7 Ways To Float Your Boat In London

By Zoe Craig Last edited 28 months ago
7 Ways To Float Your Boat In London

In London, we take messing about in boats very seriously.

1. Church

St Peter's Barge floats in the shadows of the huge glass skyscrapers around Canary Wharf. The West India Quay-based boat is part of the Parish of St Anne's and is run by a permanent full-time Church of England minister alongside a team of four. It's the only boat-based church in the UK.

St Peter's Barge, London's Floating Church.

Alongside traditional Sunday worship, the church offers coffee mornings for local parents, men's breakfasts, and women's evenings and even aerobidance fitness classes.
St Peter's Barge, West India Quay, Hertsmere Road

2. Bookshop

Boat-based second-hand bookshop Word on the Water (tagline: we sell 'interesting books') is based on a 1920s Dutch barge and moored in Granary Square. As well as second-hand classics and contemporary fiction, they stock books on philosophy, art and photography, rivers and canals (of course) and children's books.

Word on the Water

The bookshop is also home to a wood-burning stove, poetry slams, book readings and live acoustic music on the roof-top stage. And a very friendly dog.
Word on the Water, Regent's Canal Towpath, Kings Cross, N1C 4LW

3. Pub

Following a colourful past as a packed passenger ferry on the Humber estuary — and some active service during the war carrying barrage balloons and radar — the PS Tattershall Castle now does important work keeping civil servants, students and tourists well watered while enjoying great views of the Thames at Embankment.

PS Tattershall Castle.

There are even comedy nights on (some) Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.
PS Tattershall Castle, Victoria Embankment, SW1A 2HR

4. Theatre

The Puppet Theatre Barge has been weaving its watery magic into children's imaginations since 1982. Current puppeteer Stan Middleton's grandparents formed the touring Movingstage Marionette Company in the 70s, but couldn't afford anywhere on land, and settled on using a barge instead.

Little Venice Puppet Theatre

The boat is moored in Little Venice for most of the year (October to July), and spends the summer in Richmond. Click here for more details on what's on and when.
Puppet Theatre Barge, Little Venice, opposite 35 Blomfield Road, W9 2PF

5. Hotel

London's only floating hotel is moored in the Royal Victoria Dock near the ExCeL Centre.

The Sunborn London hotel.

It's got 136 rooms, as well as a bar and restaurant. Their sea-themed afternoon tea (think prawn cocktail, lobster thermidor and Atlantic cod) will set you back about £32.
Sunborn Hotel, Royal Victoria Dock, Western Gateway, E16 1XL

6. Restaurant

Feng Shang Princess is an elaborately decorated Chinese restaurant, housed in an oriental-looking boat moored on the banks of the Regent's Canal, opposite London Zoo.

The Feng Shang Princess in Regent's Park.

Their broad Asian menu includes stir fried lobster tail; grilled black cod in honey; and crispy vegetarian duck, whatever that might be...
Feng Shang Princess, Cumberland Basin, Prince Albert Road, NW1 7SS

7. Livery Hall

Moored on the Thames since 1948, HQS Wellington is the last surviving sloop of its class, and served with distinction in the Atlantic, at Dunkirk and off North Africa during the second world war.

HQS Wellington.

HQS Wellington is now a museum, library, learning centre and floating livery hall for the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. If that kind of thing floats your boat, check out the tours on offer during Open House Weekend.
HQS Wellington, Temple Stairs, Victoria Embankment, WC2R 2PN

Did we miss your favourite floating phenomenon? Let us know in the comments below.

Last Updated 19 January 2017