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Explore the River Thames

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at and my theatre reviews at
Published April 27th 2012
London has always had a north/south divide, and the wavy (no pun intended) dividing line is the River Thames. It seems a shame not to take advantage of our fantastic Royal Thames, especially in this Jubilee year, so why not hire a camping skiff for some messing about on the river?

Like Jerome K Jerome's Three Men in a Boat or Kenneth Grahame's Mole, Ratty, Badger and Mr Toad you too could navigate stretches of the Thames between Royal Windsor and Lechlade. Or you could paddle off to Oxford and detour onto the Oxford Canal, or just meander round the water meadows of the River Wey in Surrey. Can you think of a better way to explore unspoiled areas of our beautiful country whilst keeping your carbon footprint low?

If you're feeling tempted, camping skiffs can be hired from Destination Twickenham. These boats are sleek rowing boats that can be embarked upon from Richmond. They accommodate two or three people, are suitable for our English weather and are provided with two canvas sheets, roll mats, water bottles, a bowl and a map. There is also a full length boat cover that can be used at night to turn the skiff into a sleeping tent. You will have to supply anything extra you need for cooking, eating and providing light as well as sleeping bags and air mattresses for night time comfort. You don't strictly have to camp in the skiff, but if you want to enjoy the entire outdoor experience tents can also be supplied for pitching up alongside the river.

A Royal Time on the Thames
Camping Skiff - Picture Courtesy of Shona Lyons

For groups there are larger boats available, or on the other hand, if you would like somebody else to do all the work, you could charter a private boat with all facilities. Rates for these can be arranged upon enquiry.

A Royal Time on the Thames
Larger Boats - Picture Courtesy of Einar Erlingson

Skiffs can be hired for a weekend or a full week. You can also organise a boat delivery and collection service so that you can explore the bit of the Thames that you fancy most. The people at Destination Twickenham can even recommend overnight stops. So what are you waiting for? As they say: 'A bad day on the river is better than a good day in the office.'

A Royal Time on the Thames
Windrush - Picture Courtesy of Marcus Clackson

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Why? To spend some time messing about on the river
When: During the summer months
Where: Along the Thames between Windsor and Lechlade
Cost: 200 for a skiff for the weekend and 300 for a week.
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