For us locals, Ray Mill Island is so much like an extension of our back garden that one would hardly think of writing a review, but sunny days and holidays we flock happily to watch the pleasure boats and gin palaces go through the lock, feed the ducks and squirrels, marvel at the weir, scuff in the fallen leaves and perhaps have an ice cream. Children love the rickety rackety rope bridge on their way to see the guinea pigs and bird cages.
The island was created when the lock cut was dug to facilitate navigation of the Thames back in the 18th century and was, right up to modern times, the private garden of the river-water powered flour mill -belonging to the Ray family - that sits alongside the lock, on the River Thames itself.
Nowadays the island is owned and maintained by the local authority; the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and is open to all. (Except when the river is in full spate and the park entry gates are locked for safety reasons.) The flour mill has become a decent restaurant and pub - the Boulters Inn - catering for both casual and more formal eating and drinking, seated outside or in, whilst overlooking the river. Successive restaurants here have had a checkered, often poor, history; but today's proprietors serve good grub elegantly. The hut on the island serves ice cream and drinks.
If you arrive by boat, you can moor up alongside the Boulters Inn private jetty!
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