The Wessex Rose

Setting sail

Floating hotel sets sail on Kennet and Avon

The largest hotel canal boat in England has taken to the water for her maiden voyage, from her launch point in Northamptonshire to her operating base on the Kennet and Avon canal, with the support of a five-figure loan from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

The Wessex Rose will be available in the off-peak season for private hire for functions and parties, as well as offering special Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s Day packages.

Having worked in transport for many years I’d always wanted to run my own business.

David Binney, Joint Owner, The Wessex Rose

Made to measure

At 70ft long, 12ft 6 inches wide and weighing over 40 tonnes, the Wessex Rose was custom-made from 22 tonnes of steel by the Stoke-on-Trent hull builder, Tyler Wilson, and fitted out by Daventry based specialist boat builders, Milburn Boats.

The Wessex Rose has been specifically designed to fit through the locks of the Kennet and Avon Canal where it will operate three, four and seven day scheduled cruises throughout the summer.

The building of the Wessex Rose has been an extraordinary undertaking, and the finished result is a credit to both the Binney’s project management and the craftsmen involved.

Peter Kay, Relationship Manager, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking

A home from home

Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking gave the lending before the boat was built; indeed the lending was agreed before there was anything solid in the way of a business. This enabled the whole thing to be constructed, floated and opened.

The floating hotel can now accommodate up to six guests at a time in three luxury en-suite cabins, and will provide full-board cruises along the Avon and Kennet rivers and canal between Bristol and Reading. The boat is equipped with hardwood floors and under-floor heating throughout, as well as a saloon with a stove and satellite TV.

It’s really exciting to have seen the transformation from raw materials to a finished boat, and we’ve already take bookings from as far away as the USA and Australia.

David Binney, Joint Owner, The Wessex Rose

Lending to match needs

Husband and wife team from Yorkshire, David and Karen Binney, approached Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking for the Government-backed Funding for Lending Scheme loan to begin work on the boat in the autumn of 2012, and will crew the vessel and look after guests themselves throughout the cruises.

David and Karen have put considerable thought into every aspect of the business which was part of what impressed me about the business plan they presented to me.

Peter Kay, Relationship Manager, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking

Lending to match needs

Wide range of SME support

Many people dream of setting up their own business, but the support from an experienced bank manager who has helped other businesses through their first steps, can make all the difference when translating a vision into a reality. Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking offers exactly that support as part of our commitment to help Britain prosper.

It’s a thrilling journey to see a business plan start to take physical form and begin to successfully attract customers and generate income, and we look forward to seeing this business remain afloat for many years to come.

Peter Kay, Relationship Manager, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking