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London's Boating Lakes

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Alexandra Palace Boating Lake

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Alexandra Palace Boating Lake
Finsbury Park Boating Lake
Dulwich Park Boating Lake
Crystal Palace Boating Lake
Kayaking & Other Watersports
Kew Garden's Palm House Pond
Victoria Park Boating Lake
Battersea Park Boating Lake
The Regent's Park Boating Lake
Serpentine Boating Lake in Hyde Park

Credit: © Julian Osley

The success of Team GB's Olympic rowers in 2012 led to the restoration of Victoria Park's boating lake - and the East London park now joins the more established boating lakes of Hyde Park, Regent's Park and Battersea Park as one of London's best venues for hiring a rowing boat or pedalo.



"It isn't just an ordinary sort of boat," Winnie-the-Pooh once told Christopher Robin. "Sometimes it's a Boat, and sometimes it's more of an Accident. It all depends [...] on whether I'm on top of it or underneath it." A.A. Milne's Pooh was not the only literary creature to take to the water. In Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, Ratty tells Mole: "Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." With this in mind, why not channel your inner Ratty (as opposed to Pooh - no one likes to capsize) by seeking out a rowing boat in one of London's many boating lakes?


Serpentine Boating Lake in Hyde Park

Serpentine Boating Lake Serpentine Boating Lake Where:
, The Boat House, Serpentine Road, London London, W2 2UH
Category: Parks and Gardens

The Boat House, Serpentine Road, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH

Tube: Knightsbridge Station


The famous Serpentine Boating Lake - which hosted the marathon swimming and triathlon events during the London 2012 Olympics - is one of London's most popular spots for nautical activities during the summer. A fleet of white rowing and blue pedal boats are available for hire from Easter until the end of October (10am-8pm), costing £10 per hour or £8 for 30 minutes (reductions for children and families available). The Serpentine is also home to the UK's first Solarshuttle - a vessel which glides silently across the lake powered only by the sun (speeds, like the British weather, are presumably rather variable). The vessel carries up to 40 passengers while the pedal and rowing boats hold up to six people each (dogs not permitted). The most central of London's parks, Hyde Park is a glorious haven of calm in the summer months - and the Serpentine is the main focal point. Visitors can get refreshments before or after their boating session at the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen on the east tip of the lake or the Lido Bar & Café on the southern side, where hardy swimmers brave the cool waters for a dip all year round.


Events at Serpentine Boating Lake

Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race On SoonFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

Thursday 25th December 2014 | Free for spectators


This lot are a hardy bunch but tradition is tradition and members of the Serpentine Swimming Club have been plunging themselves into the Serpentine lake's icy waters every Christmas Day since 1864. At temperatures of ...more

All events at Serpentine Boating Lake in Hyde Park

The Regent's Park Boating Lake

Regent's Park Regent's Park Where:
, Inner Circle, London London, NW1 4NR
Category: Parks and Gardens

Inner Circle, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4NR

Tube: Regent's Park Station


The large Boating Lake in the Outer Circle of Regent's Park is a wonderful place to take to the water in a rowing boat or pedalo. Boat hire is available daily from April through to September from 10am to 6pm and costs £7.50 per hour or £5.50 for 30 minutes (children are half price) with a deposit of £5 required for all bookings. There is a separate smaller children's boating lake which is open on weekends, bank holidays and school holidays only. Surrounded by grand white stucco terraced houses, the John Nash-designed Regent's Park is arguably the most spectacular of London's Royal Parks and is a great place for almost every kinds of outdoor pursuit - whether it's running, cycling, football, rounders, tennis or boating. The lake is also a major hub for bird life, including numerous herons nesting on the islands. If you're feeling peckish afterwards, there's the Boathouse Café as well as other options in the park such as the Honest Sausage, the Cow and Coffee bean, the Hub Café and the Garden Café.


Battersea Park Boating Lake

Battersea Park Battersea Park Where:
, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea Park, London London, SW11 4NJ
Category: Parks and Gardens

Albert Bridge Road, Battersea Park, Battersea, London, SW11 4NJ

Tube: Sloane Square Station


Every July and August visitors can rent rowing and pedal boats on the lake at Battersea Park - with the service running into September for weekends should weather permit. Prices are £6 per person for an hour and £4 for half an hour - with children going half price. The best value is a family ticket, where two adults and two children can take a boat for £10 for half an hour or £15 for an hour. Tickets are purchased at the reception of the Millennium Arena sports complex nearby the lake. For more information please call Blue Bird Boats on 020 7262 1330. The 200-acre Battersea Park caters for pretty much everyone - whether you want to walk your dog, play tennis, go running, admire the wildlife on the ponds, take the children to a the playground and zoo, or take in the majestic Peace Pagoda, Tropical Garden and Fountains. Art lovers can visit the free Pump House Gallery, a contemporary space located in a Victorian water tower that used to supply water to the park's lakes and cascades.


