Boating in London: A Guide to the Best Waterways and Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Experience

London is a city that is rich in history, culture, and entertainment. One of the best ways to enjoy the city is by taking to the water and exploring its many boating spots. With numerous lakes, canals, and the River Thames, London has plenty of options for those who want to experience the joy of boating.

In this article, readers will be provided with a comprehensive guide to the best boating spots in London. From practical tips to a detailed map, this article will equip readers with all the knowledge they need to make the most of their boating experience in the capital.

Key Takeaways

  • London has numerous boating spots that cater to a variety of interests and skill levels.
  • The article provides practical tips and a detailed map to help readers plan their boating trip.
  • Whether one prefers a leisurely pedalo ride or an adrenaline-fueled canoe adventure, London has something for everyone.

Best Places to Go Boating in London

Central London

Canary Wharf is a great place to go boating in central London. Skuna Boats offer unique experiences such as the BBQ Boat and the Hot Tub Boat. The Hot Tub Boat is a giant wooden hot tub that accommodates up to 7 people and starts at £225 for 75 minutes on board. On the other hand, the BBQ Boat allows you to enjoy barbecued food while taking in the sights along the river. Skuna provides the boat and the BBQ, starting from £150 for up to 9 people. If you prefer not to navigate the Thames yourself, you can ride the Uber Boat from Canary Wharf, which runs from Putney to Woolwich.

Paddington is another popular location for boating in central London. Goboat is a well-known boating company with several locations across the capital. The Paddington location lets you steer yourself through Regent’s Canal and towards the leafy Maida Vale and Little Venice areas. You can also spot The London Zoo and go as far as Camden Lock. It can cost as little as £14 per person for an hour on the water, and beginners are provided with life jackets and all the training they need to become a captain for the afternoon.

Regent’s Park is a royal park that offers a good selection of pedalos that you can take out on the water. You can rent a pedalo from April to October for £11.75 per hour for adults and £5.75 per hour for children. There are also a few nice cafes in the park where you can pick up some refreshments to take on board.

The Serpentine in Hyde Park is another classic British experience. You can turn up and rent a pedalo between April and November, from 8am until sundown. The Solar Shuttle is also available, which is a sneaky boat that silently snakes its way across the water, powered by the sun.

North London

Alexandra Palace Boating Lake is one of the more popular North London spots. From March to October, it costs just £18.95 per group to take to the lake (weather permitting). You get to choose between a range of animal pedalo designs, making it a fun experience for kids and families.

South London

Crystal Palace Park Boating Lake is a great spot to visit during autumn. It costs £5 to rent a pedalo for 30 minutes, and life jackets are included for children. Dulwich Park’s pedalos are also an option if you’re looking to set sail. Adults go for £6 and children for four on half-hour slots. Greenwich Park is another lovely spot for some pedalo fun. You can rent a pedalo starting at just £4 per person for 20 minutes.

East London

The River Lee in Hackney is a great spot for those situated in the eastern fringes of London. The Milk Float on the edge of Olympic Park is a brilliant place to spend an hour or two with a coffee or beer once you’ve navigated the canal. Canoe hire costs £36 for the first hour and £10 thereafter, with each canoe seating up to three people. Victoria Park is another great spot to take to the water in one of Regal Boat Hire’s fleet of 40 rowing boats and pedalos. Hollow Ponds in Epping Forest is one of the best places to go boating in London. From around March until the end of September each year, rowing boats can be hired for £10 per half hour (for up to five people).

West London

Kingston is home to another of Goboat’s spots in London. When you hire a boat from this location, you’ll start (and end) at Teddington Lock, before making your way towards Molesey Lock via Hampton Court Palace and Thames Ditton Island. Richmond Bridge is a dreamy romantic spot where you can watch the sunset from the water. You can rent a traditional rowing skiff from St Helena Pier or rent out a 12-person boat if you have experience. The Richmond Circular Cruise departs from the Landing Stage on the hour between 12pm and 4pm, and you can climb aboard Princess Freda, a charming Dunkirk ship with a lot of history that the crew will tell you about. You’ll spend 45 minutes passing the likes of Hampton Court Palace and Ham House, while the skippers give out some interesting tidbits. Tickets cost £10 per adult and must be booked in advance.

Boating in London: Practical Tips and Map

Boating in London is a popular activity that is available during spring and autumn. It is important to check availability and prices before arriving to avoid any surprises. Most boat hiring services do not require prior experience, as they will provide instructions before allowing individuals to rent a boat. It is important to note whether the price is per person or per boat before renting. A map of the boating locations is available on the website of most boat hiring services.