Last weekend my son and I went to London to do the Harry Potter Studio Tour which was one of his Christmas gifts. Whilst in London I wanted to make the most of having some quality time just the two of us and see parts of London we hadn’t seen before, so we hired a GoBoat and viewed London from the water. Below is everything you need to know about Go Boats London plus an honest review based on our own experience.
What is a Goboat?
A GoBoat is a self-drive boat that you can hire for 1, 2 or 3 hours to explore the waterways in London or Birmingham. You can hire them from three different locations in London; Paddington, Canary Wharf or Kingston. All of the boats come with instructions, life jackets and a number to ring should you get stuck. They are suitable for people of all ages as long as there is at least one over 18 in the boat and they fit up to 8 people in them with a large picnic table in the middle.
Can you take dogs on Goboats?
Yes, GoBoats are an activity for the whole family including your fur babies.
Can you eat and drink on board?
Yes, eating and drinking is encouraged as they have picnic tables in the middle of them making them the perfect setting for a special celebratory brunch, picnic or afternoon tea. However, do note that you can not drink alcohol o the GoBoats London but you can at the other locations.
How many people can you get on board?
The boats are designed to seat 8 people around a large picnic table making them great for a group activity or celebration. However, you only need one person to drive so can still hire them for yourself or as a couple. The price remains the same for the boat regardless of how many people are on board.
Our review of the GoBoats
When we arrived at GoBoats London I was asked to complete a waiver and shown some safety information before we got started. We were then shown to the boat where my son was given a life jacket as he is under 16 and I was given a full safety briefing plus a demonstration on how to drive the GoBoat. This all felt very thorough and reassuring.
Then it was time to set off…..
Persoanlly I found sailing the boat much harder than I anticiated and as the only adult in the boat I did panic. I some how managed to bump the boat off the riverbank and then off the side of another boat due to over steering. At this point I wanted to quit and I did actually turn the boat around and head back but I could see the disappointment in my sons face and so instead of getting off the boat I sailed back down to the practice area and tried again. Here, I learnt that the key is to only turn the oar slightly in the opposite direction to where you want to go and then wait for your boat to start moving, once it is in the right position move the oar back to the centre and carry on like that. Do not swing it from one side to the other, panic that nothing is happening and then panic even more when it seems to be suddenly facing the opposite direction!
After the second, more successful, practice I felt much more confident and I was determined to try again and prove to myself and my son that I could do this activity without my husband, so off we went.
The second attempt was much smoother. It was still nerve wracking but I managed to keep it in a relative straight line and avoid hitting anything. I even managed to pass a couple of moving boats, sail through a narrow tunnel and go round the ’roundabout’.
The overall experience was anxiety ridden fun that left me feeling immensely proud of myself. The boat trip itself was lovely, the scenery was beautiful and although I was too frightened to really let go of the oar my son was able to enjoy our afternoon tea on the boat in the sun. He said it was a brilliant trip and would love to do it again, probably with a different driver!
I would highly recommend the GoBoats if you have a confident driver. They make a real change to the fast paced atmosphere that is always palpable in London. They would be perfect for anyone that wants to relax and see London in a different light but also for any special occasions or celebrations from a romantic anniversary treat to hen doo with a difference.
For more information head to their website.
If you are looking for more ideas for how to spend your time in London then here is a list of things to do in Covent Garden.