When we visited ZSL London Zoo last summer we spent some time walking along part of Regents Canal which runs alongside the famous Snowdon Aviary. We said at the time that one day we’d need to come back and explore the area in more detail. Well we got that chance at the weekend when we were invited to spend a couple of hours exploring Regents Canal with GoBoat London.
GoBoat London are based in Merchants Square in Paddington Basin where they run a fleet of electric-powered boats, each capable of holding a party of eight. The boats are self captained and run with a maximum speed of 4 mph.
All children are kitted out with life jackets before boarding and adult jackets are held under the seats on the boat itself. We were given a briefing on the rules of the waterways and how to operate the boat itself and then Daddy P got to have a go steering the boat before the staff member hopped off and let us start our adventure exploring Regents Canal with GoBoat London. We were also provided with blankets which came in really handy later on in our journey when we were starting to get a little chilly.
We’d been given a map with points of interest along the way, and a rough idea of where we should be at the half hour and one hour points. We’d got a two-hour booking so were looking forward to getting right up to Camden lock before we’d need to turn around.
We’ve had major issues getting my nine-year old son on boat trips over the last couple of years. But knowing that the GoBoat would go really slowly, and that we had the boat to ourselves seemed to work wonders and he couldn’t wait to get started.
He wasn’t worried at all and loved every minute of our journey, which meant I could relax too. Daddy P was happy steering and it was lovely to see London from a totally different viewpoint. It was so peaceful that it was easy to forget that we were in the heart of our capital city.
From now until Monday 22nd April GoBoat London are hosting an Easter Egg Hunt, there are 12 eggs to spot along the journey, take photos of the ones you find and when you return to the mooring at the end of your trip children will receive some chocolate as a reward. So my son was very happy keeping a look out for ‘treasure’ along the way.
We were booked from 11am until 1pm and we had rather a misty start to the journey.
Exploring Regents Canal with GoBoat London gave us the perfect opportunity to spot some wildlife as we meandered along the waterway. We saw a range of bird life, lots of nests along the canal bank and came across a very protective swan at one point.
We even got to see the African Hunting dogs when we passed their enclosure at ZSL London Zoo, I just had the wrong lens on my camera to get any decent shots.
Each GoBoat is fitted with a picnic table and seating for eight people, so it seemed silly not to take a packed lunch with us on our trip. There is an alcohol limit on these boats (information available on the website) and captains must remain sober at all times. We got to enjoy our lunch as the world went by. The only thing we would say is that it would be great if the seats were cushioned in some way. We used our blankets to cushion them slightly, but some extra padding would be wonderful. That was the only criticism we had of the whole experience.
We definitely want to explore Little Venice in more detail on a future visit to London and having navigated the water roundabout we headed off towards the Maida Hill Tunnel.
I think we were all a little nervous about going through the tunnel as its single file traffic. So you need to make sure the tunnel is clear before entering, but actually it was fine and it was very easy to tell if another vessel was already travelling towards you through the tunnel. The GoBoat’s are fitted with a light at the front of the boat so it’s not at all scary for little ones to go through the tunnel. On our outward journey we were able to go straight through, and on the return leg we had to wait for a couple of boats to exit the tunnel, but it all added to the adventure.
It was so nice to just relax and enjoy our time Exploring Regents Canal with GoBoat London. Seeing the grand villas that are found on the edge of Regents Park, and watching the other vessels travelling up and down the canal, it really was a lovely way to spend time in the capital without the normal hustle and bustle.
Any concerns I had about whether my son would enjoy two hours travelling at 4mph were soon dispelled. There was always something for him to look at on both sides of the water, lots of wildlife and even a few unexpected canal users to keep him entertained as we passed by.
He also got to do a bit of train spotting, so you can imagine his delight.
The end of our outward leg saw us turning around ahead of the Camden Locks, an area we’ve never been to and it looked so vibrant and full of life, it’s another area that I think we’ll now be visiting thanks to our GoBoat trip.
I can thoroughly recommend trying out an adventure exploring Regents Canal with GoBoat London. It’s something we’d definitely look to do again with friends. When you’ve finished your session you head back to the GoBoat pontoon where a member of staff is waiting for you to disembark. The whole process is well thought out and problem free. For more information on the service, routes and pricing pop over to the GoBoat London website.
If you’re looking for different ideas of things to do in London, why not pin this for later?
disclosure: we were given a complimentary boat trip for up to eight people in exchange for an honest review