Hi everyone! Please excuse the cheesy title, but to be fair, it was very fun!
This blog post is all about our recent hire of a GoBoat in Kingston! We were very kindly gifted a two hour hire of a self-drive GoBoat which are brand spanking new to Kingston! They have been operating for some time in Paddington and I am planning a summer day out to try those out too, as the route looks super fun! (Runs beside places like London Zoo and through Camden!)
So, a GoBoat seats up to 8 people and has a lovely picnic table in the middle of the boat, which makes it perfect for having a family lunch or drinks with friends. I took my husband, my 4 year old Jai, my 5 month old Mila and my 10 year old niece Marli on our little GoBoat adventure and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all ages!
The route begins at the riverside walk in Kingston Upon Thames (very close to the Bental shopping centre) so we parked in their car park. Parking cost us £5.60 for up to 4 hours which I think is quite reasonable. It was around a 3/4 minute walk from the car to the GoBoat docking area so really convenient.
We were greeted by two friendly GoBoat staff members who helped us on the boat. We were able to leave our buggy base with them and I took Mila onto the boat in her car seat. We could have just taken her in on our laps but I knew her nap was due so it worked out best for us to bring it on with us so we could all enjoy our picnic whilst she slept in her seat.
One of the staff members went through a 5 minute demonstration of how to operate the boat and basic safety measures etc. The kids were given life jackets, but Mila was very fussy with hers so we opted to leave it off. Jai looked so cute in his, and it matched his Navy outfit perfectly! Haha!
And after our little demo, we were off. Samir decided he wanted to be “captain” so he was in control of the boat. He got the hang of it really quickly and enjoyed being in control of our leisurely ride. At first, the kids were too scared to have a go at steering, because the area where you sit to steer doesn’t have a high back like the rest of the boat (although it’s totally safe and once you sit on it you realise how safe it is) About half an hour into the journey and once I had a go doing it, they both became very comfortable and couldn’t wait to take over! Marli has a good long go and was really good at it! Jai wanted to do it all by himself at one point… until he saw the good old bribery cupcakes come out and he agreed to come back to the table!
We brought a picnic with us which is definitely the thing to do!! I cooked some samosas and spring rolls and made some sandwiches, but we needed some more snacks so we popped into Waitrose (which is on the way to the GoBoats from the car, literally 2 minutes away.) We bought crisps, cupcakes and some drinks. You are also allowed alcohol on the boat although there are rules as to how much you are allowed, as obviously for safety reasons you shouldn’t be getting wasted! If I wasn’t driving home I would have got a bottle of Prosecco for me and Samir to share, which would have been allowed.
Mila was awake for the first hour of the journey and she loved looking around at everything and taking it all in. She had a feed on the boat and then slept for the remaining hour in her car seat.
Inside where the “captain” sits, there are life jackets for adults along with other emergency equipment, as well as umbrellas which are so handy if the weather did turn bad! We were very lucky to have had lovely sunshine for the whole two hours and it was such a perfect day for it. I would love to come back again in the summer, and as I said head over to the Paddington branch too!
There are different routes that you can take and you are even provided with a little map so you can chose exactly what you want to see! We all really wanted to go to Hampton court palace and from the dock it takes exactly one hour, so it was perfect for our two hour rental. The main things we looked at and discussed were the beautiful houses along the route which are so stunning! We talked about how one day we will be rich enough to own one. Yeah right. The kids also loved looking at all of the wildlife. There were lots of ducks along the route, as well as gorgeous swans. We even saw some baby ones which were so cute! Jai was sure that he saw a whale too….
The kids loved seeing Hampton Court Palace. It is so beautiful. At this point after having a good look and getting some photos, we turned back around and headed back. By this point we had all had a go at steering (except Mila of course!) so Marli and I decided to sunbathe! As there was only 4 1/2 of us, we had plenty of room to lay down and enjoy the British sunshine!
It was the most lovely two hours. We enjoyed it all so much, not once did we touch our phones, other than to take photos. Marli wasn’t playing any games on her phone and Jai wasn’t on YouTube – it wasn’t even mentioned! We laughed, joked, talked and listened. Family time at its purest.
As you can probably imagine from what I’ve written so far, I would completely recommend GoBoat for a family day out. I also think it would be lovely for a date (the last booking is available at 8pm so perfect for a romantic evening!) or drinks with friends. I’ve seen photos on Instagram of people celebrating their birthdays on a GoBoat and it looks so fun! Imagine if there’s a bigger group of you, you could rent two GoBoats and riding down the Thames side by side which would be fun!
Prices start from £59 and are bookable on their website: http://www.goboat.co.uk
Although this rental was gifted, all of these opinions are completely of my own and we all genuinely had the best time!