A long overdue ‘Dogs Day Out’ to be featured on The Dogvine is the dog-friendly Go Boat London experience on Regent’s Canal, as featured in our dog-friendly London weekend tips back in April.
We were invited to come and try it out earlier this year but due to very hectic (doggie) diaries, only got to go this month and oh my dog, are we glad we finally did! We’ll tell you all you need to know about this fantastic experience for both humans and hounds in this post so let’s dive in (just not literally)…
Dogs Day Out With Dog-Friendly Go Boat London
About Dog-Friendly Go Boat London
With Go Boat London you can hire self-drive electric boats to sail around Paddington, Little Venice and Regents Canal with up to 8 passengers (two-legged or four-legged) on board. It is most definitely a unique experience and brilliant that it’s dog-friendly too! After a resounding success when Go Boat launched in Copenhagen, Go Boat came to London in 2017 and is proving to be a firm favourite on Londoner’s ‘Things to Do Lists’ especially as they are the only self-drive boating experience in London!
As well as their dog-friendly ethos, Go Boat London have strong eco ethics too with 80% of the boats being made from recycled plastic and any wood on the boat sourced sustainably.
Our Dog-Friendly Go Boat London Experience
A few days before we set sail, we received some helpful tips on what to do (or not do) whilst on board, as well as the suggested route map so we could start planning ahead.
For our adventure, we were seven passengers in total with four humans and three dogs – Belinha, Prudence and little Bug all ready for the two-hour Dog-Friendly Go Boat London experience. We had just one designated captain (you can have more) but that was because no-one else felt brave enough for the job!
On the big day which happened to be the only grey (and drizzly) weekend we’d had all summer, we were greeted by the very friendly Go Boat London staff and given our safety briefing as well as instructions on how to drive the boat (the most important bit).
We were even given a non-spill doggy water bowl to take on board for the dogs! All the staff made a huge fuss of the dogs and told us how any new Go Boat London recruits are quizzed to make sure they love dogs during their job interviews. Good move, as that clearly works!
Finally we were off. Once our skipper found his sea legs, it was relatively smooth sailing. I say relatively as we did have a few mis-steers into the side of the canal but nothing serious! There are only a few places where the canal is narrow and you have to make sure you are giving way to any oncoming boats, the tunnels being one of those so that can be a bit nerve-wracking for the first one.
We soon settled into the ride and were able to fully appreciate how beautiful and peaceful it was to experience London from the viewpoint of the Regent’s Canal.
Other canal boat owners looked on with amusement as the ‘dog boat’ went by and we passed several other Go Boat Londoners, some who were clearly aiming for the full immersive boating (or rather pirate) experience as well as other dogs on boats too!
After sailing past the colourful canal boats of Little Venice, the Feng Shang Princess floating restaurant and behind the aviary of London Zoo, we finally reached Camden which was our point to turn around and come back. We managed to do this well within an hour so were able to enjoy a leisurely sail on the return journey, stopping to take photos and enjoying London from a totally different perspective.
The Dog-Friendly Go Boat London Experience | A Dogs Perspective
A positive thing to mention about the Go Boat London boats, is that is that thanks to the electric engines they are silent which is not only great for less noise pollution but for dogs who may be un-nerved by loud boat noises.
We had three very different pup personalities on board. The exuberant and full of energy Prudence the miniature English Bull Terrier, little Bug the rescue Boston who had a rough start in life after being discarded by breeders as well as being deaf and partially sighted and last but not least, our very own Belinha the Brazilian street dog turned London roving repawter.
From Prudence’s perspective, she couldn’t have loved the experience more and it literally looked like she was grinning from ear to ear the whole time. Prudence’s human Anna (who co-hosts the BBC’s Barking Hour Radio Show) had thought Prudence might try to fit in a sneaky swim so Prudence had come prepared in her doggy lifejacket. Fortunately, Prudence didn’t decide she would like a dip overboard so this remained just a very sensible precaution.
