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Largest cruising riverboat hotel in England for sale

30 01 20 Edward Elgar

Gloucester-based vessel and company on the market for £1.45 million with Colliers International.

The largest cruising riverboat hotel in England and its operating company have been brought to the market for £1.45 million.

The 88ft Edward Elgar, which has three decks and can sleep 22 guests, is based in Gloucester docks and has an established cruise programme along the navigable reaches of the River Severn and Gloucester to Sharpness Canal.

The vessel and the English Holiday Cruises company, which owns and operates her, are being marketed by the Hotels team of real estate advisor Colliers International.

Peter Brunt, director of hotels agency, said: “The Edward Elgar is a truly unique hotel boat which is 4* rated by Visit England and the company enjoys Tour Operator/Principal membership of ABTA. They offer a range of complete holiday pack ages and receive superb reviews from guests, with high levels of repeat bookings.

“The reason an opportunity has arisen for a new owner to take the helm, so to speak, is because the present owners now wish to retire after creating the successful business that operates today.

“They bought the business in 2004, having recognised the huge potential, and have identified scope for further expansion by a new owner of what has become a robust and reliable holiday business.”

The Edward Elgar – named after the English composer – currently offers six different fully-catered river cruise options over a season which runs from the end of March to the beginning of November, ranging from a two-night weekend break to a six-night cruise of more than 100 miles.

Richard Clements, director of English Holiday Cruises, which comprises the vessel itself supported by office accommodation adjacent to its berth, said: “It’s going to be a wrench to sell the Edward Elgar after spending the past 15 years turning her and the business around her into such a memorable and viable cruise holiday operation. 

“However, my wife Judith and I have decided it’s time to retire, and we believe that there is huge potential for a new owner to build on the solid foundations we have laid and further develop this already flourishing business.”

He added: “When we became owners in 2004, I had considerable experience of working in hospitality, my wife had experience of setting up businesses, and our son Jay had been working in tourism.

“None of us had any maritime experience but that did not prevent us from transforming the business and consistently growing revenue and profits ever since. A new owner will also benefit from the expertise of our loyal staff and a comprehensive suite of operating systems.”

Launched in 2000, the Edward Elgar was custom-built to maximise the potential of her cruising route on the River Severn. It has full headroom throughout, unlike a narrow boat, yet she can fit into the smallest lock on the route and her wheelhouse can fold flat for the lowest bridge on the route, at Worcester.

A five-year programme of equipment and hotel improvements has recently been completed, and accommodation comprises 11 twin cabins with natural light, air conditioning and en suite shower rooms.

Public space comprises a restaurant for up to 36 people, a bar with an all-day premises licence for residents, direct access to the fore deck, and upper viewing and games deck above the restaurant. There is also a well-equipped galley and an on-board linen room, plus cabins for the skipper and four other crew members.

Peter Brunt added that the price of £1.45m reflected the strong cash flow generated by the business, the excellent condition of the vessel asset and extensive goodwill, with a very high level of forward bookings.

“Our clients’ strong preference is for a sale of the shares of English Holiday Cruises Limited including the benefit of deposits paid for 2020 bookings currently worth over £500,000,” he said.

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Peter Brunt

Director of Hotels Agency

Hotels Agency


Peter is a chartered surveyor who first started dealing with the hotel and pub market in 1988.  He joined Robert Barry & Co in 1995 and after many years as a valuation professional has now been selling hotels and pubs for over 20 years. He is the director in charge of our operations in the west midlands and south west. This covers the south and south west of England including the Cotswolds, Oxfordshire, Hereford, Worcestershire, Shropshire, as well as the West Midlands, Staffordshire, south and mid Wales as well as more major instructions in the south west region generally. 

If you used to deal with former colleagues, Jon Wren, Alastair Murchie, James Richards, Chris Kent, Simon Wells or Mervyn Cully please feel free to contact Peter.

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