Idyllic Experiences and Days Out on and along the river Thames

Step back in time and join us to enjoy memorable experiences and days out aboard our beautifully restored vintage boats and elegant pre-war Rolls Royces as we take you out on one of the most idyllic stretches of the River Thames through Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

Map of Thames River
From Shillingford to Henley on Thames – the most idyllic stretch of the River Thames. Click image for enlarged view.

This stretch of the river is linked with the timeless classic ‘Wind in the Willows’  and Jerome K. Jerome’s 1889 ‘Three Men in a Boat’, and you’ll pass by (or visit on a private tour)  stately homes, centuries-old riverside restaurants, historic bridges and locks.

While the river is the focus of our experiences and days out, our Rolls Royce fleet means that a diversion inland to a place of interest is also an option.

Read more about our vintage boats and pre-war Rolls Royce fleet.

Overview

  • 2-hour to full-day bespoke cruises available
  • From 2 to 20 guests although the maximum we can accommodate on a single boat is 10 people. Larger groups are accommodated on 2 or more boats cruising together.
  • Flexible itineraries with vintage boat/car transportation
  • A range of on-board catering options
  • Child friendly

Price Guide: We offer a range of Vintage Days Out Experiences with the most economical starting at £225. For a larger group, a typical package for an afternoon for 8 on Lollapalooza with chef-prepared luxury champagne afternoon tea is £840, or just over £100 per guest. Please enquire as each Experience is tailored for each party, and prices will vary.

Let us Inspire You: 7 Vintage Days Out to Enjoy

Our experience at the luxury end of the hospitality industry translates into delivering highly tailored experiences where our focus is a personal service with keen attention to detail. To inspire you, we have compiled a selection of seven Vintage Days Out, one for every day of the week!

Brunch on the River Thames

1 – A Classic Vintage Day Out

Laze about on the river with friends

Relax aboard one of our vintage boats as you cruise along the river, taking in historic sites and the beautiful countryside, enjoying the company of friends and family, and even business guests or colleagues. Depending on the boat chosen, catering options can include Brunch, Lunch, Picnics, Afternoon Tea and Dinner. Whichever option you choose, you can be assured your meal will be served on vintage tableware with crystal glassware.
Stop by to dine at a waterfront restaurant
Arrive in style at a river-front restaurant

2 – A Gourmet Cruise

Cruise to a selected restaurant on the river with canapés served en route.

What better way to arrive at one of the Thames’s most celebrated river-front restaurants than by vintage cruiser? Make a day of it with Canapés en route, then perhaps Afternoon Tea on the return trip – if you have room for it!

Popular restaurants include:

Beetle and Wedge at Moulsford 
Immortalised in ‘The Wind in the Willows’ and ‘Three Men in a Boat’, the boathouse restaurant’s emphasis is on quality of food, wines and service.

The Swan at Pangbourne 
A beautiful 17th century listed building with traditional oak beams and open fires. For lazy summer days there is a beautiful terrace overlooking the river.

Shaun Dickens at The Boathouse, Henley-on-Thames 
An unparalleled riverside setting featuring fresh, local British produce. Recently awarded a coveted AA 3 Rosette Award.

Vintage Days Out will arrange your reservation as part of your day’s experience.

3 – A Private Behind-the-Scenes Tour of a Stately Home

Travel by vintage Rolls Royce and visit historical stately homes and experience the grandeur of a bygone era with a private behind-the-scenes tour.

Stonor Park Library Private Tour

Stonor Park

The Hon. William Stonor and/or Lady Ailsa Stonor will guide you on a private tour of their home, a majestic house that has been home to the Stonor family for 850 years.

Architecturally fascinating, discover art and treasures collected from across the globe and view historic maps and documents that reveal generations of service to the country. A private tour through this house is a vivid walk through history.

Lunch is served in a private dining room.

Cliveden from the river

Cliveden House

Built in 1666, Cliveden House has remained a pinnacle of intrigue and glamour for the elite.

The house has played host to every British monarch since George I and has been home to three Dukes, an Earl, Frederick Prince of Wales and the Astor family. A private Butler’s tour and talk will reveal the secrets and revelations from over 350 years of history.

Following the behind the scenes tour, lunch or afternoon tea will be taken.

Danesfield House - Car width=

Danesfield House

Enjoy the truly stunning surrounds of Danesfield House, learn the secrets of the house and the history of RAF Medmenham which was stationed at Danesfield House during  World War II and played a critical role in the war effort.

The experience includes a private tour, a wonderful 2-course lunch and the opportunity to enjoy the 65-acre grounds, with tea and coffee served.

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace

Enjoy a private tour of The Private Apartments of Blenheim Palace with the Duke of Marlborough’s own Butler.

Blenheim Palace is the principal residence of the Dukes of Marlborough, the birthplace of Winston Churchill and the only non-royal, non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace.

Blenheim Palace is nestled in over 90 acres of formal gardens and is truly stunning.

