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The Blue Barge, Magpies and Butterflies on the River Thames

The Blue Barge

Cruises on The River Thames

The Blue Barge is a ‘quirky cottage on the water’ that can be rented for skippered river trips and getaways.

The Dutch barge (named Magpies and Butterflies) has been lovingly restored to a high standard and perfect for a special day or holiday.

Situated in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, you can expect to enjoy the beauty that the River Thames has to offer with skippered cruises and moored stays. Catering can be provided by local caterers if you require – with picnics, afternoon teas, grazing boards and more.

Inside the Blue Barge, on the River Thames

Boat Hire and Cruises for Special Occasions

If you have something to celebrate then do let them know. Everything can be organised, down to champagne and a birthday cake.

River trips can be booked as a half day or a full day, and you can explore anywhere you wish, such as Marlow, Boulter’s Lock or Henley-On-Thames. Suitable for up to six people.


Boat Holidays on The River

If a day out on the Thames isn’t enough, then you can book a skippered holiday or a moored stay.

Suitable for up to four people a moored stay is for two nights and a two-hour skippered trip is included.

A skippered holiday is for a minimum of three nights.

For this, you will have a skipper available for you from 10am to 6pm who can take you along the river each day for as long as you wish.


Round window looking our from the blue barge

You’ll be able to stop off to visit the local restaurants, beauty spots and shops in a different location each day.

You can also ask your skipper to collect groceries on your behalf, to allow you more time to relax.


What to Expect

The Blue Barge sleeps four people with twin beds and a double. Holidays and trips can be
enjoyed all year round, with a cosy log burner for the colder months as well as central heating.

There is WiFi, Ipad Pros in each cabin bedroom (for Sky, Netfix, Amazon Prime and catchup).

Plus, a gas hob, Nespresso machine, fridge and freezer, shower and a flushing toilet.

About Kate and The Blue Barge


Your barge holiday day trips look great. Do you have many local people as well as those from afar book with you?

We do! We offer skippered river trips and also stays onboard the boat. Many local people come for skippered trips as it’s a lovely way to spend a few hours, relaxing on the river with friends and family. We also offer staycations onboard and this includes a two hour skippered river trip during the stay on the boat. Longer river trips can of course be arranged too.

Staycations are great as it’s a very unique experience staying on the barge. Being on the water is really relaxing and good for the soul. Those coming for a 2 night (or longer) break is something that is very popular and people come from afar to do this. The minimum stay is 2 nights. We are moored on a pretty riverside mooring at Bourne End marina.

As you are able to stay in your bubble on the boat, are river holidays becoming more popular?

Yes – the boat is a great place to come as a family and you really are in your own bubble on the water. We have a double bed in the front cabin and twin beds in the aft, so perfect for up to 4 people or a couple with two children. River holidays were very popular in the 70’s and 80’s. In recent years, I feel river holidays are becoming much more popular again.

Our aim is to create a stress free, unique and relaxing experience for people to come and enjoy the boat, the river and the wildlife. We will happily arrange a picnic, grazing board or even a full dinner onboard. You see the world from a difference perspective on the river, which is why we like to include a skippered trip during a staycation onboard for guests to enjoy.

Do you recommend places to visit and eat for guests?

Definitely! We are so lucky to have some amazing pubs and restaurants close by. There are several within walking distance of the boat and many amazing eateries in Bray which is only 10 mins away by car.  We always recommend places to eat and can arrange for catering options onboard too which is very popular. We can arrange picnics, grazing boards or even a full dinner. There are lots of towns and villages close by for people to visit. Henley, Marlow, Bray, Windsor are all close to us.

The gorgeous Cliveden House Hotel is really close and a super place to visit for afternoon tea and a walk around the grounds.  For those wanting a whole day skippered trip during their stay to Bray or Henley to go for lunch and back again, this is a lovely thing to do and can certainly be arranged.

Are your holidays suitable for children?

Yes, children are very welcome. Children must be supervised when onboard and when walking around the boat. We give full safety instructions on arrival. There are always two life rings onboard the deck.

Do you give an option to hire the barge without a skipper?

Guests are very welcome to stay aboard for a 2 night stay or longer as a moored stay. However, the barge is not to be driven by guests and we only offer skippered river trips or holidays, the barge is not for self-drive.