Experience the John Bunyan Boat

Public Cruises

New Public Cruise Guide available to download

John Bunyan community boat launches our new cruising season with familiar cruises on Thursday to Cardington and Sunday to Kempston, whole host of different music cruises covering our popular Jazz and Motown & Soul cruise, this year we be joined with Irish Music cruise from Inis Eire.

A cruise on the river gives you a completely different view of the town. Even people who’ve lived here all their lives see something new! Now is the time book a trip on the boat and enjoy the sunshine and calming waters of the river. It is hard to improve on a peaceful and tranquil meander through the countryside around Bedford or enjoy views of the town and Embankment from a new vantage point, whilst taking refreshments from the galley. Watch the world go by and spot a kingfisher or two. Admire the historic bridges and buildings on the water’s edge. Or party as the world floats by!

During the school holidays we have something for the family, our popular EyeSpy cruises along the Embankment spotting the landmarks along the river. New this year is a couple of Family History cruises how the Saxon, The Vikings & Danes, Normans, and John Bunyan all shaped Bedford as we see it today, brought to life by Alasdair Bright co-author of “The Bedford Chronicles” and illustrator of our EyeSpy cards.

For those after something special join us on our Afternoon Tea cruise in conjunction with Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel and our monthly 3 1/2 hour cruise to Great Barford on our Anchor Lunch Cruise.

This year we are looking to run a number of Special Event cruises;- Curry Evening cruise, Gin Tasting and not forgetting we will be at the Bedford River Festival this year.

Booking Information

  • To protect other passengers and our volunteers who crew the John Bunyan Boat, by wear a face covering when boarding and disembarking or moving around the boat
  • Passengers must arrive 15 minutes before departure time. Bookings close 36 hours before cruise start time. You can still purchase a ticket on board, subject to availability, but not book food.
  • All cruise times approximate, dependent on river conditions and time spent going through locks.
  • If the river is in flood, cruises will be re-routed or cancelled and alternative dates or refunds will be given. Please check the latest news before you leave. If you have not pre-booked, please check our website for last minute changes.
  • Family tickets are for two adults and two children under sixteen.
  • Concessionary rates are available to pensioners, students and people with disabilities. Documentary ID / Proof will be checked on boarding.
  • Concessionary rates and children rates are not available on all our cruise see individual cruise descriptions.
  • Passengers are not permitted to consume their own alcohol or food on board public cruises.
  • To protect passengers privacy and reduce the risk of COVID, passengers booked together on a cruise. We will endeavour to sit them together in same group of up to 4 passengers per table and not mix passenger from different bookings on the same table.
  • Booking a cruise in advance the minimum number of tickets that can be booked is two.
  • We can reserve provisional places on our public cruises for groups of over 10 people for up to 30 days. Please call our booking line on 07861 620 520 for group bookings only.
  • Any problems with your booking email: contact@johnbunyanboat.org
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Booking Terms & Conditions

Public cruise terms & conditions can be download here.

John Bunyan Public Cruises

The latest Public Cruise brochure is available for download.

Public Cruise Departure Points

To find our departure points, view our departure point web page.

What our customers say

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  • star rating  What can I say, had the boat on a charter and what a great day we've had. Boat was lovely and the crew even better, all volunteers with a real... read more

    Carl S
    September 1, 2019

    star rating  A pleasant trip along the river with a very average "cream tea" consisting of only one scone//jam/cream on paper plates including the cup of tea, all pre-packed and covered in... read more

    MightyMerc
    September 1, 2019
  • star rating  What a fantastic evening on the John bunyan.... a cruise down the ouse with perfect weather and great tunes of soul and Motown this a private charter so I was... read more

    audratimmins
    August 1, 2019

    star rating  A lovely way to spend a couple of hours, the free were really friendly, welcoming and interesting. Very COVID secure.

    sparkler10
    October 1, 2020
  • star rating  First time on this boat for my wife and I. We booked an evening jazz cruise as a birthday treat. It was a really wonderful experience. The... read more

    Mike_Dennison3
    September 1, 2021

    star rating  What a fantastic evening on the John bunyan.... a cruise down the ouse with perfect weather and great tunes of soul and Motown this a private charter so I was... read more

    Audra T
    August 29, 2019
  • star rating  Booked with a few friends. We all had a great time. Party atmosphere, great music, good bar prices. Already booked for next year. Recommend if you like good music, dancing... read more

    Andrea A
    August 1, 2019

    star rating  Spent a great afternoon on a Soul Cruise with a few friends. Both the DJs were excellent and play a great mixture of Soul tunes enjoyed by everyone on board... read more

    T Davies
    August 1, 2019
  • star rating  Enjoyed a tranquil 2 hour summers evening mini cruise along Bedford River Ouse this evening. Fish OR chicken & chip supper included, bar and refreshments available - lovely. ... read more

    P8407HIdianas
    June 10, 2022

    star rating  Spent a great afternoon on a Soul Cruise with a few friends. Both the DJs were excellent and play a great mixture of Soul tunes enjoyed by everyone on board... read more

    MitzyD123
    August 29, 2019
  • star rating  We went for a 2 hour boat trip on board the John Bunyan boat with a local social club. We all had a ploughman's lunch & hot drink served by... read more

    _pauldorow
    June 6, 2022

    star rating  What can I say, had the boat on a charter and what a great day we've had. Boat was lovely and the crew even better, all volunteers with a real... read more

    715carls
    September 1, 2019
  • star rating  A pleasant trip along the river with a very average "cream tea" consisting of only one scone//jam/cream on paper plates including the cup of tea, all pre-packed and covered in... read more

    MightyMerc
    July 1, 2019

    star rating  Wonderful afternoon cruise along the river ouse Lovely friendly staff all covid precautions in place Very tasty afternoon tea Thank you to all concerned Mum loved it for her

    lizzie288
    June 1, 2021
  • star rating  We were on the Motown and soul cruise, what a fantastic way to spend an evening cruising the embankment with the excellent on board DJ getting all involved even the... read more

    ben a
    August 26, 2021

    star rating  We had a lovely tip on the JB boat, just a lovely way to explore the river and going through the lock with an inch either side, the team certainly... read more

    908harveyc
    May 27, 2022
  • star rating  We were on the Motown and soul cruise, what a fantastic way to spend an evening cruising the embankment with the excellent on board DJ getting all involved even the... read more

    ben a
    August 1, 2021

    star rating  Wonderful afternoon cruise along the river ouse Lovely friendly staff all covid precautions in place Very tasty afternoon tea Thank you to all concerned Mum loved it for her birthday

    lizzie288
    July 8, 2021
  • star rating  What a fabulous trip the Soul Cruise was from start to finish !
    Had so much fun dancing & singing to some excellent tunes from the 2 master DJ’s... read more

    TiggerLincs
    September 1, 2019

    star rating  We were on the Motown and soul cruise, what a fantastic way to spend an evening cruising the embankment with the excellent on board DJ getting all involved even the... read more

    bena249
    August 26, 2021