Get on board the ViolinBoat!

A cruise on the River Thames in London with live violin music

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Here's what you'll enjoy on the ViolinBoat!

A Warm Welcome!

Everyone is welcome on the ViolinBoat... if you're a violinist, bring your instrument and join in the music-making!

Or if you prefer to come and listen, choose from two decks of live music, whilst enjoying some of the best scenery our city has to offer!

On board, the violinists of the Violin Orchestra will perform Handel's Water Music (of course!), Pirates of the Caribbean, The Mary Rose, and plenty more Maritime favourites...

Later in the voyage, Jam Sessions will take place on both decks - take part or just listen, it's up to you!

Live Music

Tea, Coffee and Biscuits (of course!) are included with your cruise ticket.

There's also a fully licensed bar serving a range of alcoholic and soft drinks.

Licensed Bar & Refreshments

London's Best Views

Tides permitting, we’ll take in some of London's most famous sights, from the Houses of Parliament to Greenwich.

Do we need to say more? It's a boat! With a bar! On the Thames! It's going to be amazing! :)

Our ViolinBoat: The MV Royalty

Our floating home for the afternoon will be one of the River Thames's most characterful older vessels, the MV Royalty.

She's a charming Edwardian boat with a lower saloon, and a light, airy upper deck with large sliding windows.

Royalty is a true native of the Thames... she was originally built in Kingston as a steam passenger boat, and in 1913 she was one of the 'little ships' that helped to evacuate troops from Dunkirk in 1940.

She was fully refurbished in 2012 and is now one of the river's most popular music venues!

Practical Information

No doubt you'll have questions about this unique afternoon... message us at [email protected] and we'll add questions here as they come in!

Where is the trip?
We depart from (and return to) Festival Pier on the South Bank - between the South Bank Centre and the National Theatre.

What does it cost?
£69 for guests, £49 for ViolinSchool members.
Learners enrolled in Course A, B and C: £30. Term Pass holders: Free.

Can I bring guests?
Absolutely yes! Bring your friends and family to share the experience! Passenger numbers are limited, so if you are intending to bring guests, then we recommend booking early to avoid disappointment!

Are families welcome?
Yes. All under-16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Can I smoke on the boat?
There is a small outdoor smoking area which will be available after 2.30pm when the initial music performances end.

Where is the trip?
We depart from (and return to) Festival Pier on the South Bank - between the South Bank Centre and the National Theatre.

How far up/down the Thames will we go? What will we see?
Depending on the tides, we'll go as far as Greenwich in the East. Take a look at this map:

Can I bring a viola?
Of course! We love violas! We'll have a limited amount of alto clef music, and you'll be able to join in with treble clef parts too. We will have a dedicated viola storage area a couple of metres behind the boat (we will provide rope for attaching your case to the stern).

Can I bring a cello/trumpet/kazoo/erhu/harmonica?
Quite probably. We will have space for a couple of cellos. But please check with us first before booking - email 
[email protected]

Will the movement of the boat affect how we play?
Once we're cruising on the river (i.e. away from the pier), the boat is pretty stable. It's unlikely to affect your bowing!

Do I need to bring a music stand?
If you are playing in the 'performances', please DO bring a music stand (or let us know if you can't).

I have another question
Email us at [email protected] and we'll answer your question ASAP (and add it to this FAQ!

Contact Us

020 3051 0080

15 Palace Street


London SW1E 5HS


Phone Number


Reinforce Your Unique Selling Proposition

Describe Trip details

Date: Saturday, 30th March 2019.

Time: 1pm to 5pm, boarding at 12.45pm. If you're late, the boat won't wait!

Location: We depart from (and return to) Festival Pier on the South Bank - between the South Bank Centre and the National Theatre.

Travel: Festival Pier (postcode SE1 8XZ) is 5 minutes walk from Waterloo (Tube/Rail) and Embankment (Tube) stations. Paid-for car parking is available at the National Theatre, and in surrounding areas.

Cost: £49 for ViolinSchool members, £69 for all other guests.
Further reductions apply to enrolled Learners with a Term Pass, and those participating in the A, B and C courses.

Refreshments: Tea, coffee and biscuits (of course) are included in your ticket, and there will be a fully licensed cash bar.

We won't be serving a meal on the boat, so recommend eating before you come on board (unless you like biscuits for lunch).

Any Questions?

Saturday 30th March 2019, 1pm to 4.45pm
(Boarding 12.45pm sharp!)

Imagine playing music together with friends whilst gliding past some of the world's most iconic buildings. Or enjoying a drink as the sun goes down, whilst being serenaded by an orchestra of violins... 

It's not an opportunity that comes around every day... but here's your chance to join the violinists of ViolinSchool and The Violin Orchestra, as we cruise the Thames and set London dancing to the tune of the violin... it'll be an afternoon to remember!

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Don't Miss The Boat!

When it's full, it's full...

We may need to restrict guest numbers to be sure that all participating violinists are able to come on board, so if you're intending to bring guests, please book early to avoid disappointment!

Reinforce Your Unique Selling Proposition

1.30pm - Performances: After departure, pre-programmed live music performances will begin around 1.30pm on the top deck, starting with performances by violinists graduating from Courses A, B and C.

There will then be ensemble performances by players who take part in the Saturday ViolinHub and Violin Orchestra sessions, including...

  • Handel's Water Music
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean theme tune
  • The Water is Wide
  • I am the Captain of a Pirate Ship
  • Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (maybe she arrived by boat?)
  • The Mary Rose
  • ...and a couple of other pieces of repertoire with increasingly tenuous maritime connections... ;)

The Music

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2.30pm - Jam/Sight-Reading Sessions: From around 2.30pm, live music areas will be set up on both the upper AND the lower deck. Each area will be availabe in 20-minute slots for participants to read through.

Simon, David, Setareh and Maria from ViolinSchool will be on hand to ensure that everyone who wants to play has an opportunity to do so. When you first come on board the boat, participating violinists should let us know whether...

a) you have a pre-formed group and are bringing your own sheet music

b) you'd like us to set you up with a reading session with other people of your experience level.


We will make sure that everyone has at least one opportunity to take part in a jam session with other players of their experience level.

Audience (non-participating guests) are welcome to move around the vessel to enjoy the different music sessions!