We look forward to seeing you onboard

Now booking!

Electra: Milton Keynes Community Boat

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Electra is a brand-new fully-electric, 54-foot narrowboat that will accommodate up to 12 guests*. It has disabled access, with a lift and a toilet that take wheelchairs up 700mm wide. It’s called a Community Boat because it is run entirely by volunteers and it is open to everyone.

Electra operates out of the new Campbell Wharf development in the heart of Milton Keynes. It offers public cruises, private charters, seasonal specials and ‘park & parish cruises’ for local communities. Each week there’s something for everyone.

* Current restriction: up to 8 guests. See note below about COVID-19.

Now recruiting more boat crew for the 2022 season!

We’re looking for 3 Skippers and 5 new Cabin Hosts to join our friendly Electra volunteer team during October, with training in November/December ready for the start of the 2022 season.  Click here to find out more.

Our cruising programme

Public Trips

Special Family Cruises in the school holidays. ‘Relax on the Art Trail’ Cruises through green spaces. Cream Tea or Fish & Bubbles Cruises. Plus Walk One Way (WOW) cruises to make exploring MK’s parks even easier. There’s something for everyone in our summer Public Trips programme.

Private Charters from the Heart of Milton Keynes

Our two-hour morning or afternoon Private Charters on Thursday and Saturday are ideal for celebrations, meetings, or simply a quiet time with friends and family. Experience Milton Keynes from a whole new angle as you glide along the Grand Union Canal. Currently for a maximum of 8 guests.

Making a booking

It’s simple to book online. Just select the button for Private Charters, Public Trips, or Gift Vouchers, take a look at what’s available, make your choice, and click through to purchase.

On Public Trip bookings be sure to book a free ticket for each Under-Two, and a free Wheelchair ticket if needed in addition to your cruise ticket. On Fish & Bubbles, make sure you have let us know in the relevant box any meals you’d like to swap for a vegetarian alternative.

On Private Charter bookings remember to add food orders as required for your guests and to insert numbers of guests and wheelchairs..

For queries about how to make a purchase, or to buy tickets by phone call the Bedford & Milton Keynes Community Boats Ticket Helpline on 01946 848847 (line open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, calls at your network provider’s normal call charge).

. Tickets bought by phone can be emailed (or posted for an additional £2.50).

For queries about Electra or about cruise details, please email the volunteer team on bookings.electra@bmkwaterway.org

NEW! 1st MK Walk & Glide Festival on 16 & 17 October

Discover some hidden delights of MK in our first-ever Walk & Glide Festival on 16/17 October, run by Electra in partnership with The Parks Trust. Eight Walk One Way (WOW) Cruises combine a 3-mile walk led by a Parks Trust guide with a cruise on Electra to make a circular route.

Each day offers four Walk One Way (WOW) Cruises that let you explore more of Milton Keynes’ wonderful parkland and canalside. In each case you can choose to Glide first on Electra and Walk to complete your circular route, or Walk first and Glide on Electra back to your starting point.

●   Saturday 16 October choice of routes: Campbell Wharf-Simpson Village return, or Simpson Village-Waterhall Park return.

●   Sunday 17 October choice of routes: Campbell Wharf-Great Linford return, or Great Linford-New Bradwell return.

Each route combines a 3-mile one-way guided walk led (90 minutes including stops), with a one-way cruise on Electra (75 minutes), plus 15 minutes meeting, boarding, briefing time, and time for snack stop on walks in the middle of the day. Total 3-3.5 hours. Open to adults plus teens aged 12+. All tickets £9. Book early as these will be popular!

COVID-19

All our cruises are designed to be safe and operate within government guidance to ‘proceed with caution’ after 19 July.

Bookings: We are currently restricting guest numbers to eight individuals on all public trips and private charters. We will advertise on social media and on the website when this restriction is lifted.

On the day: Electra is well-ventilated. On arrival, we invite you to sanitise your hands and sign in using the track and trace app, or provide contact details manually. Seating is at four tables for two people. We suggest that you wear a face mask when boarding, leaving, or moving around the boat. If on the day you are suffering Covid symptoms or have been advised to self-isolate, please stay at home. By purchasing a ticket you agree to these conditions.

Where to find Electra at Campbell Wharf

On the day of your cruise, remember to bring your ticket and check the Joining Instructions sent with it. These tell you about parking, arrival, and give key reminders about Electra cruises.

The Joining Instructions include a copy of the location map. Download a copy here.

 

Booking Terms & Conditions

Please check the Terms & Conditions carefully before making your booking.
Click on the button below to download Terms and Conditions for Electra Public Trips and Private Charters.

Please note:

●   Only Assistance Dogs are allowed on board

●   Allow plenty of time to arrive, park and walk to Electra – you must be ready to get on board 10 minutes before the start of your cruise. We cannot hold the boat for late arrivals!

●   Wheelchairs: On Public Cruises each wheelchair user must buy a cruise ticket and in addition book a free wheelchair ticket to make extra space is kept for them on board. On Private Charters the number of guests and wheelchairs/walking frames must be notified as part of the booking

Electra Special Events

Special Events for October include:

The First Walk and Glide Festival on 16 and 17 October. In partnership with The Parks Trust. Click here for more details

A range of Half-Term cruises in partnership Canal & River Trust: more details soon!

Volunteers wanted!

Now recruiting Skippers and Cabin Hosts for 2022 season

We’re looking for 6 new Electra Skippers and 8 new Electra Cabin Hosts to join our friendly volunteer team and train during the autumn/spring, ready for volunteering from April 2022.

