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Gliding past Westminster on a misty morning

Derain's Parliament
Derain's Parliament

Now that the floods have receded on the River Thames, sailing out from London to Oxford on a borrowed boat en route to Windsor Castle for a long weekend is a spendid idea, and venturing further still into the Upper Thames region for another week in the quietude of the woods, water meadows, rolling green hills and charmed cottages of peaceful Oxfordshire has begun to look promising too.

Here, along the River Thames are located some of England's great historical sites as well as myriad historic villages, churches and inns. The stretch of the Thames from London to Oxford which has been well-travelled since the 12th century is simple to navigate and there is always land in sight on either side of you. As well, the locks are almost always manned by locks-keepers.

Gliding past Westminster on a misty morning it is a sublime pleasure to sight the familiar luminous pattern of the Houses of Parliament which has inspired some of the most beloved of modern artists. Further on along the River to Hampton Court Palace centuries of English history await. A highlight is The Hampton Court Chapel with its spectacular blue and gold vaulted ceiling of French inspiration. The landscaped maze in the garden delights children and adults alike. Currently the Palace hosts seasonal events such as the Hampton Court Flower Show (this year July 8-13).

Back on the water beautiful Windsor Castle soon comes into view surrounded by swans. It is the favorite palace of Queen Elizabeth who currently resides here. A few miles further at Runny Meade the Magna Carta of 1215 was signed. The charter of English liberties granted therein subsequently became a battlecry against oppression for generations and influenced the Constitution of the United States. The Kennedy Memorial here was a gift to the American people.

After a nights rest its onward to Oxford, its grand spires visible from the River Thames.