Oxford
Boat Tours & River Cruises

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Our most recommended Oxford Cruises & Boat Tours

Oxford Experience Cruise

1. Oxford Experience Cruise

This 50-minute long 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 environmentally-friendly zero-emission technology of today.

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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.

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Oxford: Scenic Sightseeing Cruise with Gourmet Picnic

3. Oxford: Scenic Sightseeing Cruise with Gourmet Picnic

This cruise travels through the city past famous landmarks including Christchurch College and Meadows, the University boathouses and regatta course, the Head of the River and Folly Bridge . From the river passenegers 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 trip while 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 is provided by riverside restaurant, The Folly, and typically includes: • An selection of finger sandwiches • Homemade quiche or tart of the day • Homemade scones with strawberry jam, clotted cream and fresh strawberries  • Elderflower presse Served in a traditional picnic basket with napkins, crockery and glasses (to be returned to the crew at the end of the cruise). Drinks to take aboard can be purchased at the departure point.

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Oxford: River Cruise plus 3-Course Dinner

4. Oxford: River Cruise plus 3-Course Dinner

Your Oxford evening begins when you board an elegant Edwardian gentleman’s riverboat for a cruise to take in the highlights of river life in Oxford. See Folly Bridge, Christchurch Meadows, the university boat houses, and part of the regatta course while sipping a complimentary glass of Prosecco. This is the perfect time to be on the river as the light takes on a magical quality. Disembark at The Folly restaurant, where your dinner will be served in charming surroundings either inside the restaurant or, weather permitting, on the floating river terrace. The Folly's evening a la carte menu offers relaxed fine dining. You’ll find a comprehensive wine list if you’d like to purchase wine to complement your meal.

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Oxford: River Cruise and Walking Tour to Iffley Village

5. 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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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.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Oxford

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What people are saying about Oxford

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 223 reviews

A really enjoyable and interesting way to see another aspect of Oxford. We thoroughly enjoyed chatting to our guide and hearing about different aspects of Oxford life.

Nick was brilliant we had a fab time, the picnic was gorgeous, we had the boat to ourselves which was a bonus. Great guide can’t recommend enough

Really enjoyable experience. Our guide was friendly, informative and full of entertaining stories. Lovely scenic cruise too.

Very enjoyable boat trip, very knowledgeable guide, lovely scenery.

It was very relaxing and enjoyable, and the scenery was beautiful