The story begins with the three friends, George, Harris and J (the narrator), along with his dog, Montomorency, spending an evening in
Js room discussing their illnesses. They deduce that the reason for their suffering is overwork. So, they decide to go on a boating
holiday, in spite of Js disinclination towards it.
They go on board the following Saturday. George is supposed to go for work that morning; so, J and Harris reach Kingston by train. At
Waterloostation, they bribe a train driver to take the train to Kingston, from where they board their boat and begin their journey. They meet George at
The story goes on with the incidents that include anecdotes told by three of them. The landmarks, historical significance of which are described, are
Hampton Court Palace, Monkey Islands, Magna Charta Island and Marlow. The anecdotes include stories about weather forecasts, difficulties related
to playing bagpipes, towing a boat, steam launches, punting, sailing and fishing etc. The outcomes of river pastimes, which are a result of
inexperience, are described in a humorousmanner.
On reaching Oxford, they experience bad weather and rain. The three consider it wise to leave the boat and board a train from Pangbourne. Thus,
the three men in a boat.