Boat Bars and Restaurants in London: A Guide to the Best Waterfront Dining Options

London is known for its iconic buildings, stunning river views, and exciting nightlife. For those seeking a unique experience on the water, London offers a variety of boat bars and restaurants. Whether it’s sipping cocktails on the top deck or enjoying a delicious meal while cruising along the river, these boat bars and restaurants are sure to impress.

This guide features eleven of the best boat bars and restaurants in London, carefully selected to provide visitors with a memorable experience. From trendy rooftop bars to elegant fine dining restaurants, there’s something for everyone. So, grab a drink and enjoy the beautiful views of London from the water.

Key Takeaways

  • London offers a variety of boat bars and restaurants for visitors seeking a unique experience on the water.
  • The guide features eleven carefully selected boat bars and restaurants, from trendy rooftop bars to elegant fine dining restaurants.
  • Visitors can enjoy stunning views of London while sipping cocktails or enjoying a delicious meal on the water.

The Best Boat Bars and Restaurants in London

Barge East

Located in Hackney Wick, Barge East is one of the best floating restaurants in London. The owners used the barge to sail over from Holland and eventually found a good mooring spot in Hackney Wick. They serve broadly English food with a strong emphasis on sustainability and locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant grows many of the things they use on the side of the canal the boat is moored to. The cooking, although traditional, can be very creative and has a very wholesome note running through it. A meal here is always exciting and can be followed by a lovely walk on the waterside and maybe a pint at one of Hackney Wick’s craft breweries.

The Cheese Barge

The Cheese Barge is a barge that serves a lot of cheese. Located in Paddington, the restaurant serves not only platters but also melted cheese in the form of fondue pots or as filling to some pretty top-notch toasties. The place is pretty much what you would expect it to be from the name. The restaurant is highly recommended for cheese lovers.

Feng Shang Princess

Of all the boat restaurants London has to offer, there is only one quite like the Feng Shang Princess. This floating restaurant is shaped like a Chinese pavilion and is located in Regent’s Park. The food they serve is a mix of Chinese fares with a leaning towards the south. The menu is as thick as an encyclopedia, so there are plenty of options to choose from. A plate of their mapo tofu is highly recommended.

Tamesis Dock

Located in Vauxhall, Tamesis Dock is a floating boozer built out of a 30s-era Dutch barge. The space has been cut up and adapted from whatever (probably industrial) function the boat was originally used for and turned into a neon-lit below-deck music venue and top-deck al fresco drinking area. The vibes are always super chilled up on top, especially in the summer when the warm weather means it’s not suicidal to sit up there. You’ll be able to see bits of Westminster, including Big Ben all lit up.

Hawksmoor Wood Wharf

Located in Canary Wharf, Hawksmoor’s Wood Wharf branch is a great place to have a truly superb meal on a boat restaurant. The restaurant is known for its steaks, which are regularly agreed to be some of the best in the city. It’s good wherever you eat it, but the site of Canary Wharf’s lights twinkling on the water and a good cocktail or two from the equally stunning bar really add to the atmosphere.

London Shell Co.

Located in Paddington, this family-run restaurant is a great place to visit for a bit of boat-based dining. The London Shell Co. opened in 2016 as a small venture serving set menus of seafood. The restaurant has kept its simple, family vibes, and the seafood is still as good as it was. A meal here is full of atmosphere. The place is sort of like a tribute to the water, and the things you’ll be eating come from it and are handled with a respect that just tells you the chef in the kitchen loves the ingredients they’re working with.

Tattershall Castle

Located in Victoria Embankment, the Tattershall Castle is a great boat bar in London. It’s part of that mooring of boats on the north bank of the river, sort of opposite the London Eye. The vibes on board lean more in the direction of traditional English boozers. There are many places you can perch up with a drink, or a meal for that matter, including a place called the Stateroom which is just as fancy as it sounds. And the old ship’s bridge, which is as cool as the Stateroom is fancy.

Bar & Co. Boat

Located in Victoria Embankment, Bar & Co. is another great boat bar in London. This spot takes on the vibe of a bar more than the pub stylings you get from a couple of the other venues in our guide. That bar vibe is a very nice one – slick decor all trimmed with lighting makes the place look great at night. They do innovative drinks and, at times, a delicious BBQ. When they’re not busy grilling, it’s likely they’ll be renting out the whole boat for a private event, or putting on gigs below deck.

Darcie & May Green

Located in Paddington, Darcie and May Green is probably the most unusual boat restaurant London has to offer. The place was designed by pop artist Sir Peter Blake and looks something like a patchwork quilt of color, or maybe a floating Battenberg cake? Regardless, the Australian fare they’ve got on offer is really pretty good, and even if you’re not eating, you’ll have plenty to indulge yourself in drinks wise

London Boat Bars and Restaurants: Practical Tips

To avoid disappointment, it’s highly recommended to book in advance for most boat bars and restaurants in London. These places tend to fill up quickly, especially during sunny weather. Competition for seats on the top deck can be fierce, so be prepared. Keep in mind that these places are popular, and it’s best to plan ahead to secure your spot.