It seems I may have a small obsession with the River Thames. Having just researched all the islands along the river, I’m now hunting down all the boats that you can relax on. And my goodness, there are a lot. Boats for sailing, boats for partying, boats for DJing, boats for hot tubs… the list is endless.
The weather may be unpredictable, but come rain or shine, these boats are ready for passengers to live life to the full. So don your swimming costume (need some inspo? Head here for our swimmers round-up) and get the party started. Toot toot!
BBQ on a boat
Skuna’s BBQ boat
Skuna hosts lots of boat experiences for those looking for a new life along the river. Bob along on their BBQ Boat. Drive the electric boat yourself for you and some friends and take in the skyscrapers of West India Quay and Canary Wharf. You can have up to eight mates with you for an hour and 40 minutes. So plenty of time to eat as many sausages and chicken wings as you can.
Where: West India Quay
West End on the Thames Private BBQ
If you were looking for something a little more private and are willing to splash £5k on it, then this private cruise is just the ticket. For up to 500 guests (post Freedom Day), you can kick back on the outdoor deck rooftops and dine alfresco on a boat from West End on the Thames. The BBQ will be cooked up for you and all you need to worry about is where you put your glass of Pimm’s.
Hot tub boat
Oh yeah baby, it’s bubbles on a barge. Sort of. Hop aboard a luxurious wood-fired hot tub and sail off into the distance in your bikini. It’s heated to a toasty 38°C, so even if it’s pouring with rain (which it no doubt will be), you’ll still be as cosy as a clam.
Where: Canary Wharf
Comedy on a boat
Looking for a comedy night and a nightclub all in one place? Well, we’re got something to float your boat. The Boat Show has been moored opposite the London Eye since 2000, and is known for bringing all the funniest stand-ups from the comedy circuit (as well as a few not-so-funny ones).
Some of the comedians in the next line-up include Rosie Jones, Zoe Lyons and Dane Baptiste. Afterwards, you can let loose on the dance floor (after Freedom day of course) and kick back at the bar.
Where: Tattershall Castle, Victoria Embankment, SW1A 2HR
Boat party extravaganzas
Glitterfest on a boat
“This is going to be so sick.” These are the words of the promotion for the Glitterfest Boat Party. For some attendees, we feel the ‘sick’ element might be taken too literally. The party takes place on a 4-hour cruise. There’ll be glitter and DJs playing RnB, HipHop, UKG (UK garage for those not in the no – aka me) and more. For one day only (8 August), rave non-stop in this dance fest in all your finest sparkles. This is going to be a night that you may or may not remember.
Where: Festival Pier (Southbank) London, SE1 8XZ
Tributes on the Thames
For a more laidback affair, try Tributes on the Thames, which sees impressionists take on the acts of Georgie Michael, Gary Barlow and Michael Jackson. Sing to your favourite songs performed by some wannabe pop stars while riding the waves of the Thames. Relax on deck with a cocktail in hand and experience a different view of our favourite city.
Where: multiple venues
The Doctor’s Orders DJ fest
Step aboard the hip-hop and RnB boat. DJ Semtex from Capital Extra and DJ Cable from Capital Extra (nope, I don’t know them either) will be dusting off their decks on Saturday 24 July from 8pm to 1am (there’s also another one in August with different DJs). They’ll be setting sail on the Golden Flame and floating past Westminster and Greenwich, while you dance to some of the heart-pumping beats.
Where: Blackfriars Pier, White Lion Hill, EC4V 3QR
Electronic Sessions house music boat party
Brett Gould, Paul Ryder, Lewis Tala, Ross Donworth… do any of these names ring a bell? Well, if they do, you’ll be quite at home at the Electronic Sessions house music boat party. Let loose across two dance floors decks and watch the sun go down on the Thames. House music vibes only.
Where: Temple Pier, WC2R 2PN
Let loose across two dance floors decks and watch the sun go down on the Thames.
Boatstraunts (that’s restaurants on a boat…)
London Shell Co
For something far more relaxing, why not opt for dinner on a boat. The scenic Regent’s Canal provides the backdrop for your meal aboard London Shell Co. The Prince Regent chugs up and down the waterway serving up some of London’s best seafood. The whole thing has a real cosy, dinner party feel to it, making the experience all the more memorable.
Where: Sheldon Square, Little Venice, W2 6EP
Bobbing up and down close to Nine Elms you’ll find the elusive Battersea Barge. The food is great and the view is fun, with live music and a decent bar to boot. You can book a table or simply walk in to sample their generous drinks menu. And on 21 July New Zealander and Indie musician Johnny Brock will be hosting a little boat party. What are you waiting for?
Where: Nine Elms Lane, Vauxhall, SW8 5BP
For something more relaxing, opt for dinner on a boat.
Why go to Amsterdam when you could go to Vauxhall. If you’re a barge fan (who isn’t?) then head to Tamesis Dock for a real-life 1930’s Dutch barge, so save on the flight money and put it towards a tipple or two. The converted barge is moored between Lambeth and Vauxhall Bridge and the chips are great and you get loads (top tip for chip fans, there).
Where: Albert Embankment, Vauxhall, SE1 7TP
Darcie & May Green
Bobbing along the canal is the vibrant Darcie & May Green, a barge designed by pop artist Sir Peter Blake. On board you’ll find an Aussie-inspired brunch with strong influences from Melbourne and Sydney café culture. Bold and seasonal options alongside classic brunch staples, include buttermilk blueberry pancakes, smashed avocado, a fancy bacon roll. Just all your classics really. They only use fresh, seasonal produce and top-quality suppliers so each dish is brimming with flavour. The legendary bottomless brunch here includes free-flowing fizz and mimosas for 90 minutes. All aboard!
Where: Grand Union Canal, Sheldon Square, W2 6DS