As you all know, London is our home and although we love the amazing museums, buildings and general hustle and bustle, sometimes it’s nice to find a stretch of open space and a little peace and quiet. Recently, the foot was well and truly taken off the pedal as we were asked to go and try out the rather inventive Go Boat from their new launch in Kingston Upon Thames.
On arrival, we were met by two charming staff who got us into our boat quickly and efficiency and ran through the rules and regulations (there really aren’t many) and gave us a quick tutorial on how to drive the boat and within minutes we were cruising down The Thames towards Hampton Court Palace. Don’t panic if you have no experience of boating – you don’t need any and these boats are very easy to captain.
The beauty of Go Boat is that you are in charge: You choose where you go. From Kingston-upon-Thames, you can go down towards Teddington or towards Hampton Court, as you know, we chose the latter. The return journey took approximately two hours.
The boats only go at 4 mph. To begin with, this felt way too slow, especially as the pedestrians on the river bank are overtaking you … however, once you accept that this is the speed they go there is nothing more to do than sit back, relax and watch the world go by. It is truly slow travel and we soaked up every last second of it. What’s more, you’re on a boat, you can’t escape, all four of us were forced to converse and mainly, we laughed.
The route down to Hampton Court is scenic all year round, but at this time of the year, with the vegetation in full bloom it was particularly beautiful. Added to this, we spotted plenty of wildfowl and their new offspring, the odd swan followed us and we spotted plenty of birds too, including a wagtail looking for insects on the river’s surface.
Although we saw plenty of fellow river users, who all gave a friendly wave, most of the times it felt like it was just us on part of the river, giving real peace to our journey; perfectly idyllic.
Also dotted along side the river are some rather lovely homes, which we all had a good nose at, and played the game of which house we would all buy. We also spotted the Huff House that appeared on Grand Designs, looking rather wonderful.
Then, of course, you get a rather magnificent view of Henry VIII’s place ….
What we loved:
- The tables in the centre are great for sitting round, enjoying a picnic and a drink (yes you are allowed limited amounts of alcohol!)
- The slow pace, sit back enjoy the view
- Letting the kids have a go at steering, they are that great (obviously an adult was heavily supervising!)
- We could take the dog onboard
- The boats are electric, so noise is at a minimum and no petrol fumes polluting the river
- The boats are made from 80% recycled plastic, and the wood is reclaimed
Would we go again? Absolutely. It would be a great way to spend a couple of hours with friends for a celebration or just to catch up. We’d also love to try their routes up in the Paddington basin!
- Prices start from £59 for an hour, you can rent the boats for up to three hours
- The launch is very central in Kingston – not far from the John Lewis
- There is no age minimum or maximum!
- Up to 8 people can go in one boat
- Lifejackets are available
We were given complimentary hire of our boat but all opinions and pictures are my own. For more information visit Go Boat London