Small Boats for Hire in London

Small Boats for Hire in London

Find small vessels for your event!

Trusted by over 500k customers

Top Small Boats in London

If you live in a city with a river as grand as the Thames, hiring a small boat for an event is a must! London has a wide variety of boat venues that offer general boating or dinner and drinks while taking a tour up and down the river. However, figuring out when and how to hire a small private boat for a river cruise can be tricky. That's why we're here to help you find the perfect one that suits your needs! Check out our listings of small boats for hire and book your favourite one today!

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Small Boats Hire Guide

So you’ve decided to start looking around for a small boat for hire in London? There are a few things to keep in mind before you book to ensure that you get the best possible service for your money:

  • Passenger limit – Most small private boats on the Thames have a strict passenger limit. You can find small boat venues with different capacities, but make sure you book the right one for your guest count!
  • Cruise purpose – There are a variety of services offered by boat venues in London, so you should pick one based on the goal of your cruise. If you just want to enjoy the view, then book a boat that can accommodate passengers on deck in comfort. A Thames dinner cruise? Ensure that it has dining facilities on board! A boat party? Make sure to check the boat's event and partying rules before you book. And if you are planning a Christmas party cruise, check the available dates and book at least a few months in advance.  

Now that you’ve officially decided that hiring a small private boat on the Thames is the way to go, let us have a look at the prices. These vary based on the amenities offered but there are some general basics to keep in mind:

  • If you’re looking to hire a small private boat on the Thames for a cruise, you’re going to be looking at a roughly £2000 minimum spend (you pay nothing to hire the boat but agree to spend a set amount on food and drinks during the event) or an approximate £1200 hire fee with food and drinks added on separately.
  • If your interest leans more towards sharing a good meal and drinks on the water (rather than cruising up and down the river), you can find more flexible pricing options. Flat hire fees typically range around £500, minimum spend remains at around £2000, and per-person pricing is typically around £35 per head. (All data from Tagvenue.)

Tips for Decorating a Hired Boat for Special Occasions

Decorating a hired boat for special occasions can transform it into a festive and memorable venue for events such as birthdays, anniversaries, or corporate gatherings. Whether you have hired a small yacht, a compact sailboat, or a cosy fishing boat, there are plenty of creative ways to spruce it up for any celebration. Here's a guide with tips and ideas to help you decorate your vessel, ensuring it's not just any ordinary small craft but a splendidly adorned floating celebration spot.

  1. Select a Theme: Choose a theme that resonates with the occasion. You can opt for a playful, colourful theme for a birthday. Anniversaries may call for more romantic decor. Aim for a professional yet inviting atmosphere for corporate events on a mini-cruiser or a modest-sized charter.
  2. Lighting to Set the Mood: Illuminate your boat with string lights, lanterns, or LED strips. If you're on a small runabout or pontoon, carefully arrange lights to highlight spaces without overcrowding. Solar-powered lights are great for energy efficiency and can be a fantastic choice for small watercraft.
  3. Colour Scheme: Choose a colour palette that compliments the boat's interior. For a cabin cruiser or a personal-sized inflatable dinghy, avoid overwhelming the space with too many colours. Use cushions, tablecloths, and banners that align with your chosen palette.
  4. Floral Arrangements and Greenery: Flowers and plants can add a fresh, natural touch. Opt for small, hidden arrangements on a small RIB or a compact motorboat. Hang garlands or place potted plants strategically around the deck and cabin.
  5. Seating Arrangements: Ensure there's enough seating for your guests. Use throw pillows and cushions on an open boat or a day cruiser for extra comfort and aesthetic appeal. Consider rearranging seating to facilitate conversation and enjoyment of the scenery.
  6. Dining Setup: If hosting a meal on your hired pleasure craft or small fishing boat, set up a dining area that's both practical and stylish. Utilise foldable tables and chairs to maximise space. Choose unbreakable dinnerware for safety and convenience.
  7. Music and Entertainment: A good sound system can enhance the ambience. Portable Bluetooth speakers are a great choice for a small rowboat or a tender boat. Ensure the volume is at a level that's enjoyable but not disruptive to others.
  8. Decorate Responsibly: Safety is paramount. Ensure decorations don't obstruct navigation or safety equipment on your raft or small keelboat. Keep pathways clear and avoid flammable materials.
  9. Adding Unique Elements: Personalise your space with items that reflect the occasion or your personality. You can use display photos, banners, or custom signage on a small catamaran or a dinghy boat to add a unique touch.
  10. Cleanup Plan: Plan for an easy cleanup. Use decorations that are reusable or easy to dispose of responsibly, especially important in the confined spaces of a small sailing boat or inflatable craft.

