This summer my daughter had a party in Tonbridge for 2 hours, which left me with my 2 four year olds for a couple of hours, and nowhere to go! So we walked to the castle for a little look, and that’s where we spotted a little line of rowing boats neatly moored up next to the Castle Bridge on the River Medway. Obviously, we couldn’t walk away once we’d spotted them!
The rowing boats (and one motor cruiser) belong to Tonbridge River Trips. I chatted briefly to the nice gentleman and he fitted the kids up with appropriate life jackets and off we went. He asked me ‘Have you ever rowed before?’… to which I replied ‘Not really’ with a wink, haha. He would find out later, when I tagged his small business on twitter that I have an obsession with water, and given the chance I would probably row across the Atlantic!
He charged me £5 for 30 minutes, which included the life jackets. Which I think was excellent. The rowing boat itself was a traditional basic wooden rowing, not impeccable by any stretch of the imagination, but it is perfect for a family day out!
My boys loved it. I rowed us up river, where the trees hang beautifully in to the river, and your mind starts to lose itself, with the hum of the day to day disappearing. And then I let them take an oar each. We duly went round and round in circles, but they had an absolute ball with it. They felt like they were in charge, made an attempt at team work, and really didn’t want to head back when our 30 minutes was up!
We were the only boat out, and it was end of season (18th September), so we didn’t see another vessel. Tonbridge River Trips do also have a motor cruiser, which I believe takes 8- 10 people, but you can’t skipper this yourself. It is more of an organised cruise up and down the river, as opposed to a boat you can hire. I am yet to find a company on the Medway that hire our motor cruisers… ?
The River Medway is actually very beautiful. The water is not the cleanest, but the scenery is beautiful, and this can be found just a few minutes upstream from Castle Bridge in Tonbridge. It’s almost unimaginable! In terms of wildlife, there are lots of fish (but we didn’t see any), and lots of ducks, swans and other birdlife.
I would highly recommend Tonbridge River Trips, they were amenable, friendly and reasonably priced. A great trip out for adults and children alike. Remember to take frozen peas or something nice for the birds if you do get down to Tonbridge and hire a rowing boat!