Discover the History of Wessex
A 5-day holiday cruise on the River Severn in a 4-star hotel boat. Magnificent heritage at stops in Tewkesbury, Upton and Worcester. Glorious views.
An interesting and relaxing cruise holiday on the River Severn with stunning views and destinations steeped in history. Cruise from Gloucester’s Historic Docks up the River Severn to the old picturesque town of Upton-upon-Severn. Sail on to Worcester for an inclusive guided tour of its huge Cathedral. Return to visit the medieval town of Tewkesbury and an inclusive guided tour of its Norman Abbey. Capture glorious views of the Cotswolds countryside and Malvern Hills. The 4- star hotel boat Edward Elgar offers modern comforts, en-suite cabins, warm hospitality and delicious English cooking in a complete package.We now also include house wine and soft drinks during evening meal service
Summary and Destinations
- Worcester & Cathedral tour
- Upton upon Severn
- Tewkesbury & Abbey Tour
See the Destinations page to find out more on destinations of this cruise
Pickup and Dropoff : The cruise starts and finishes in Gloucester’s Historic Docks. Gloucester is easy to reach by car, train or coach from anywhere in the UK. Parking close to the boat is available by prior arrangement. The National Express bus station and Railway station are less than one mile away.
Availability : Available on selected dates from late April to early October.
Duration : Board at 6pm on Monday and stay through four nights on board until disembarkation at 11am on Friday.
From £535 per person
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The 4 Star Hotel Boat, MV Edward Elgar
Find out more about our boat on its dedicated page…
The cabins are all cosy outside twins with en-suite facilities, a window and climate control. There is a light at every bed, hanging space, shelves, drawers and ample space to store luggage under your bed. Soaps, towels, extra blankets and a hair-dryer are all provided.
The meals are prepared freshly onboard by our live-in chef. You will enjoy a variety of English cooking and we can cater for special diets with advance warning. Free tea/coffee is available throughout the day and a wide variety of drinks may be purchase from the bar. We now include house wine and soft drinks during evening meal service.
The crew make passenger safety, attentive service and warm hospitality their highest priorities from the moment they bring your baggage aboard. Whenever you need anything, just ask for their help!
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18.00: Passengers board. Settle into cabins. Welcome drink.
19.00: Dinner served in main saloon.
20.15: Captain’s Introduction and Safety briefing
20.45: Table Quiz – bar open until 11pm
08.00: Set sail through Gloucester lock
11.00: Deck Quoits
13.00: Arrive at Upton-upon-Severn
14.00: Explore Upton and visit local sights
18.00: Captain’s Cocktail
18.30: Dinner, followed by tea/coffee
09.00: Set sail for Worcester
11.00: Deck Quoits
12.00: Arrive Worcester
14.30 Guided tour of Worcester Cathedral
08.30: Depart from Worcester
11.00: Deck Quoits
12.00: Arrive Tewkesbury
14.00: Guided Tour of Tewkesbury Abbey, explore the town
18.30: Dinner, followed by live entertainment
07.45: Depart Tewkesbury
11.30: Arrive Gloucester and Disembark.
All meals will be at the following times except where stated otherwise above: Breakfast 08:30, Lunch 12:30 Dinner 18:30
The Bar is open from 11:00 to 23:00 hours
Why not upgrade your cruise with one of our options? Many cruise passengers prefer to drive over to Gloucester on the day before they join a cruise with us. This allows you to take a more relaxing journey from home without worrying about being late for boarding. It also gives you a chance to explore the many attractions in Gloucester itself. We have therefore created some new holiday options which add an extra day, a lot of convenience and a touch of luxury to your holiday, whilst also saving you money compared with organising everything yourself. See the Dates and Prices Page for Details.
The River Heritage Cruise Holiday Cruise includes accommodation in twin outside cabins with en-suite facilities, all meals whilst on board, guided tours as described, live entertainment on at least one night, free tea & coffee, a welcome drink and a cocktail.
Drinks from the bar (apart from house wine and soft drinks during the evening meal) and car parking are at extra cost.
Other Essential Info
Any special dietary requirements must be advised before the cruise, including vegetarian, diabetics and celiac.
Passengers with reduced mobility are advised to contact us in advance or seek guidance from our Knowledgebase
It is strongly recommended that passengers take out appropriate comprehensive accident & cancellation insurance.
The cruise programme may be altered by the Captain to suit the river conditions or weather or in the event of a mechanical breakdown.
Also see full terms and conditions
No children under 12 or pets are permitted aboard the vessel.
No smoking is permitted in any inboard areas.
Drinks and food brought on board may not be consumed in any public areas.
It is strongly recommended that passengers take out appropriate comprehensive accident & cancellation insurance
Passengers with limited mobility, special dietary requirements, special medication needs or poor health should contact English Holiday Cruises or look through the guidance on our Knowledgebase
before making a booking.