Victoria Park Boating Lake

Victoria Park Victoria Park Where:
, Grove Road, Tower Hamlets, London London, E3 5SN
Category: Parks and Gardens

Grove Road, Tower Hamlets, Tower Hamlets, London, E3 5SN

Tube: Mile End Station


Following the success of Team GB in the rowing events in the London 2012 Olympic Games, boating has returned to the Boating Lake of east London's Victoria Park for the first time in 30 years. Tower Hamlets council has set up a scheme to rent pedalos and rowing boats, with 30 vessels now available for hire by the public seven days a week. The East and West lakes at Victoria Park had already been restored as part of a £12 million regeneration scheme leading up to the Olympics. Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman was present to welcome the return of boats to Victoria Park's Boating Lake and said: "The country has been thrilled by the success of our Olympic rowers. We don't expect people to be rowing quite as fast as the medal winners, but this will hopefully encourage people to get out on to their local lake." The Boating Lake is open from Easter time until 31st October, 10am to 5pm.


Events at Victoria Park

On The Table, Under The Bed' At The Floating Waterhouse Theatre
Now On

11th to 30th December 2014 - 7.30pm-8.45pm | £10, concs £8

Winterville Now OnFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

2nd to 31st December 2014 | Free entry | ICE RINK £9.35-£13.20, ROLLER DISCO £4.40-£7.70, ROBIN HOOD PANTOMIME In the spiegeltent £6.60-£11, all plus booking fee


The West End has Winter Wonderland and now east London has its equivalent: Winterville, with an ice rink, ferris wheel, street food vendors, a craft beer area and a Speigeltent. Victoria Park becomes a pleasure ...more

Swing Bridges Generation Gap In Winterville
On SoonFree Event

Tuesday 30th December 2014 - 5pm | £10, advance £8, child under 12 Free


Swing Patrol and Electro Swing Club join forces in presenting a vintage and electro swing showcase, with choreographer Scott Cupit leading the social dance, and DJ Chris Tofu spinning the mix of sounds, ranging from ...

The National Literacy Trust's Where's Wally' Fun Run

Sunday 22nd March 2015 - 11am-1pm | £25

London To Southend Bike Ride

Sunday 19th July 2015 - 7am-5pm | £22


Come and join us on the 'FUNdraising' ride for the British Heart Foundation.

All events at Victoria Park Boating Lake

Crystal Palace Boating Lake

Crystal Palace Park Crystal Palace Park Where:
, Thicket Road, Penge, London London, SE20 8DT
Category: Parks and Gardens

Thicket Road, Penge, London, SE20 8DT

Tube: Denmark Hill Station


After a long campaign led by local residents, boats returned to the lake at Crystal Palace Park in spring 2012 just ahead of the Olympic Games. The blue pedalos operate between 10.30am and 5pm on weekends, bank holidays and during school holidays. The price is £4 for 30 minutes (£2 for children) and £10 for a family ticket of two adults and two children. The 200-acre Crystal Palace Park is home to the National Sports Centre and the Crystal Palace Bowl sports stadium. It also boats plenty of green space, a café, farm and - a highlight for children - a Jurassic Park-style dinosaur island where five dinosaur sculptures can be found hiding in the trees around the lake.


Dulwich Park Boating Lake

Dulwich Park Dulwich Park Where:
, College Road, London London, SE21 7BQ
Category: Parks and Gardens

College Road, London, SE21 7BQ

Tube: Denmark Hill Station


Packed with historical features, great facilities (tennis, bowling, bike hire and vegetable garden), magnificent oak trees and perfect picnic sports, Dulwich Park also has a boating lake offering small and family-sized pedalos and traditional rowing boats. The vessels are available for hire from April to October (weather permitting) on weekends, bank holidays and school holidays, from 10.30am to 5pm. Adults cost £4 and children £2 for half an hour. No bookings are required and inquiries can be made on 07902 258301. With the Pavilion Café open daily and the Dulwich Picture Gallery just around the corner, the return of the boats to Dulwich Park is another attraction to a wonderful family-friendly area of south east London.


