South East England
Boat Tours & River Cruises

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Our most recommended South East England Cruises & Boat Tours

Portsmouth: Hovercraft Flight to the Isle of Wight

1. Portsmouth: Hovercraft Flight to the Isle of Wight

Board your hovercraft for an adrenaline-filled day on the Isle of Wight. When the hovercraft reaches the island, you'll land in a prime sea front position along Ryde's beautiful and inviting beaches. Hop off and enjoy what Ryde and the Isle of Wight have to offer, including the beaches, boutique shops, bars and restaurants, and travel links to elsewhere across the island. After a day of fun on the island, enjoy a same-day return journey back to the Southsea terminal. The journey across the Solent is approximately 10 minutes. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight on the World's only commercial passenger hovercraft service.

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Oxford Experience Cruise

2. Oxford Experience Cruise

This 50-minute long river cruise takes you on a fascinating stretch of the Thames River, starting with the University Regatta Course and heading towards the quaint Iffley village. This section of the river – referred to by the locals as the Isis – is one of the liveliest, and paints an accurate picture of the bustling river life. As you make your way down the river, you'll see the ancient Folly Bridge, Christchurch College and Meadows, the university rowing houses, and Iffley Lock. The waterways next to you contain rowers, punt boats, and pleasure cruisers, and are equally interesting to watch. During the cruise, your captain will share some history of the river and gladly answer any questions. Your cruising vessel will be one from a fleet of many Edwardian-style river launches. These boats combine the elegant lines and teak interiors of the early 1900s with environmentally-friendly zero-emission technology of today.

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Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Dover, and Greenwich

3. Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Dover, and Greenwich

You’ll depart from London in the morning on a drive to Leeds Castle, the former royal residence of 6 of England's medieval queens. The palace was transformed by Henry VIII, and became a retreat for the rich and powerful. Begin with a private viewing prior to the castle opening to the public. Explore the chapel, galleries, courtyards, and the banqueting hall. Afterwards, you’ll see the grounds that are home to wildfowl, black swans, and birds in the aviary. Next on your full-day tour is a scenic drive along the old coastal road to the famous white cliffs of Dover. Admire the historic port and its magnificent 12th-century castle. On a clear day there are views of France across the English Channel. After your Dover visit, experience the ancient city of Canterbury, the center of Christian worship for almost 1,700 years. Tour its greatest treasure, the Canterbury Cathedral, probably best known as the site of the brutal murder of Thomas Becket in 1170. After touring the cathedral you’ll have free time to explore Canterbury. Take a walking tour through Greenwich, which boasts exquisite parks and gardens. See the famous Cutty Sark, the fastest sailing ship of its time. As evening approaches, you’ll enjoy an exclusive Thames River cruise. Cruise back to the center of London, sailing past historic sites, including the Tower of London, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament.

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London to Southampton Cruise Terminal via Stonehenge

4. London to Southampton Cruise Terminal via Stonehenge

Travel by executive coach from London to the Southampton cruise terminal via Stonehenge on this 6-hour excursion. One of the greatest mysteries of the prehistoric world, Stonehenge has been described as a temple, as a clock, and by some as a burial site. Enjoy a visit with an audio-guided tour around the world-famous stones. After 90 minutes at Stonehenge you’ll depart on the 1-hour drive to Southampton. When you arrive at the cruise terminal all you’ll need to do is identify your luggage to the porters and then check-in to begin your cruise. The tour price includes travel by executive coach, admission to Stonehenge, the services of a tour manager, and drop off at Southampton Cruise Terminal.

