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Here in London, we love a quirky restaurant. Whether that’s a supper club on an abandoned tube carriage, eating in the pitch black or dining at the top of one of the city’s tallest skyscrapers. But one style of dining which often seems to float (geddit!?) under people’s radar is London’s floating restaurants.
There aren’t that many places to eat on a boat in London. But the few floating restaurants you do find are definitely worth adding to your London foodie bucket list.
With some of the coolest settings, spectacular views, and unbeatable menus in the capital, these are the 10 best London boat restaurants to dine on in 2023…
Static Boat Restaurants in London
Moored on London’s many canals or the bank of the River Thames, these are the best static boat restaurants in London…
Darcie & May Green
This super Instagrammable spot in Paddington combines two of London’s coolest dining trends; floating restaurants and pretty brunch cafes.
A member of the Daisy Green Collection – the renowned Aussie cafe brand that serves up some of the tastiest avocado toast in London – Darcie & May Green are two moored barges floating on the Grand Union Canal. The colourful barges were designed exclusively by the ‘godfather’ of British pop art, Sir Peter Blake.
With both indoor seating and an upstairs terrace to choose from, the pretty floating restaurant is open from early morning to late at night.
You can pop by for a morning coffee or enjoy their signature all-day Aussie brunch menu. Then for dinner, pick from dishes including halloumi fries, roasted aubergine, chicken parmigiana and tiramisu lamington. All paired with a few drinks from their fantastic cocktail list of course.
Darcie & May isn’t currently taking bookings. Walk-ins only.
The Cheese Barge
Quality cheese and fine wine… On a boat… In the sunshine… What more could you want!?
The Cheese Barge can be found on a large double-decker boat moored on the Regents Canal in Paddington, a short distance from Darcie & May Green.
The unique floating restaurant prides itself on its unbeatable offering of British cheeses.
The main dining room is open daily for lunch and dinner, serving a delicious seasonal cheese-focused menu.
Or for a more casual summer get-together with friends, you can head up to the boat’s rooftop terrace to enjoy a variety of cheese boards and grilled cheese sandwiches, accompanied by a great wine selection.
Love cheese? Check out more of the best cheese restaurants in London.
With two of London’s best floating restaurants sitting right next to each other in the Paddington basin, it’s almost impossible to choose between the two. My advice for the ultimate foodie day out would be to head to Darcie & May Green for brunch, then take a walk up to Little Venice and along the Regents Canal, before returning to the Cheese Barge roof terrace for mid-afternoon cheese and wine. Treat yourself!
Where? Victoria Embankment.
Also known as ‘The Pub on the Thames’, The Tattershall Castle has some of the best views of any restaurant on a boat in London. Its prime location on Victoria Embankment means that you can enjoy dinner and drinks overlooking some of London’s most iconic sites, including the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.
But just because it has a 5* location, this doesn’t mean you’ll be paying 5* prices. The casual floating dining spot has an affordable menu of British classics including fish and chips, burgers, pies, platters, and more.
Being a pub, Tattershall Castle also hosts weekly comedy nights, live music and DJs, and a monthly pub quiz.
The Waterside Cafe
Where? Little Venice.
Dating back to 1995, The Waterside Cafe is London’s original floating cafe.
Located on a historic barge in the canal basin of Little Venice, this peaceful spot serves breakfasts, light lunches, afternoon teas, and freshly baked cakes that you can enjoy inside the air-conned boat or out on the lovely terrace on a sunny day.
The Waterside Cafe is the ideal place to grab a coffee and a light bite before heading on a walk along the Regents Canal to Camden Town (my favourite walk in London!).
The cafe is only small and you can’t book a table in advance. But even if you can’t find somewhere to sit at the cafe, you can always grab a drink and slice of cake to go and enjoy it somewhere else along the canal – there are plenty of benches and other places to sit by the water.
Where? Victoria Embankment.
