When you’ve worked in one area for a few years it’s easy to assume you’ve seen, done and photographed everything within a few miles radius of your office, particularly an Instagram addict like me. So you can imagine how happy I was to experience something new and enjoy a different view of one of my favourite places in London – Little Venice.
I spotted Go Boat London during a lunch break not long after it launched in Paddington and I thought it looked like a fun way to cruise through the calm waters of Regent’s Canal. Their boats are contemporary but functional, with a bench that seats 6-8 people, a table to fill with food and a simple hand-guided engine. As luck would have it, my manager had spotted it too and a team evening picnic was quickly put in the diary.
We used our lunch break to pick up the picnic from the nearest M&S (I may be biased but their picnic range is the best out there) and as our two-hour slot approached, we made our way canalside. Our plan – to get to Camden and back. The Captain was nominated, we were released from our mooring and glided down the canal.
We hit a bit of green gunk quite quickly and then we were out on open waters.
You have two routes to choose from, we went for Camden as it’s a bit more picturesque. I instantly regretted only having my iPhone with me.
But I quickly got over it and loved seeing all those familiar spots from a completely different angle.
I must have been across this bridge several dozen times so to be travelling underneath it was really fun.
The boats sail around 3 knots (4 mph), so the pace is really nice and relaxing and gives you a chance to enjoy the views and see things you can’t spot from the side.
How cute is this little bird house?
We hit our first tunnel and suddenly everything went dark and quiet, until we reached the other side.
If you’ve ever wandered along Regent’s canal, you’ll know that you can’t walk along the whole length of it, which means being on the boat gives you a bit of a behind the scenes and still makes it worth doing even if you’ve already done the route on foot. (I’m sure you’ll never get over these staggering houses, whether you’ve seen them once or several times before.)
One of the things I paid more attention to from this angle was the different bridges. So ornate for such a practical structure.
The route to Camden really is a photographer’s paradise.
After about an hour we reached Camden, where we were pleased to see that there was plenty of space to turn around.
You’ll also find that in most parts there’s plenty of room for other ‘sailors’.
The journey back seemed to go much more quickly, perhaps because we’d drunk in all the views (and our allocated drink allowance). Before we knew it, we were back in Little Venice.
The only traffic being this lovely little family.
We made a loop around the island.
And returned to the concrete jungle.
If you want to find out more and book your own boat, visit the Go Boat website.