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Take some time to meander down the River Great Ouse

9 August 2021

You may be new to boating on the river, or a seasoned sailor looking for somewhere different to explore. Why not take some time to meander down the lesser known River Great Ouse? Discover the everyday wonders the River Great Ouse has to offer.

Off the beaten tow path into lesser known waters

Flowing for 143 miles, this vast waterway is the fourth longest in the UK. The river is navigable from Bedfordshire, through the heart of Cambridgeshire and to the Wash at King’s Lynn in Norfolk. Flowing past some stunning towns and villages along the way.

On your journey, you’ll experience the character and immense beauty of the Ouse Washes Landscape. This is a hugely important area of rich washland with internationally significant wildlife habitats and substantial drainage engineering heritage.

These are some of our favourite places to stop off along the River Great Ouse:


Huntingdon is a fabulous market town that’s ideal for stocking up on all the essential in preparation for your trip. Just a couple of miles away in the peaceful countryside lies Hartford Marina – your gateway to the River Ouse. The marina has 200 fixed and floating moorings available for canal and river boats of all sizes, offering all the amenities and services you’ll need for your vessel. The Hartford Mill pub and carvery is on site and it’s a great spot to relax and take in your surroundings. It’s the perfect place from where to start your journey.

St Ives

Just five miles away from Huntingdon lies the stunning St Ives. A thriving market town that’s full of riverside cafes, restaurants and bars. It’s a great place to stop off for lunch and soak up the sunshine, followed by a browse in some of the town’s many antique stores.

Offord Cluny

This small and beautiful village is three miles south-west of Huntingdon. It’s peaceful, quiet and perfect for a relaxing stop-off. Especially if you want to explore the magnificent late 13th century Church of All Saints that stands proudly in the centre of the village.


Tranquillity reigns in Earith. It’s ideal for those who are looking for an undisturbed afternoon on the side of the river or a stroll around the quaint village. Moor-up and visit The Raptor Foundation where you can see wonderful birds of prey – all of whom have been rescued.


Littleport and the nearby hamlet of Little Ouse sit just below sea level, which tells of just how low the fenlands really are. The village has an incredible network of streams that were created to control flooding in the region. There are numerous shops, eateries and pubs – our favourite being The Swan on the River which has moorings nearby.


The fenland city of Ely and its historic cathedral need no introduction. It’s a stop that you will want to incorporate on your journey down the river. The city is packed with museums, shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes. They also host concerts, festivals and other events throughout the year.

The Great Ouse really is very special

From the incredibly diverse and extensive wildlife to the attractions along the way, you can’t help but marvel at the wonders it has to offer. There are plenty of temporary moorings along the Great Ouse, but if you’re looking for something more permanent then Hartford Marina is the place. It’s close to Huntingdon and St Ives, and the transport links for London, Peterborough and Cambridge are excellent. The marina facilities have benefited from recent investment, now boasting a social club, on-site restaurant, laundry room and post room. It also offers all the usual services including pump-out, boat repairs, washing facilities and electricity to berths.

Hartford Marina offers temporary and permanent moorings. Perfect for a few hours away from it all, a weekend afloat or as your main home. Contact the friendly and experienced team at the marina for further information on 01480 454677 or visit the Hartford Marina page.

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