Sailing Barge – THISTLE (1895)

As part of Thistle ‘s 120th birthday celebrations, in 2015 she was awarded “Flagship of the Year, Eastern Region” by National Historic Ships.

A survivor from a different age, the Thistle links the ship building traditions of the Clyde where she was launched in 1895, with the Port of London, amongst whose hustle and bustle she spent her working life.

Her first owner was a coal merchant from Battersea, and a regular passage was collecting coal from the Humber and bringing to the Thames.  She continued in trade as a motor barge until the mid 1970’s and after a spell as a houseboat, was converted back to sail in 1987.

Today, as part of our nation’s maritime heritage, she continues to earn her living providing a memorable venue for entertaining and private functions.

Take a good look around Thistle with our virtual tour below.  You can go up on deck, check access, walk onto other barges and even go ashore.  Just click on the arrows to navigate, hold down your left mouse button and drag to look left or right.

View Larger Virtual Tour
Thistle interiorThistle arriving IpswichHarwich Harbour - Adrian Brown












SB Thistle (1895)

  • Sailing Capacity: 50 passengers
  • Static Capacity: 65 guests
  • Dining Facilities: 42 seated, 65 buffet

Thistle cockpit 001

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

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