Frequently Asked Questions

  • What precautions are you taking due to COVID-19?

    The safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers is our top priority, so we have carefully considered how we can open well and have all the necessary rigorous cleaning procedures in place. As well as our usual safety procedures, there are a few things all visitors need to be aware of and to adhere to in order for us to be able to open safely. Full details can be found here:

  • What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

    Follow the government advice, take a test and isolate if necessary. Please don't visit The Matthew! If you do have COVID-19 but have booked a trip, please let us know as soon as possible so that we have time to re-sell your tickets. You will be offered a reschedule or refund under our coronavirus guarantee. See our Booking Terms & Conditions for more information.

  • The website is only letting me buy one ticket – how do I book more?

    If the booking system only allows you to book one ticket for a particular trip, it does mean there is only one ticket left. You can email the office at to be added to the waiting list if you need more than one ticket – we will contact you if we get any cancellations.

  • Can I book tickets online for today's trip?

    Online booking is closed a couple of days before a trip. If there are tickets remaining for a trip, you can purchase them on board (cash only) before the start of the trip – contact the office at to find out if there are tickets left. Please bear in mind that any remaining tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis and that we cannot take card payments on board the ship. Visit our Timetable page for the most up-to-date information:

  • The trip I want to go on is sold out – will you have any more tickets?

    If a trip is sold out, then we have reached maximum capacity and have no tickets left. However, tickets may become available at short notice due to a cancellation, so please do ask if you can be added to the waiting list. Get in touch with the office at with the trip date/time you want to go on and the number of tickets you'd like – we will contact you if we get any cancellations

  • I haven't received a booking confirmation – has my order gone through?

    If your booking confirmation hasn't arrived in your inbox within a few hours of booking, please check your spam/junk folder. If it isn't there, please email the office at and we will be able to confirm your booking and that you are on the passenger list. We will also re-send your confirmation email.

  • I haven't received my tickets – will I be able to come on my trip?

    Don't worry! We do not operate paper tickets on The Matthew – instead, we generate a passenger list for each trip. You just need to let us know your name on arrival. You should, however, receive an email with your booking confirmation. If this doesn't arrive in your inbox within a few hours of booking, please check your spam/junk folder. If it isn't there, please contact the office at, letting us know the trip you booked and the email address you used for booking. We can then check our orders to confirm your booking. We will also re-send your confirmation email.

  • What time should I arrive for my trip?

    Please arrive at our mooring outside M Shed around 15 minutes before the published start time of the trip – the ship leaves promptly and we cannot wait for latecomers. Bearing in mind we are in central Bristol, make sure you allow plenty of time for your journey, and to find suitable parking if you are driving. We cannot give refunds if you arrive late and miss your sailing. Take a look at our Plan Your Visit pages for more information:

  • What happens if I'm late for my trip?

    The ship leaves promptly and does not wait for latecomers, so please arrive around 15 minutes before your trip starts to allow for boarding. Make sure you allow plenty of time for your journey and to find suitable parking if you are driving. We cannot give refunds if you arrive late and miss your sailing.

  • The weather forecast isn't very good – will my trip go ahead?

    The only reason we would not go ahead with a trip is in the event of extreme weather or strong winds. If we do need to cancel your trip because of bad weather we will endeavour to let you know as far in advance as possible. If you have not heard from us (either by phone or email) then your trip will be going ahead as planned. However, it may be the case that the decision is made by the Captain immediately before the trip because of safety concerns. In the event of a trip being cancelled, you will be offered the opportunity to re-book your trip at a later date, a voucher equivalent to the value of tickets purchased, or a refund. Cash refunds cannot be given for trips purchased using gift vouchers. We recommend that you dress weather-appropriately as The Matthew is an outdoor venue with no heating or cover from the elements.

  • I can't make it anymore – can I cancel my ticket?

    If you cannot make it to a trip you have booked, please let us know as soon as possible. If you get in touch 4 weeks or more in advance to cancel your ticket, we will be happy to move your booking to another date or to refund your tickets. If it's less than 4 weeks we will endeavour to re-sell your tickets on your behalf, in which case we'd be able to give you a refund. We don't cover the office on weekends or bank holidays, so if you need to get in touch with us on a weekend about your trip, please use Facebook message. We can't guarantee we will be able to re-sell your ticket for a refund, but it will at least allow us the chance to give your spot to someone else. Please view the full cancellation policy here:

  • Will you be adding more trips?

    All of our currently confirmed trips are listed on our Book Tickets page – this page is updated as and when new trip dates are confirmed. We generally add trips in batches of up to a couple of months in advance, so if your required date isn't listed please do keep checking back (please note that public trips take place between April and October). You may also like to sign up for our email newsletter to find out when we add more trips to the website – head to our Contact page to subscribe!

  • How do I buy a gift voucher?

    Head on over to our gift voucher page: to buy your voucher. You can choose to order either a digital voucher (which can be emailed immediately or scheduled for a specific date), or a posted voucher. Both options allow you to send it directly to the recipient if you would like, or just to you. Postage costs £2 for UK delivery or £3 for international delivery. If you choose the digital option, the voucher code will be emailed to you. On posted vouchers, you will find a hand-written number to the right-hand side of your voucher – this is your voucher code.

  • How do I use my gift voucher to book trips online?

