At the weekend we were invited to try out GoBoat London. If like me you had never heard of them before GoBoat operate on the London canals just by Paddington Station. It is an area of London we have never explored before so what better way to do it than by boat. We decided to drive into London because we wanted to go onto the RAF Museum afterwards. There are several carparks a short walk away. We opted for Bell Street which cost us £11 for four hours.

GoBoat is very easy to find just by Merchant Square. There are a couple of cafes close by which are the nearest toilets so we stopped for a hot drink before boarding. Monkey was delighted that he got to choose a captains hat as he put his life jacket on. I was very impressed with he quality of the life jackets. Unlike some other boat rides we have been on, these looked brand new and there was a lot of them lined up behind the kiosk. Kipper naturally needed some gentle persuasion to put it on.

Once on the boat we were shown how to operate it. Despite neither of us having never operated a boat before it was very simple and straight forward to steer. We had a little test drive up to the end of the canal before turning round and dropping off our instructor. Then we were free to do what we wanted. There are quite a few barges on the canals but because we opted for an early slot it was not busy. This gave Hubby a chance to get some practice in. You can hire the boats from 1 hour to 4 hours. We had a two hour slot from 11am to 1pm. We noticed that the canals got much busier towards the end of our session.

You are also given a map of the canals on a clip board. It gives you a rough indication of how long it takes to get back to base camp. We managed to get pretty much all the way up to Camden lock before turning around and coming back. This saw us go past various points of interest including London Zoo, Regents Park, Primrose Hill and my favourite Little Venice. I loved seeing all the multi coloured barges up and down the side of the canals. Its definitely made us think that we would like to have a little break on the Norfolk Broads once Kipper is a little older. It looks like a very relaxed way of life.

At the end of Little Venice you have to go through a 25m tunnel, called Maida Hill Tunnel. This will take you up to Camden Loch. The GoBoat has a light on the front as it is very dark inside the tunnel. You have to make sure that there is nothing coming in the opposite direction when you enter. As its not wide enough to pass. The GoBoat definitely has an advantage over the barges which are much more cumbersome. Although that may sound draughting we managed to navigate it each time. As the tunnel is straight so its pretty easy to work out if you can go or not.

In the middle of the GoBoat there is a large picnic table which we filled with our lunch. It was a little challenging feeding the boys, capturing photos and making sure Kipper didn’t jump off the side! However I could imagine sitting enjoying a glass of cold wine and watching the world go by. Understandably they do limit the amount of alcohol you can take onto the boat and with the boys we didn’t take any. But of course one can dream…

On our two hour hire we purposefully followed the map to the right as far as we could go. I think if you had a longer hire I would have been tempted to try out the loch. At bird Island you could also go off to the left towards the Paddington Arm of the Grand Canal. There is less to see this way and when we visited there was also a lot of weed in this part of the canal. So we decided against it. Plus it will give us an excuse to go back.

We all had a great time on the canals with GoBoat and would highly recommend a visit. Operating throughout the week with peak times at the weekend. You can book in fifteen minute slots from 10am to 6pm depending on the length of your booking. Prices start from £59 and you can get up to eight people in a boat. Next time we are planning on taking the grandparents with us.  You can find out more and book online here.

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We were given a two hour session on a GoBoat for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own.


  1. We came across some of these boats when we did the Paddington Bear tour last year and we thought what a relaxing area it was just steps away from all the hustle and bustle!

  2. This looks like an amazing day out. I really want to do this – it’s mikes from where I live but it would make a great weekend away adventure. Thanks !

    • Geraline Batarra Reply

      These goboats looks so fun. I would really love to ride in one of these boats someday. I bet it would be so relaxing.

  3. Gemma Hendry Reply

    looks so much fun, ive only been on boat to zoo in london

  4. Dawn Samples Reply

    We have alot of canals around where we live in Yorkshire. I particularly like the Skipton Canal boats and the kids enjoy them x

  5. One of my favourite posts and the top photo of the boys is perfect!
    I had never heard of GoBoat,either, but it looks like a wonderful trip. As always, lots of really useful information to help me plan. Thank you.

  6. This looks like so much fun. My kids would love a day out like this!

  7. Caroline Tinsley Reply

    I’ve been on canal boat trips before, but never driven one myself. If you are thinking about going on a boathouse holiday, a trip like this is a very good idea just to try it out and see if it’s something you would enjoy.

  8. Margaret GALLAGHER Reply

    Looks loads of fun – something our family will love

  9. Jeanette Leighton Reply

    I love London, my dad lives in Walton on Thames right next to.the river so you can walk to Hampton court palace

  10. Jo Hutchings Reply

    Sounds like a really unique way to explore. Lovely photos.

  11. This looks like a great day out, your boys certainly look as though they enjoyed themselves. Must take my nephews.

  12. Wow. I just watched this from movies and did not realize that it is a real thing. Such adorable kids too. What a great time for bonding really.

  13. Elaine Shaw Reply

    What an amazing day out, and not your typical London visit, instead a side of London that you may never realise. Love the photographs, they really set the scene. Love to experience this. Thanks for sharing

  14. My hubby would love this, it looks so lovely and the your pictures are delightful x

  15. This is such a great day out idea – I love the idea of being able to control your own boat and choose exactly where you go! I can’t believe I’d never heard of it before either

  16. What a great way to explore! Love boating through cities for some reason – always such a great way to see it.

  17. This must have been such a fun adventure! Makes me want to be a kid again and see it from their perspective. Actually, I don’t care if I’m a kid – I just want to go boating like this. Also: awesome picture of the colorful jacket matching the colorful background!

  18. It looks like you all had a great time, I love all places that have a canal you can ride down. It’s so peaceful to do, Thanks for sharing

  19. Catherine Santiago Jose Reply

    I have never been there but it looks like a nice and fun experience with your boys and the place look so peaceful.

  20. Lindsay Veremis Reply

    What a detailed and comprehensive guide! This really looks like great family fun and I can just imagine how exciting that tunnel must be for little boys.

  21. Sarahslyfe Reply

    omg, how cool is that! the kids feeding the ducks, going through the tunnel. It looks like so much fun


    This sounds like a really fun thing to do with the kids over half term. It’s really well priced which help 🙂

  23. Rebecca Whatmore Reply

    Looks like a great day out – the boat matches my favourite rainbow coat!

  24. Tracy Nixon Reply

    Brings back memories of holidays on the Norfolk and Suffolk broads!

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