If you’re looking for a boat restaurant on the Thames for a special occasion, The Yacht is the place to go.
Set on a luxury 1920s motor yacht, the elegant restaurant serves a modern European menu, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views along the Thames and across to the Southbank.
There’s also a swanky 1920s cocktail lounge to enjoy a couple of drinks before or after your meal, and a terrace area that can be hired for private events and parties.
Whether you visit by day or by night, this sophisticated spot is guaranteed to impress.
Where? Hackney Wick.
Barge East is a 118-year-old Dutch barge turned award-winning floating restaurant and bar on Hackney’s canals, just a short walk from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Westfield shopping centre in Stratford.
With a charming rustic interior and an outdoor deck overlooking the East London skyline, the restaurant serves a luxury seasonal British set menu designed by head chef Stefano Campione.
The unique location combined with their fantastic food even won Barge East the title of #1 restaurant in London on TripAdvisor in both 2019 and 2020! Pretty impressive right?
If you can’t get reservations on the barge itself, be sure to check out its lovely riverside garden, with stunning canal views, heated seating areas, and its own food and drink offering.
Feng Shang Princess
Where? Primrose Hill/Regents Park.
The unusual London restaurant has an authentic Chinese look both inside and out, complete with plenty of traditional red Chinese lanterns, and serves a menu of delicious Chinese cuisine, fine wine, cocktails and champagnes.
Rumour has it, Feng Shang Princess was Paul McCartney’s favourite Chinese restaurant in the city.
Cruising Boat Restaurants in London
If a dinner cruise is more your speed, check out these canal boat and riverboat dinner cruises in London…
The London Dinner Cruise
Where? River Thames.
Best known for their sightseeing boat trips along the River Thames in central London, City Cruises also host regular showboat dinner cruises.
On The London Dinner Cruise, you’ll enjoy a 4-course dinner and live cabaret show while taking in some of the capital’s most famous landmarks, including the London Eye, Tower Bridge and St Pauls Cathedral.
Certainly a little more gimmicky than some of the other boat restaurants in London, The London Dinner Cruise is still a super fun option for tourists wanting to see more of the city or for locals looking for a London dining experience with a twist.
London Shell Co. Prince Regent
Where? Regents Canal.
Enjoy a seafood dinner cruise along the beautiful Regents Canal onboard London Shell Co.’s Prince Regent canal boat. The concept was launched just a few years ago by siblings Harry and Leah Lobek and has very quickly become one of the most popular and in-demand boat restaurants in London.
On this luxury dinner cruise, you’ll be served a set menu of the finest British seafood, with dishes changing daily to focus on the freshest locally sourced ingredients and specially selected wine pairings.
The small intimate setting also gives the restaurant a supper club atmosphere, so don’t be surprised if you end up leaving with new friends as well as new memories.
London Shell Co. has also recently opened their first permanently moored floating restaurant in London; The Grand Duchess in Paddington. Their static boat restaurant also serves a menu of fresh fish and artisan wines.
Where? River Thames.
One of the most elegant and unique riverboat restaurants on the Thames, Bateaux London’s Green Room will have you floating through central London in what looks like a giant greenhouse.
This upscale dinner cruise will take you past London’s most famous landmarks on its famous glass-walled boat, meaning you won’t miss a single sight no matter where you sit. You’ll also be serenaded by relaxing live music along the way, making it one of the most romantic boat restaurants on the Thames.
The dinner menu consists of contemporary European dishes, all made fresh using seasonal produce in the state-of-the-art onboard kitchen.
Skuna BBQ Boats
Where? Canary Wharf.
From high-end dining to DIY BBQs, there’s a London boat restaurant to suit everyone.
Skuna Boats offer what is definitely one of the most unique dining experiences in London; a self-drive BBQ boat.
Seating up to 9 people, the unusual boats come with a built-in BBQ and utensils. All you have to do is bring the food and drinks and set sail around the waterways of Canary Wharf.
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