“Two stylish and cosy houseboats for 2-4, hidden away on peaceful Regent’s Canal”
Do away with preconceptions of boats as camping on water: here you can expect all the luxuries of the best self-catering stay, and even more. High thread-count sheets, a well-stocked honesty bar, a wood-burner, and a kitchen fit for a modest galleon. Furniture has been painstakingly selected from vintage markets, and we loved the sheepskin rugs, copper-lined lamps and brass tableware. After a day trudging the capital these are sublimely cosy places to return to, but chances are, like us, you’ll find it hard to prise yourself away in the first place. The boats are a bobbing, bijou homage to both the peaceful canal and the vibrant part of East London that it carves through - something we can definitely get on board with.
- A unique, adventurous way to experience London
- Everything feels considered and stylishly functional: the boats have clearly been designed by people familiar with life afloat
- A great location in hip East London, and an excellent price point for the city
- Sitting out on deck for breakfast; a great way to start the day
- Owners Henry, Calypso and Simon are warm, hospitable people
- The towpath opposite is popular with bicycle commuters, meaning lots of bell ringing during rush hour!
- The generic pitfalls of being on a boat: open water, narrow space, numerous buttons for sinks and toilets
- The 2 boats are moored next to each other - you might not want to open your bedroom doors while your neighbours are home
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique houseboats
- 2 barges (sleeping 2-4)
- Self-catering; breakfast hampers available
- Welcome but not ideal
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
There are 2 houseboats (Osbert, sleeping 2, and The Palmer, sleeping 2-4), both beautifully conceived to feel cosy without being cluttered. You may be on a boat, but apart from some plumbing quirks (you’ll need to switch on a pump to drain the sink) and the fact that you’re eye to eye with passing ducks, everything feels as it would on terra firma.
As you board, you’re greeted by fresh flowers in your wonderfully well-equipped galley kitchen (there’s even a washing machine for longer stays). Look around and you'll find gorgeous reclaimed wooden furniture, including a dining table and desk, plus a sofa and a wood-burner for the colder months. Whilst both boats are impeccably designed (with credits in interiors magazines to prove it), we particularly loved The Palmer’s antique tiles and muted pastel colours.
Osbert is open-plan, with a kingsize bed at one end and a wet-room bathroom. It's the smaller of the boats but has head room for anyone up to 6ft. The Palmer has a separate bedroom, a shower bathroom and a bigger lounge area, with a sofa that can convert into an extra bed for 1-2 guests. Both boats have 2 little deck areas.
- Central heating
- Coffee tea making
- Dvd player
- Extra beds
- Full kitchen
- Hob stove
- Ipod dock
- Washing machine
The galley kitchens are well stocked with a refreshing attention to detail. All of the requisite crockery and utensils are here, along with stylish brass cutlery and a selection of cookery books to help you do them justice.
Breakfast hampers - the spoils of local delis - are a joy to wake up to (you can book accommodation only or B&B): sourdough with honey and jam accompanies tasty granola, creamy yoghurt, juices and organic eggs and bacon. There's coffee for the stove-top espresso maker, too.
You can also purchase artisan delights from the hosts’ favourite local suppliers (black truffle crisps, salted Catalan almonds, Gordal olives; London's poshest minibar!). There are shops nearby for other meals, but you’re in a prime location to forego cooking full stop. Restaurant suggestions are marked on a useful hand-drawn map, and there are a number in Shoreditch (10-15 minutes' walk), too.
- Coffee tea making
- Full kitchen
- Hob stove
- Restaurants nearby
- Cook a meal, chill some wine, and make the most of having your very own floating slice of London
- You’ll find plenty of entertainment on the boats: Osbert has a BluRay, and a record player with a vinyl collection. The Palmer has a radio, board games and great books
- Stroll a stretch of the canal, either west through Islington and Camden to London Zoo (an hour and a half) or east to Victoria Park (half an hour)
- Walk to the coffee shops, hip boutiques, restaurants and cutting-edge galleries of Hoxton, Shoreditch and Brick Lane
- Visit the East End's fabulous weekend markets: Broadway (foodie), Columbia Road (flowers), Spitalfields (contemporary and vintage fashion) and Camden Passage (antiques)
- You're a tube or bus ride from London’s main sights
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Shopping / markets
- Theatre and live music
- Well being
Children are welcome onboard, providing they are closely supervised whilst on deck and on the pontoons. Best for babes in arms or older children.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
The Palmer has a kingsize sofabed that can sleep 1-2 children/adults. You'll need to bring a travel cot if bringing a baby; both boats have space for one.
Families Should Know:
Water, water all around - and no lifeguards!