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Hire a Boat for the Day

Madeline Leahu tells us about the day she hired a boat.

Hiring a boat on the River ThamesA group of us borrowed a motor boat from a friend and spent the day cruising the stretch of river between Whitchurch and Cleeve Lock.

The boat was moored by The Swan at Pangbourne so we abandoned the car and caught the train to Pangbourne station. We enjoyed a quick pint in The Swan before jumping aboard.

We took a picnic and drinks with us and enjoyed our lunch afloat so we didn't need to moor up during the trip.

During the trip we all took turns driving the boat; none of us had really had any boating experience so it was fun to all have a go at the wheel!

When we came to the first lock (Goring Lock) we were worried it might be difficult to control the boat and handle the ropes. However, once we'd told the lock keeper it was our first time he completely took over and everything was fine; in fact it was quite exciting! By the time we got to the next lock it wasn’t at all daunting and we were confident enough to manage everything ourselves.

What time of year did you take the trip?


What did you like best about it, did everything go to plan?

We saw a Kingfisher, which was exciting, and it was great to try out a new experience. And it really is true that once you're out on the water the pace of everything slows right down, which is very relaxing. I was also surprised by just how beautiful the River Thames is from the water and by just how much wildlife we saw.

What did you like least, did anything go wrong or was not as you'd expected?

Coming up to the first lock was quite daunting as you feel quite small in your little boat while the lock gates tower about you. But after we'd done it once it was fine and actually surprisingly easy. The lock keepers were really helpful too.

Did you use any businesses during your trip? What did you think of them?

We went for a drink at The Swan in Pangbourne. It's a lovely setting by the river. Sit outside if you can though as it feels a bit dark and dingy inside.

Hire a boat

Fancy doing this yourself?  Then take a look at our Hiring a Boat pages for further details. 

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