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Boating at Cliveden

view of boats moored on the River Thames in front of the Boat House at Cliveden
Boats moored on the Thames in front of the Boat House at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire | © National Trust Images/ Hugh Mothersole

Boating has been a popular pastime at Cliveden for over a hundred years. Cliveden Reach is renowned as one of the prettiest spots on the Thames. Find out more about how you can enjoy boating here.

New dates available for 2024 boating season from 29th March – October

Dates for 2024 are now available to book via We look forward to welcoming you aboard soon.

Plenty of ways to enjoy the river

‘Boating at Cliveden’ is a boating service, running daily between April to October, subject to river and weather conditions. To reduce pollution, the fleet is fully electric with skippered cruises and self-hire vessels including electric motorboats, Canadian canoes, rowing boats and a pedal boat.

A history of boating for pleasure

Boating on the Thames was a late Victorian and Edwardian craze in most social classes. One of the prettiest stretches of the river, Cliveden Reach had the heaviest traffic of any up-river lock, and on one single day in 1894, a record 129 launches and nearly 1000 smaller craft passed through it.

By 1939, the river-loving Astors owned a varied collection of river craft including skiffs, canoes, (both rowing and Canadian) punts, whiffs, a dinghy and an electric canoe.

Inspiring Wind in the Willows

In 1908 the river was brought to life in Kenneth Grahame’s well-loved children’s classic, The Wind in the Willows. A regular visitor to Cliveden, it is believed Grahame was inspired to write the book by spending time on Cliveden Reach. Why not ‘mess about in boats’ like Ratty and Mole on your own boating adventure?

How to book

Please visit our third-party operator's Boating at Cliveden website for full details.

Skippered Cruises

  • Available daily
  • 45min Cruise - Adults £14.50, Children £9 (includes babies)
  • 2hr Cruise - Adults £25, Children £15.50 (includes babies)

Click here to read more about skippered cruises

A view taken sitting inside a boat that's cruising down the river Thames at Cliveden with the water of the river on either side and trees on either bank
Enjoy a trip down the river at Cliveden | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Self-drive electric launches

Available daily from £60 per hour, maximum 5 people per boat.

Click here to read more about self-drive electric launches.

Rowing Boats

Available daily £30 per boat per hour, £20 for 30 minutes, maximum 3 people.

Click here to read more about Rowing Boats.

Canadian canoes

Available daily £30 per boat per hour, £20 for 30 minutes, maximum 3 people or 2 adults and 2 children under 12 in our family canoes.

Click here to read more about Canadian canoes.

Pedal boat

Available daily starting at £35 per boat for the first hour, maximum 2 people

Click here to read more about Pedal boat.

Getting to the river

The shuttle bus service is run by volunteers and is not guaranteed. If you have accessibility requirements, please contact the boating team in advance of your booking. Access to The Boathouse is a 20–30-minute walk from the main car park via Yew Tree Steps or Spring Drive.

By walking

From the walled garden, walk towards the house and turn right before the forecourts. Walk alongside the Parterre to Yew Tree Steps to head down to the river. All boating starts from the Boathouse. Alternatively, for a step-free route, please use Spring Drive. A map will be sent through on your boat booking confirmation and can also be viewed here.

By boat

Boating at Cliveden and National Trust River Custodians regularly patrol the river along Cliveden Estate. Boating at Cliveden staff and National Trust River Custodians have been appointed by National Trust to collect the mooring fees for Cliveden Estate.

River by-laws

  • No fires at any time, or in any place
  • No bikes are permitted
  • Music is to be kept low in consideration of others
  • No collection of wood
  • No visitors allowed in Cliveden’s grounds after estate closing time


  • All information correct as of March 2024. On rare occasions, including in the event of inclement weather, there may be a change to the boating schedule at short notice.
  • If you are making a special trip, please telephone Boating at Cliveden in advance during office hours on 01628 918026 for the latest details.
Aerial view of Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

Discover more at Cliveden

Find out when Cliveden is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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Exploring the woodlands at Cliveden 

Discover majestic trees, tranquil glades and far-reaching views as well as some unusual features in Cliveden’s woodlands, including a flint grotto and part of a giant sequoia tree.

Water Garden stepping stones leading to pagoda

Things to see in the garden at Cliveden 

Follow in the footsteps of dukes, earls, kings and queens at Cliveden as you stroll through a series of areas in the impressive garden, each with its own special charm.

A view of the front of Cliven House.

Things to see in Cliveden's house and chapel 

Take a guided tour of Cliveden house – now a luxury hotel – and visit the chapel, final resting place of three generations of Astor family.

Visitors in the Parterre garden with the house in the background at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire.

Family-friendly things to do at Cliveden 

From fun walking trails to boating on the Thames in spring and summer, this is your one-stop shop to help you get the most out of your family visit to Cliveden.

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Outdoor activities 

Searching for a new outdoor activity to try? Discover the best places in our care for outdoor activities, including off-road cycle tracks, walking trails and lakes and coastlines for water sports.