Sit back and relax and enjoy watching the world drift past with a boat trip on the Thames. There’s no better way to discover the River Thames than hopping on a boat and heading out on a new adventure. A couple of weeks ago we headed to Henley-on-Thames and hired a boat to do just that. We had pre-booked a full day hire with Hobbs of Henley which allowed us to explore the River Thames for the day, 10am – 6pm. There are various options available from rowing boats/motor boats, various sizes of boats, full day/half day/hourly hires and also if you’re not comfortable with self-drive then there are one hour river cruises, public cruises or private charters available. Prices start at £17.50 per hour for a rowing boat and range up to £515 per day for a VIP Alfastreet launch.

We got there early, had packed up a picnic and were ready to head out on the water. After a quick lesson on the boats controls and some guidance on where we could go, we were off! Hobbs provide a map of the various points of interest along the river and approximate times that it takes to reach them. You can either head towards Cookham or the opposite direction towards Reading like we did. You can travel along the river at your own pace, it was very quiet and relaxing. An important point to mention is there are no toilet facilities on board however we stopped off at The George and Dragon which has a lovely riverside location and mooring for boats. We were very impressed by The George and Dragon, we bought some drinks and were allowed to use the toilets which were all very clean and a one way system in place to keep everyone safe. You could also eat at The George, which had a full menu and also a take-away menu if you wanted to eat on your boat. There are other stopping points along the river which were shown on the map from Hobbs.

Travelling along the river was so peaceful and gave a new perspective of the local area. The fellow boat users were friendly and helpful which was a relief especially when navigating the numerous locks we came across. Although the lock keeper was always on hand to give instructions. The children enjoyed seeing the other boat users plus paddleboarders, canoeists and even some brave swimmers. They also enjoyed getting behind the wheel of the boat and captaining our journey (under supervision of course). Our journey took us from Henley, past Wargrave and Shiplake, you get a great view of Shiplake College and then onto Sonning. We turned around at Caversham Lock and repeated the journey back to Henley and had a look at the race course for the Henley regatta before returning to Hobbs.

Overall it was a great day out and one we’ll definitely be repeating maybe to explore the river towards Cookham.

Boat Hire from Hobbs of Henley – website: www.hobbsofhenley.com