Bisham Abbey Art Afloat - Art Cruises on the River Thames


Type:Boat Trip

National Sports Centre, Marlow Road, Bisham, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 1RT

Tel: +44 (0) 1628 474960



Imagine painting and sketching while cruising the beautiful River Thames on a vintage Dutch Barge. Roy May, an amateur watercolour artist, has made this a reality.

A typical art cruise will start from our moorings in the delightful grounds of Bisham Abbey near Marlow, Bucks and once we are all settled on-board we gently cruise along the River Thames through Bucks, Berks and Oxon towards Henley. A wide range of inspiring vistas, unseen unless you are on the river, unveil themselves as we gently meander through areas of outstanding natural beauty. Passing through the beautiful Hambleden Valley, taking in specific areas of interest like Medmenham Abbey, Temple Island, the Henley Regatta course and then returning to our home stretch with Bisham’s 13th Century Church and William Tierney-Clark’s famous suspension bridge at Marlow.

The pace of the day is relaxed, flexible and set by those on the cruise with the aim of promoting creativity. Refreshments and a light lunch are provided on board. Expert tuition with pencil and watercolour sketching is provided through-out the day with an emphasis on producing quick rough sketches during the morning, then developing on the mornings work during the afternoon. As the cruise is aimed at both beginners and experienced artists we are always open to requests to return to locations or pause for a while, to absorb the beauty of the scenery or focus on interesting buildings, wildlife, the hustle and bustle of the locks or the other craft on the River. With so many things to inspire you the day will just float by in no time!

You are welcome to bring your usual watercolour and sketching materials. Easels are not appropriate but sketching boards will be provided on-board if required. If you are a beginner and don't yet have any kit, don’t worry about it, we will provide the materials for your day.

Tea and coffee will be provided throughout the day. Lunch, which is also included, will typically be artisan bread, cold meats, cheese, olives, salad, a glass of wine, fruit juice or water. Our boat is fully equipped with all relevant safety equipment and is skippered by a fully qualified crew, invariably Roy himself, who cannot resist the opportunity for a few quick sketches during coffee break and lunch. You may wish to spend some time on the fore or aft deck of the boat so please dress accordingly for the weather, what we would ask is that you wear soft soled shoes.

Gift vouchers are available and groups with or without their own tutors are welcomed by arrangement. Do give us a ring to discuss your particular requirements, as our aim is to make your day as enjoyable and informative as possible.

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Map & Directions

Road Directions

For your Sat Nav: Please enter the post code: SL7 1RT

From the North: From M40 Jtn 4 head south on the A404 for 4.2 miles. At the roundabout, take the 4th exit onto Marlow Road. After 0.3miles turn left into the National Sport Centre and follow the onsite signage to Bisham Abbey Sailing School.

From the South: From M4 Jtn 8/9 head north on the A404 for 5.3 miles. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Marlow Road. After 0.3miles turn left into the National Sport Centre and follow the onsite signage to Bisham Abbey Sailing School.

Public Transport Directions

By Train

From Marylebone London: Chiltern Line trains depart regularly for London to High Wycombe with an average journey time of 40mins. There is a taxi rank at the station which will bring you to the National Sports Centre in around 20mins.

From Paddington London: National Rail runs services from London Paddington to Maidenhead with a average journey time of 40mins. There is a taxi rank at the station that will bring you to the National Sports Centre in around 15mins.

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