Tales from the riverbank: The 5 most glamorous boats on the Thames

The view from the River Thames northeast to Cliveden, former home of the Astor family

Chris Lofty / Alamy Stock Photo

On a hot, sunny August afternoon, there’s something perversely exciting about stepping out of West London. The M4 is like a yellow brick road away from everyday life that still evokes a holiday vibe – whether it’s the joy of an alfresco lunch of risotto with clams and courgette flowers at the River Cafe before taking the motorway, or the anticipation of the jet departing from Heathrow.

But this year, the simplicity and ease of a staycation is reminiscent of: no queues, canceled flights, or other headaches that come with being understaffed… The idea of ​​heading slightly beyond ‘Heathrow to, say, Cliveden, is very attractive. It’s a place where I would be much more inclined to relax, to soak up the bucolic scenery by the river.

And the Thames is having a time, abuzz with new openings from Henley to Windsor, not to mention a thriving (and divinely rich) food scene: fried plaice with caviar-tartare sauce and lobster thermidor are menu staples. ads here. .

For even more high-octane glamour, what could be more alluring than sneaking into the warm 5 p.m. light for a cruise in the Belmont, the launch of wooden slippers from Cliveden in 1934? It’s the most majestic way to explore the backwaters of the Thames, drinking fresh Laurent Perrier with a basket of perfectly cut sandwiches and scones.

Sailing past the architectural marvels of Cookham Dean, from mock Tudor cottages to cricket pavilions, feels like stepping into Jerome K Jerome’s Three men in a boat or Kenneth Grahame The wind in the willows. Experiencing an environment like this, languid and soporific, is hard to beat.

Read on for the five most fabulous ships to book a trip on this summer.

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