Last updated 29 May 2017
Note: The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of RetoxMagazine.com
Once the weather warms up and the sun starts making an appearance, you simply can't beat a day out in London. Whether you’re a local and have a day off from work, or you’re visiting London on a short break, a boating experience in one of London's gorgeous parks will do the trick. You can incorporate sightseeing into your adventure, and some extra physical activity to your day, spend some time relaxing on a gorgeous body of water and snap stunning photos of landscapes and birds and take some striking selfies. Boating, an adventure simple in nature, can be a whole lot of fun.
Regent’s Park is huge, 166 hectares to be precise. Previously a hunting ground for King Henry VIII, today Regent’s Park continues to offer wildlife and plant diversity and it certainly is one of the finest spots to connect with nature in Central London.
The park consists of the Inner and Outer Circle. The Inner Circle offers beautiful gardens and landscaping – the heavily TLC’d Queen Mary’s Gardens that are particularly gorgeous to explore during spring time, as well as the Open Air Theatre. Outer Circle has a mix of gardens, play areas, sports grounds, boating lake, London Zoo and more. There are multiple places in the park to buy drinks, meals, snacks or use the amenities. The park is popular with tourists and locals alike and renting a row boat or a pedalo in the park’s picturesque setting can be a really fun thing to do.
Getting to Regent's Park is easy by London Underground, with Baker street Station and Great Portland Street Station just minutes away from the park.
Open daily 10.30am-6pm from April-September.
£8 per adult per half hour. You can get more information on the opening times and prices on the Regent's Park website.
Battersea Park boating lake has a fleet of rowing and pedal boats. You can row your boat or paddle your pedalo around the central island in the lake and take in the nature around you. The surroundings are beautiful and in many shades of green you can lose yourself, and become one with nature.
The nearest train station to the park is Battersea Park. An easy way to get there is to take a train from Victoria train station to Battersea Park Station.
Open school holidays, public holidays and all weekends between Easter and the end of September.
£6 per adult per 30 minutes. Here are Battersea Park Boating Lake prices, rules and phone number for more information.
Lakeside Boats at Ally Pally offer pedalos as well as the classic rowing boats. While the pedalos are a tiny bit more expensive to rent, they do offer fancy and possibly irresistible designs - you have a choice of paddling a dragon, a swan or a WV Beetle, and they come in a variety of bright colours.
Alexandra Palace train station is the nearest station to the park.
Open 11am-6pm Apr-Nov weather permitting. From £4.95 per adult per hour.
The pedalos are about £1 more expensive to hire, but they are very funky padalos well worth the extra quid. After all, who wouldn't want to paddle a swan or a beetle. You can get a feel for the boats and check out the prices here.
Crystal Palace Park Boating Lake brings a more thrilling boating experience with the views of over a century-old dinosaurs. Here you can float past dinosaurs and enjoy the views.
To get to the boating lake by train the stations to get off at are Crystal Palace and Penge West.
The boating lake is open 10.30am-5pm weekends, bank holidays and school holidays from Easter until October.
Hiring the pedalo is at £4 per adult per 30 minutes, but there is also a good family value boat hire offer at £10 inclusive of two adults and two children. Please note, this is a cash only boating experience. For more information and prices please visit the Park Boats London website.
Hollow Pond is part of Epping Forest lying between Upper Leytonstone and Snaresbrook. This is a very ‘raw’ and a natural park, with natural grasslands, where you can enjoy a good forest trail, a picnic, lake views, cycling, boating and other activities. The pond covers quite a large area so hiring a rowing boat at the Boat House to enjoy some time on the water seems like a perfect thing to do on a nice day.
By tube you have somewhat of a choice between Snaresbrook, Leytonstone or Wanstead stations, although expect a good walk from either of the stations. Or Wood Street station by train.
Hollow Pond boating lake is open daily 10am-8pm March-September.
Boat hire is at £15 per boat per hour or £10 for half an hour, see here for more information on prices.
The famous Serpentine in Hyde Park operates a fleet of rowing and paddle boats as well as the UK’s first Solarshuttle – a silent solar-powered shuttle service that can carry up to 40 passengers.
The Serpantine, created in 1730 at the behest of Queen Caroline, is rich in history. In 1730 Queen Caroline, wife of George II, ordered the damming of the River Westbourne in Hyde Park as part of a general redevelopment of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. The Serpentine was originally fed by the River Westbourne and Tyburn Brook. Royal Gardener Charles Bridgeman carried out the redevelopment that included damming the Westbourne to create the artificial lake, and digging a large pond in the centre of Kensington Gardens. Moving fast forward, in 2011 The Royal Park embarked on the restoration of the Serpentine, and in 2012 the lake proved to be a popular venue for the swimming portion of the London 2012 Triathlon and the Marathon Swim events in August 2012.
Located bang in Central London, the nearest tube stations are Knightsbridge and Hyde Park Corner.
Boating on the Serpentine is open daily 10am-sunset from April-October 31.
£12 per adult per hour. For more information on times and prices please visit The Royal Parks website page.
If you’re well up for a boating day out here in London but end up with a dilemma of whether to rent a rowing boat or a pedalo, here is something to consider. The immediate and noticeable difference between a rowing boat and a paddling boat is in the mechanism it uses to propel the boat. A rowing boat is a small boat propelled by the use of oars, and the rowers travel backwards (see a selected video on how to row a boat below). A pedalo is a small boat operated by pedals and paddlers travel forwards. So do you want to go backwards or do you want to go forwards while sitting in your boat?
A two minute high resolution educational video on how to row a boat.