Iffley Village

7. Oxford: River Cruise and Walking Tour to Iffley Village

Embark on an active day out to visit Oxford. In the first half hour, you will walk past colleges of the University including Christchurch to reach the departure point for the river cruise boat. Then, glide for about 20 minutes along the Thames river to reach Iffley village. During the river cruise, watch the rowers and hear all about the Oxford rowing tradition. You'll travel along the same stretch of river that writer Lewis Carroll once rowed on and created the story for Alice in Wonderland. When you reach Iffley lock, you can see traditional narrow boats passing through the river lock. Disembark for a 1-hour walking tour to explore Iffley village which is a gorgeous village with many quaint thatched cottages and one of the oldest and most unique churches in England. This includes the option for a short drinks stop at a historic garden pub too. The default itinerary is that you then walk back 2 miles from Iffley village to Oxford city which takes approximately 1 hour. Along the way, your guide will point out specific points of interest and if you choose to learn more, they can also tell you all about Oxford lifestyles and heritage.

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What people are saying about South East England

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 6,939 reviews

coffee and hot chocolate when we arrived as we had come quite a long way. The 5 yr old loved the hot chocolate. Friendly and helpful reception.2 other members of the family arrived and the booking person kindly let us all go together on the next boat as the 11.00am I had booked for two of us was full. The bar staff were v helpful and friendly. The driver of the boat was excellent with history information and nice sense of humour.

A very very enjoyable trip for my family with a 9 and 11 year old children. Will our guide was very professional, Knowledgeable and very pleasant while the boat ride very relaxing with beautiful Oxford sceneries. I’ll do it again and will absolutely recommend. Thank you kindly for a great time!

Prompt pickup at the hotel. Enjoyable ride with a stop for the toilet and coffee. Information about the region and Stonehenge from our guide. The museum is very well done and did a wonderful job explaining the site.

Very good experience!! The guide was very kind and friendly

Excellent guide and good service. A delightful excursion