Experience the John Bunyan Boat

Public Cruises

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!

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!

COVID-19 Update

We are running a series of Socially Distanced Cruises on the John Bunyan Boat.

To ensure we can comply with Social Distancing guidelines, we will be restricting our capacity to 24 or less. We are releasing tickets on a monthly basis and will keep you informed of when tickets are released via our mailing list.

PLEASE NOTE WHEN YOU BOOK 

● Bookings of 2 or more passengers only will be accepted. 

● Tickets booked together will be sat together up to 4 people on a table.

● The wearing of a facemask or covering is encouraged on boarding and exiting the boat.

● Table service is provided, so we ask that you remain seated throughout the cruise. If you need to move around the boat (ie to use the toilet)  we encourage you to please wear a face covering.

The Contact details you give when booking your tickets will be stored, as per our existing privacy policy, but we will encourage every passengers to sign in using either the track and track app, or by giving us your contact details manually if you do not have access to this app. In the event of any outbreak we will be requested to pass those contact details to the government test and trace system. By purchasing a ticket you agree to us doing so. Please ensure you put up to date contact information on your booking, we will securely collected the additional names in your party when boarding the boat in line with current Government regulations.

Thursday Afternoon Cruises

Cruise from Sovereigns Quay through the tranquil river water to Cardington before returning to Sovereigns Quay.

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Enjoy a relaxing cruise under the historic Town Bridge past Bedford Castle mound and then through the Town lock and along the tranquil river to Cardington Lock.

Departing from Sovereigns Quay at 2.30pm for a 2 hour cruise towards Cardington Lock and returning back to Sovereigns Quay.

Adult £13 / Concession £11 / Child £9 /Family (2 Adults and 2 Children under 16) £31.

If you're booking in advance, you can also book the following refreshments in addition to your ticket;

Cream Tea £7.50 / Ploughman's Lunch £9.00 / Vegan Falafel wrap £8.00 (add 75p for Gluten-free option).

A fully licensed bar is available on board.

2021 Cruise Dates: 14th October, 28th October.

Enjoy a relaxing cruise upriver through Bedford Town Lock, along the Embankment and under the historic Town Bridge to Sovereigns Quay.

Disembark and make your own way back to Priory Marina by foot along the embankment or public transport.

Departing from Priory Marina at 1.30pm for a 45 minute cruise to Sovereigns Quay (One way only)

Adult £6 / Concession £5 / Child £4 / Family (2 Adults and 2 Children under 16) £14.

2021 Cruise Dates: 14th October, 28th October.

Sunday Afternoon Cruises

Join us on a relaxing Sunday afternoon cruise though picturesque pastures of Bedford from Priory or Sovereigns Quay to Kempston.

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Enjoy a relaxing cruise through Bedford’s picturesque countryside, to discover Bedford's unique pyramid! Navigate the Town lock, and then see the 12th century mound of Bedford Castle before going under the historic Town Bridge, calling at Sovereigns Quay to pick up additional passengers, before cruise upriver passing the Guru Nanak Gurdwara temple in Queens Park, Kempston Outdoor Centre and on towards Kempston Mill before returning.

Departing from Priory Marina at 1.30pm for a 4 hour cruise towards Kempston Mill and return to Priory Marina.

Adult £18 / Concession £16 / Child £14 / Family (2 Adults and 2 Children under 16) £42.

If you're booking in advance, you can also book the following refreshments in addition to your tickets;

Cream Tea £7.50 / Ploughman's Lunch £9.00 / Vegan Falafel wrap £8.00 (add 75p for Gluten-free option).

A fully licensed bar is available on board.

2021 Cruise Dates: 3rd October, 17th October.

Enjoy a relaxing cruise through Bedford’s picturesque countryside cruising upriver, passing the Guru Nanak Gurdwara temple in Queens Park, Kempston Outdoor Centre and on towards Kempston Mill before returning to Sovereigns Quay.

Departing from Sovereigns quay at 2.30pm for a 2 hour cruise towards Kempston Mill and return to Sovereigns Quay.

Adult £13 / Concession £11 / Child £9 / Family (2 Adults and 2 Children under 16) £31.

A fully licensed bar is available on board.

If you're booking in advance, you can also book the following refreshments in addition to your tickets;

Cream Tea £7.50/ Ploughman's Lunch £9.00 / Vegan Falafel wrap £8.00 (add 75p for Gluten-free option)

2021 Cruise Dates: 3rd October, 17th October.

Saturday Evening Fish & Chip Supper Cruise

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    Have a relaxing evening cruise as the sun goes down along Bedford’s picturesque countryside and the Embankment, to discover Bedford’s unique pyramid! Navigating the Town lock, and then past the 12th century mound of Bedford Castle before going under the historic Town Bridge as we make our way along to Queens Bridge, enjoying our Fish & Chip supper.

    Departing from Priory Marina at 6.00pm for a 2 hour cruise to Queens Bridge Kempston and return to Priory Marina.

    Adult £23 / Concession £21 / Child £19 / Family (2 Adults and 2 Children under 16) £65.

    After selecting your tickets, choose from the following meals (1 per person) and add to your basket before checkout. The food choices appear on the next page to your tickets;

    Fish and Chips / Chicken and Chips / Vegetable pancake and Chips / Chicken Nuggets and Chips (Children’s portion)

    The ticket includes the price of the on board supper.

    A fully licensed bar is available on board.

    2021 Cruise Dates : 2nd October, 16th October.

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Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel Afternoon Tea Cruise

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    Enjoy an afternoon cruise on the River Great Ouse with a stop at the Bedford Centre Mercure Hotel for Afternoon Tea* and a fantastic view of the river, before returning by boat to Priory Marina.
    Departing from Priory Marina at 2.00pm for a cruise up to disembark at St Mary’s Garden at 2.45pm. Just a short walk** under Town Bridge to the Mercure Hotel, where a traditional Afternoon tea will be served for 3.00pm. On leaving the Hotel, the boat will return to Priory Marina for 5.30pm.

