Ladybird Boat Trust

Welcome to the Ladybird

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Over 8 passengers – Up to 20 passengers on one trip.

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1 - 7 passengers

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About the Ladybird and Ladybird Boat Trust

Hartford Marina, Huntingdon, Registered Charity No. 1153894

The Boat

The Ladybird Boat Trust (LBT) was set up in 2013 and is based at Hartford Marina near Huntingdon. The vessel Ladybird is wheelchair accessible and accommodates up to 20 passengers in a large heated cabin complete with kitchen and wheelchair accessible toilet facilities. The open foredeck area enables passengers to enjoy to the full the magnificent scenery and wildlife on the river.

Please click on this link if you require more information.

The Service

The service operates from mid April to early October and is crewed by a Boatmaster and trained crew, all of whom are volunteers who give up their time and skills to run nearly 150 trips a year.
We do carry out a limited number of evening trips.
We operate 1-5 hour trips typically between 10:00–15:00hr and is either upstream towards Godmanchester and Brampton, or downstream to the Hemingfords and St Ives. Please look at FAQ for ideas.
If you are booking a morning 3-hour then the trip must start no later than 10:30. This allows us to operate two trips on the day.

Passenger Groups

Trips are open to groups of the disadvantaged or disabled, young or elderly (and their carers) based within reasonable road travel distance from our base on the Great Ouse near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.  Many groups return year after year and the annual boat trip is a highlight in their year. 

In 2023 we had 140 booked trips made and we welcomed many Specialist Groups, Day Centres, Care Homes and many other groups.


The Trust works hard to cover the £18,000 annual running costs and the majority of this money is from donations made by passengers and groups. If passengers are able to make a donation themselves this is always very gratefully received.

The major costs we have to meet are include Mooring fees; Insurance; Maritime & Coastguard Agency annual survey costs; Maintenance & lift out costs and Fuel.

Individuals/Small Groups

We run a number of trips for small groups and individuals with their companion/carer. We leave Hartford Marina at the time indicated and travel towards St Ives or Brampton Lock.

If you would like further details or to make a booking then click the button below.

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Trips are currently running on the following days.

  • 19th June 2024, 10am to 1pm. Downstream towards Hemingford. PICNIC ONLY so please bring your own picnics and drinks. FULL
  • 19th June 2024, 1:45pm to 4:45pm. Upstream towards Godmanchester. PICNIC ONLY so please bring your own picnic and drinks. FULL
  • 17th July 2024, 10am to 3pm. Downstream towards St Ives. PICNIC ONLY so please bring your own picnic and drinks. FULL
  • 21st August 2024, 10am to 3pm. Upstream towards Brampton. PICNIC ONLY so please bring your own picnic and drinks. FULL
  • 18th September 2024, 10am to 3pm. Downstream towards St Ives. PICNIC ONLY so please bring your own picnic and drinks. FULL

Listen to an interview on Huntingdon Community Radio about the Ladybird. It is a fairly big file so please be patient whilst it loads! Listen Here.

Please take a moment to read a letter from Sir John Baird regarding the history, and the future, of Ladybird - Click Here

Watch a video about the Ladybird by clicking on this link Here.

Video of the Ladybird on ITV News (July 19). Here.

Look East - Ukrainian Mothers Sunday (2022). Here.

President of the LBT

Lady Mary Baird

Trustees of the LBT

Mick Mean - Chairman
Andy Nicol - Treasurer
Gary Pyle - Secretary
Tony Buckland - Boat Manager
Richard Birch - H&S
Ian Hill - Public Relations

Frequently Asked Questions about Ladybird

Please find a selection of commonly asked questions and answers below.

Who uses the Ladybird?

The majority of our passengers are on trips organised by groups that support the disadvantaged and disabled. These include Specialist Groups, Friendship, Day Centres, Residential, Care Homes and retirement community groups. We also provide some trips for educational purposes to schools and the scouting/guide movement. These trips will have between 8 and a maximum of 20 passengers on board. Less if there are wheelchairs in the cabin.

Are you able to cater for impaired mobility including wheelchairs?

