Day 5. Narrowboating to Oxford

It was just coming light as we drew back the bedroom curtains of our narrowboat which we’d moored the previous evening just below Eynsham Lock.  I prepared breakfast on board whilst the engine was being started and then we began to gather our belongings together as our narrowboat adventure was nearing its end.

Eynsham Lock, Thames
Our overnight moorings just below Eynsham Lock

We slipped out of our moorings at 8.40 a.m. and just had to wait a few minutes before entering the final lock of our holiday ten minutes later.  The sun had just broken through resulting in a bright, autumn morning.  Simon and I sat out on the foredeck for the final stretch back into the Anglo Welsh base at Eynsham where we safely returned the boat at 9.15 a.m.

Eynsham Lock, Oxfordshire
Operating our final lock of the holiday

David got off the boat first to bring the car down to the quayside for packing up whilst the rest of us checked all the cupboards, drawers and wardrobes to make sure we hadn’t left anything behind.

Cunningham narrowboat, Anglo Welsh, Eynsham
Saying farewell to the lovely Cunningham narrowboat

Although narrowboats have ample storage I recommend using holdalls rather than suitcases as they are easier to stow away.  We seemed to end up with quite a collection of bags but there had been room on board for everything.  After having a little chat with Jo and Dan at the boatyard about how we’d got on it was time to bid farewell to Cunningham and to get used to travelling by car once again.

Cunningham narrowboat, Anglo Welsh, Eynsham
Sad to leave this luxurious boat

As we still had most of the day ahead of us we decided to spend a few hours in neighbouring Oxford.  Although it had been lovely experiencing the slow life on a narrowboat, it obviously took us a much shorter time to drive into the city.  After leaving our cars at one of the out of town park and rides, we caught the shuttle bus into the centre for a wander around.

Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford
Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

We then popped into one of Oxford’s pubs for a bite to eat and a cup of coffee before strolling along car free Broad Street which is lined with numerous listed buildings, colleges, interesting small shops and cafes.  Our walk took us past Balliol and Trinity Colleges, the Weston Library and the Museum of the History of Science.

Beautiful buildings line Oxford's streets
Beautiful buildings line Oxford’s streets

We’d chosen a good day to visit as by chance it was one of Oxford University’s graduation days and the streets were filled with graduates wearing their gowns, some of them filing in to the Sheldonian Theatre to attend their degree ceremony.

Punting at Magdalen Bridge, Oxford
Viewing the punting from Magdalen Bridge

Our walk continued onto Magdalen Bridge where we spotted graduates punting on the river in their gowns.  Punting is a popular pastime in the city and apparently it’s an Oxford tradition to go punting on graduation day.  We didn’t see anyone fall into the river but with bottles of champagne being quaffed there were a few collisions.

Christ Church Meadows, Oxford
Christ Church Meadows

We then followed the path down to the river for a stroll through Christ Church meadows.  The tree lined avenue running through this wide, green space is formed of a mix of lime and poplar trees and they were looking beautiful with their autumnal tints.  Both the Thames and the Cherwell run along either side of the meadows and it was an interesting place to walk as we had just been along this stretch on our narrowboat.

Christ Church College, Oxford
Christ Church College

The path led us to the magnificent Christ Church College building which dates from the 1860’s.  This is where Lewis Carroll taught in the mid-19th century and was where he was inspired to write both his famous novels, Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass.  Christ Church is a unique dual institution with its Cathedral and college both making up part of the University of Oxford.

Cunningham narrowboat, Drifters' Waterways Holidays
Cunningham narrowboat based at Eynsham, Oxford

This concluded our visit to Oxford bringing to an end our narrowboating holiday.  All four of us agreed that it had been one of the best family holidays ever.  We’d embraced the relaxing slow life of the waterways but kept active on board steering the boat and working the locks.  We’d adored every minute of our narrowboat adventure so much that we can’t wait to do it all again.

We were invited on a press trip provided by Drifters’ Waterways Holidays member Anglo Welsh and as always all views and opinions are entirely my own.


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70 thoughts on “Day 5. Narrowboating to Oxford

  1. Pingback: Day 5. Narrowboating to Oxford – Blind eye

  2. I have enjoyed accompanying you, and your family, on your narrowboat journey. I think you have an idea of how much I love canals! I love the photo of you, on Day 3, with a glass of white wine to hand! I’m trying to remember if I’ve seen a narrowboat on the C du M. I have seen lots of barges. I’ll have to have a closer look when we get back. You have shown us some wonderful waterside properties and the pubs all look very inviting. I’m even more convinced now that we need to try a narrowboat adventure, ourselves!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your interest in our narrowboat holiday June. It was so much fun with the right level of activity to keep us entertained. I’d like to take a boat trip on the Canal du Midi sometime after enjoying watching Rick Stein and his Westie many years ago!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just caught the end of your boating adventure, Marion. It’s something I always fancied so I’ll have a look backover. Was your weather consistently good? I imagine that would make a huge difference to the experience. And a happy new year to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our narrowboat trip took place in mid October and we were extremely fortunate with the weather which was a bonus as we could be out on deck most of the time. I’d definitely do it again as it was both a relaxing and fun activity.


  4. jasonlikestotravel

    Sounds like you all had a wonderful narrowboating adventure. I’m glad you were able to end the trip with a little time in Oxford too – I’ve yet to visit myself but hopefully I’ll put that right soon!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve enjoyed reading about your narrow boating adventures, Marion, and all the wonderful places you got to visit along the way. Oxford is delightful, so much history and charm, a perfect ending to your holiday. Hope you are having a lovely time at the beginning of 2023.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words and continued interest in our narrowboat holiday on the Thames. Spending a few hours in Oxford at the end of the trip was a lively too but we did miss the narrowboat a lot! Miserable, damp January weather but looking forward to brighter days ahead here.! Does Tbilisi get much snow?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The weather here has been largely unchangeable these past weeks. Crisp (around 2 degrees) and sunny with blue skies. We’ve got a few more days of that before it gets colder and a bit of snow on the way I think ❄️ Hope you’re staying warm!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I don’t mind cold, crisp days it’s the damp I can’t stand. Enjoyed a nice family meal our last night for my birthday. I’m delaying my birthday cake for a couple of weeks as I’m got my heart set on a Finnish one. The rest of the family have summer birthdays, often spent in Finland and we always buy a marzipan, sponge and cream cake popular there. So as I’m going in winter I want one too this year! Will try and remember to send you a photo.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words and support of my blog during 2022, it means a lot! I do hope you get an opportunity to take a narrowboat holiday during the summer months as it’s so much fun whilst being relaxing at the same time.


  6. Narrowboating to Oxford sounds delightful! I only had a brief stint in Oxford over seven years ago, and it wasn’t nearly enough time to see and do everything in town. Looks like narrowboating gives you the freedom to come and go as you please. Looks like you had a lot of fun!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Seems like a perfect ending to tour such a beautiful city after such a beautiful experience down the river. I am looking forward with high anticipation on all the places you’ll share with us this coming year as your posts are always a favorite for me. Happy 2023 Marion 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m sure it was a lovely experience – and doing it together as a family must have been really great. Ending this trip with a stroll through beautiful Oxford was probably an added bonus (and on graduation day). Thanks for introducing me to Narrowboating Marion, I really enjoyed your posts (your photos were stunning and just highlighted how peaceful such a holiday can be)!

    Liked by 2 people

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