Activities Lockdown Outdoors

A socially-distanced boat trip with GoBoat

The Young Londoner takes a post-lockdown trip with GoBoat down the Regent’s canal.

GoBoat is a fantastic family day out. You can explore London from the waterways, see wildlife, spot artworks and sail past London Zoo all whilst having a picnic. The best fun that our young Londoners (and their accompanying adults) have had since lockdown begun in March.

We decided to drive down to Paddinton so we could avoid public transport. Parking was very easy and convenient just around the corner from GoBoat and despite expecting to pay an arm and a leg it cost us £2.90 per hour which is very cheap for central London. 

With the car parked, we popped into the adjacent Marks and Spencer to stock up on picnic supplies (we bought a bunch of snacks already but decided to top up). There is also a Tescos and Co-op in the area so plenty of places to pick up some picnic food. Alternatively there are lots of eateries dotted around Paddington Central including Itsu for sushi lovers, Pret for sandwiches, soups and snacks or Tossed for healthy eating with a twist. So you have plenty of selection for nibbles to bring on your journey.

After we met-up with our support bubble and hugged at length (it feels like a lifetime since we have seen anyone outside the household) we then registered our arrival, kitted the boys out with their life-jackets and got our map and directions (as well as an emergency telephone number should we come into any trouble whilst riding along the canal!). We did not need the phone number 🙂 

After The Young Londoner daddy was given clear instructions on how to drive the boat and the boys were given two captain’s hats we were ready to embark on our self-driven adventure. The boat was immaculate and the staff very helpful and friendly. After a lap around the basin we are well on our way (keeping to the right) as instructed. Ahoy matey and we are off down the canal.

The young Londoners delighted in driving past Paddington Central and seeing the blue statue of Paddington Bear as well as going through echoey tunnels, feeding the ducks some of our picnic food and waving at any passing boats or tourists. We glimpsed a warthog in the Zoo and saw the light at the end of a very long and echoey tunnel (that had a delightfully earthy smell complete with drips falling from the ceiling). Younger visitors may feel a little frightened by the trip inside the tunnel (and for those steering the boat there is the possibility of meeting another GoBoat inside and having to reverse). But fortunately we didn’t have any of these issues to contend with. 

GoBoat have two separate venues in Paddington and Kingston. The Covid-19 measures include socially distanced learning areas where you are instructed on your trip and a thorough clean of the boats before each trip. A GoBoat is £79 for one hour, £109 for two hours and £139 for three hours. The capacity is 8 people per boat so you could split the cost between households. More information and booking on their website here.