  • Tea/coffee and pastries on arrival
  • Tour of the Private Apartments
  • Guide book presented
  • Chance to view other areas of the palace and gardens if desired
  • Can be combined with lunch or afternoon tea served in the Orangery

Broughton Castle

Broughton Castle

Visit this absolutely stunning and history-packed manor house, built in 1300. 

Martin, the eldest son of the current Lord and Lady Saye and Sele, will take you on a private tour where you will hear stories from the property’s hundreds of years of history including stories of the English Civil War, as well as of rather famous Fiennes family – you may already be familiar with a the names of a few members of the family. It’s no surprise that this picture-perfect castle has also featured in many historical movies, including Wolf HallJane Eyre, Shakespeare in Love, The Madness of King George and  Three Men and a Little Lady.

  • Private chauffeured Rolls Royce
  • An enhanced exclusive tour of the castle
  • Presentation of two books by William Fiennes, the younger son.
  • Can be combined with a lunch served locally.

Please contact us to learn more about these unique tours.

4 – A Celebration

An extraordinary venue for an anniversary, reunion, special celebration or even a proposal…

We love nothing more than celebrations on the River Thames during the day or evening. Our team will ensure that your cruise is more than special. We will happily dovetail our river cruise into your extended celebration plans but we like to think our private charter along the Thames will be the highlight of your day. 

If we need to transport you from to and from the mooring, you only have to ask, and our vintage Rolls Royce will be there to meet you.

Romance on the river - boat for twoRomance on the River

What could be more romantic than surprising your partner with a Champagne cruise for two on Nina, our iconic 1950s Venetian-style cruise? This might also just be the optimal moment to propose.

5 – A Traditional English Country Pastime

Experience the country life and history of Oxfordshire and Berkshire

For those looking for a bit more action on their Vintage Day Out, we recommend combining a boat cruise with an traditional experience to learn more about country life and the history of the area. Clay Pigeon Shooting Step right into country life by learning to shoot at the Royal Berkshire Shooting School. Recognised as the finest shooting school in the country, our guests enjoy their lesson in one of the most beautiful shooting grounds in Britain. Walking in Oxford Tours Walk through the streets and university quadrangles of Oxford with your esteemed Blue Badge guide who will introduce you to the city known as the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ and worldwide as the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Your tour will include a visit to one of the top three colleges in the city. Depending on college availability, you may even be able to view the iconic ‘Harry Potter dining room’ in the Great Hall at Christ Church.

6 –  A Visit to a Winery

Visit one of England’s finest vineyards for a private tour and tasting

Chiltern Valley Winery is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, and comprises a vineyard, winery, brewery and liqueur-making facility. Guests are treated to a private tour and tasting lead by the owner or the owner’s son.

7 –  A Classic River Event

What could be more prestigious and exciting than experiencing one of England’s historic events on the River Thames?

Britain is renowned for its pageantry and summer social events and the Thames does not disappoint. The following events are extremely popular and early booking is recommended.

Henley Royal RegattaHenley Royal Regatta – 3rd–7 July 2019 
Founded in 1839 Henley Royal Regatta is undoubtedly the best-known rowing regatta in the world, and is famous both as a great sporting event and as a social occasion.

Vintage Days Out offers you an exclusive opportunity to experience Henley Royal Regatta 2019  in a style that embodies the glamour of the 1920s and 1930s. Your day includes collection by a Chauffeur-driven vintage Rolls Royce from a local pick up point, exclusive use of the beautiful Lollapalooza to cruise along the river to watch the races, and use of your own private riverfront marquee for refreshments and dining throughout the day with unrivaled views of the races.

Our Henley Royal Regatta Experience includes full hospitality throughout the day with private Chef.

We also arrange Vintage Days Out for Henley Women’s Regatta (21–23rd June 2019), the UK’s premier women’s rowing event.

Each Henley Royal Regatta Experience Day is limited to 8 guests. Book early for the most popular days of the Regatta:  Friday 5 July, Saturday 6 July and Sunday 7 July when the quarter-, semi- and finals of the event are held.

Thames Traditional Boat Festival  – 19th–21st July 2019
This popular event features the largest display of traditional boats in Europe, a WWI air display, a gathering of  other ‘Dunkirk Little Ships’ who also sailed to Dunkirk, amphibious vehicles and, in the past, highlights have included Her Majesty’s ‘Rowbarge Gloriana’ and Duncan Campbell’s Blue Bird to name just a few. A perfect family day out on the river!

Royal Swan Upping – 15-19 July 2019
Follow the journey of the traditional rowing skiffs of the Royal Swan Uppers and Swan Uppers from the Vintners’ and Dyers’ livery companies for a day as they carry out their annual conservation survey of Her Majesty The Queen’s swans and cygnets in the Royal Swan Upping.

On-board Catering

An essential component of your Vintage Day Out is the pleasure of eating out on the river. Depending on the time of day, the occasion and the boat, we offer a range of dining options, from a Champagne brunch, through a ‘Deck Picnic’ or cream tea, to a Chef-prepared 5-course tasting menu. View details about Our Fleet and available catering options.