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Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Dover, and Greenwich

5. Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Dover, and Greenwich

Described as 'the loveliest castle in the world' by Lord Conway, Leeds Castle sits on 500 acres of landscaped parkland across two idyllic islands, deep in the heart of the magnificent Kent countryside. Early arrival and visit Leeds Castle, where Henry VIII retreated to escape the plague that was raging in London during his reign. Upon arrival at Leeds Castle you will be greeted by your guide. Discover the history behind this magical castle and sample a glass of mead as Henry VIII would have! Next up, embark on a visit to Canterbury Cathedral, the scene of Archbishop Thomas Becket’s gruesome murder in 1170. Learn the intriguing history behind this captivating masterpiece of medieval architecture. Marvel at the cathedral’s spectacular stained glass windows, many of which have survived from the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Then, tantalize your taste buds with a traditional two-course meal. Visit the gateway to England and admire the famous White Cliffs of Dover, with a photo stop on the stunning stretch of coastline that faces continental Europe. You'll also see Dover Castle, a commanding medieval fortress rising over the English Channel and a key film location in 'The Other Boleyn Girl'. Then, head to Greenwich to see the Old Royal Naval College, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, as well as the Royal Observatory and world–famous Cutty Sark, a fascinating 19th–century clipper ship. Get a fresh perspective on London’s attractions with a boat ride on the River Thames, from Greenwich to Embankment Pier. You'll pass Tower Bridge and stunning St. Paul’s Cathedral along the way.

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From Brighton: Isle of Wight Full-Day Trip via Portsmouth

6. From Brighton: Isle of Wight Full-Day Trip via Portsmouth

Meet in central Brighton and travel by bus to the nearby city of Portsmouth. Learn about Britain's naval history before traveling to the Isle of Wight via the Wightlink Ferry. Get a great photo of Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower and its historic dockyard as you depart. Arrive at Fishbourne shortly before noon. Take a scenic 20-minute drive to the charming village of Godshill. Upon arrival, discover its medieval church and see its 500-year-old thatched cottages, tea shops, and the Model Village. Explore the village with your guide and learn more about local history. Continue to Alum Bay, famous for its multi-colored sand cliffs and "the Needles". Choose between a chairlift ride or a walk down the steps to the picturesque beach. Enjoy the views of this scenic location, with plenty of fantastic photo opportunities. After some time here, travel back to Fishbourne for a 6:00 PM journey back to the mainland, followed by drop-off in Brighton.

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Oxford: Afternoon Tea Sightseeing River Cruise

7. Oxford: Afternoon Tea Sightseeing River Cruise

Traveling down the University Regatta course, the boat passes Christ Church Meadows, the University College Boat Houses, and other landmarks on your way to Iffley lock. This is often a busy and vibrant section of the river where training rowing crews, punts, and pleasure boats jostle for river space in a wonderful display of Oxford at play. Passing through the lock at Iffley is an experience in itself. The river scenery and fascinating buildings combine to form a picture perfect location. Beyond Iffley you will travel into the tranquil water meadows that surround Oxford and there are abundant opportunities to spot wildlife amongst the green banks and overhanging willows. The boat turns for home at Rose Island, a favourite destination of Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell on their river journeys. Aboard the boat an indulgent afternoon tea is provided by the renowned riverside restaurant, the Folly. The traditional menu typically includes: a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, a selection of cakes, tarts, or petit fours, and tea.

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3-day Isle of Wight & the Southern Coast Small-Group Tour

