Cruising the River Thames with Jane McDonald

Last Autumn, we invited singer, television personality, actress and all-round lover of cruising, Jane McDonald and friends aboard luxury hotel barge, Magna Carta to discover the delights of England’s Royal River Thames for her new series of Cruising with Jane McDonald.

With Cruising with Jane McDonald airing in the UK on Sunday 23rd and Sunday 30th May 2021 on Channel 5, here’s a little insight into Magna Carta’s 6-night cruise through quintessential British countryside, visiting castles, palaces, chocolate-box villages and more PLUS some behind-the-scenes snaps from the show…

Cruising with Jane McDonald aboard Hotel Barge Magna Carta

About Hotel Barge, Magna Carta

Holding a maximum of 8 passengers and 5 crew, hotel barge Magna Carta offers the utmost in comfort featuring spacious en-suite cabins on the quiet Lower Deck. Head up to the Main Deck to find a large saloon and dining area with picture windows and furnishings to conjure images of an English manor house, alongside a well-stocked open bar filled with fine wines, top shelf spirits and plenty of soft drinks, coffee and tea (but of course!). The saloon’s piece de resistance has to be the larger-than-life mahogany dining table, featuring a fitting flash of Royal blue. Help yourself, or allow the attentive crew to anticipate your every need, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the view. On the Upper Deck, have a dip in the spa pool, enjoy a refreshing cocktail or afternoon tea or perhaps make use of the complimentary bicycle use and cycle alongside the barge on the sweeping towpath.

Follow in Jane McDonald's Footsteps

Jane McDonald and friends enjoyed many of the highlights found on hotel barge, Magna Carta’s 6-night Classic Cruise between Hampton Court in Greater London and Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, including:

Hampton Court Palace

Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace needs to introduction. Here, we tour Henry VIII’s apartments and the Royal Chapel, feel the chill in the haunted gallery and wonder in amazement at the Tudor kitchens. Outside, the gardens are breathtaking with The Great Vine, the oldest in the country still producing grapes and the famous maze.

A Walking Tour of Windsor

Our Classic Cruise takes guests on a tour around Windsor Castle. Built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and a royal home for over 900 years by the Royal Family, this is the largest inhabited castle in the world. We explore the State Apartments, see Queen Mary’s Dolls House, St George’s Chapel and enjoy the far-reaching views.

Windsor Castle round tower and moat garden
Windsor Castle Gardens

Visit to Cliveden

Cruise past the fabulous waterside houses of Bray and through the spectacular Cliveden Reach to our exclusive mooring on the Cliveden estate. Once home to the Astor family, it has amazing gardens and was, of course, the scene of much political scandal and intrigue.

Luxury hotel barge, Magna Carta - Cruising
Magna Carta cruising below Cliveden House

Tour of the Stanley Spencer Gallery

A visit to the Stanley Spencer Gallery takes you on a journey through life of the artist through his paintings, where he lived in the Thames-side village of Cookham. This tour also offers the opportunity to enjoy a walk around the village he once described as ‘Heaven on Earth.

Exploring Peter Freebody’s Boatyard

Peter Freebody’s Boatyard, in the peaceful village of Hurley, is a traditional wooden boat restorer – ideal for those interested in the history of hotel barges. Visitors can watch in wonder as traditional craftsmen build and restore beautiful vessels.

Peter Freebody's Boatyard, Cookham
Peter Freebody's Boatyard, Hurley

Behind the Scenes

It was a pleasure to host Jane McDonald and her crew on board with us to film the new series of Cruising with Jane McDonald.  From a very special Captain’s Farewell dinner perfectly fused with birthday celebrations, to down-time in the decktop spa pool – here’s a sneak peek at some behind the scenes snaps…

Jane McDonald aboard Magna Carta luxury hotel barge


A 6-night all-inclusive cruise aboard Magna Carta includes transfers to and from designated pick-up points in a private, air-conditioned minibus, gourmet meals – prepared by our talented onboard chefs whilst on board with hand-picked wines to complement each dish, dedicated hosts who will do their best to offer personalised service throughout your stay, a fully-stocked open bar, air-conditioned en-suite cabins, spacious communal areas, spa pool and complimentary bicycle hire and daily guided excursions led by our onboard tour guide, which are private and often exclusive to Magna Carta guests.

Book a cabin to travel with like-minded individuals or charter the whole barge for a private experience – the ideal ‘travel bubble’ experience for friends and family alike. For more information on 6-night all-inclusive cruises aboard Magna Carta, click here >

Order a free copy of our brochure, contact one of our cruise teams for help in planning your trip or sign up to our monthly newsletter to stay up-to-date with news from the towpath.

magna carta luxury barge cruise

Watch Cruising with Jane McDonald Featuring Magna Carta on the River Thames on My5

The latest and final series of Cruising with Jane McDonald will air on two consecutive Sundays at 9pm, starting 23rd May, 2021.

Missed an episode? Catch up on My5

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