I’ll start this post with a confession – I love Great Canal Journeys with Pru and Tim so when we got asked to try out a ‘self-drive’ boat in London with GoBoat it was only ever going to be a whopping great YES from me.
Few people know that London has a canal or two hiding away. The Regent’s Canal is 8.6 miles long and connects the Limehouse Basin in East London to the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal in West London; the Grand Union Canal being 137 miles of waterway stretching from London to Birmingham.
All about GoBoat
GoBoat are based in Paddington Basin, they are super friendly and are all about encouraging anyone and everyone to enjoy the beauty and fun of London’s sometimes overlooked waterways.
Each GoBoat is self drive with an electric engine which takes you along the canals at a steady and safe 4mph and is suitable for up to eight people. Each GoBoat has a picnic table and plenty of seating; creating a truly sociable experience for family, friends, corporate events and any occasion to be honest.
You can take a picnic and a small amount of alcohol too – although the designated Captain must stay off the rum…
Our GoBoat experience
It was really easy to find GoBoat – it’s a 5-10 minute walk from either Edgware Road or Paddington stations and you’ll find GoBoat’s base at Merchant Square, Paddington Basin.
It is recommend you book online to avoid disappointment and you need to arrive at least 15 minutes before hand to check in and learn the basics. You can rent your GoBoat for 1-3 hours; with 2 hours recommended at the very least to be able to get the best out of the experience.
Child & Doggy Friendly
All children and babies must wear lifejackets which are provided and canine friends are very much welcomed too – GoBoat is a really friendly experience from browsing to booking to boating.
Once aboard you are shown how to drive and steer the boat and given some brief rules of the waterways, such as how to navigate the tunnels, to keep on the right and so on.
A Very Rainy Day
It unfortunately rained all day – but we were determined to have a nice time and we set off towards Camden Lock, following the Regent’s Canal.
Little Venice was our first port of call – in the summer it’s a hive of activity with a floating puppet show, cafés and lots going on. We saw lots of brightly coloured canal boats, a strange site in city surroundings.
Next came the Maida Hill Tunnel, a 251m tunnel which was completed in 1816 and has no towpath – barges would have ‘legged’ it through the tunnel in it’s heyday, long before even horse-drawn barges were a thing.
We passed some beautiful Regency villas – the canal is really tranquil and beautiful here. It’s hard to believe you are in the middle(ish) of London! You even go through London Zoo, with the Aviary on your left and the African Hunting Dogs on your right – the little man especially enjoyed this part as lots of people waved at him.
Trundling on the weather seemed to just get wetter and wetter – luckily there are umbrellas and ponchos under the seats, which helped keep us dry.
After a sharp turn at Cumberland Basin(look out for the huge floating Chinese restaurant) we found ourselves approaching Camden Lock – the turning point(no locks are allowed) before making our way back to base.
A Jolly Good Time
Despite the torrential rain we had a fabulous time – I’d love to go back on a hot Summer’s day with a bottle of Prosecco and a picnic!
The Nitty Gritty
It costs from £59 to £139 per boat depending on hire time(1-3 hours) and day/time(peak is weekends, school holidays and Bank Holidays).
As above each GoBoat carries up to 8 people but you can hire multiple boats if planning a trip as a larger group.
I’d highly recommend taking a picnic – there are food outlets nearby(M&S Food) if you wanted to grab something on the day.
From a parental point of view it’s very child friendly – my little man tends to get bored quite easily but he didn’t run out of things to see at all.
Would we do it again? Abso-blooming-lutely – GoBoat is amazing fun!
For more information, booking, gift vouchers and more please check out the GoBoat website by clicking here – you can also get 10% off all bookings by using code PROSECCO10 up until 31st May 2019. Don’t forget to check out @GoBoatLDN on Instagram and hashtag #GoBoatLDN 🙂
Lisa & Family x
**We were gifted a two hour GoBoat trip in exchange for this review. As always all opinions are honest and my own**