s.b. “Thistle”


120 Years Afloat

Essex Tourism 2015 WINNER_Best Small Attraction

VE Awards for Excel Land 2015_HC red


These fine old ships, with their distinctive red ochre sails, evoke an era long since past. Once the East Coasts traditional cargo vessel – at the turn of the century theThames Sailing Barge fleet numbered over 2,000 – today only a handful of traditional Barges survive.

Our beautiful vessels provide an unusual and memorable venue for all kinds of events, whether you are looking for a venue for a birthday party or wedding anniversary, somewhere to entertain clients or staff, or a day out for your club with a difference.

Perhaps you are looking for a river cruise for just a couple of people or as a present for someone. If so, take a look at the wide choice of cruises in our Public Programme – there should be something to suit everyone there and you will also find our gift vouchers are a popular choice .

See what some of our customers had to say about this unique experience:
Our classic sailing vessels make an unusual & memorable venue for special occasions and events


Corporate Events

Entertaining clients and corporate hospitality, presentations, receptions, staff socials and Christmas parties.

Thistle cockpit 001

Party Venue Hire

The perfect Birthday Party Venues for private hire for Birthdays, Anniversary and Parties in Essex, Suffolk and London.

wedding kiss

Wedding Reception Venues

Unique and memorable Wedding Reception Venue at Maldon, Ipswich or London


Weekends Away

Enjoy a sailing weekend away  as an individual or a group.


Team Building

A themed nautical Team Building day using the barge as a floating venue for exercises.

Birdwatching Trips

Special Interest Trips

We also include a number of special interest trips such as estuary Bird Watching

Clubs and Societies

Clubs & Societies

Enjoy a day trip in Essex or Suffolk with your group. Up to 50 guests for a gentle river cruise that suits all ages and interests.

barge sailing trips and weekends away on the East Coast

East Coast River Cruises

Enjoy a Topsail River Cruise at one of these locations:

  • Ipswich
  • Maldon
  • Brightlingsea
  • Gravesend
  • London
  • Harwich

Our Barges can accommodate up to 50 guests sailing, and up to 80 on the Quayside.

SB Thistle inside

SB Hydrogen inside

Cooks Yard
The Hythe

Tel: 01621 857567
Fax: 01621 840567



Contact Topsail Charters for a quote for your next East Coast Cruise, Teambuilding or Party Event!