- Money & shopping
- Concerns & safety
- Packing & gear
Choose a lunchtime or sunset picnic cruise starting at the picturesque Folly Restaurant perched beside the River Thames.
The 2.5-hour sightseeing cruise takes you through the famous university city of Oxford and see famous landmarks including Christchurch College and Meadows, the University boathouses and regatta course, the Head of the River and Folly Bridge. From the river you will take in a side of Oxford's heritage rarely seen by visitors to the city. Quaint Osney Island, well-loved allotments and gardens and majestic and ancient Port Meadow 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 cruise whilst composing 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. It is also the site of Trout Island, an inspiration for another of Oxfords literary icons, C.S. Lewis, and his stories of the land of Narnia.
Your picnic lunch or dinner is provided by riverside restaurant, The Folly, and typically includes*:
There's something rather serene and lovely about this cruise and dine offering. Maybe it's the fact that you set sail in a 'Gentleman's Edwardian River Launch' just as the sun is waning, so you get that wonderful changing light and experience that evening calmness on the water? Or maybe it's because you will be dining at one of Oxford's finest bistros? It might even be simply because it's a moment you can really enjoy?
The itinerary for the cruising element of your evening is a classic tour of the river that winds its way through this renowned academic town. And as a reminder of that educational and sporting heritage, you'll drift gently past the university boat houses, as well as other delightful corners such as Christchurch Meadows. Oh and we should mention a glass of Prosecco will be served onboard to get this rather genteel party started.
As you disembark on the mooring right outside The Folly, you'll love the candles and fairy lights that adorn the restaurant. If it's a suitably balmy evening you might be dining al fresco, otherwise you will be guided to your cosy table inside the restaurant.
As you peruse the menu for your three course a la carte meal, you'll soon appreciate that the food at the Folly is actually very accomplished cuisine and the fact that the small print on the menu states that main courses when ordered alone can take up to 40 minutes, assures you that all dishes are freshly prepared in a kitchen where the ping of the microwave isn't the norm.
We also have to mention that the Folly restaurant in Oxford also does a nice line in innovative cocktails (Banoffee Pie Martini anyone?) which could be the perfect accompaniment to your soiree of post river excursion dining at the Folly. Indulgent, impeccable service and really rather romantic. What's not to love?
Choose your preferred departure time out of three different time slots offered and embark on this 50-minute sightseeing cruise along the beautiful River Thames.
Starting from central Oxford, the cruise takes in a fascinating stretch of the river offering you an insight into the historic city's rich past and many landmarks. Cruising down the university regatta course towards quaint Iffley village you will pass ancient Folly Bridge, Christchurch College and Meadows and the university rowing houses.
This is one of the busiest and most colorful stretches of the River Thames (the stretch locally known as The Isis). Rowing eights, punts, university boats and large pleasure cruisers come together in a lively display of all that the river has to offer.
There is something rather serene and lovely about his evening cruise. Maybe it is that as you set sail in a 'Gentleman's Edwardian River Launch' just as the sun is waning, when you can experience that wonderful changing light and that distinctive calm of evening on the water.
The cruise is a classic tour of the river Thames as it meanders of that educational and sporting heritage, you'll drift gently past the university boat houses, as well as other delightful corners such as Christchurch meadows. Oh, and we shouldn't forget that your choice of sundowner (selected drinks only) will be served on-board to get this rather genteel party started.
This relaxing 1.5-hour cruise starts in the afternoon from central Oxford and sails downstream from Folly Bridge taking in the best known reach of the River Thames in Oxford.
Traveling down the University Regatta Course passing Christ Church Meadows, the University College Boat Houses and other landmarks on the 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 an wonderful display of Oxford at play. Passing through the lock at Iffley is an experience in itself. The river scenery and fascinating buildings combining to form a picture perfect location.
Beyond Iffley the boat travels in to the tranquil water meadows that surround Oxford and there are abundant opportunities to spot wildlife amongst the green banks and overhanging willows.
Aboard the boat an indulgent afternoon tea is provided by the renowned riverside restaurant, The Folly. The traditional menu includes*:
The rendezvous and starting point for this one hour tour is at the Cherwell Boathouse, a picturesque bar/cafe, restaurant, and of course punting station, right on the river, just over 1 mile (1,6 km) from the city centre. A fabulous location to have a drink, a snack, or something more substantial before or after the punting expedition.
The route meanders down the river, passing on the right the Dragon School, whose famous former pupils include Hugh "House" Laurie, and Emma Watson (Hermione in Harry Potter).
Continuing on this leisurely course the next highlight is Lady Margaret Hall, known as LMH, founded in 1878 specifically to admit women to the University for the first time.
Soon the lovely arch of Rainbow Bridge comes in to view, and on the right the University Parks, so called because in the English Civil War the King parked his artillery there.
The University Cricket Club plays matches here - another quintessential English experience. Passing by Parson's Pleasure, a former nudist bathing spot, it's not long before the turning round point appears through the arches of trees.
The return voyage provides a different perspective while still enjoying the peace and quiet, the English summer landscape, and the prospect of refreshments at journey's end.
For the more adventurous your chauffeur will be delighted to give a practical hands-on lesson in the basics of punting.
Henry Liddell, the Dean of Christ Church College from the 1850s to 1891, had a duaghter in 1852 he named Alice Pleasance Liddell. The Liddell family struck up a friendship with a mathematics professor named Charles Dodgson, who would regale the Liddell sisters with elaborate fantasy tales on their boating trips down Oxford's rivers. Little Alice begged Dodgson to write some of them down, and he did, using the pename Lewis Carroll, casting a precocious seven-year old girl named "Allice" as the protagonist, and eventually publishing Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.