Oxford by Boat

Oxford nestles between two rivers – the Cherwell and the Isis (the local name for the Thames), famed for providing the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland stories and the place where Oxford’s tradition of rowing began. After your walking tour of the city why not take a relaxing boat trip on one of Oxford’s rivers?

Boat trip to Sandford or Abingdon (half-day)


Take a Salter’s Steamer from Folly Bridge to Sandford (40 minutes each way) or Abingdon (two hours each way) and see Oxford from the river.

You will pass Christchurch Meadows and the College Boathouses where, during University term-time, you may see the eights and scullers practising their rowing.

You will see some of the beautiful English countryside which inspired Lewis Carroll to write stories about Wonderland for a little girl called Alice and her sisters. You will also pass through some of the beautifully maintained locks that enable pleasure craft, punts and Steamers to navigate the River Thames from Lechlade to London.

Cruises depart at various times during the day, morning and afternoon, between May and September, and may be taken one-way or return. Please visit the Salter’s Steamers Website for further information, or telephone: 01865 243421

Short Pleasure Cruises on the River Thames


For those customers who would prefer a short pleasure cruise rather than using the scheduled services, Salters now offers a variety of day trips and cruises, including:

River Experience
A forty-minute round trip taking in some of Oxford’s finest riverside scenery, including Christ Church Meadows, The University Boat Houses and Regatta Course and the picturesque Iffley lock.

Lunchtime Picnic Cruise
A 2.5 hour round trip, including all the sights of the River Experience and taking in views of Iffley Lock and Port Meadow. This cruise includes a gourmet picnic lunch. Departs from Folly Bridge.

Alice in Wonderland Cruise
A 2.5 hour round trip, including all the sights of the River Experience and taking in views of Iffley Lock, Osney Lock and Port Meadow. All the riverside places Alice used to go! Departs from Folly Bridge.

To learn more about prices and timing for these crusies, please visit the Salter’s Steamers Website, where you will find further information as well as details on how to book.

Punting on the River Cherwell and from Folly Bridge


Try your hand at this curious form of boating which is particular to Oxford and Cambridge by hiring a punt and taking a trip along the River Cherwell or the Oxford reaches of the Thames. You will pass the University Parks and the gardens of several of the Colleges. You can take a picnic and stop to eat on the banks of the river or you can hire the punt for a whole day and punt down to a typical English Pub – the Victoria Arms – for lunch. Bottles of champagne and towels are advisable! Punt hire is usually per hour, with space for up to five people (including one punting!).

Magdalen Bridge Boathouse

£25 per hour Monday to Friday

£30 per hour weekends and bank holidays.

Chauffered punts: £35 per 30 minutes Mon – Fri and £40 per 30 minutes weekends and bank holidays.

To book, please email Magdalen Bridge Boathouse.

Cherwell Boathouse
£20 per hour and £100 per full day
Please call 01865 515978 or email the Cherwell Boathouse.

Chauffeured Punts from Magdalen Bridge Boathouse


An option for the slightly more cautious: Hire a punt which is chauffeured by an expert puntsman – just sit back, relax and enjoy the landscape. Don’t forget to bring some refreshments. The standard price for a chauffeured punt from Magdalen Bridge Boathouse is from £32 per half-hour for up to four passengers. To reserve a chauffeured punt, please email Magdalen Bridge Boathouse.

Punting and Lunch or Dinner at the Cherwell Boathouse


A very pleasant way to spend a leisurely lunch or a romantic evening. Hire a punt from the Cherwell Boathouse (5 minutes from City Centre) and spend one hour punting before having lunch or dinner at the delightful and extremely popular Cherwell Boathouse restaurant overlooking the river.

The Cherwell Boathouse can also supply picnic lunches for those hiring punts, with prices starting from just £9.50 per person, and Afternoon Teas are available, by appointment.
Restaurant reservations: Telephone: 01865-552746, or visit the Cherwell Boathouse website.

Please note: All details, including timings and prices, are subject to change, and are offered here merely as a guide and indication. Please check with the individual companies concerned if you wish to make a booking, or to determine exact times for availability and confirmed costs.

Cruises on the Oxford Canal also available – Please ask!

What Our Guests Say

Highly recommended!
"It was such a lovely day out! Thank you Isobel for your wonderful and informative guide, and thank you David for the safe and comfortable ride. The Cotswolds is really difficult to travel with public transport, so joining the tour was the best way to enjoy the quaint villages and hidden gems in the area. Also, it is rather impossible to get a ticket for the immensely popular Highclere Castle on your own; I am so glad to have found a perfect tour that saved my day."
Arisa N.
Best tour and great people
"We had an excellent tour with the most knowledgeable and friendly driver and guide. I would seek them out again if we are ever back in the area! Thank you so much for being accommodating. You went beyond expectations! All seven of us commented on how much we enjoyed our day."
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