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You are here: Places to Stay > Thames Cruise aboard the African Queen
Thames Cruise aboard the African Queen
Type: hotel boat.
Tel: 01858 438315
Thames Cruise aboard the African Queen
Enjoy a unique experience of the Thames aboard the award-winning African Queen as we sail through the heart of Wind in the Willows country. This fabulous barge has been restored into a floating hotel, offering a remedy to the daily hustle and bustle. Relax as we sail through the English countryside and visit some quintessentially English towns. We’ll ensure you enjoy delicious meals, wonderful company and fantastic hospitality.
Length: 5 days From: Mapledurham Ends: Mapledurham
* As a guide, prices are per room per night for hotels, guest houses, B&Bs and serviced apartments and per week for self-catering accommodation.
Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis.
- Cater for vegetarians
- Serve breakfast
- Serve evening meal - Evening meal at The Mill at Sonning Dinner Theatre
- Serve lunch - Lunch in a riverside inn
Children & Infants
- Accept children (Minimum age) - 12+
- Open Christmas
- Open New Year
- Open on bank holidays
- Regular evening entertainment
- Welcome single sex groups, eg stag/hen parties
Parking & Transport
- Free parking
- Maestro Accepted
- MasterCard accepted
- Special group rates
- Visa accepted
- In countryside
Room / Unit Features
- Drying facilities
- Short breaks available
Map & directions, public transport directions.
Travel options available: Join at the Ship Mapledurham
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African Queen of London
If you are looking for a peaceful way to experience the quaint and serene Thames River of England, look no further that the African Queen of London. Although river cruising is not a very popular experience yet on the Thames, the river offers the visitor a unique blend of the energy and pomp of London with the quaint and cozy of the countryside as you sail west from the big city.
Enjoy great food and service aboard a lovely 12-passenger, 9-cabin canal-type cruise barge that is delightful in its intimacy and experience. upstairs enjoy the restaurant and sun deck while you mingle with the very friendly crew and fellow guests. they will take you on a dream cruise down the beautiful thames river while you enjoy fine food, scenic views and the best the thames has to offer., located on the mapledurham estate just outside reading on the thames, the african queen sleeps 12 passengers in cosy, comfortable cabins. they offer a variety of packages from weekend getaways to day/dinner cruises. the african queen also offers packages for special occasion such as christmas and new year. the african queen is also able to create customized cruises for parties of 8 or more., your african queen of london river cruise awaits, are you ready to start planning your african queen of london river cruise vacation your way a river cruise artist at river cruise your way is ready to be your vacation concierge. contact us today at 1-800-259-7612 or use the form below and let us know when it is most convenient to call you, we will confirm via e-mail, and then reach out at the agreed upon time and date..
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Weekend Thames Cruise aboard the African Queen
Join us for a weekend to explore the English countryside and enjoy delicious food, wonderful company, along with the first-class hospitality aboard the award-winning African Queen. This beautiful barge has been restored into a floating hotel, offering all guests a welcome retreat from the rush of modern-day life. Enjoy a unique experience as we sail on the Thames through the heart of Wind in the Willows country.
Your Tour Includes
- Free secure parking at the ship’s embarkation point
- 2 visits included to Mapledurham and Goring-on-Thames
- 2 nights’ cruise on a full-board basis
Day 1 Mapledurham
Board the African Queen in the small village of Mapledurham near Reading at 5pm. We are introduced to the captain and crew and enjoy a welcome drink followed by Cape Malay, a traditional South African dish served this evening.
Day 2 Goring-on-Thames
After breakfast we set sail upstream through the heart of Wind in the Willows country to reach the pretty village of Goring-on-Thames. Enjoy some free time and lunch ashore. Later this afternoon we cruise to Mapledurham followed later by a three-course evening meal.
A delicious breakfast is served on board before disembarking at 11am.
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Thames cruise - African Queen
- United Kingdom (UK)
- Mapledurham - Things to Do
- African Queen
Wonderful company. Staff could'nt have been more helpful. Crew were VERY efficient. The sailing was... read more
Great experience on 100 year old barge. Brilliant crew, good food, lovely scenery, very relaxing... read more
We joined the African Queen on wed and we have thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. Andy and Bonnie welcomed us aboard. Nothing was too much trouble. Our luggage was collected from the car and taken to our cabin. The cabin was small but had everything we needed. The food was wonderful. The organised trips and entertainment were excellent. We had a great bunch of like-minded fellow guests that made the holiday even better. Manager, Galynne and Chef Renarta were superb. We to join you again before too long.