Vehicles can unload passengers close to the boat. The boat has wheelchair accessible toilet facilities and easy access for all users, including those in wheelchairs.

How much will the trip cost?

We are an independent charity, and raising the money to continue to operate is an important issue.
If you are able to contribute in any way, all donations will be gratefully received and will help support those less fortunate. We are often asked what a suitable donation would be and, whilst the crew are all volunteers, we have fixed costs of insurance, mooring fees, maintenance, and fuel which amount to approximately £18,000 a year. We do not set a fee but request that where possible passengers donate towards the costs. When asked, we suggest that those who can afford it donate at least £15 for a 4/5 hour trip. However we understand that for a shorter trip you might wish to donate slightly less. This would just about cover our costs. I am sure you will agree that a contribution of this size is good value for a day’s outing on the river. However we are committed to providing free trips for groups or individuals who, for whatever reason, are unable to contribute to our costs.

What days does Ladybird operate?

Normally trips take place Monday to Friday from April to the start of October inclusive between the hours of 10am to 3pm. However on days when we run two shorter (2-3 hour) trips there is more flexibility on times, possibly until 5 pm. We also operate a limited number of extra trips late afternoon or early evening (subject to crew availability).

Where can I go on the river?

This depends on the length of the trip booked which can be from 1 - 5 hours and whether you wish to stop for a picnic or get off the boat. The following are some ideas and are given as a guide to timings starting and finishing at Hartford Marina. Please email us if you wish to discuss your trip. If at all possible, we would prefer that trips of three hours or less are booked for morning starting between 10-10:30 hrs (to finish by 13:30 hrs) or in the afternoon from 14:00 or later so we can offer another trip on the same day.

Please note river conditions on the day can affect any pre-made plans and so cannot be guaranteed.

Up to 2 Hours

  • Trip on River Ouse between Houghton Mill Lock and Godmanchester Lock. (lunch available at Hartford Mill)
  • Downstream through Houghton Lock to Hemingford Grey & more

3 Hours

  • Through Godmanchester Lock into Godmanchester Basin and collect fish & chips. Start time 1030 & delivery at 1500hr.
  • Hemingford Grey (stop for picnic) via Houghton Lock and return.
  • Brampton via Godmanchester Lock.
  • Three hours trip to Brampton Lock or Hemingford Lock followed by carvery or wide ranging menu at Hartford Mill.

4 Hours

  • Travel to St Ives (no stop).
  • Travel to Hemingford Lock, stop for picnic at Hemingford Grey then travel upstream to Huntingdon and return to Marina.
  • Travel to St Ives - Collect fish & chips (no stop).
  • Travel to Brampton Lock and stop to eat fish & chips at Godmanchester either on the boat or in the park.
  • Travel to St Ives or beyond Brampton Lock (no stop) and return to Hartford Mill for carvery or meal off the extensive menu

5 Hours

  • Travel to St Ives with approximately 60 to 75 minutes to leave the boat for a meal or to walk around the town. Monday is market day (smaller market on Friday). Visit the Norris Museum which is adjacent to our mooring at the Waits.
  • Travel to St Ives & have a picnic or fish & chips moored at the Waits (beside the Norris Museum) or travel to Nobles field to eat on the bankside or on the Ladybird.
  • Travel upstream through Brampton Lock and stop for fish & chips at Godmanchester.
  • Travel to St Ives and eat at the Local Cafe (about 200 metres from mooring). Need to book.
  • The commute café is 50 metres from the mooring and coffees, cakes and paninis are available.

What options do we have for refreshments and food?

Your group has a number options for refreshments and food, depending on the length of time your trip is booked for and the distance that your party is able to walk.  If you would like further advice then please discuss with us when you make your booking.

There is a small galley kitchen on board with microwave and hot water heater. We have tables, plates, cutlery and mugs. You need to bring your own coffee, tea, milk, other drinks and and other utensils that you might require. You might wish to bring your own food and this can be eaten on board or we moor beside the bank and you can picnic on the riverbank or in a park.


You might wish to have food delivered to the boat or stop at a restaurant or pub. These are some suggestions. However organisation and booking of this is your responsibility.

