Sunvil’s Edwardian riverboat joins the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant
On Sunday, 3rd June, Sunvil Holidays’ 98-year-old riverboat, the Genevieve, will join a thousand other vessels, including the Royal Barge, for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant – why not celebrate a special occasion on board this vintage motor launch with a group of friends?
A small part of one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the Thames, the 40-foot vintage motor launch Genevieve will make the historic journey from Battersea to Tower Bridge in celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s 60-year reign. The thousand-strong procession will include riverboats of all shapes and sizes, including rowboats, sailboats, steam vessels and wooden launches, and will be enhanced by music barges and a floating belfry which will signal to riverside churches to chime their bells as the pageant meanders along the Thames.
Built in 1914 out of the finest African mahogany and with an interior of polished teak, the 40-foot Genevieve was lovingly restored by Sunvil Holidays and re-launched in 2010. Moored at the Freebody Boatyard, Hurley, and with seating for approximately ten passengers, the vessel’s usual route takes passengers wending their way along the Thames to Henley, sipping champagne and nibbling on canapés while enjoying the gentle journey as the vintage launch motors past delightful scenery.
Says Noel Josephides, MD of Sunvil Holidays: “We were enormously proud to be invited to enter Genevieve into the pageant. I think it’s a fitting lead-up to her 99th and 100th birthdays, in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Peter Freebody’s excellent boatyard rescued Genevieve when she was found as a rotting hulk in the north of England; she much merits being on display for many thousands of people to enjoy her sleek, beautifully-restored lines in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant.”
Daytrip itinerary ideas include:
The Waterside Inn...foodies’ delight
Cruise along the river to the Roux brothers’ Michelin-starred Waterside Inn, in the delightful 16th century village of Bray, where an enchanting riverside setting, unpretentious atmosphere and exquisite food make for an excellent afternoon’s sojourn. Departing at 10.00 am and returning to Hurley at 5.00 pm, this seven-hour trip (including waiting time) costs from £900, excluding lunch. The Waterside Inn is well-equipped for diners arriving by water, with good mooring facilities.
Henley-on-Thames...a village visit
Take the Genevieve up stream and arrive in style at the picturesque Thames village of Henley-on-Thames. Here, travellers are free to explore all the quaint teashops and traditional pubs on offer before hopping back on board and returning to Hurley. Departing at 11.00 am and returning to Hurley at 4.00 pm, this five-hour trip (including waiting time) costs from £700.
Cliveden...a country estate
Head downstream with a picnic basket (drinks and canapés to order, in addition to the hire charge) and arrive at the riverside entrance to the impressive country estate of Cliveden. Now a National Trust property, in the roaring ‘20s Cliveden was the centre of a glittering social circle and the home of Waldorf and Nancy Astor. In the ‘60s, the estate became associated with the Profumo affair – it was where Christine Keeler famously met British Secretary of State for War, John Profumo. Departing at 10.00 am and returning to Hurley at 5.00 pm, this seven-hour trip (including waiting time) costs from £900. Entrance to the Cliveden Estate and its extensive riverside grounds costs from £9.50 adult and £4.75 child (free entrance for National Trust members), and lunch or traditional afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the hotel’s restaurant. Advance booking advisable.
The vintage Genevieve would be perfect for celebrating a special party or anniversary with a small group of friends, and Sunvil Holidays is glad to quote on request for special occasion hire and to tailor-make arrangements to suit the event. There is still availability on The Genevieve during the Henley Regatta (27 June – 1 July) and the Henley Festival (4-8 July) – please enquire. Festival and regatta tickets should be booked separately.
All trips are accompanied by two members of staff – a captain and an assistant to help navigate the locks and serve refreshments. Catering of any kind can be arranged on request. For more information or to book a river cruise on the Genevieve – evening trips are also possible, as well as half or full-day hire, visit vintagethamescharters.com.