Little Bug who is just a young pup, took everything in his stride including his next top dog model moment on the bow of the boat. Honestly, he was just happy to be with his human Katie and as long as cuddles (and a cosy blanket) were included, Bug was very happy to be on the boat too.
Belinha on the other hand was initially not so sure about the doggy boating experience and stayed on standby at the exit for a while. As Belinha is definitely not a fan of water at least I didn’t have to worry about her going overboard. After deciding the floor of the boat was the place to be for most of the outward journey, Belinha found her sea paws on the return enough to relax and take it all in.
The seats of the boats can be quite slippery for pup paws (another of Belinha’s not so favourite things) so taking a blanket or towel for dogs to sit on is definitely a good idea.
On that note, here are some tips for your trip based on our experience…
Dog-Friendly Go Boat London | Top Tips For Your Trip
- Bring (or order) a picnic: A lot of Go Boaters bring along a picnic to enjoy whilst on board. There are limitations on alcohol but otherwise, you can bring along what you want. If you would prefer to have a picnic prepared for you instead, then neighbouring KuPP will organise a (Swedish inspired) picnic for you with 24 hours notice or you can order the most delicious pizza in London from the nearby Heist Bank, more on that in a moment.
- Invest in a doggy lifejacket for dogs that may attempt a dip: There are plenty available online on Amazon for under £20 as well as the more high-end float coats from Ruffwear. At least then you’ll be prepared to try out other water based dog-friendly London adventures such as the Dog and Human Paddle Boarding on the Thames.
- Bring a blanket or towel for your dogs to sit on: As mentioned above, also useful in the event of any unplanned doggy canal diving.
- Get into the sailing spirit: Go Boat sells Captains hats for £7.50 which we would have definitely bought had the pirates who set sail before us not pillaged all the remaining stock!
- Allow enough time: Two hours was a great trip duration to complete the round trip without rushing. We were the last slot of the day so we were told that if the canal is busy then it can be tight. Dependent on the time of day you decide to go we would recommend a two-hour (minimum) or three-hour trip.
Was it a Paws Up For Our Dog-Friendly Go Boat London Experience?
All too soon we arrived back at Merchant Square and were unanimous in our view that the dog-friendly Go Boat London experience was a fabulous way to spend a few hours. Of course, this applies to human only boating adventures too. In fact. when getting a group of friends together it is also incredibly good value (see below). So, that’s three sets of paws up from Prudence, Bug and Belinha then!
Dog-Friendly Go Boat London | Essential Info
- Go Boat London is open seven days a week until the end of October, with Monday – Friday being off-peak and Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays peak. It is also open during November but on weekends only.
- The two hour dog-friendly Go Boat London experience costs a very reasonable £89 / £109 (off-peak / peak) and the 3 hour trip £119 / £139. See the Go Boat London pricing for details.
- Getting there: Go Boat London is located in Merchant Square, Paddington, W2 IJZ. By tube both Edgware Road and Paddington are less than 10 minutes walk as is Paddington station overground. If traveling by car, be aware that road parking is limited and restricted.
- Book your dog-friendly Go Boat London adventure online on the Go Boat London website.
- Stay up to date with Go Boat London on Instagram and Facebook too.
Things to Do for Dogs After Your Dog-Friendly Go Boat London Experience
If your human fancies something to eat after your buzzing boating adventure, Belinha has sniffed out the dog-friendly options in Merchant Square for you…
Heist Bank is super dog friendly and quite honestly serves the best pizza we’ve had in a long time (and we know our pizzas). Belinha was immediately offered a bowl of water and their pup patrons regularly feature on the Heist Bank insta. This would definitely be our recommendation for post boating dog-friendly dining.
Dogs are welcomed at Lockhouse London but in the front bar only and outside.
Dogs are only allowed on the outside terrace area at KuPP but that does mean a canal side seat which is not bad.
A Walk in the Park
Finally, if you and your human still have some energy, you can always go for a walk to Hyde Park which is just 15 minutes away on foot.