Last Updated on August 5, 2021
All hands on deck across London’s waterways with GoBoat.
Whilst holidaymakers flock to the British coast for some sea and sand, those local to the capital may not be aware that they can hit the water and embark on a boating adventure right in their own backyard. GoBoat, with locations in Kingston, Paddington, and Canary Wharf, offers boat rentals to groups of up to 8 where wannabe navy captains or pleasure sailors can navigate the waters of the Thames up to Hampton Court Palace, Regent’s Canal or the London Docklands. Unlike more conventional river cruises, GoBoat offers the exciting opportunity to drive an electric-powered GoBoat oneself following an important safety briefing and a supervised first attempt on the controls.
Our group of six met for an evening cruise on the GoBoat’s pier in the Paddington Basin, surrounded by shining office buildings and under a (fortunately) clear sky. Carefully avoiding houseboats moored on the side, we set sail past Paddington station on the left and on towards Little Venice.
The stylish grey GoBoat is small enough for the inexperienced sailor to comfortably get to grips with very quickly but large enough to feel spacious around the table in the centre. GoBoat would be perfect for a romantic evening cruise, families on a day trip to London or those who are keen to explore their home city from a new angle, as well as groups of friends.
We had taken to the water to celebrate a birthday and had planned ahead with a picnic basket bursting with tapas, cheese, crackers and fruit. Other boaters had bought food from a local supermarket near the GoBoat pier or boarded with boxes of pizza from a food van parked nearby. We enjoyed the snacks and non-alcoholic drinks with us as we received cheerful waves from diners at the various canal-side eateries and bars.
At Little Venice, we navigated a water roundabout (remember to head around clockwise!) before reaching the first tunnel of our voyage. One of the most enjoyable aspects of our cruise was the varied scenery. From the modern skyscrapers of Paddington to the verdant surroundings of the canal as it heads behind Regent’s Park and the ZSL London Zoo, GoBoat is not only a completely unique way to experience London, but you can also enjoy some great people watching from the dog-walkers of Maida Vale to the punters at pubs around Camden Lock.
GoBoat helpfully put signs along the canal to direct drivers, which was especially important at the 249m Maida Hill tunnel through which only one boat can travel at a time. Venturing further towards Camden Lock, signs are in place informing sailors of when to turn around and head back to Paddington’s Merchant Square. We found our three-hour time slot more than adequate for the voyage and it allowed us to take a relaxed pace and admire our surroundings.
GoBoat also sets sail from Kingston and takes guests from Kingston Road Bridge up past Hampton Court Palace to Moseley Lock and down to Teddington Lock. The Canary Wharf location starts at Bellmouth Passage for an exploration of the London Docklands.
GoBoat costs £89 for one hour, £129 for two hours and £169 for three. Check the GoBoat Website for more information
Looking for something similar but different? How about a HotTub trip on the river with HotTug?