Went for weekend cruise, had a lovely time. The crew very welcoming other guests in board were excellent company. On the Saturday when we went up river the cruise was amazing extremely relaxing. Breakfast plentiful and nicely cooked. Watched a fun dvd onboard last night of hotel inspector featuring the African Queen. Andy the skipper a great story teller. It was a unique experience. Thank you Renate and Gaylen for making us so comfortable. Afternoon tea to help yourself to when back on board.
The Owners Captain Andy and his lovely wife and their Crew of two hardworking ladies Gaylynn and Renata made the 5 day trip very enjoyable! The food was delicious and the whole experience was Unique! The views on the River Thames are magnificent and you would not be able to see the beauty from any other transport!
Had a lovely, relaxing cruise with family and friends. Clean cabins, excellent and plentiful tasty food, varied daily. Choice of menus, BBQ night, quiz night that was fun. Gorgeous scenery, stopped off at interesting places, lovely pub meals included and a cinema trip. Staff on board were exceptional, really looked after us all well, if we needed help it was there straight away, nothing was trouble and served with a smile. Thank you all, I'll be back again soon.
Thank you so glad you enjoyed your cruise on the AQ we look forward to seeing you again
Fantastic cruise, lovely staff who can't do enough for you. Scenery beautiful, meals are very tasty and plentiful, lovely people on the boat, plenty of laughter, thougherly good time. Well worth joining the boat for a holiday you won't be disappointed.
Thank you, so pleased you enjoyed your holiday.
Unfortunately our new years eves night away didnt get off to a good start, we were 25 minutes early which obviously the captain did not appreciate because when he came to open the gates he swear and called us an unpleasant name, when I went on board to apologise for being early and that we would sit in our cars until the given time of five o clock he told me i had to wait to be invited aboard and went off into the kitchen ranting while one of the crew came out to show us our rooms, all thou small quite adequate for one night. We were served mulled wine and mince pies by which time the captain had calmed down and came to sit with us to give us abit of history of the boat. We were servced our dinner which i had emailed ahead of time to ask about the menu,and to say that half of our 13 people didnt like spicy food and that i could not eat lamb ,understandably we did not expect them to change the menu for us( but may be not to put so many spices in) that fall on deaf ears as was my lamb intolerance, everything severed up on the same platter ,so my starter and main meal consisted of spinach leaves and tomato (every ones side salad) as there was no alternative offered. The bar was open for as long as we wanted and the rest of the evening was fun as we are all friends we made our own entertainment. We were served a glass of bubbly at 12 as we watched the count down on tv and saw in the new year.The following morning we were supposed to have a little cruise down the thames after breakfast,but as there was water in the thames we could not do that either so our little new years break was a tad disappointing.
We are sorry to hear that your new years eve break was a tad disappointing. Referring to my phone call a few days before you were due to board the African Queen I specifically asked you not to arrive before 5pm. I explained that the boat would not be ready as we had to turn it around after the Christmas cruise. I recommended the Packhorse Pub as a meeting point for your party which is 10 minutes from the boat. If you had taken note of my request your new years eve break check in would have been perfect. Regarding our menu which I explained to you on the same call is not spicy but rather flavoured, at the same time you told me you didn't eat lamb. The mixed platter which we served had lamb kebabs in the centre of the platter with bobotie (beef) on one side and tangy chicken on the other. Each recipe is prepared separately. We added an extra portion of chicken for you to substitute your portion of lamb. You refused to eat any of the main course. During the evening we had complements from some of your party about the food we had served. It was unfortunate that we were not able to cruise but as my husband explained due to the heavy rain that had caused floods all round the country, the red boards were up which means the river is dangerous and we couldn't have guaranteed your safety or ours for that matter. Please refer to our terms & conditions which specifies that all cruises are subject to weather conditions.
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Thames Cruise aboard the African Queen
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You're here: Home / Articles / African Queen
- 24th May 2019
The African Queen rested in her mooring strikingly reminiscent of the boat in a famous movie starring Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. But there the comparison ended. This Queen was beautifully fitted out, offering charming cabins, an attractive bar, dining room and lounge and a deck lounge from which to enjoy the ship’s progress on this part of the great River Thames.
Horse chestnut trees in their best spring dresses held their conical flowers aloft like candles which is the name for them among those in the know. Copper beeches the colour of rubies, hawthorn breaking into May blossom, fields and hedges assuming their summer green all paraded before me needlessly saying “love us” because I already did.
Soon the ship’s ropes were hauled aboard, the engine fired up and, in extra-slow motion, she began her swim. It was a wonderful feeling sitting on the outer deck in the late afternoon. Red kites, of which there are many now in this area, soared above with crows and the occasional gull.