    Book your tickets online as you normally would, then enter your voucher code when prompted during the booking process, after you have entered the names of the passengers. Click the 'use voucher' button – the value of your voucher will be deducted from the value of the tickets you are purchasing. Please note that we cannot give a cash refund or credit note if the value of your voucher exceeds the value of the tickets purchased. You do not need to bring your voucher with you on your trip.

  • Do I need to buy a ticket for my baby?

    Your baby would qualify as a 'babe-in-arms' if you can carry them (i.e. a very young child or a baby who is not yet able to walk or crawl, and so must be carried in someone’s arms). If this is the case, you won't need to buy a ticket for them. However, we will still need their name for our passenger list.

  • What is accessibility like on the ship?

    The Matthew is wheelchair-accessible. Boarding is via a wheelchair-accessible ramp at the main entrance (1000mm gate width) and a 710mm wide gate in the bulwark (the side of the ship). The crew will also be on hand to help you if needed. Please note that the toilets on board are below deck down some very steep steps. Visitors may consider using the toilets elsewhere before boarding the ship.

  • Can I bring my own alcohol?

    We have a fully licensed CASH-ONLY bar on board which will be open for our Fish & Chips trips, Avon Gorge Cruises, Cream Tea trips and private hires. As we are a licensed venue, we cannot allow alcoholic drinks on board that have not been purchased from our bar, nor do we offer corkage options. Alcoholic drinks cannot be taken off the ship – all drinks purchased from the bar must be consumed on board. Please get in touch to discuss drinks options.

  • What should I wear?

    The Matthew is an open, uncovered boat so please dress for comfort according to the weather – bear in mind that you will be more exposed to the weather when out on the water. It can feel colder than it does on the quayside if it's windy, and more exposed to the sun if it's sunny. We recommend you consider bringing an extra layer, waterproofs, and/or sun protection! In the event of rain, we have large umbrellas that you can use. Please wear comfortable, preferably flat, footwear. We strongly discourage stiletto heels as these can be dangerous in the event of an emergency and will also damage the wooden deck.

  • How long can we stay on board The Matthew?

    If you are booked on a trip or have hired the ship for your private event, we politely request that you disembark promptly when the ship arrives back at our mooring. When we are at our mooring, opening hours are 10am-4pm, Tues-Sun during the summer, and 10am-4pm, Sat-Sun during the winter. During the summer, we typically start evening trips at 6pm and finish no later than 8pm. During the spring and autumn, sunrise and sunset times limit us as there is no artificial lighting on deck. The lack of natural or artificial light is a health and safety issue, so evening trips will usually be finished by 7pm. The Matthew is crewed almost exclusively by volunteers and their comfort and safety, as well as the comfort and safety of our visitors, is very important to us.

  • Can I smoke on board?

    No. As the ship is almost entirely constructed of wood, smoking, is not allowed on board The Matthew. Vapes and e-cigarettes are also not allowed.

  • Can I bring my own food?

    If your trip includes food, then generally we would not allow passengers to bring their own food (e.g. our Fish & Chips trips and Cream Tea trips). Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements when booking your ticket. The Avon Gorge Trip doesn't include food, so you are welcome to bring a picnic/snacks.

  • How many people fit on the ship?

    Our capacity for sailing trips is 40 people and for static (when we are moored up) is 50 people. We accept group bookings of up to 15 people on our public trips (10 people on a Harbour Trip). To get the full capacity for exclusive hire, please take a look at our private hire options.

  • Are there any seats?

    The Matthew is not a seated vessel. However, we do have a mix of plastic chairs and areas around the ship where you can comfortably sit. Visitors are free to wander around and sit with friends and family members as they wish.

  • Do you have toilets on board?

    We do have toilets on board. However, they are situated below deck and accessed via a steep step ladder. Visitors may want to consider using toilets elsewhere before boarding the ship if they have mobility issues.

  • Can you drop me off around the harbour?

    Passengers may only disembark at our mooring outside the M Shed. Unfortunately, you will be unable to disembark the ship at any other point.

  • Do you offer commentary on your trips?

    We don't offer commentary on any of our trips. However, you are invited to ask our knowledgeable volunteer crew questions on all of our trips – they'll be very happy to answer as best they can.

  • Can I bring my dog?

    Well-behaved dogs are welcome on trips where no food is served but they must be kept on a short lead at all times. We would also ask that you are mindful of other passengers (both adults and children) who may be scared of dogs. Service animals are always welcome.

  • I want to visit but the ship isn't there! Where are you?

    We run regular public and private trips during the summer and school trips in the mornings during term time, so we may not be at our mooring, or we may be closed to the general public for a short while. The ship will also be closed in the case of bad weather. During the winter, the ship may be closed or away from our mooring due to our annual maintenance programme. If you are planning a special visit, please contact the office at to find out if the ship is moored.

  • Are there any times of year you are closed?

    The ship is closed to the public during our maintenance period between December and March, and also on Mondays. Trips usually take place between April and October. When not out on a trip, we are open to visitors between 10am and 4pm on Tues–Sun during the summer and weekends only during the winter. Please check our Plan Your Visit pages for our opening times and timetable.

  • How can I contact the office?

    Office hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9.30am and 3pm. Please note that the office is closed on public holidays and weekends. You can get in touch via email at or phone on 0117 9276868 (please leave a message if your call is not answered).