Coronavirus (COVID-19) UPDATE: See details

Avon Boating


Established in 1898, Avon Boating is one of England’s oldest and largest traditional boating companies, offering boats for hire on one of the finest rivers in the country, the Avon at Stratford-upon-Avon.

It operates a fleet of classic Edwardian passenger vessels on regular public cruises from the Bancroft Gardens next to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and offers a variety of private cruises for groups.

From the old boathouse on the edge of the river bank, it hires out rowing boats, punts, and self-drive motor boats for those wanting to explore the further reaches of the river independently.

There are also two large eight seater canoes – ideal for large families or groups of friends – which are easy to paddle and everyone can have a go. It’s fantastic fun and not available anywhere else in the UK.

Alternatively, why not experience a little bit of Venice in Shakespeare’s England, and book a romantic gondola ride?

Come and relax and enjoy the town’s iconic riverside setting and the tranquil waters of the Avon by boat, as the customers of Avon Boating have done for over 100 years.


Visitor Info

Opening times and prices

Hours of operation for boat hire is from late March to late October.

9am until dusk, seven days a week.


Avon boating offers a comprehensive combined ticket scheme with local tourist attractions including the RSC, Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Stratford Butterfly Farm as well as discounted tickets for combined tickets and group bookings. Visit for more details.


Conferences & meetings

Avon Boating are proud to boast one of the finest venues for outdoor functions anywhere in the country. Its lawns, which run down to the beautiful River Avon, boast stunning views of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and historic Clopton Bridge.

Avon Boating is able to offer the lawns complete with a marquee which can hold up to 200 standing and 120 seated, making it perfect for all events ranging from small family birthday celebrations, to corporate events and special functions such as wedding receptions. Alongside the use of the lawns they are also able to provide Private Charter River Cruises or small boat hire such as rowing boats, motor boats, punts and canoes.

Avon Boating also have a partnership with The Swan’s Nest Hotel, which can offer catering and bar solutions tailored to your event. The Swan’s Nest Hotels – The Bear Freehouse and Bistrot Pierre Restaurant are able to offer laid back BBQs, hot and cold buffets and A la Carte Menus.



Food & Drink

Avon Boating also offers food options available with local partner restaurants – The Bear, Bistrot Pierre and Thai Boathouse.