Updated 5th January

Public Cruises

Lockdown – unfortunately we are unable to run our barge cruises at present. 

If  Essex goes back into Tier 3, you can book up to 6 people from mixed households on a cruise and be together on deck.  You will also be given an allocated space below decks for separate households (you need to advise us of how many households) to use as you wish during the cruise.

Being on the deck of an historic vessel to enjoy a river cruise is one of the safer leisure options available thankfully, and we are  “Covid-19 Secure Risk Assessed” and signed up to the Visit England “Good to Go” marque (a bit like a hygiene certificate).  Here is a summary of the arrangements.

  • As well as your allocated space on deck, an indoor seating area is allocated to your group where you will be served food and drinks.(you are welcome to take your refreshments back on deck if you wish)
  • Boarding and disembarking is managed to maintain social distancing.
  • Guests are allocated a specific space on deck for arrival and the safety brief.  Thereafter you can choose to spread out and move around, observing distancing and the comfort of other guests.
  • Space on deck and the saloon will be left between you and other groups to comply with social distancing.
  • A one way system has been introduced for accessing the saloon below decks and the loos,
  • Payment by card machine for drinks is preferred.
  • Food must be pre-ordered and will be served to you in the saloon.
  • If social distancing cannot be maintained, our deck crew will don face masks for any closer up interaction such as helping you safely board. Below decks, staff will wear face masks at all times.
  • The barge will be thoroughly cleaned before each trip and the toilets cleaned regularly during the cruise.
  • Hand sanitiser will be placed on deck for your use when boarding and near the toilets.
  • When going below decks (i.e. indoors) you are required to wear a face mask except when eating or drinking.

If you have to cancel your trip due to personal Covid circumstances, we will make every effort to re-sell your places and then be able to offer you a full refund or transfer (but only if we can re-sell).  If we have to cancel because of new Covid regulations, then a full refund or transfer will be given.

Private Hire

As you know, you are unable to proceed with these at present, apart from small Wedding Receptions, Wakes or scattering of ashes, but you can start to pencil in or book dates from late Spring. Many of you have missed special birthdays or wedding anniversary celebrations and probably can’t wait to get together with friends and family for a party. We usually take 50 guests, so hopefully at some point in 2021 we shall be able to resume private functions, perhaps still with reduced numbers.

Weekends Away

2021 is open for bookings and Staycations. We wait to see how many people you can invite for a weekend away and fingers crossed for rules relaxing for this summer.  Take a look at our weekend breaks for individuals and we can take provisional bookings if you wish to reserve places without committing.

“Reminder” is available for self-catering cottage hire bookings moored on Cooks Yard, usually up to 14 guests.


All vouchers bought direct from Topsail are valid to end of 2021.  We have decided to no longer act as a supplier for third parties such as Buy a Gift or Activity Superstore, so if you have a voucher for a barge experience with them, please contact them directly to exchange to a different experience.


The Topsail Team look forward to seeing you soon.