Open Morning SUNDAY 19 September 10am-1pm

Campbell Wharf (waterside below Crest Nicholson Sales Office)

No need to book – just come along for a friendly welcome

– Take a good look at Electra inside and out

– Chat with volunteer boat and shore crew

– Meet our trainers to find out more about what’s involved

– Mini-trips to experience Electra as a guest at 10.30, 11.30, 12.30. First come first served (max 8 people each trip)

What’s it all about? Click here to find out more.

What do Skippers and Cabin Hosts do? Click on the Boat Crew roles button below to find out more.

What training is given? Click on the Training Plan button to find out more.

What next? If you think you might like to volunteer for one of these roles, fill in an Expression of Interest form by clicking on the EOI button.

Behind every successful boat crew is a ‘Shore based team’ with all kinds of skills including IT, sales, marketing, PR, admin, finance, community outreach, management, maintenance, and training. We’re currently asking if there is someone who would like to help us with our Custom Charters. There’s a full Job Description: click here for more information.

If you’re interested in volunteering with Electra, then please fill in and send this form and we’ll contact you as soon as we can.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

What's special about Electra?

    A ‘Green’ Boat

    Electra is powered by lead carbon batteries that charge overnight from renewable sources, plus 12 solar panels. This system also powers the dishwasher that lets us use reusable glass and crockery. So zero emissions, less disturbance to wildlife and other canal users, and less waste! We also recycle, and work with local business where we can.

    With Great Facilities

    We can welcome up to 12 guests (currently restricted to max. 8) at tables for two. Our access lift and lavatory take wheelchairs up to 700mm wide. We have a small Galley Bar for refreshments, and there is a digital screen on board. Electra is well ventilated and has heating, for your comfort whatever the weather.

    Run By Volunteer Crew

    We take care of you from start to finish, leaving you free to relax and enjoy your cruise. All of our volunteer Skippers and Cabin Hosts are trained and qualified to offer safe and enjoyable cruises that are open to all – to support the development of the new Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Park.

    Offering Food Options …  

    We will be serving tasty treats on some public trips, starting with Cream Tea and Fish & Bubbles Cruises. Cream teas can also be booked on private charters. Part of our green agenda is to source food and drink from local suppliers where we can. We’re starting small but will add more options soon!

     … And A Galley Bar

    Electra’s card-only Galley Bar serves hot, cold and alcoholic drinks, plus a few snacks. It’s small, but we aim is to provide something for everyone to enjoy on board – including fresh ground coffee, prosecco, and Electra’s very own craft beer. Once we have an onshore store, we’ll be able to offer even more!

    Giving You A Different View Of Milton Keynes

    Watch the world go by through our large picture windows that bring you eye-to-eye with the swans. Stand in the bow to enjoy the breeze and take photos of a memorable trip, as we glide through parkland, past waterside art and wildlife. You’re guaranteed a different view of Milton Keynes on Electra!

Founding Sponsors & Supporters

The Trust is delighted to have worked with a wide range of Founding Sponsors and Supporters to bring Electra to Milton Keynes. Electra proudly carries their names on panels on both sides of the boat.

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Partnerships with local catering suppliers

Part of Electra’s ‘green agenda’ is to reduce food-miles by buying from local businesses wherever we can. So far our volunteer team has created links with:

●   Camphill Milton Keynes cafe for scones
●   JamMK in Walnut Tree
●   Moore’s Fish & Chips in Oxley Park
●   Concrete Cow Brewery for beer (one of their new Local Heroes range of beers is named after Electra and will be for sale on board in a souvenir bottle)
●   The Willen Ice Cream Company for a selection of artisan ice creams (once our freezer is available)
●   Caron’s Cakery Cake artist

We are keen to develop further relationships with local catering supplies in the Milton Keynes area, so please get in touch with us at cabinhost.electra@bmkwaterway.org

Why is the Trust doing this?

The Milton Keynes Community Boat will give the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust a presence at the heart of the city, in the newly developed Campbell Wharf area.

The boat will cruise on the Grand Union canal through eleven parishes and many areas of parkland from Fenny Stratford to Cosgrove, where it will:

  • raise the profile of the Trust at the western end of the route
  • bring in new Trust members and volunteers in Milton Keynes
  • raise additional funds to enable the work of the Trust
  • enable residents and visitors to make more use of the canal and the parks it runs through
  • help to improve the canalscape and increase community activity along the route
  • demonstrate the local health, economic and social benefits that waterway parks can bring

Find out more

View our News & Events page for details of the next public meeting. All are welcome.

Follow us on social media @ElectraBoatMK

The team is keen to hear from local people who are interested in the project and would like to share their ideas and experiences about cruises in Milton Keynes, and maybe get involved – there are many different volunteering opportunities giving the chance to get involved in an exciting project from the outset.

Electra is very much a ‘community boat’ as we will be working with councils, businesses, charities and community groups to reach out and serve everyone in Milton Keynes. For example, the schedule will include a number of sponsored cruises for local disadvantaged, isolated or disabled groups, who would not normally have access to the canal and associated parkland. This will be achieved through partnerships with The Parks Trust, canal-side Parishes and Borough Wards, as well as local businesses and charities – and national charities like the Postcode Community Trust. We’re keen to hear from potential partners too.

Contact the Electra Team electra@bmkwaterway.org

There’s enthusiastic support for the Milton Keynes Community Boat … please join us!