Finsbury Park Boating Lake

Finsbury Park Finsbury Park Where:
, Endymion Road, London London, N4 1EE
Category: Parks and Gardens

Endymion Road, London, N4 1EE

Tube: Manor House Station


Open seven days a week from 12 noon until 6pm, Finsbury Park Boat House hires rowing boats for a flat rate of £8 per boat for half an hour (£16 per hour) with a maximum of four people per boat. That can be as little as £2 per person, which is great value in a day where it costs about the same to buy a newspaper. Dogs and children under 12 months are not allowed on the vessels, while all children must wear life vests provided. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult and there is no access to the island. Tourists from Europe can also pay in foreign currency with a rate of 10 euros for 30 minutes. The 115-acre Finsbury Park is a hive of activity, boasting stunning scenary, fun for the family and energetic pursuits. There's a tree walk, a play area for young 'uns and a landscaped flower garden a stone's throw from the lake, which boasts abundant birdlife.


Alexandra Palace Boating Lake

Alexandra Palace Park Alexandra Palace Park Where:
, Alexandra Palace Way, London London, N22 7AY
Category: Extreme Sports

Alexandra Palace Way, London, N22 7AY

Tube: Bounds Green Station


The boating lake at Alexandra Palace is open every day from April to November for fishing and rowing/pedal boating. Visitors can choose between classic rowing boats, Tamara pedalos or swan-shaped pedalos, with each boat holding up to five people and costing from £4.50 for half an hour (reductions for children). The usual medley of rules applies: no babies under 12 months, no pets, and children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Those wishing to fish in the designated area must have a valid Environment Agency Rod Licence from the Post Office. As well as a boating lake, Ally Pally Park boats a children's playground, an indoor ice rink, skateboard park, animal enclosure and some delightful parkland.


Kew Garden's Palm House Pond

Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens) Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens) Where:
, Kew, Richmond, London London, TW9 3AB
Category: Parks and Gardens

Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AB

Tube: Kew Gardens Station


Boats are back on the Palm House Pond at Kew Gardens - although only for a limited period of time. Part of the IncrEdibles series running from late May to early November 2013, self-styled architectural foodsmiths Bompas & Parr are turning the pond into a giant fruit salad bowl, with visitors able to sail on multi-coloured rowing boats into the centre of the pond, where they'll discover a giant pineapple perched atop a hidden banana grotto. The Tutti Frutti Boating Experience is open until 1st September and runs daily from 10am to 5pm. Tickets to hire a boat for half an hour cost £4.50 for adults and £2.50 for children. Tickets must be purchased in addition to admission to Kew Gardens. Having invented glow in the dark jelly and chewing gum that changes flavour as you chew, Bompas & Parr have form with boating lakes: in one of their many culinary gimmicks, they created one made out of punch atop Selfridges.


Events at Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens)

Christmas By Day
Now On

6th December 2014 to 4th January 2015 - 9.30am-4.15pm | £9.50, inc entry


Explore the grounds, see Santa, hear carols and enjoy many more festive activities.

An Autumn Of Arts: Inspiring Kew
OngoingFree Event

30th August 2014 to 1st February 2015 - Various Times | Free

Christmas at Kew Gardens Now OnFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

26th November 2014 to 3rd January 2015 | In adv: £15 (Adults), £10 (Children 4-16yrs), £45 (Family), Free (Children Under 4) | On gate: £17 (Adults), £12 (Children), £50 (Family)


This Christmas Kew Gardens opens its doors after dark entrancing visitors on a mile-long illuminated trail through an enchanted winter landscape. In 2014 there's a new trail where you'll find giant light sculptures, the tunnel ...more

Island Endemism: Canaries & Balearics: Lecture

Monday 19th January 2015 - 6pm-7.30pm | £2


Public talk.

Past, Present And Future In A City Garden: Lecture

Monday 26th January 2015 - 6pm-7.30pm | £2


A public lecture.

All events at Kew Garden's Palm House Pond

Kayaking & Other Watersports

Kayaking London Kayaking London Where:
, Cremorne Riverside, Cremorne Gardens, Lots Road, London London, SW10 0QH

Cremorne Riverside, Cremorne Gardens, Lots Road, London, SW10 0QH

Tube: Fulham Broadway Station


Based in the Cremorne Riverside Centre on the waterfront at Chelsea, Kayaking London offers a variety of trips, tours and bespoke experiences enabling the public to see London's iconic waterfront from kayaks. Two tours of note include Discover London (4hrs; £60) - which takes clients up the river, past the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, along the Embankment, past HMS Belfast and on to Tower Bridge - and Big Ben and Back (2hrs; £36) - which pretty much does what it says on the tin. In East London, in and around Docklands, there are numerous watersports options. Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre offers comprehensive programmes for kayaking, canoeing, sailing, bell boats, dragon boats and powerboats, as well as non-water activities such as climbing and high ropes. Royal Victoria Docks Watersports Centre is great for beginners wishing to pick up new sports like wakeboarding and kneeboarding, while the family-friendly Surrey Docks Watersports Centre offers an extensive year-round watersports programme kayaking, sailing, powerboating, rowing and windsurfing.

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