  • Fish & chips can be ordered from Rumbles Fish Bar in Godmanchester (King James Retail Centre Ermine St, Godmanchester PE29 2PA (tel 01480 417673) and will be delivered from the boat. NB Small portions of fish & chips are available. If you are wishing to stop for fish & chips, please book the trip for 1030-1330 hrs with delivery at the Ladybird for 1200hrs. This allows sufficient time to return to marina in time for the afternoon trip.
  • The Riverside Fish & chip shop is also available – please contact the booking team
St Ives
  • The Local Fish & Chip shop, 6 Crown Street, St Ives. (tel 01480 494156) – The mooring at the Waits is about 200 metres away. Fish & Chips can be collected to eat on the boat (min 4 hr trip). Please allow 5 hrs to eat in the restaurant.
  • The Local Cafe – The mooring at the Waits is about 200 metres away. Good sized menu including specials, sandwiches etc. This is a 5 hour trip. (tel 01480394088)
  • The Commute Café is about 40 metres from the mooring. Coffees, cakes and a light lunch available. (tel 07918602202)
  • There are other pubs and cafes that might be available depending on the size of the group.
Hartford Marina
  • The Hartford Mill pub is about 100 metres from the mooring on the same complex and a vehicle can offload passengers at the front ramp to the pub. A carvery (Nov 2022 price from £5.79 for smaller plate) available from (1130-1430hr & 1630 – 2030hr). An extensive menu is available throughout the day. (tel 01480414311)

How is Ladybird funded?

We are reliant on the generosity of the groups and passengers using the Ladybird for most of the running costs. The crew are volunteers and apart from giving their time for free also pay all their own transport costs to the Ladybird.

How can I support the Ladybird?

If you would like help us financially, this would be very welcome either as a Patron (paying £120 p.a by bankers standing order) or as a Friend (contributing whatever amount you wish).  If you can gift aid your donation this increases the amount LBT receives by 25%. Please check out our Support Section

Please check back for updates or, if you require further information, please contact us.

Smoking and Dogs

No smoking or vaping is permitted on the boat.

Only assistance dogs are permitted on board.

Health & Safety

Your safety is very important to us.

Crew will be present to provide safe entry and exit to the Ladybird.
Before your trip commences the Boatmaster will provide information and a safety announcement will then be played.
The Marine and Coastguard Agency who licence the boat require and inspect our Safety Management Plans for responding to emergencies and that risk assessment for passengers and crew members have been carried out.

Click here to view our current risk assessments

During the winter months crew carry out training which includes dealing with emergencies, risk awareness and first aid refresher courses.

Support the Ladybird Trust

The Ladybird Boat Trust would be delighted if you would consider helping us financially, thus supporting our work in providing free river based trips for disadvantaged groups.

There are a number of ways of supporting us:

Become a Patron

Find out about the Patron's Club

Patron Details


We are a charity but the costs of operating the Ladybird is approximately £18000 a year even with all crew members being volunteers.
We are very reliant on donations from groups, passengers and supporters to help fund us.
We suggest that those who can afford it donate £15 for a 4/5 hour trip.
We understand that for a shorter trip you might wish to donate slightly less.
The boatmaster can accept money or cheques on the day and provide receipts.
Our bank details are below. Please add trip No / group name in Reference.

Barclays Bank Sort code: 20-43-63
A/C No: 93529096
A/C Name: The Ladybird Boat Trust
Ref: Trip No / Group

Gift Aid Form

There are a number of different ways to contact Ladybird

If you have questions about our events, don't hesitate to send us your message.

By Email

Please use the contact form if you have any questions regarding potential trips, facilities or booking a trip on the Ladybird boat.

Send an email to

Boat Mobile


This mobile is only manned during trip hours, and is for emergency use only.
Please only use if you need to contact the boat on the day of your trip.


To contact a trustee please click on the person.

Mick Mean -
Jenni Jones -
Andy Nicol -

By Post

Ladybird Boat Trust
Cedar Lodge
Ramsey St Mary
PE26 2SN

By Phone

Our service provider charges for these calls - Click for Details

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