During the summer we were kindly invited by GoBoat London for a super fun experience sailing London’s canals. We have never done this before even though it is so close to us, so we were super excited to do this as our first experience. After so many months stuck at home due to the lockdown, this was such a great opportunity to spend some fun time with my family and to explore London in a different way.
We had such a beautiful sunny day, perfect for an activity like this. We were so lucky because it was had 23°c. This made the whole experience even better because the views were so gorgeous.
Can you believe that I have lived in London for about 15 years and I have never known you were able to hire a boat and navigate through the canals of London? This was such a lovely surprise.
We live so close to Paddington which is where you have to go to start your journey, so this was very handy. It took us about 15 minutes to go there by car. We parked under the Hilton Metropole hotel using “pay and display” via the ‘Park Right’ app. The basin is a short minute walk from the station.
GoBoat is a self-drive, powered boating experience. You are the captain, you choose the route and there is no need for any boating experience at all!
You can currently experience GoBoat in the area of Merchant Square near London Paddington and London Kingston. The GoBoat concept was brought over to the UK from Copenhagen in 2017.
We walked to the basin in Merchant Square and saw the stand. Our slot was at 2:45 pm and we needed to arrive 15 minutes earlier, so at 2:30 pm. This is because you receive training before you start your slot.
After checking in, we went to the side to listen to our safety brief. This was very important as we were self-driving our boat. Nick was the chosen Capitan as I wanted to take pictures. The girls did try to sail it for a very short time as they were desperate to see how it worked. The requirement to be a Captain is that you are over 18 years old and remain sober during the journey.
Under 16s are given life jackets, so each of my girls got one. We also got a map so we knew what route to take, this way you cannot get lost. You should come back within your allotted time slot. Our session was 2 hours long. But you can also hire it for one hour or 3 hours. We thought 2 hours was the perfect time.
There are people in certain parts of the journey to help out if needed. This was very comforting know. Obviously, there is very little chance something could happen but it is, of course, worth knowing you are not alone during your journey.
Our GoBoat Boat
We then were taken to our boat that was completely wiped, cleaned and sanitized for us. They do this after every trip, so we felt safe when we were inside the boat.
The boat has a good size. It can fit up to 8 people. At the moment, you can set sail on the same boat if you are 8 people from the same household or support bubble (proof of address will be required) or 6 people from different households. For dog owners, I have great news, you can bring your furry friend because dogs are welcome on board too.
Loving my Captain Hat. You can buy one at their checking stand for £7.50
The boat is very quiet which is interesting compared to other boats. This is because these boats use electric engines which makes the whole journey even more peaceful.
Picnic On Board Of Our GoBoat Boat
The boat also has a table in the middle which is perfect for a picnic and they actually encourage you to bring one.
We brought 2 delicious Top Hill picnics (£35 each) which was kindly gifted by 144 On The Hill. We got the following items:
- 2 Bagels (smoked salmon & dill cream cheese; and roasted vegetable medley, quinoa humous, rocket leaves)
- 2 Homemade Sausage Rolls
- 2 Homemade Quiches (Asparagus and edamame)
- 2 Skewers (Prosciutto & Rock melon)
- 1 Superfood Salad (Green leaves, cured tomato seeds, pomegranate, quinoa, radish, avocado oil)
- 1 Crispy Duck Salad (Growing leaves, red chilli, toasted nuts, blackberries, pickled vegetables, melon
- 2 Mini Frangipanes (Orage blossom)
- 2 Red Smoothie (raspberry & hazelnut)
- 2 Iced Teas
It was delicious and looked gorgeous. I brought a table cloth, flowers and napkins to make our picnic even more special.
There is also an M&S near the GoBoat reception if you would like to pick up something quick from there.
Our Journey Inside our GoBoat boat
We started our journey in Paddington. Then we headed through Little Venice, the 249 metre Maida Hill Tunnel, Regent’s Park, London Zoo and Camden Lock. The views were gorgeous.
On our way through Little Venice, we saw lots of multi-coloured houseboats. They were very pretty decorated.
The Regent’s canal continues through the Maida Hill Tunnel. Passing the Maida Hill Tunnel was fun because it is long and narrow, so the girls found it exciting as you have to wait for other boats to pass through and be clear before you can enter.
There were some beautiful houses to see along the canals. We then passed through London Zoo. It was fun to see some animals from the boat. London Zoo was on both sides of the Regent Canal.
Finally, we reached the Cumberland Basin where you can see a beautiful, floating Chinese Restaurant. At this point, we turned back towards Paddington basin.
Things To Know When You Book A Slot With GoBoat London
If you would like to try GoBoat too, the following will be useful to know:
My girls wearing their life jackets
- Each boat can seat up to 8 people from the same household or support bubble (proof of address will be required)
- Or 6 people from different households
- Contactless payment only and booking in advance
- Life jacket available
- Every boat is sanitized in between each trip
- To hire GoBoat costs: 1 hr – £79 | 2hrs – £109 | 3 hrs – £139
- Limited alcohol and food are allowed on board.
- The captain must be over 18 and should not consume alcohol
- All boats are wiped down and cleaned after each use as well as the life jackets (for under 16)
- You have a tutorial before you go to the boat. You get a map so you cannot get lost and there are people in certain parts of the journey to help out if needed.
- Two locations: Paddington and Kingston
- GoBoat’s are not covered. If it rains you will get wet, so best to check the weather before you head over their basin and bring the appropriate clothing.
- The boats are run off electric engines and are eco-friendly as they are made of 80% recycled plastic bottles
- The top speed of the boat is around 4mph
- There is no bathroom so better to go before you jump into the boat
This was such a lovely experience. We really enjoyed the 2 hours that we were on the boat. We would love to try this again perhaps during Spring or Autumn as the scenery would be even more colourful. This could be a cool birthday gift too.
We really enjoyed being left to sail the boat ourselves and to undertake our journey at our own pace. It was very relaxing. GoBoat is a fantastic way to spend family time together and it is a great way to see London from a different perspective. The girls had a lovely time and enjoyed every part of the journey
We loved this experience. We highly recommend it!
Have you tried GoBoat London before?
*Disclosure: We were invited to review GoBoat for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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