Region: West Midlands

Disabled Facilities: Yes

Category: Day Trip Destinations

Address: Holiday Inn Stratford, Bridgefoot, Stratford - upon - Avon, Warwickshire CV37 6YR

Contact: 01789 269669



Bancroft Cruisers are a well-established family and friendly business operating in the heart of Stratford upon Avon.  School and college parties are always welcome and our cruises depart from the Holiday Inn Landing Stage throughout the year (weather and river conditions permitting).

Our cruises take in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Holy Trinity Church (the site of Shakespeare’s tomb), the hand-operated chain ferry, historical architecture of both the surrounding buildings, the 15th Century Clopton and 19th Century Old Tramway Bridges, and the varied wildlife along the banks of the River Avon. 

Our educational trips include a live commentary to focus on the subject studied on the visit to Stratford upon Avon. The boat crews are available to answer questions throughout the trip.

Rita Ellen Cruiser:

The only fully accessible boat in Stratford upon Avon with a hydraulic lift into the cabin. No steps on approach. Wheelchairs can be safely brought into the cabin of the boat.

We have access for the storage of three wheelchairs on the stern deck of the Princess Marina but there is no facility for wheelchairs to be brought into the cabin.

Why is this venue great for School Trips and Educational Visits?

Stratford upon Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare and our cruises take students past the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres where his plays are performed and Holy Trinity Church where he is buried. 

We also pass by one of the last remaining hand-operated chain river ferry in existence   We cruise into rural parts of the river where students are able to see the many different types of birds, wildfowl, insect life and the flora that lines the banks of the river. 

We also can talk about the erosion of the river bank and the industrial heritage of the waterways in and around Stratford.

What does a typical school trip or educational visit include?

Our cruises are fairly relaxed and we give talk on the various aspects of the river, and we also have leaflets and quizzes that the students can use to consolidate their understanding of how Stratford, the theatres and the River Avon fit with the subject being studied.

What size groups do they cater for?

We cater for groups of up to 54 on the Princess Marina and up to 40 on the Rita Ellen. The boats can be hired for exclusive use by schools or colleges.

What can they provide you with to support your school trip or educational visit?

We have a selection of ‘I-Spy’ type work sheets and educational leaflets for the students to help identify birds, insects, fish, trees and historical buildings during the cruise and also a questionnaire on the life of Shakespeare.

Can you take photos, video or audio? Are there any copyright restrictions?

Bancroft Cruisers are very happy for the students to take photographs and there are no copyright restrictions as far as we are aware.

How do you arrange a risk assessment?

We supply a risk assessment upon request.

What are the contact details for their education officer?

We do not have a dedicated education officer, but all our staff are knowledgeable on the wildlife on the river, the history of industry on the river, the history of the waterways and river erosion as well as the history of Stratford upon Avon, Shakespeare and other key people and events.

What does it cost?

Up to 3 teachers and accompanying adults are free of charge.

45 minute cruise: £4.50 per student.

These are special rates for schools and a student is deemed to be up to the age of 18 years.

Is specific clothing required?

No specific clothing is required for the cruise, although on the Princess Marina a warm sweater or raincoat may be useful if the weather is not good.

Do you have first aid on site?

We have first aid facilities on site and all crew are trained up to RYA (Royal Yachting Association) standard for First Aid.

What facilities do they have for school trips and educational visits?

School and college groups can bring packed lunches on board and on the Rita Ellen hot and cold drinks and small snacks can be purchased.

A cup of tea or coffee costs £2.00 on board the Rita Ellen. 

Are there disabled facilities?

The Rita Ellen is fully accessible with a hydraulic lift into the cabin and easy access to toilet and wash facilities. We have access for the storage of three wheelchairs on the stern deck of the Princess Marina.


Is there anything else that you feel is important and want to include in your information?

We are the only river cruise company in Stratford upon Avon to offer a live commentary which can be tailored to fit with the subject being studied.

Our commentaries are interesting and also engaging for students of all ages.
If translation is required then the commentary can be delivered in bite-sized chunks to allow teachers time to translate.
Coaches can come into the car park and drop off and pick up next to the boat.

Age of Children / Pupils: Pre-school 5 – 7 years 8 – 10 years 11 – 13 years 14 – 16 years College University

Type of Visit: Boat Trips Outdoor Education Wildlife and Nature

Curriculum Topics Covered: Citizenship Drama English Geography History Leisure & Tourism PE Science

Months Open: All Year Round January February March April May June July August September October November December

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