8. 3-day Isle of Wight & the Southern Coast Small-Group Tour

Day 1: Get your sunglasses and sun cream ready, you’re departing London and heading to the sunny, southern Isle of Wight. First, head to the ancient port-city of Portsmouth. This bustling spot blends modern marvels with centuries of sea-faring stories. You can grab a bite to eat here before your guide picks you up and takes you to the ferry at Gunwharf Terminal. It takes less than an hour and there’s plenty of onboard refreshments. Your first stop on the Isle of Wight is the important religious site of Quarr Abbey. The building here is beautiful and combines French, Byzantine, and Moorish designs. Then, you will get to meet some real local heroes. In the evening, you'll arrive at the unforgettably quaint village of Shanklin in time for an early dinner.  Day 2: Today, you’re going to discover the unmissable highlights of the Isle of Wight. After an enjoyable breakfast you will venture to the Yarborough Monument. This is the tallest monument on the island and celebrates the life of a wealthy earl from the 19th century. Continue to a photo-stop at the beautiful views of endless green fields at Brading Downs and then head to Osborne House - Queen Victoria's holiday destination! Explore the Italian-style building and discover pristine green gardens, ornate golden rooms, and historically fascinating artefacts. After witnessing that magnificent man-made marvel, it’s time to see the Isle of Wight’s most beautiful natural wonder, the Needles. These sharp white stacks that stick out of the ocean are beautiful to behold. You can hop on a boat to get close to them and venture to an old defensive battery that’s nearby. Your last stop today is at the cliffs of St. Catherine’s Down. As the sun starts to set, these epic cliffs and green valleys look stunning. You travel back to Shanklin in time for dinner. Day 3: In the morning, say goodbye to Shanklin and head on the ferry back to Portsmouth. Now that you’ve reacquainted yourself with the mainland, travel to one of England’s most history-soaked cities, Winchester. Visit the glorious cathedral, an ancient mill, cute cafes, and more than enough museums. After you’ve studied up on the history of England, it’s time to go have some fun. Visit the home of one of the world’s most popular gins, Bombay Sapphire. Once you’ve had enough of the tipple, it’s time to head back to London. Make a short stop at Runnymede before arriving in London in the evening.

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Oxford: Scenic Sightseeing Cruise with Gourmet Picnic

9. Oxford: Scenic Sightseeing Cruise with Gourmet Picnic

This cruise travels through the city past famous landmarks including Christchurch College and Meadows, the University boathouses and regatta course, the Head of the River and Folly Bridge . From the river passenegers take in a side of Oxford's heritage rarely seen by visitors to the city. Quaint Osney Island, well-loved allotments and gardens and majestic and ancient Port Meadow are off the tourist trail but represent some of Oxford's most beautiful and intriguing scenery. Port Meadow, a vast area of common land, has remained little changed since prehistoric times and supports plants and bird-life in abundance. At the top of Port Meadow is Godstow. Godstow was the ultimate destination of Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll when they followed an identical route to this trip while composing 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. It is also the site of Trout Island, an inspiration for another of Oxfords literary icons, C S Lewis, and his stories of the land of Narnia. Your picnic lunch is provided by riverside restaurant, The Folly, and typically includes: • An selection of finger sandwiches • Homemade quiche or tart of the day • Homemade scones with strawberry jam, clotted cream and fresh strawberries  • Elderflower presse Served in a traditional picnic basket with napkins, crockery and glasses (to be returned to the crew at the end of the cruise). Drinks to take aboard can be purchased at the departure point.

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Oxford: River Cruise plus 3-Course Dinner

10. Oxford: River Cruise plus 3-Course Dinner

Your Oxford evening begins when you board an elegant Edwardian gentleman’s riverboat for a cruise to take in the highlights of river life in Oxford. See Folly Bridge, Christchurch Meadows, the university boat houses, and part of the regatta course while sipping a complimentary glass of Prosecco. This is the perfect time to be on the river as the light takes on a magical quality. Disembark at The Folly restaurant, where your dinner will be served in charming surroundings either inside the restaurant or, weather permitting, on the floating river terrace. The Folly's evening a la carte menu offers relaxed fine dining. You’ll find a comprehensive wine list if you’d like to purchase wine to complement your meal.

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Other Sightseeing Options in South East England

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What people are saying about South East England

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 6,939 reviews

A really enjoyable and interesting way to see another aspect of Oxford. We thoroughly enjoyed chatting to our guide and hearing about different aspects of Oxford life.

Nick was brilliant we had a fab time, the picnic was gorgeous, we had the boat to ourselves which was a bonus. Great guide can’t recommend enough

Really enjoyable experience. Our guide was friendly, informative and full of entertaining stories. Lovely scenic cruise too.

Very enjoyable boat trip, very knowledgeable guide, lovely scenery.

It was very relaxing and enjoyable, and the scenery was beautiful