The company cannot take responsibility for the consequences of not being informed about the special requirements of any guest and they cannot accept passengers who may be especially frail, incontinent or acutely unwell.
All cars are parked at owner’s risk.
Full terms and conditions are available during the booking process.
Gloucester itself is home to a magnificent Cathedral, an array of significant architecture and museums, the Quays Designer Outlet centre and the Historic Docks, including a traditional Dry Dock which still repairs Tall Ships of all kinds. Park alongside the Edward Elgar on Monday from 5pm and the crew will take your bags on board and guide you to secure car-park nearby. Then board at 6pm to settle into your cabin before enjoying your welcome drink in the bar. We serve a delicious 4-course dinner at 7pm in the main saloon. After dinner, you may like to join in a table quiz – a good opportunity to meet other passengers before retiring to your cosy cabin.
On Tuesday morning the Edward Elgar sets off through the 200-year old Gloucester Lock to sail up the River Severn. This river is the longest in mainland Britain at 217 miles, rising in mid-Wales and winding its way through the West of England down to its estuary below Gloucester. The navigable length between Stourport and Gloucester is deep, wide and peppered with high bridges and big locks, which all allow for much bigger craft than other rivers in England can accommodate along the same distance.
Soon, we pass by Ashleworth to catch a glimpse of the Boat Inn, village church and 15th century Tithe barn. There are several more pretty riverside inns on this journey, all built – and busy – in the days when Severn freight barges or ‘Trows’ carried the raw materials required to sustain the industrial revolution emerging upriver in the West Midlands.
Further on we enter the massive lock of Upper Lode, which has the unusual feature of side-basins built to accommodate convoys of dumb barges towed along by the steam-driven tugs which appeared in the 19th century. Beyond the lock, sail under Mythe Bridge, designed by the inspired engineer Thomas Telford in 1823.
After sitting down to enjoy lunch aboard, our vessel moors up at the quaint old town of Upton-upon-Severn. The Captain will explain the nearby points of interest to visit, including the ‘Pepperpot’ church tower Heritage Centre and the Tudor House Museum. In the evening, the Captain serves up a free cocktail before we sit down to enjoy a delicious 4-course dinner.
On Wednesday the cruise continues North through some beautiful countryside with views of the Cotswolds escarpment to the East and the Malvern Hills to the West. There’s a good chance of seeing some local wildlife, including Kingfisher, Herons, Buzzards and possibly Otter.
Approaching Worcester, we cruise gently into another huge lock at Diglis. As the lock fills, watch over the lock gates from your seat on the top deck for the emerging view of Worcester Cathedral. The boat moors up alongside the Cathedral and after lunch you can join the inclusive guided tour of Worcester Cathedral, resting place for the other – more famous – Edward Elgar, King John and other significant historical figures. There are many more sights of interest nearby, including the civil war Commandery and the Royal Worcester Porcelain Museum and you might like to walk into the extensive main shopping centre. The Captain will explain how to find all of the interesting sights.
On Thursday morning we head back south, through Diglis lock again and past the site of the Civil war Battle of Worcester, where Oliver Cromwell’s republican forces were finally victorious over the mainly mercenary army of King Charles II in 1651. Just before lunch, our vessel moors up next to Tewkesbury Ham, the site of another battle, this time during the War of the Roses, where the Yorkist King Edward IV defeated Richard’s Lancastrian forces in 1471.
After lunch, you may like to take a leisurely walk into the medieval town of Tewkesbury to join our inclusive guided tour of its 12th Century Abbey, which has the biggest Norman Tower in the Country. Opposite the Abbey there is the wonderful Abbey Tea Rooms, a typical English tea shop which boasts some of the finest cakes in Gloucestershire! In the evening, sit down for our final dinner together with a superb meal and some memorable live entertainment.
On Friday morning cruise back to Gloucester. After breakfast, there is plenty of time to take in the views and enjoy a thrilling ride up through Gloucester Lock from the river to the main docks. You disembark around 1130 am with fond memories of one of England’s greatest heritage holidays.
The Edward Elgar is a substantial Riverboat Hotel which offers comfortable cabin accommodation, delicious English cooking and warm hospitality from the crew. The atmosphere is friendly, there is a well-stocked bar, complimentary tea and coffee, optional games and some live entertainment. The restaurant and top deck offer commanding views over the countryside and all inboard areas are climate-controlled. Enjoy England have awarded the vessel a 4-star Hotel Boat rating for the past 3 years
The River Heritage Cruise is available from late April through to the end of September each year. Check the company’s schedules for the latest dates and rates. The cruise includes accommodation in twin-bedded cabins, all meals, the guided tours described, live entertainment, free flow tea/coffee, a welcome drink and a Cocktail, stunning views – and great memories. This is an interesting and relaxing short break packed full of heritage, wildlife and glorious views, all laid on in a fully-inclusive package.
River Severn Heritage Cruise Dates & Prices
Double Occupancy from £535 per person
Single Occupancy from £750 per person.