Retro on the Water returns this Weekend


Retro on the Water returns to Gloucester on the weekend of 26-27 August, with the City’s historic Docks hosting an array of boat trips, displays and stalls.

Gloucester Retro on the Water

The free-to-attend event takes place at the same time as the Gloucester Goes Retro festival across the city, one of Gloucester’s vibrant festival calendar highlights.

Across the two days, exciting and historic boats will be moored in the Docks, with visitors able to enjoy guided tours on the Saturday of the 123-year-old Kathleen and May, the last of the British-built three-masted schooners.

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Four boat trips and experiences will be available, including aboard the Dunkirk Little Ship and the Queen Boadicea II from the National Waterways Museum. Self-drive electric boats will be available for visitors to explore the docks for themselves, whilst those taking one of the nine decorated rowing boats can enjoy the water-based art installation by renowned artist Luke Jerram, which features incredible water-themed true stories from different people worldwide.

Specialist shipyard Tommy Nielsen will display key historic waterway artefacts and ropework demonstrations.

On the water, there will be a famous race of the cardboard replica Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters, built by local businesses and individuals, a display of radio-controlled boats, competitions for the best-dressed boat and the RNLI will be focussing on water safety.

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The Canal & River Trust and other local waterway charities, including Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust, Cotswold Canals Trust and Gloucester & District Model Boat club will be present. At the same time, children can enjoy some of the activities from Atlas Tabletop Gaming.  A Treasure Trail will help visitors adventure around the Docks, with completed Trail Sheets being entered into a draw to win a star prize. The Gloucestershire Dementia Choir will be performing on Saturday.

Festival organiser Tony Aldridge said: “A festival in Gloucester would not be complete without the fantastic attractions in the Docks.  We are delighted to be able to organise this event again, involving the local community and businesses showcasing the rejuvenation of this historic inland port, where ocean-going ships met the narrow boats of the extensive inland waterways.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for people to come and see some of the different historic boats from over the decades and enjoy the other activities on offer and enjoy a weekend at the Docks.”

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Caroline Kendall from the Canal & River Trust said: “We are looking forward to seeing the Docks alive with people and boats for what’s sure to be another brilliant event celebrating the story of the Docks. It’s one of many spectacular locations on our 2,000-mile canal network that brings visitors and tourists all year round to the centre of Gloucester.

“It’ll no doubt give everyone a taste of the waterways past and celebrate what’s fantastic about our canal network today where we are working hard to keep canals alive so they can be enjoyed for future generations.”

Retro on the Water will take place on the North Quay at the Docks alongside the Gloucester Goes Retro festival, which will also occur at the Docks and other parts of the city. The festival is organised by Gloucester City Council and is supported by the Canal & River Trust, Visit Gloucester, Gloucester BID and Reef Group.

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To find out more about the festival, visit

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