GoBoat London Review | Electric Canal Boat Hire In London Paddington

Last weekend we spent a fun afternoon in London, exploring a section of the city's network of canals with GoBoat. Based in Merchant Square, Paddington, GoBoat offers self-drive electric boats on hire. GoBoat came to London a couple of years back and in a short time, this enterprising concept has become a favourite of both locals and tourists alike.

GoBoat London - Electric Canal Boat Hire
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GoBoat's self-drive electric boats are cool! The deck and table of the boats are made from sustainably sourced wood while the foam kernel is made from the equivalent of 600 plastic bottles! And the engine is electric which means this is a sustainable way to enjoy London. Less pollution, less noise and more fun!

Our GoBoat Experience

We arrived at Paddington underground station and from there it was a short walk to GoBoat's base. A few days prior to our visit we had received an email from GoBoat detailing what to expect from the boating experience, the suggested route etc, so we had a fair idea of the things in store for us. On arrival, we were greeted by the friendly GoBoat staff and one of them gave us a safety briefing and also the instructions on how to handle the boat. While we had previously enjoyed a boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads, we had not handled an electric boat like this one. But it was uncomplicated; the GoBoats are very easy to control. You need no boating experience to rent/handle a GoBoat and that I think is one of the reasons why this concept is so popular.

A quick and short test run with the staff member and we were ready to set off on our adventure. We had two hours on hand to explore the canals. And as soon as we set off, it was clear that this is a beautiful and relaxing way to experience this part of London.

GoBoat London - Electric Canal Boat Hire

GoBoat Canal Boating | The Route

All GoBoat trips begin and end at their Merchant Square base but you have two routes that you can explore. From the base, you head to Little Venice where the route forks out:

- the Grand Union Canal route (the Paddington arm) and
- the Regent's Canal route (towards Camden Lock).

We headed left from Little Venice, exploring a section of the Grand Union Canal. We turned around at Union Tavern, a canalside pub & restaurant heading back to Little Venice. From there, we took the Regent's Canal route. This route was more happening! We sailed past a number of other canal boats and saw a lot of waterfowl. The route was lovely - we passed Rembrandt gardens, Blomfield Road (where a number of colourful narrowboats were moored), the Maida Hill Tunnel (a 251m long tunnel which is a bit narrow, so we had to wait to allow oncoming boats to pass), Eyre's Tunnel, the Villas (a section of the canal where you see some really stunning villas), Regent's Park, ZSL London Zoo; finally reaching the Cumberland Basin where a number of boats are moored along with a beautiful, floating Chinese Restaurant. This is the point where we turned back and retraced the route to GoBoat's base.

GoBoat Canal Hire in London

GoBoat Canal Hire in London

Colourful boats moored in Regents Canal

Colourful boats moored in Regents Canal

Colourful boats moored near the Blomfield Road section of the Regents Canal (above)

GoBoat London - Canal Boat Hire

Regents Canal

A section of Regents Canal

Maida Hill Tunnel

Maida Hill Tunnel (above)

Regent Canal

Heading towards Cumberland Basin

Feng Shang Princess Chinese Restaurant

Feng Shang Princess - The Floating Chinese Restaurant near Cumberland Basin (above)

With a maximum speed of 4mph and no noisy engine, it was a very relaxing and leisurely way to explore the canals and take in the beautiful scenery along the way.

The minimum hire duration with GoBoat is an hour but we would recommend at least 2 hours to have a better experience without rushing. You can, of course, hire the boats for longer durations to explore further afield.

GoBoat London Route Map

We had already enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea before our GoBoat experience, but you can bring your own food and drinks on the boat - even a limited amount of alcohol. However, the person steering the boat needs to remain sober throughout the boat ride.

The weather during our GoBoat experience was fabulous - sunny and bright! But British weather being so unpredictable, we would recommend that you carry a hat and sunnies as well as a rain jacket to have a nice time no matter what the weather is like.

Overall, it was a fun experience. We only have good things to say about our experience with GoBoat - right from the booking to the friendly team and the fabulous time on the boat. It is perfect for a family outing or when you want to go out with friends. We thoroughly enjoyed our boating experience and have no hesitation in recommending GoBoat. Go, try them out - www.goboat.co.uk.

GoBoat | Merchant Square, Paddington, London W2 1JZ
Opening hours | Seven days a week, 9 am – Sunset.
Duration and pricing | 1 hour (Off-peak £59, peak £79), 2 hours (Off-peak £89, peak £109), 3 hours (Off-peak £119, peak £139). 

GoBoat ia available at many other locations across the UK - GoBoat in Kingston where you'll have access to a stunning non-tidal section of London's River Thames, GoBoat in Canary Wharf where you can explore London's Docklands and GoBoat Birmingham.

GoBoat - Electric Canal Boat Hire In London Paddington

Although we received a complimentary GoBoat experience, it has not influenced this review. All opinions, as always, are genuine and our own.


  1. We did this recently on our family trip to London and the kids loved it. It is perfect for families.

    1. Yes, it does make for a fun family outing. You can club it with a visit to the ZSL Zoo to make it a great day out.


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