Paddington Boat Hire


Boat trips are a popular way to explore London, for a week, weekend, day, an afternoon or even just an hour. You can choose from a range of watercraft to captain, including traditional narrowboats and modern cruisers. London's canals are the most popular cruise location if you want to combine grand architecture with peaceful nature. We have it all!

Boat hire is an easy way to get close up with nature; it's an exciting experience that involves travelling through narrow locks; and it allows you to see into parts of London from a unique perspective (such as Regent's Park where you can spot London Zoo), or see Camden market from the lock.

Choosing the Right Boat

Planning a cruise with passengers? Will you be taking your canal boat through our capital city to enjoy open air views of tourist destinations? Do you want to see camden town or regents park, see London light up in the evening or enjoy the regency architecture in Little Venice from the comfort of your own boat cruise? If those destinations are on your canal boat hire wish list, then we suggest finding a paddington boat hire location.

Preparing for a Boat Trip

  • Licensing
  • Safety equipment
  • Budgeting
  • make sure you and your canal boat are fully insured

Where to Hire a Barge or Narrowboat

  • Local marinas
  • Online resources
  • Comparison websites
  • sites that host unique stays like Airbnb

What to Expect During Canal Boat Hire

The canal system in London is a beautiful way to explore the city and its surrounding areas. There's something about being on the water that makes you feel like you're in another world, even if it's just for a few hours. A canal boat is easy to navigate and even though there are locks and bridges to navigate, if you've never been on board before don't worry--cruises are not as difficult as they may seem!

You'll also get to see plenty of other boats cruising by which adds another element of fun into your experience. The engine isn't too loud either so if anyone gets seasick easily then this might not be ideal because they could have trouble hearing each other talk over it while they're out there exploring together!

Nature in the City

The wildlife on these waterways is worth mentioning; we saw several swans during our trip and even some geese near Hampton Court Palace! That would make any special occasion even more special. Cruise through canal locks on your chosen route, whilst being surrounded by green even in the middle of the city. The Regent's Park to Camden market section of a canal cruise is perfect for that. You're in the centre of the city but experiencing a unique viewpoint.

Exploring the UK by Canal Boat

If you're looking for a fun way to see some of the best parts of London, then canal boat hire is the perfect option. There are two canals that run through London: Regent's Canal and Grand Union Canal. The former runs from Little Venice all the way down to Limehouse Basin in East London, while the latter starts at Paddington Basin (close to Oxford Street) and terminates at Stourport-on-Severn in Worcestershire.

You can take a short cruise or travel far further, although you'll need to set aside quite a long time as this is a slow method of travel. The boats on these routes are ideal if you want something more than just a sightseeing tour but less than renting an entire boat yourself--they give you plenty of room for exploring while still being small enough not to take up too much time or money!

Can you Cruise?

Your boat may be hired for cruises (which means taking your boat for a ride) or it could be on a fixed mooring. These are critical details so be sure to read carefully. If cruising, will there be crew? Can you decide where you visit? Is there room for guests to join you? Even if you're boat is a fixed mooring, it can be the perfect way to unwind and enjoy time in a new location, on board a unique boat that could be perfect for your special events, family or friends time or date.

We rent out our Boutique Barges as fixed mooring boats, so you can’t take them cruising on your own, however, founder,  Sam will sometimes take guests out on daytrips if they make a special request, so you can always ask!

The Cost of Canal Boat Hire

The cost to hire in London is seasonal and depends on the time of year. Prices are higher during peak season, which runs from April to October, but you can get discounts if you book your trip during off-peak months or at weekends. Read all the listing details to see what's included.

Do you need to complete a course to captain the boat on the canal yourself? Can you take your boat on the section of canal you want, to see London locations like London Zoo, Little venice or portobello market? Can you drive your boat further afield to Birmingham or take it on the leicester section of canal? Will there be food or drinks provided or should you bring a picnic?

The Future of Boat Trips

As you can see, there are a lot of ways to enjoy the canals of London. Whether you want to take a relaxing cruise or spend some time exploring the city, there's something for everyone. However, there are also some challenges facing this industry.

The biggest issue is sustainability: pollution from boats and their engines has been linked to respiratory problems in humans and other animals alike. Regulations have been put in place to try and combat this problem but they haven't been very effective so far because many people still don't know how harmful these emissions can be on both humans and wildlife alike.


If you're looking for a fun and unique way to see London, then booking the canal is way to go. Hiring narrowboats and barges also make a great location for you to enjoy a special event with friends and family, for an hour or an afternoon, or a week! You can choose from a variety of different boats with different sizes and styles, so there's something for everyone! If you've never been on one before, don't worry - it's easy, with or without crew!

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