The Festival of Chatham Reach – Barge Trips


80 minute sailing experiences aboard sailing barges Edith May and Repertor.

Experience is free, with a £10 deposit refunded after the trip.

Max 4 people per booking.

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Departing from Sun Pier, Chatham

As part of The Festival of Chatham Reach, you can have the opportunity to sail aboard one of the hundred year old sailing barges in attendance and experience the river as it would have been in the early 20th century.

These trips are free, funded by our patrons – members of the public who chip in a small amount each month to create these opportunities for others – and we only ask you consider making a donation Becoming a Patron to support our work to provide these opportunities.

Enjoying a Medway River Trip aboard either Edith May or Repertor is the perfect way to get an introduction to barge sailing, whilst taking in the historic sights of the upriver Medway between the Dockyard and Sun Pier.

This stretch of the river oozes with history and there will be plenty to see as the barge sails in the reaches between Sun Pier, Rochester, Upnor Castle and Chatham Historic Dockyard.

A Thames sailing barge is the ideal platform to experience these sights from, with plenty of deck space and a comfortable hold to explore. There used to be thousands of barges on this stretch of river and now there is only one.

Once aboard, refreshments are available to purchase.

The experience lasts around 80 minutes, with a little variation depending on conditions on the day.

Other experiences available during the day include static barge and steam tug tours, which can be booked on the day, together with high speed rib rides with Red2Red ribs.

Before booking, please read the General Information page.

If you have any questions, please contact us

Free Sailing Experiences – Booking guidance

  • Please only book one experience at a time. Max 4 people per booking.
  • Please register and assemble at the Tiller & Wheel stand by the gated entrance to the Sun Pier pontoon, 10 minutes before your sailing time. If you have not registered by this time, your place and deposit will be forfeited and reallocated.
  • Access is via the deck of another static Thames barge – as a guide, you need to be able to climb over a stile to get aboard.
  • We hope that you might choose to support us by becoming a Patron, but there is no obligation.
  • We request a £10 deposit per space to confirm your attendance, this is refunded after the trip. If you fail to notify that you no longer wish to sail aboard having booked a place, we will retain the deposit (cancellation must be at least 48 hours before the date of sail).
  • You are invited aboard as a guest of Tiller & Wheel – we reserve the right to cancel bookings for any reason.
  • We strongly advise those visiting to make the most of the excellent public transport links available. The Sir John Hawkins car park (postcode ME4 4JL) is the nearest pay and display facility.

Additional information


930am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 130pm, 2pm, 3pm, 330pm