exceptionalexcursions

Classic boat journeys

 International Leisure Travel

curated and operated by

Part of Leisure Management Plus

Enjoy an EXCLUSIVE River Journey on the 

Royal Yacht Britannia's former Jolly boat through

HM The Queen's Back Garden at Windsor Castle

Using the same approach we apply to our consulting and management work with hotels, resorts, cruise ships and other leisure travel related hospitality and retail businesses, we sought win•win collaborative arrangements with other experts and were able to call on long standing relationships with friends with the expertise, experience, knowledge and facilities to bring the Jolly Brit back to it's Former Glory as an iconic piece of British Maritime History Originally part of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's much loved and cherished Royal Yacht Britania.

Rescuing The Jolly Brit - late autumn 2020

While walking along the towpath one late autumn morning near Bell Wier Lock Egham, We noticed a boat we recongnised which belongs to a friend we've known for 30 or 40 years. She was looking in a very sorry state and when we went back to see the boat yard owner a week or two later the not so Jolly Jolly Brit had been moved to this muddy field.  Inquiring of the boat yard owner Max he told us no-one was paying  him for the storage but we knew already that Henry, the owner had paid the previous marina operator and understood it was all in order. Max knew the boat and new it was Henry's boat. Notwithstanding that the boat was about to be chopped up or taken away for scrap, Max was very helpful to us and we soon learned that several people thought they had "bought" her for a pound, having a mind to restore her, until they found out what that might cost! One had even tried to have it picked up by a crane and carted away but they could not lift it, as the boat was full of rain water!

Never inclined to shy away from a difficult challenge Leisure Management Plus stepped up to the plate to plan and organise the obviously needed refurbishment of the Jolly Brit.  

There was no way we could allow this fine piece of British History to be lost.  We knew it would not be easy, but we knew too that we could do it.  We engaged with others in a collaborative effort to make it happen!  Just like we do with hotels, resorts and hospitality businesses, seeking experts in wooden boat restoration, interviewing three specialist boat builders, researching options, listening to the views of others and using our knowledge and experience of boating, our contacts and our skills we produced the solutions.

Unwilling to let that happen, after considerable research work, a visit to the muddy field by Master Craftsman Michael, we arranged with our friends Michael and Steven Dennet, who lovingly build and restore wooden boats, including treasured classics like Dunkirk Little ships, to help us find specialist transport and get the precious Jolly Brit to their workshop by the river at Laleham-on-Thames, near Chertsey.

Specialist transportation arranged after competitive tendering by:

With grateful thanks for his good advice to Steven Dennett of:

Transporting The Jolly Brit to a place of safely

Steady as she goes, our wonderfully careful crane driver - Gary - gently lowers The Jolly Brit onto a dolly at Dennett's Boat yard and with that, phase one of this delicate management undertaking was completed on schedule on November 24th 2020!

Consultants to Mr. Henry Butt, Owner Project managed by:

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll has shown interest before in Henry's boat. The Jolly Brit was formerly one of two jolly boats carried aboard Her Majesty's much beloved Royal Yacht Britannia, which was sadly decommissioned on 11 December 1997.  The Queen, who was very fond of The Royal Yacht as a personal refuge and incomparable Public Relations statement for Great Britain, normally undemonstrative, is reported to have shed a tear at the decommissioning ceremony that was attended by most of the senior members of the Royal Family.

Decommissioned: 11 December 1997     Owner: The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust.     Crew: 21 officers; 250 Royal Yachtsmen

Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia, also known as the Royal Yacht Britannia, is the former royal yacht of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in service from 1954 until 1997. She was the 83rd such vessel since King Charles II acceded to the throne in 1660, and is the second royal yacht to bear the name, the first being the racing cutter built for the Prince of Wales in 1893. During her 43-year career, the yacht travelled more than a million nautical miles around the globe. Now retired from royal service, Britannia is permanently berthed at Ocean TerminalLeith in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is a popular visitor attraction with over 300,000 visits each year. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Restoration gets underway

After carefully tapping his way around the hull to establish what could and could not be salvaged, Steven produced a fully detailed and itemised detailed restoration and refurbishment plan and an estimate of cost which Henry accepted and the work was quickly underway, Steven

wasting no time at all and getting right to work on stripping back the rotten hull planking, establishing that the ribs, the stringers, the keel and some other key elements were sound, and all she needed was a new double mahogany plank skin. He makes it sound easy.  Believe me it is not !  This work takes immense skill learned over several decades under the tutorship of his Father Michael, well known and renowned as one of the best, if not the best wooden boat builder on the Thames, probably in Europe.  Customers send him boats from all over and also ask him to build them custom boats, houseboats to live in, and to restore and maintain wooden boats of all shapes and sizes including many of the "Dunkirk Little Ships" that went during WWll to Dunkirk to rescue troops beaten back to the sea. 

 

There are many fine examples on their facebook page of craft they have restored.The Little Ships of Dunkirk were about 850 private boats[1] that sailed from Ramsgate in England to Dunkirk in northern France between 26 May and 4 June 1940 as part of Operation Dynamo, helping to rescue more than 336,000 British, French, and other Allied soldiers who were trapped on the beaches at Dunkirk during the Second World War.

The Little Ships of Dunkirk were about 850 private boats[1] that sailed from Ramsgate in England to Dunkirk in northern France between 26 May and 4 June 1940 as part of Operation Dynamo, helping to rescue more than 336,000 British, French, and other Allied soldiers who were trapped on the beaches at Dunkirk during the Second World War.

