WJ Tested: Luxury Barge Magna Carta Review – Location and Shore Excursions

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Magna Carta Luxury Barge

Magna Carta Luxury Barge

WJ Tested: Luxury Barge Magna Carta Review – Location and Shore Excursions

Magna Carta’s typical 6-night/7-day itinerary takes passengers along England’s River Thames from Hampton Court to Henley-on-Thames, or vice versa. Unfortunatley, we were only aboard Magna Carta for 2-nights/3-days and so only had the pleasure to cruise from Henley to Windsor. We were delighted with the scenery afforded by this cruise as the luxury Magna Carta glided along the river at a speed of no more than 6 mph.

Magna Carta Cruises the River Thames in Henley-on-Thames

Magna Carta Cruises the River Thames in Henley-on-Thames

The River Thames (especially this section of the river) in our opinion proved to be one of the most scenic rivers we have sailed and one that we hope to return to and explore more of. We don’t think there is a more relaxing and decadent way of seeing the English countryside than this.

Enjoying the English Countryside from Magna Carta

Enjoying the English Countryside from Magna Carta

Day 1 – All passengers were met by a crew member in London, England at the Stafford Hotel for English Cream Tea. We were then transferred to Magna Carta at her mooring on the River Thames in Henley-on-Thames, home of the famous Henley Royal Regatta.

Within minutes of arriving onboard and being shown to our cabins, Captain Dominic fired up the engine and took us on a 40-minute cruise – showing us the town of Henley as the sun was starting to go down.

Returning to our original mooring, we shored up for the night and Dominic was able to join all passengers on deck for a safety briefing and Champagne toast. At this point, everyone was in heaven, excited and loving every moment of this new adventure.

River Thames Luxury Canal Barge Cruise

River Thames Luxury Canal Barge Cruise

Day 2 – After a morning excursion to the 18th century town of Henley, the River and Rowing Museum and Wind in the Willows exhibition, it was back onboard Magna Carta and the cruising began. Within 15-minutes she approached the first lock of the cruise – very exciting for all the passengers who hadn’t experienced this before.

Lunch was served as we cruised and as the weather was a tad breezy we dined in the dining area of the saloon. A light and delicious lunch was served and shortly afterwards we arrived in Hurley for another excursion. This time passengers had the opportunity to take a walk with Dominic around Peter Freebody’s boat restoration yard to watch the traditional craftsmen.

Peter Freebody's Boat Restoration Yard

Peter Freebody’s Boat Restoration Yard

Then a stroll into the 11th century village to view Ye Olde Belle – now a restaurant and hotel – that is said to be the oldest inn in England.

A couple more hours of scenic cruising followed before mooring at Bourne End Marina where we would spend the night. Passengers that wished to experience a typical English pub were invited to take a walk to The Bounty Pub with Dom and sample some of the local ale.

The Bounty Pub

The Bounty Pub

The rest of the evening was spent enjoying a delightful dinner along with great conversation with fellow passengers.

Day 3– Following breakfast we cruised to Cookham, taking a walk with Laura to visit Cookham Church that was built around AD1140.

Exploring Cookham

Exploring Cookham

We continued to stroll into the village and paid a visit to the Stanley Spencer Gallery – Sir Stanley Spencer was one of England’s most eccentric painters.

Stanley Spencer Gallery

Stanley Spencer Gallery

Upon returning to Magna Carta we enjoyed coffee on deck as she continued her cruise. With a glorious fall day upon us, we were able to dine on deck for lunch as we cruised past Clifton – home of the Astors.

Magna Carta Luxury Canal Barge Cruises the River ThamesTowards Windsor

Magna Carta Luxury Canal Barge Cruises the River ThamesTowards Windsor

The approach to Windsor is amazing, with the castle and ferris wheel. An excursion by taxi took passengers to Savill Gardens – an extension of the Windsor Great Gardens – with Laura for a quick visit.

Savill Garden near Windsor

Savill Gardens near Windsor

After arriving back at Magna Carta in Windsor, we still had time to take a walk across the bridge to Eton and visit the college. All too soon our cruise came to an end.

Eton College

Eton College

We certainly were not ready to leave and prolonged our departure from the barge as much as possible. But as all things must come to an end, we decided that a return is in order to complete the remainder of this river cruise aboard Magna Carta.

Sunset in Windsor, England

Sunset in Windsor, England

Unfortunately, we did not continue along the Thames with the other passengers who were cruising for the entire 6-nights/7-days. Our time aboard Magna Carta ended in Windsor where we transferred to Heathrow Airport – only a 20-minute taxi ride away.

Cruising the River Thames Aboard Magna Carta

Cruising the River Thames Aboard Magna Carta

Read More:

Magna Carta Cabins

–  Magna Carta Food and Wine

–  Magna Carta Bottom Line and Value

 

Note: Viv and Jill cruised the river Thames aboard luxury canal barge Magna Carta during a September 2009 visit to England.

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One Response to WJ Tested: Luxury Barge Magna Carta Review – Location and Shore Excursions

  1. John had been defeated in war, was omtumnubered and surrounded by his enemies he had no choice but to sign the treaty. What few people seem to remember is that before the end of 1215 the treaty had been revoked by John (with the support of the Pope), and John was once again at war with the English nobility. When Magna Carta was reintroduced by Edward 1, it was in fact a completely different charter that was reissued. Magna Carta as was included in English law for centuries was basically the Coronation Charter of Henry 1 (from 1100) which had been reissued by every king (including John) ever since anyway.Basically, the Magna Carta was nothing but a symbol of opposition against the king. Though John signed it, the treaty was revoked so quickly that in terms of law its effects were minimal.

    Jack 10/26/2012 at 12:08 pm

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