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Can I recreate Three Men in a Boat?

Posted on 17th October 2018

Many people are familiar with the story of Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome, but how easy is it to recreate this classic rowing trip?

It’s very possible to recreate this fictional trip; many of the places visited still exist, as do the train connections and Thames path. Of course it’s possible to hire one of our Classic Thames Rowing Skiffs!

There are a few differences of course: These days the Thames is probably busier with recreational traffic, as are the places visited along the way, and people tend to have less time for such frivolity!

The three friends (not to mention the dog) start in Kingston on Thames and travel to Oxford (actually one of the group join in Weybridge) This is about 90 miles and could be achieved in 7 days rowing – with the very important note that this depends on how fast and how long want to row for! It could take a lot longer and it can definitely be done quicker if you are determined.

Kingston to Oxford is about 5.5 hrs rowing per day for 7 days at a leisurely pace of 2.5 miles per hour, but you will have to add time to wait at Locks, which can be very busy at weekends.

To make the journey easier, and possibly more in doable with modern time constraints, you could consider a few things:

  • Journey downstream, from Oxford to London (not upstream as in the book). This is easier, particularly in periods of higher flow, but also has the advantage of starting at the quieter end.
  • Consider taking the trip in manageable sections – Oxford to Henley perhaps? Or just a taster day in Oxford to see how you get on?
  • If you’re not camping, book accommodation in advance (It’s 2018 not 1888!)
  • The friends travel by train; If you’re bringing lots of gear by car we suggest starting and finishing a little away from City Centres (although many of the places mentioned along the route, including both Oxford and Kingston,  have good train connections and are close to the river).

Generally check out our resources pages for help and advice

Finally, do contact us to discuss your trip. Its well worth noting that the trip passes many of Britain’s most historic sites and the book was originally conceived as a guide book.

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