    £28 per person including the afternoon tea.
    A fully licensed bar is available on board.
    *Please email us with your booking number for any specific dietary requirements.

    ** **Please note: The walk from the boat to the hotel is about 8 minutes going under Town Bridge and may not be suitable for people unable to walk that distance over uneven ground.

    2021 Cruise Dates : 6th October.

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Tuesday Family EyeSpy Cruises

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    Keep the kids busy this summer with the John Bunyan Family EyeSpy cruises, while you relax as we cruise by Bedford’s landmarks along the Embankment and the wildlife on the Great River Ouse. See how many of the landmarks you can spot?

    Included in the child cruise ticket is the John Bunyan Community Boat I-SPY card.

    Adult £6, /Concession £5 /, Child £5/ Family (2 Adults and 2 Children under 16) £16.

    Departure from Sovereigns Quay at 12.00pm, 1.45pm & 3.00pm for Family EyeSpy cruise along the embankment. Boarding the John Bunyan will take place 15mins before the advertised times. Cruise time is aprox 45 minutes.

    A fully licensed bar is available on board from 12pm, the galley will be open serving a selection of Hot & Cold drinks and snacks.

    EXCLUSIVE TO EYESPY PASSENGERS. SHOW YOUR TICKET AT COFFEE @ STAR CAFE (IN THE STAR ROWING CLUB RIGHT NEXT TO SOVEREIGN’S QUAY) AND GET A HOT DRINK AND CAKE FOR £4.50, OR SQUASH AND A COOKIE FOR £2.

    offer valid date of cruise only, one use per ticket.

    Advisable to book in advance as these cruises are very popular and sell out very quickly.

    2021 Cruise Dates : 26th October

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Anchor Lunch Cruise

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    Enjoy a cruise on the River Great Ouse, departing from Priory Marina at 10.00am for a 3 hour cruise to Great Barford for lunch and return by coach* at 3pm back to Priory Marina.

    If that sells out, we open up the return trip, get on the coach at Priory Marina at 11.30am, to get to lunch at the Anchor at 12pm. Depart at 2pm for a 3 hour cruise back to Priory Marina.

    £36 per person includes a buffet lunch** at the Anchor Inn and Restaurant.

    https://www.anchorinngreatbarford.co.uk/

    A fully licensed bar is available on board.

    *Please note this cruise may not be suitable for all wheelchair users. Please call us on 0330 1239 511 to discuss your needs before booking your ticket.

    **Please email us with your booking number with any specific dietary requirements.

    2021 Cruise Dates : 2022 dates tbc

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Evening Jazz Cruise

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    Enjoy a relaxing evening of Jazz as the sun goes down, on board the John Bunyan as we cruise Bedford’s picturesque countryside.

    Departing from Newnham Steps at 7.30pm for a 2 hour cruise before returning back to Newnham Steps.

    £20.00 per person.

    The following refreshments options can be added to your Jazz cruise in addition to your ticket;
    Fish and Chips £10.00 / Chicken and Chips £10.00 / Vegetable Pancake and Chips £10.00

    A fully licensed bar is available on board.

    July 15 – Richard Exall Trio
    Richard Exall (clarinet, sax)
    Zane Maertens (guitar)
    Bill Coleman (bass)

    August19 – Ben Holder Trio
    Ben Holder (violin)
    Jez Cook (guitar)
    Paul Jeffries (bass)

    September 16 – Gary Wood Swing Trio
    Gary Wood (trumpet)
    Roger Evan (keys)
    Chris Green (bass)

    October 21 – Cool Jazz Collective Trio
    Elaine Hatton (vocals)
    Neil Riches (piano)
    Chris Green (bass)

    Read about our Jazz Acts

    2021 Cruise Dates : 21st October.

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Motown and Soul Cruise

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    Get your dancing shoes on as it is party time on the John Bunyan with our Motown and Soul cruise featuring DJ Keith Stewart. Boogie the night away to your favourite Motown and Soul tracks on our 2 hour cruise.

    Departing from Newnham Steps at 7.30pm for a 2 hour cruise before returning back to Newnham Steps.,

    £16.00 per person.

    A fully licensed bar is available on board.

    2021 Cruise Dates : 28th October.

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Bank Holiday Monday Cruise

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    Enjoy a relaxing 45 minute Bank Holiday river cruise along the Embankment from Sovereigns Quay. It’s the perfect way to try the John Bunyan Boat for the first time, and great for families with young children.

    Departure from Sovereigns Quay at 10.45am, 12.00pm, 1.45pm and 3.00pm. Boarding the John Bunyan will take place 15mins before the advertised times.

    Adult £6, /Concession £5 /, Child £4/ Family (2 Adults and 2 Children under 16) £14.

    It’s advisable to book in advance as these cruises are very popular during the Bank Holidays and sell out very quickly.

    A fully licensed bar is available on board.

    2021 Cruise Dates : 2022 Dates tbc

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Booking Information

  • If you prefer not to book online our booking line is open 9am-5pm Mon-Fri. Call 01946 848847.
  • 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 Facebook page 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 for the Anchor Inn Lunch, Barns Hotel Afternoon Tea, Jazz Motown, Folk and Irish Band music cruises.
  • Passengers are not permitted to consume their own alcohol or food on board public cruises.
  • 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 01946 848847
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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, download the departure point guide.

What our customers say

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  • 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  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  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  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  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  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

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

    sparkler10
    October 1, 2020