AD Gifted – We were given a three-hour boat hire for the purpose of this blog post – Review Goboat Kingston

For Monkey’s birthday, we were invited by GoBoat London to spend some time on the river Thames in Kingston. We have been lucky enough to work with them before when we took a trip along the canals in Paddington during Spring 2019.  GoBoat London currently has two locations in London and I was interested to see how the two experiences compared.


Who are GoBoat London?

If you have not heard of GoBoat before then they operate eco-friendly picnic boats that you can captain yourself without the need for any previous experience. With hires of 1, 2, or 3 hours they make the perfect activity to enjoy with kids. We drove to Kingston Upon Thames which is only a short car ride from where we live. The GoBoat mooring is on Riverside Walk just in front of Bishop Palace House. There are several car parks nearby, although you do need to be careful of on-road parking as many locations are limited to 2 hours. We opted for the NCP which is a short ten-minute walk away.

On Riverside Walk, there are a couple of cafes and bars close by which are the nearest toilets. In the current environment, many of these places are closed. So we took a travel potty on the boat with us for the youngest member of the family. For emergencies. You need to arrive fifteen minutes before your departure time to get signed in. During the sign-in process, I was given some life jackets for the boys and asked to confirm that we do not have any COVID like symptoms.  Before being allowed on the boat. As we were doing this the boat we were going to skippering was brought to the dock and thoroughly cleaned.

No previous experience necessary

Once on the boat, we were shown how to operate it, what to do if we got into trouble and where the additional equipment is stored. Each boat has extra life vests and a ring stored in the back of the boat. Our instructor also explained what to do if we got any weed stuck in the motor. Children under 18 are not allowed to steer the boat. Although both boys say with hubby at various points in the ride and pretended. Kipper especially enjoyed this.

The Thames is very wide and a completely different experience from our Paddington trip. You need to keep an eye out for people fishing, swimming because it is so hot at the moment, paddle boarders and other boats. But there is so much room it is easy to do. Plus most boats should be following the rules of the river and keeping to the right. We had a three-hour slot between 1 pm and 4 pm.

Our ride up the Thames

You are also given a map of the river on a clipboard. It gives you a rough indication of how long it takes to get back to base camp. In one direction you can go to Hampton Court Palace which is about an hour each way, and on the other up towards Teddington which is about half an hour each way. Since we had the boat for three hours we opted to do both trips. Going in the direction of the Palace first. Watching the palace coming into sight was probably my favorite part of the trip.

There are a couple of Islands in the river that are fun to navigate around. Plus we loved seeing all the riverside properties and dreaming about owning one for ourselves. There were also a lot of swans, Canadian geese, and ducks always grateful for a little tip bit. The boys enjoyed going under the bridges. It was extremely hot when we visited so we did stop underneath them for a little while to get some much-needed shade. The boats do not have canopies which would be my only suggestion. As although it was cooler on the river we did really need the cover on the day we visited.

In the middle of the GoBoat, there is a large picnic table which we filled with our lunch. Understandably they do limit the amount of alcohol you can take onto the boat with the captain not drinking anything. But that is the only limit and we had quite a feast while riding up and down the river.

Our conclusion – Review GoBoat Kingston

We all had a great time on the river with GoBoat and would highly recommend a visit. It has reminded us to look into having a  little break on the Norfolk Broads no Kipper is that bit older. Since we found the experience very relaxing.  GoBoats operate throughout the week with peak times at the weekend. Prices are per boat which will take up to eight people and start at £79 for an hour going up to £139 for three hours. At the moment because of COVID, all eight people need to be from the same household.   You can find out more and book online here.

Read our review of GoBoat Paddington here:

Review: GoBoat London


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Review GoBoat Kingston

Review GoBoat Kingston


  1. Looks like you had a good time something I’d like to do for a change I never thought of it and the Leeds to Liverpool quite close to where I live. You have some lovely photos as always.

  2. Maxim Dsouza Reply

    That looks like quite the view. The swans and ducks were the icing on the cake.

  3. This looks like great fun. Perfect for when the weather is nice. Looks lie you all had a great time.

  4. Priscilla Stubbs Reply

    What a lovely day out, perfect weather for being on the river

  5. This is just down the road from where I live! We have seen loads of people out on these and they all looking like they are having such a lovely time. Such a great way or enjoying the river!

  6. Margaret Gallagher Reply

    What fun – will definitely keep this in mind next time im in london

  7. Amanda Botterill Reply

    Looks like great fun. A few years ago I went on a little boat trip at Windsor, which took us down little ‘streams’ leading off the river, it was an amazing trip

  8. Jeanette Leighton Reply

    Love the river , my dad lives in Walton on Thames right by the river I grew up their until I was 12 , he still lives there so we stay for a week in the summer my kids love it

  9. It loooks really relaxing floating along and watching the rest of the world keeping busy!

  10. What a fun day! And I would love to rent a boat. We owned one and it was waaaay too much work. Plus, I want a chocolate cupcake!!

  11. This is so neat! My hubby and daughter would love this. Beautiful views.

  12. Melissa Cushing Reply

    Love this and looks like a super fun filled day that you will remember forever! I am loving all of the wonderful pictures and for sure would love to get across the end to visit and experience for myself 🙂

  13. Pauline Burroughs Reply

    What I wouldn’t give to do that right now. It looks so relaxing

  14. Stacey Peters Reply

    You had me when I saw the Pimms Can. This looks like a lovely activity on the rare sunny day in London.

  15. What I wouldn’t give to be able to go on a boat right now. We can’t wait for things to be safe enough here.

  16. Catherine J Reply

    I’ve never heard of a picnic boat before! This looks idyllic and something I must do with my boys.


    I’m sure Monkey had a wonderful time on his birthday. Having a boat trip is something different and I’m sure my son would love to do it. He’s never been on a boat!

  18. GoBoat Kingston looks like a lot of fun. It’s also a fun day out for the whole family too.

  19. Looks like so much fun! I have some experience with boats (I have license for almost three years now). Great activity for kid too

  20. A beautiful ride to take with the family on a sunny afternoon! I’d love to go on one!

  21. Reading this I almost felt as if I was in that amazing GoBoat with you! Getting to feed the ducks while you lunch and sail upon the Thames? Yes please, sign me up lol.

  22. This looks like so much fun! Great photos. What a lovely way to spend 3 hours.

  23. it really sounds amazing..and seems like you really had such a great time there..Thanks for sharing your review with us..found really interesting and much awesome…

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