A really different early-season short break by coach from Kent as we make the hop from Calais to Amiens to enjoy a 3-day cruise on the River Somme, with visits by coach to some of the Picardy's finest attractions.Book Now
Our week takes us westwards on a course of about 35 miles between Corbie and Long, as the navigable Somme weaves its way through a network of lakes formed centuries ago by flooded peat extractions, further enhanced by neighbouring woodland and cultivation, with just the occasional village and lock.
We stay in Amiens at the centrally-situated 3* Holiday Inn Express, and as the hotel does not operate an evening restaurant we allow guests to dine out at personal preference. There is a selection of good and inexpensive restaurants in the St Leu riverfront, and the well-rated Brasserie Jules is next door to the hotel.
This holiday will operate by coach from Kent, with pick-up points including Medway, Maidstone, Canterbury, Dover, Ashford and Folkestone. For travellers from further afield Buzzlines will arrange hotel accommodation close to a pick-up point as required. Independent travellers can join the holiday at destination if they wish.
Total cruise time and distance approx 14hrs, 50km, 10 locks
Depart Folkestone on a Eurotunnel crossing around 10am, then a journey of under 2 hours to Amiens for a free afternoon to explore this fine city with its magnificent UNESCO-listed Cathedral, museums, zoo, memories of Jules Verne and Hortillonnages island gardens.
We begin our day with a visit to the Australian Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, scene of bitter fighting in the Spring of 1918 when the final German offensive was halted and reversed just outside Amiens, leading to the Armistice 5 months later. We take the opportunity to visit the Franco-Australian Museum in the village school, moving testimony to the enduring friendship between the two nations.
From here we continue the short distance to Corbie where we join our boat "Natalia" and set off downstream towards Amiens, enjoying lunch on board. After initially flowing through rural scenery east of Amiens, the river approaches the city through the fascinating network of island gardens known as the Hortillonnages. These islands once prospered as commercial market gardens, and although that activity has declined in recent times many of the islands have been taken on as second homes and are emerging as beautiful gardens. We might be quite early in the season, but if Spring is on time we should be seeing the first greenery and no shortage of early flowers.
We rejoin the boat in moorings in Amiens and continue to follow the river downstream, past Ailly-sur-Somme and the buildings of the former Carmichael jute fibre works, closed in 1975. We now pass along a particularly pleasant stretch of the river, with many quite sharp meanders and good towpath for anyone who would like to make use of the bicycles available on board. After lunch we moor for the day after passing through the lock at Picquigny, and from here the coach takes us back just a couple of miles to the Samara prehistoric site, where a fascinating mix of archaeological displays, recreated dwellings and craft demonstrations takes us back through 600,000 years of human history.B, L
Continuing from Picquigny, we cruise through more secluded river scenery to conclude at the lovely village of Long, occupying the hillside on the north side of the river. Having enjoyed lunch on board we take the coach to visit the Abbey at St Riquier before returning to Amiens.B, L
We depart for home but with time on our side we will enjoy a couple of hours break in the walled city of Montreuil, and also pause for some shopping at Cite-Europe before our early evening return crossing.
B=Breakfast Included, L=Lunch Included
Executive Coach Travel with pick-ups across Kent
Assistance with booking taxi connections and/or hotel stay pre-departure
Free time in Amiens
Visits to: The Australian Memorial and School-Museum at Villers Bretonneaux; Samara Prehistoric Park; The Church-Abbey at St Riquier
Hotel stay at the 3* Holiday Inn Express in Amiens, with breakfast
Daily cruise itinerary with on-board lunch including a glass of wine
Tea and coffee throughout cruising
Beers and local prestige wines available for purchase on board
Visit to Montreuil and Cite-Europe on homebound journey
The 3* Holiday Inn Express is centrally-situated in Amiens close to the main railway station, the pedestrianised shopping boulevard, the UNESCO-listed Cathedral Nôtre-Dame, and the St Leu waterfront and Hortillonnages island gardens. The hotel was fully refurbished during winter 2014/15 and offers free wifi and a complimentary espresso facility, with 61 Channel TV in-room including BBC and CNN. There are lifts serving all floors.
Evening meals are not included in the package but there is a wide range of reasonably priced restaurants in the city centre and along the St Leu waterfront within a few minutes' walk, and the excellent Jules Brasserie is next door to the hotel.
On Board Facilities:
Our boat has been designed to comfortably accommodate a coachload of passengers in lounge-standard seating and there is additional seating outside for those wanting to take in the views and fresh air. There are 6 bikes on board free of charge for anyone who would like to ride the towpath. The boats has two WC/washrooms and a galley serving beers and wines. Tea, coffee and drinking water are always available at no charge. There is no smoking on board.
Our boat is hybrid-engined and normally charges overnight from shore supply. Its diesel engines are only used if battery power is exhausted, so most of the time you can look forward to silent cruising free of exhaust fumes. The saloon roof is bedecked with solar panels which reinforce battery endurance and support the boat's air conditioning system.
We also operate to a strict waste-avoidance policy. We try to completely avoid the use of single-use plastics and we operate to a responsible recycling code. All meals and drinks on board are served using normal crockery, cutlery and glassware. Our crew also has a brief to support the recovery from rivers and canals of floating litter whenever this is practicable.
Departure from Kent:
Anyone from further afield please feel welcome to join us on this or any other Buzzlines tour. We are happy to arrange parking for you here in Kent, or we can pick you up from Ashford International Station only 37 minutes by HS1 from London St Pancras and help you to find overnight hotel or B&B stops.
Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.
Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.
|Ashford International Htl|| Ashford International Hotel |
|Folkestone|| Bus Station Bay E, Folkestone |
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