Devon Belle

Devon Belle

A Characterful Little Ship Of Dunkirk River Party Boat

Chartering The Devon Belle River Boat

The Devon Belle is a Little Ship of Dunkirk and oozes character. Having spent much of her life at sea she was brought round to the Thames from Plymouth in 1999. Since then she has undergone 3 refits the latest one helping create one of the coolest outdoor party venues on the Thames.

She is a wooden boat with wooden decks and her timbers  no doubt have a lot of stories to tell. We have added a top deck bar and created a cool new saloon space on the lower deck giving her our special touches including an area perfect for a Soho Kitchen grazing table.

Ideal for wedding transport, relaxed parties and live outdoor music the Devon Belle is totally unique on the river and so much fun. A floating bar, entertainment space and perfect for those looking for a heritage feel to an event. Don't let her age fool you though, she has all mod cons so you can cruise, drink, nibble and party in comfort.

If you are looking for an idea for a Devon Belle party, we recommend either:

Live music, canapés and cocktails or a cruise with a riverside BBQ, board for drinks and a cruise and then our floating bar will moor up in a secret location for a riverside BBQ before returning to the river for drink on deck as the sun goes down

Devon Belle

History of The Devon Belle

The Devon Belle was built in Dartmouth by Ferris & Blank and worked her early life on the Dart itself, at this point under the name Seymour Castle. Her early war years saw her laid up before answering the call to head to the beaches of Dunkirk as part of Operation Dynamo as one of the Little Ships of Dunkirk. One of a small fleet of boats to come from Devon she was captained by Cyril Roper of the River Dart Steamboat Company.

After the Dunkirk evacuation Devon Belle continued to work  for the Admiralty, ferrying soldiers and seamen to larger vessels. Her war efforts were however not over and she assisted with the operation to construct Mulberry Harbours (temporary floating harbours). She was then towed herself to Normandy to service the D-Day landings.

In what was probably a sigh of relief for a boat that at this point was less than 10 years old and had quite the adventure, she returned to passenger boat service post war. Her interesting life was however not over, in 1972 she was purchased by Tony Soper a naturalist with and distinguished journalist and film maker who was both the BBC's first wildlife cameraman, film producer and co-founded the now highly-acclaimed BBC Natural History Unit. Tony used the Devon Belle (in his custody called Scomber) as a floating classroom on the Tamar. He went on to pioneer the concept of expedition cruising.

Returning to passenger boat service in 1982, she also returned to her home on the Dart and worked from Dartmouth. In 1997 she moved once again, this time round to the naval city of Plymouth where she operated from the Hoe and where her name was changed to Devon Belle.

Devon Belle was sailed from Plymouth along the coast and up the Thames in 1999 by the owner and founder of Thames Rivercruise, Tim Deaton. He has refitted her multiple times during his stewardship and took her back to Dunkirk in 2000 for a 5 year Dunkirk Little Ships commemoration and proudly joined the Queens Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012. Tim retains a strong and guiding hand in everything Devon Belle related and has been instrumental in her current transformation.

layout, decks & interior

The main boarding points for the Devon Belle are on to the forward deck, we are also able to board on to the aft deck, helping keep her versatile for varied riverside boarding points. 

The open foredeck is one of the best places to catch an uninterrupted sunset with glass of Pimms in hand. From the foredeck there are steps to the upper deck, this has a roll back roof offering protection from both sun and rain. This is the location of our bar and impromptu dancing space with additional seating.

Stepping down from the upper deck to the open aft deck we have another covered outside space that leads through doors down again to the saloon, hope of the Sojo kitchen grazing table, inside seating and access to ladies and gents toilets.

The Devon Belle is an old lady, she is multi decked and you do need to be able to climb a few steps on the stairs to move around her.

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