If you find yourself tempted by the nautical lifestyle every time you pass by one of London's waterways, or dream about a relaxing afternoon cruise down the river to help fend off everyday stress, try one of the many boat rental options available in the city. Our guide to the best boat hire in London covers unique ways to explore the city's canals, luxury cruises on the Thames, thrilling rides along the river, romantic special occasions, and more, helping you navigate through the options. Get ready to set sail and discover this vibrant city from a whole new perspective.
Guide to boat hire in London
In this guide
Where to hire a boat in London
- GoBoat – Picnic on the water
- Thames Limo – Luxury water limo service
- Thames RIB Experience – Full speed ahead
- Skuna Boats – BBQ and hot tub boats
- Alexandra Palace – Ally Pally paddling
- Thames Tigers – Roar along the river
- Thames Boat Hire – Ideal for large events
- Hyde Park – The oldest boating lake in the city
- Boat Party London – For a wild night out on the river
- The Regent's Park – Wildlife cruise in the city
- Canal and River Cruises – All aboard the Lady A
- Moo Canoes – Join the herd
- The Pirate Castle – Buccaneers with hearts of gold
- City Cruises London – The full range of nautical experiences
- London Waterbus Company – Canal pleasure cruiser
Where to hire a boat in London
Picnic on the water
GoBoat offers private boat hire for leisurely cruises along the river or canal. The different branches service different routes you can choose from, with the self-driving electric boats able to accommodate up to eight people each. The trips last up to three hours, and no prior experience is necessary – they'll teach you all you need to know on the day. The eco-friendly boats are also fitted with picnic tables, so you can enjoy some food and drinks as you cruise along.
Luxury water limo service
Thames Limo offers luxurious boat hire for special occasions and sightseeing, with a fleet of bespoke Italian boats and attentive service. They provide seamless experiences with comfortable cabins, modern amenities, and various customization options. From sightseeing tours to charter packages for weddings and corporate events, Thames Limo ensures a stylish and unforgettable journey through London's waterways.
Full speed ahead
The Thames RIB Experience offers an exhilarating ride along the river at top speed, thanks to its high-powered RIB speedboats. Accompanied by an experienced pilot and guide, you can head out along different routes, taking in London's sights as you zoom by on the fastest speedboats in the city. If you're looking to organise a memorable private event, you can also hire an entire boat.
BBQ and hot tub boats
Skuna Boats offers one-of-a-kind boat rides on the Thames, focusing on fun and relaxation. You can choose between a boating barbecue or a floating hot tub for a unique outing suitable for families and friends. Come rain or shine, the heated hot-tub boats let you soak your stress away as you take in breathtaking views of London, while the BBQ boats come with food packages for a tasty meal on the river. Options such as guided tours and sunset cruises are offered as well.
Ally Pally paddling
Many of London's parks feature boating lakes, and the parkland surrounding the iconic Alexandra Palace venue is no exception. You can choose from rowing boats or themed pedalos such as a swan or a VW Beetle, hiring them for up to half an hour at a time. Each boat can accommodate up to four people, making it perfect for a fun family day highlight or a romantic trip around the lake.
Roar along the river
Thames RIB Experience might have the fastest speedboats on the river, but Thames Tigers has the biggest and booziest ones. You can charter them for a private outing, with groups of up to 12 seated on comfy suspension seats as they zoom from Tower Bridge to the O2 and back. You'll be able to take in some of London's most famous landmarks during your thrilling journey, and drinks are served as well – Thames Tigers are the only RIBs on the river licensed to serve alcohol.
Ideal for large events
If you're looking to organise a larger event, whether it's a private party, a corporate shindig, or a wedding, Thames Boat Hire can find the right vessel for you. The London-based brokering service offers all sorts of boats for hire, from classic water carriages to 19th century steamboats and luxury ships. It's not all big bashes, either, as they're perfectly happy to find you a charter for intimate private dining or even a simple transfer.
The oldest boating lake in the city
You can hire a boat and float around The Serpentine in London's famous Hyde Park. The boating lake was built for Queen Catherine in the 18th century and offers a choice of pedalos and rowing boats. You can hire them for half an hour or a full 60 minutes, and the boat hire is open throughout the year. After you're back on land, you can cool off or warm up in the lakeside café.
For a wild night out on the river
Specialising in corporate and private boat parties, Boat Party London covers a range of boats in different sizes, each fitted out with a music system and party lighting for the ultimate night out. Drinks are served on board, and catering can be provided as well. The whole package is great if you're looking to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary, host a Christmas get-together, organise a stag do, and so on. If you just want to go out partying for a night, you can also attend one of their Saturday night shared disco cruises.
Wildlife cruise in the city
Central London's large park features a boating lake where you can hire rowing boats and pedalos for up to one hour. The Regent's Park boat hire is available daily from April to October. Thanks to the abundance of wildlife in The Regent's Park, including around 100 species of wild bird, the trip around the lake will likely be especially interesting for birdwatching enthusiasts.
All aboard the Lady A
Canal and River Cruises offers private rides on the Lady A, a passenger narrowboat moored in London's Little Venice. With a capacity of up to ten passengers, the narrowboat is ideal for intimate gatherings. You can also bring your own snacks and beverages. The knowledgeable skipper can provide intriguing canal insights a you cruise along, and specialized sightseeing trips are available as well.
Join the herd
Moo Canoes bring a fun vibe to London's waterways with their cow-patterned canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. You can head out on your chosen dog-friendly vessel every weekend from Easter to late October, with all the required equipment and guidance provided beforehand. They also accommodate group events, team-building activities, and even in-person board meetings on paddleboards.
Buccaneers with hearts of gold
The Pirate Castle is a charity based in Camden Town. Out of their community centre next to Regent's Canal, they promote a healthy, active lifestyle, inclusivity, and accessibility. There's an array of boating and outdoor activities to choose from, from day trips with hands-on boating experience on a traditional narrowboat, to lengthier trips with overnight stays on their residential canal boat.
The full range of nautical experiences
Docking at several points along the Thames, City Cruises London offer the full spectrum of boat-related entertainment, from sightseeing tours and afternoon tea cruises to live music nights, thrilling speedboat rides, Murder Mystery Dinner Cruises, and more. They also offer private hire, catering to groups of different sizes and budgets.
Canal pleasure cruiser
The London Waterbus Company offers regular daily sightseeing trips between Camden and Little Venice, but you can also hire one of their boats for private events. The Alfred Le Roy is a wide-beam pleasure cruiser, fitted with comfy booth seating, a sound system, heating, and an onboard bar. You can cater your own food, and you can also decorate the boat to suit your needs.