On the river, ducks shepherded their yellow feather-ball chicks, Canada geese fought for territory and swans glided in serene majesty. People on the towpath waved to us and we waved back. “Hi, there.” they seemed to say and, most likely, “Lucky you!” to we on board.
Passage was deliberately slow – the ship wouldn’t have won a tortoise race, all of which helped the mind to slow down, one’s whole being going down a gear into a restful state.
Occasionally there was rain or a stiff wind making the Union Jacks garlanding the ship wave in a jolly manner. But it didn’t matter because any sight of England, come snow, hail, rain or sunshine, from her mountains to her valleys, from the pocket sized fields neatly bounded by hedges, to country cottages and glittering lakes, make the heart lift.
After a quick freshen up I went topside to meet the other guests. They were, from my point of view, absolutely the right sort of people: intelligent. In fact, intelligent enough to have chosen this sort of holiday, one couple having their second voyage on African Queen.
Over drinks we introduced ourselves, gave basic backgrounds and in no time conversation got well under way.
The ship’s lovely little lounge was an ideal gathering place where passengers could get drinks from the bar and natter. And natter we did: “Where are you from?” “What do you do?” (mostly retired) and “What do you think about …” which would set us all off on serious discussions in which we put right the problems of the world.
This was a river cruise, not a 2,000 passenger liner. There were no cinemas, theatres, or organised entertainment but, hell, such things are happily dispensed with when peace and calm with good food and interesting fellow passengers are all that anyone can ask for. Though, at one port of call we all went ashore for an included dinner and a play at a delightful, recently-built venue. For once the architect hadn’t gone for modern, hideous, austerity but rather had utilised much in the way of interior timber to give an olde-worlde look, providing superb food and a thoroughly entertaining play. A very good evening, in fact.
A little window high above my bed was fascinating. At night I got up now and then, opened it and looked out at the calm waters reflecting moonlight. Occasionally there was a squeak or rustle from some creature still awake, but mostly what I saw was deep night-time calm. I didn’t sleep well because my various aches chose to come to the fore, painkillers seeming useless. But with the ease of this type of holiday, loss of sleep doesn’t matter as you can potter down to your cabin for a nap at any time.
Ducks bustled about and geese and other wildlife here, unharmed by man, performed their daily lives before us. Wildlife goes on. Humankind increasingly takes over all available land in the world but where fauna is left untouched, the way things were is still the way things are.
As a bonus for me in particular the owners, Andy and Bonny, were both South African and two of the passengers had also been there, while I had spent some time on that continent with my mother and sister, covering what was then Rhodesia and South Africa. It was wonderful to remember that country in the company of these people and to reminisce.
We were treated to superb cuisine created from scratch in the ship’s galley and I suspect we all gained a few pounds. Well, that’ll be part of the memory!
Our cruise entailed the ship going first downstream and then upstream visiting charming towns along the way. We departed from Mapledurham where preparations for a country fair with big marquees were in evidence. The town itself turned out to be a hamlet, with a beautiful Elizabethan manor house and a water mill. There were no shops and no pubs, though the latter were reachable a short distance away, and the place had an air of total tranquillity.
On a short tour we were taken to the church. I am a non-believer, but I always feel a certain “presence” in a place of worship. Empty buildings are empty buildings but they don’t have the aura of a church. What is it? I don’t know, but it affects me. I sat on a pew and offered up a prayer to my sister.
The people you meet on holiday are often, just coincidentally, in possession of information that you happen to need or are fascinated by. Michael told me what to do with a spare ten grand. “Buy whiskey” as the value only goes up. “Better than gold?” I enquired. “Oh, infinitely.” So that’s sorted, then.
How could I get my writings sold to the public? “Do what I do” said one, “Try Amazon or Kindle.” Right, will do.
Then there is the miscellany that you find out. On the London Eye a man had told me his company had just completed a tunnel under the very stretch of the Thames we were looking at. Mid-Atlantic, a geologist told me how drilling rigs looking for oil often hit vast empty caverns under the seabed, and so on, and on, the experiences of people being imparted to you just because they have retired, are holidaying abroad and you have bumped into them.
In sum, I realise I am old, losing shape and ease of mobility but hopefully not my marbles and I have time to spare for holidays.
So, retirement puts you on a different plane – you’ve done time in your particular salt mine, you have paid your taxes and led a law-abiding life. You can now relax, stand on the outer deck of this ship and watch cars, nose to tail on a bridge, slowly taking people to work – poor things.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends GN Holidays & Voyages – The African Queen Thames Cruises .
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