BARGE Magna Carta

The English countryside is famous for its scenic beauty, conjuring up visions of lush green fields, driving down peaceful country lanes, visiting quaint small villages and stopping off at cosy pubs to chat with locals or spend the night. For those who love the countryside, but don’t want the stress of driving, reading road maps or worrying about finding good accommodation, cruising through the beautiful scenery on a luxury barge tour is the answer.

European Waterways’ luxury eight passenger barge “Magna Carta” is the perfect hotel barge for cruising the River Thames throughout the year.

Meandering along the famous Royal River between Hampton Court and Henley-on-Thames, past royal palaces, quaint riverside towns and small local villages, the cruise provides a mixture of olde worlde England and the natural beauty of Surrey, Berkshire and Oxfordshire. From Henry VIII’s Hampton Court past Windsor Castle to Henley with frequent stops, allowing plenty of time to wander and explore while enjoying the comforts of the barge, river travel wins over road.

Fans of Downton Abbey will be pleased to know that “Magna Carta” has two additional Downton cruises on the River Thames in 2014, offering guests a rareexcursion to visit Highclere Castle, the setting for the renowned period drama series.The impressive Victorian castle sits on a 1,000 acre estate and is the home of the show’s fictional Crawley family. The “real” Downton Abbey has been owned by the Carnarvon family since 1679, where Lord and Lady Carnarvon still live today.

Downton Abbey Highclere_CastleThere are three Downton cruises scheduled for April 13, April 20 and May 4 plus those departing August 10 and August 17 will also include a visit to the Castle.“We introduced the tour of Highclere Castle into our shore excursion programme last year and our clients on “Magna Carta” enjoyed it so much, we decided to bring it back in 2014 for selected departures” said Derek Banks, Managing Director of European Waterways

The cruise itinerary also features a private tour of Dorney Court, a beautiful Tudor manor house on the banks of the Thames, where Elizabeth, The Other Boleyn Girl, and Agatha Christie’s TV series Poirot were filmed. The cruise concludes with a tour of Christ Church, one of Oxford’s most prestigious colleges and where Lewis Carroll wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

European Waterwaysis the largest luxury hotel barging company in Europe, offering six night cruises on its fleet of fully crewed barges along the canals, rivers and lakes of France, Italy, Scotland, England, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg. The hotel barges accommodate between six and twenty passengers and guests may choose to charter a whole barge or cruise on an individual cabin basis. The all inclusive, hotel barge cruises offer comfortable accommodation in air conditioned, en suite cabins, gourmet meals, fine wines, an open bar, all excursions and transfers plus the use of on board facilities such as bicycles and spa pools.

Sandra Tiltman

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