Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream – so goes the famous ditty. Okay, life isn’t always like a nursery rhyme. Yet on a romantic river cruise in the UK, it really can be a dream. The only question is, where to set sail first? Perhaps you could soak yourself in history along the river Cam? Or hum a Beatles duet together on the Mersey? Whatever floats your boat – ahem – here are some river experiences sure to get the romance erm, flowing.

1. Sing ‘Love Me Do’ on the Mersey 

Where better to feel those hearts beating in rhythm than on the river where the Beatles performed? On a 50-minute cruise along the Mersey, you’ll follow the route of the Fab Four. John, Paul, and co. performed four times on board the Royal Iris here in the early 60s. And with the iconic Liverpool waterfront before you, you’ll be harmonizing ‘Love Me Do’ together in no time!

2. Experience the elegance of a cruise through Oxford

It might not have the frantic speed of the University Regatta. Yet on this leisurely cruise along the River Thames, you’ll take the same course as the rowers. And reclining in an Edwardian-style river launch, you’ll travel downstream in style. Make sure to have the camera ready for a selfie when you pass the quaint village of Iffley.

3. See London in a different light on Regent’s Canal

Think of getting around London and red buses, taxis, and the tube naturally spring to mind. But idly floating down a canal on a longboat? Perhaps not. Yet gliding along on a waterbus down the Regent’s Canal, you’ll see the capital in a unique light. You’ll travel between picture-perfect Little Venice and Camden Town. Oh, keep an eye out for wildlife – you’ll pass the warthog enclosure at London Zoo!

4. Sip a ‘wee dram’ together on Loch Lomond

If atmosphere is what you’re after, you could do worse than a cruise on spectacular Loch Lomand. With 12th-century castles and the largest inland island in Britain to admire, it’s got it in buckets. That, and good old Scottish rain, of course. But with a covered deck, and a wee dram – whiskey – to keep you warm, who minds?

5. Soak in the history on the River Cam

The university alumni are like a who´s who of famous figures. After all, everyone from Charles Darwin to Stephen Hawking has graced Cambridge´s doors. Maybe that`s no surprise, given it is 800 years old. And punting gently along the River Cam, you´ll follow in their path. Sit back and relax on cushions and let your guide take you on a visual – and historical – journey. 

6. Absorb London´s highlights on the River Thames

With so much to see, exploring London can be an exhausting prospect. But why sweat it on foot when you can ´ooh´ and ´aah´ at the sights from a pleasure boat? After all, cruising down the Thames on the top deck is the best place to tick off those big hitters. From the Houses of Parliament to the Tower of London, you´ll marvel at panoramic views – and each other. 

7. Follow the river route of Romans and Vikings in York

Once upon a time the Romans and Vikings sailed along the River Ouse. Nowadays, the main travelers down its tranquil waters are rowers and tour boats! On a 1-hour cruise from the King´s Staith landing, you´ll be thrown deep into the history of this ancient city. And with a fully-stocked bar on board, you´ll do so in style!

8. Recline in a 60s river cruiser in Bath

Picture this: lying back in a 60s river cruiser, the sunroof beaming with sunshine. And even better, you’re gliding through one of the UK’s most beautiful – and ancient – cities, Bath. Up ahead, peregrine falcons are nesting on 19th-century St John’s Church. Your skipper is teaching you all about 17th century Bath Abbey. Sounds like a pleasant day out, right?

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