The River Thames is a fantastic destination for everyone to enjoy. It is important that all visitors have the information they need to plan a day out or holiday on the River Thames.
River Thames passenger boat operators welcome passengers with reduced mobility and families with young children and are keen to do all they can to provide an enjoyable boat trip for everybody.
Some boats have extremely good access with wide aisles and compartments. However some boats are of an older or vintage design and therefore have very limited access which cannot be adapted or redesigned. There may also be limited access eg. steps at some scheduled pick up and drop off points.
The Passenger Boat Association works closely with its members to ensure reduced mobility passenger access statements are available on their websites and in terms & conditions, however it is strongly recommended that you plan your boat journey in advance in order to find a trip that best suits you. Individual passenger boat operators on the Upper Thames and throughout the UK will be pleased to provide help and advice.
Accessing the Locks
The locks offer a place to ‘watch the world go by’, or at least the huge variety of boats on the River Thames. Some are more accessible than others, those which are easier to reach are: Osney, Sandford, Abingdon, Culham, Goring, Caversham, Marlow, Boulters, Bray, Molesy and Teddington.
Walking the Thames Path, National Trail
The Thames Path is a wonderful trail following the River Thames from its source in the Cotswolds into the city of London. National Trail is very keen to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to enjoy the Thames Path and have produced a set of 12 easy walks likely to be suitable for people with reduced mobility, such as users of wheelchairs or mobility scooters and families with young children and pushchairs. Access along the whole length of the Thames Path is gradually being improved by replacing obstructive stiles and poor gates with new fully accessible gates and in some areas by improving the surface of the path.
Fishing is a great outdoor sport that anyone can do whatever their physical ability, age or gender. The River Thames offers a number of locations for anglers with special needs and the Environment Agency is, wherever possible, building or adapting fishing platforms for anglers with disabilities.
Disabled and disadvantaged can enjoy a great time on the River Thames
Disabled and disadvantaged children and adults can now have a wonderful day out on the river Thames, thanks to the Rivertime Boat Trust. Each day trip involves a small group of passengers, cruising on a spacious, purpose-designed 42-foot boat named ‘Rivertime’. The main base is the River & Rowing Museum in Henley- on-Thames but at certain times of the year they can be found cruising the river in Oxford, Reading and Windsor.
The River Thames Boat Project is a registered charity that offers community groups a unique experience of the River Thames. They operate day trips and longer holidays on a special wheelchair-accessible barge, the Richmond Venturer.
August's Regatta for the Disabled is a wonderful opportunity for children and adults with a disability to enjoy a great variety of land and river based activities they would normally consider unavailable to them.
Explore the beautiful, relaxing and inspiring
There really is so much to do on the river and nearby, that a day is not long enough. There are plenty of family-friendly places to stay nearby or on the river. Make your base at one of our family friendly hotels and you can discover history or enjoy a spot of camping...
Fun on the River Thames doesn't always have to cost you. There are plenty of free ways to have a cheap day out with the kids on the River Thames. Take a stroll, get on your bike, catch a fish or play Pooh Sticks...
Don’t forget there are endless ideas for adventure on the river. Check out our ideas for Great Family Days Out. The simplest way to explore the river is a rowing boat For a rainy day visit one of the Thames Valley Museums.