For a change of scene for a moment, here is one Michael used to maintain for many years for its previous owner who lived very close by where we found Jolly Brit languishing and looking so sad in a boat yard at Egham near Runnymead-on-Thames.  We bought this boat and took her to California where we lived for some years.  She is called Magna Carta, named after the famous memorial there at Runnymede which if you come on the Jolly Brit exceptional•excursion you will pass by on your way to and from WIndsor through Her Majesty The Queen's back garden. 

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aboard classic boats

Come back to these pages another day to read the article we shall post about that exceptional boat, built by another exceptional boat builder on the river Thames at Hurley, the Late Peter Freebody, whose son Richard continues the fine legacy of his Father, in much the same way as Steven does at Dennett's boat yard in Laleham.

What Michael and Steven do for boats and boat owners to create stunning restored boats and then maintain them is actually a lot like what we do for hotels and hospitality operations and their owners with our consulting, management and quality assurance services in that they fix boats, put them into tip top condition and then, if the owner wants them to, they will maintain them.  

 

Leisure Management Plus does the same things.  We improve hospitality operations and businesses, make them work really well and if clients want us to help them to maintain them, we can do that too with LMP QA quality assurance and secret shopper service custom designed and specific to the actual establishment and business.  

 

Like boats, hospitality businesses come in all shapes and sizes!

Restoration work begins

Steven Dennet and his very talented team of carpenters, craftsmen & women, under the expert guidance of his Father, Michael Dennet, Master Craftsman, expert scratch builder of fine wooden ships and restorer of historic wooden boats wasted no time getting to work on the project before weChristmas 2020. Stripping the hull down to just the ribs and stringers, Jolly Brit would be totally re-built and restored to probably better condition than the day it was first launched in 1950. Co-incidentally the same year LMP Founder Stuart was born.  All new mahogany planking in two layers was painstaking applied to the hull to create a strong and enduring new vessel that without doubt will last at least another 70 years.  The original was still in service and participated in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2153969/Queens-Diamond-Jubilee-Three-generations-Royals-join-Queen-sets-sail-Thames-glorious-Jubilee-river-pageant.html

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant was a parade on 3 June 2012 of 670 boats on the Tideway of the River Thames in London as part of the celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. The Queen, Prince Philip and other members of the Royal Family were aboard vessels that took part in the parade. Wikipedia

Restoration in progress

Master Boatbuilder Steven Dennett explains the meticulous and difficult to execute shaping of the new bow stem of Joly Brit to owner, Mr. Henry Butt.

Project planned, organised and managed by:

New deck fitted 

Welcome aboard

The Royal Yacht Britannia's former jolly boat

Cruising through Her Majesty The Queen's back garden, we pass the village of Datchet, to arrive at the centre of Windsor within easy walking distance of the Castle.

On the Jolly Brit trip you will enjoy breathtaking scenery as you cruise past Runnymede where on June 15th 1215 the Magna Carta was signed by King John, recognised as one of the great foundation documents of freedom ......

Enjoy an EXCLUSIVE River Cruise on the 

Jolly Brit cruising this stretch of the fabulous River Thames right through

HM The Queen's Back Garden at Windsor Castle

This video was taken aboard another one of our classic boats.

 

 Different boat - same stretch of river right around Windsor Castle's grounds which you can see here with the castle on the hill in the backgound

exceptionalexcursions

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Ask about options to add a hotel stay before or after your exceptional•excursions day out and extend your enjoyment of Windsor and Runnymede.

Learn about The Magna Carta Memorial and The John F. Kennedy Memorial at Runnymede here: 

You could stay at one of the fine hotels or one of the comfortable and homely bed & breakfast guest houses which we have carefully selected and we are proud to recommend.  All offer great hospitality and value.   We have vetted these fine establishment to be sure they are up to our high standards so that Leisure Management Plus is proud to recommend our guests to stay there.  You can stay for one or more nights before, or after your exceptional•excursion aboard the Jolly Brit.  

 

This way you will not only enjoy a unique day out aboard a truly unique boat, but also you can extend your enjoyment of the fabulous Windsor and Runnymede areas by visiting other attractions such as: Runnymede Magna Carta Memorial & The John F. Kenned Memorial, both "FREE" and a pleasant walk to get to.  Other unique attractions in the area all within 12 miles of London's HEATHROW AIRPORT include Theme Parks Legol and Thorpe Park as well as of course, Windsor Castle, with all the fabulous treasures on display and noteworthy features such as: 

Another option for you is to enjoy a fabulous afternoon tea at a luxury country house hotel - or - one of our recommended and carefully vetted tea shops, cafés or B&Bs in Windsor and the surrounding area.

  • St. George's Chapel. ... 

  • Albert Memorial Chapel. ... 

  • The State Apartments. ... 

  • The Semi-State Rooms. ... 

  • Queen Mary's Dolls' House. ... 

  • Changing the Guard. ... 

  • The Horseshoe Cloisters. ... 

  • Windsor Castle Gardens

  • and more ...

And finally, here is the jolly Brit on the davits on the deck of the Royal Yacht Brittania - OK this is only a model - but we can even help you to visit the real thing, which is now a museum in Edinburgh Scotland.

HMY Britanniahttps://www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk

here is the jolly boat Now the JollyBrit

See if you can spot the Jolly Brit in amongst the boats that participated in the golden jubilee river pageant

Call or email and tell us if you can see JollyBrit in the video or the photos available on line.

UK representation office for inquiries & information

Tel:  +44 (0) 1273-934813  

Open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

The crew here at exceptional•excursions wish you safe travels, bon voyage and will work tirelessly to ensure you have the most memorable and truly exception•experience.

We look forward to forward to weloming you on board!

Stuart Humphreys 

Leisure Management Plus

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