Last Updated on November 18, 2018 by Fiona Maclean
A Unique Quirky London Experience with HotTug:
The idea of floating around Canary Wharf in a tub of water on a cold winter’s day in November may not immediately appeal…
But hang on a moment; just imagine you’re with a group of lovely friends, in a glorious hot-tub; it’s a frosty yet beautifully sunny day; you’ve got a glass of fizz in hand – and leisurely you sail around the docks, taking in dramatic views of the skyscrapers towering high above…..Sold?!
HotTugUK has two locations, one at West India Quay at Canary Wharf and the other in Angel/Old Street. It offers a unique experience, which can be enjoyed at any time of year for groups of up to seven people. The hot-tug is electric self-drive, with fresh water (which is changed every trip) kept heated by a wood fire to a toasty 38 C /100 FH. The experience lasts for 90 minutes, with 75 minutes of the time in the tub.
HotTug originates from Rotterdam, the inspirational idea of Dutchman Frank de Bruijn who wanted a swimming enclosure beside his canal boat to enjoy through all the highs and lows of Rotterdam’s weather. The HotTug was bought to London when Stuart “Tommo” Thomson was enjoying a break in the Dutch city and saw them cruising down the canals. Without wasting time, he decided to bring Hot Tugs to the UK as he knew they would be a big hit in London. When Tommo’s friends and family loved the idea too, he knew it could be a success, so he decided to share the love and raise the money required to bring HotTug to the UK with a Crowdfunder campaign. It was clear that the people were very much behind the idea and the £10,000 goal was smashed within the first week, with the campaign gaining an astonishing £30,469, raised by 221 supporters.
Since HotTug was launched at the Islington Boat Club in July 2017 the business has gone from strength to strength and has hosted hundreds of happy excursions.
Invited to take a voyage in the HotTug at Canary Wharf, I gathered a group of willing friends – who I have to say were initially a little dubious of our outing. But I instructed them to bring their costumes and flip flops, and be prepared for something completely different.
We arrived at our location on West India Quay, which is a short walk from Westferry station on the DLR. Fortunately we had the weather on our side; in fact we couldn’t have wished for a more magnificent day for a trip in a HotTug.
We were greeted by Captain Austin (a founder member of the HotTug team) and his fellow tug-mate, who provided a detailed safety and instructional demonstration and guided us through the route we would take with the help of a map.
We had the full VIP treatment, which included some glamorous sailor’s hats, bright red robes and towels, plus an ice bucket to keep our drinks cool (which you bring along yourself), some plastic glasses and a sealed pot that we could keep our mobiles in on board. We were able to get changed in the small on-site cabin and all our possessions were stowed away safely before getting on board.
After a bit of a photo session dockside, and a lot of laughter, we boarded the tug along with a bottle fizz. We all had our roles….You’ll have to designate one crew member to skipper (and not drink) the Tug. My friend Emma is married to a sailor, so we thought she might be best placed for the job – and I have to say we were right; we felt in very safe hands as she steered us seamlessly around the docks. Karen took the role of bringing down the chimney when we passed under a low bridge, and Mel was chief bottle opener. I tried to take pictures – but it’s not the easiest thing to do whilst you’re sitting in a large tub of water!
We quickly got the hang of it and drifted happily along, much to the amazement of people overhead. We received many a friendly wave and it turned out to be an absolutely lovely, relaxing and fun experience that we all thoroughly enjoyed.
I would highly recommend taking a HotTug to anyone who would like to enjoy a day out with a difference, whatever the weather, and it would be absolutely perfect for a special birthday treat, hen party or celebration of any kind.
The HotTug experience lasts for 90 minutes with 75 minutes of time in the freshwater- which is changed after every trip. You can choose from a departure point in Angel/Old Street or as we did, East India Quay. Prices start at £32pp
For more information check out the Hot Tug Uk website or call 020 72052827
Looking for a more conventional way of cruising? Check out Simon’s barge trip in Burgundy