By integrating these tips and ideas, you can turn your small boat hire into an enchanting venue for any special occasion. Remember, the key is to balance aesthetics with practicality and safety, ensuring an unforgettable and enjoyable experience for everyone on board. 

FAQs about Small Boats in London

What is the capacity of small boats for hire in London?

Boats for small events in London offer spaces for as little as 6-10 people, usually on smaller yachts and in semi-private areas on a larger vessel. You'll find many boats for between 20-50 guests, and some larger options in case your definition of small differs!

First of all, make sure you have enough space for everyone who will attend your event - London's boats for hire usually provide you with information on capacity depending on the layout you pick. If you're unsure of the guest count, it's better to go for something slightly larger than you need. Too much space will just mean you have a few empty spots, but booking a boat smaller than necessary will create serious issues.


What are some event ideas for a small boat in London?

Here are some ideas to host a variety of events, including:

How can I book a cheap small boat in London?

Many people are surprised by the fact that you can hire an affordable boat in London, but it's actually quite simple! Most of these venues are owned by individuals and not large companies, so they're often more flexible with their pricing and willing to work with you on making an event that will fit within your budget. If you're looking for a great place to host a small gathering on a boat in London, then check out our tips for booking one:

  • Consider hiring someone who specialises in managing events at small boat venues in London; this person will know what has worked well in the past and can help guide you through planning yours. Although hiring a professional might be an expense in itself, it might just save you from paying huge fees if you were doing it by yourself instead.
  • Serving alcohol and other beverages? You probably are, in that case you might want to consider a BYOB option which is sure to cut some costs. Bring your own alcohol and drinks and pay a fraction of the final price. 
  • Negotiate! There’s no better option for cutting costs than negotiating with the venue host. Depending on the time of year, week or for how long you’d like to book the boat, the host might just go down on the price!

Are there any special permits required for hosting an event in a small boat in London?

Yes, this will include having a valid navigation licence for the boat, which the boat hire company typically manages. You may need to secure an event permit if your event involves activities like live music, catering, or large gatherings. Additionally, adherence to safety regulations set by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is crucial, including ensuring necessary safety equipment and respecting capacity limits. For events serving alcohol or featuring live entertainment, a Temporary Event Notice from the local council might be required. Environmental considerations are also important, particularly for events that could impact the environment. It is recommended to consult with the boat hire company and local authorities to ensure all legal requirements are met. For more detailed information and permit applications, visit the Port of London Authority's website.

Guests Reviews of Small Boats on Tagvenue

Lauren T.
Booked Whole Venue at Coin Laundry
I absolutely LOVE this place. We were looking online for a wedding venue and came across Coin Laundry because it was a really affordable option for us to get married in London. We went to have a look around and test out the food, and we instantly loved it! We tried the Sunday roast with some other sides on the menu and a couple of cocktails – everything was incredible. Also we loved the style and atmosphere of the venue – it has a super relaxed, casual vibe, and very cool understated décor without feeling boring. We went back on a few separate occasions before the wedding to try more food / drinks and look at the venue again and every single time we went there, everything was perfect – venue, atmosphere, food, staff and service all 10/10! Zac, Robbie and Jake were all so helpful right from the beginning of the booking/planning process, and on the day we met the manager Sonny and his team who were brilliant and made everything run so smoothly! The venue was set up beautifully, exactly how we had hoped, they listened to all our requests and we didn’t have to do anything ourselves which was great and took away the stress on the day. We honestly couldn’t have asked for a nicer team to look after us on the day, everyone was so attentive and friendly! So many of our guests commented on how amazing all of the food was too (we had starters, mains and an evening buffet). It was all slightly non-traditional and way more interesting than the usual wedding meals you get, so we were really happy. So impressed that they managed to get 70ish people served and cleared so quickly too! After the meal, everything was cleared away so quickly on the ground floor whilst we had all moved downstairs into the basement for the first dance. The staff changed over for the evening and Billy and the bar team were all so lovely too and kept things running perfectly. They were so patient with us at the end too, when they were trying to clear up and go home at the end of the night, with lots of very drunk guests who were not moving out particularly quickly! The whole team at Coin Laundry were fantastic and worked so hard – we are so grateful to you all, thank you so much for an amazing day! We will definitely be back in the future (although just for food & drinks, hopefully I won’t be getting married again anytime soon!)
Rachel L.
Booked Entire Ship at The Golden Hinde
Amazing and bespoke experience for any sort of party! Staff were so friendly and welcoming Perfect space for about 60-70 on the lower deck Absolutely loved it!
Kiran S.
Booked The Lounge at Floaty McFloat Face
- Miles was very welcoming and accommodating - Able to arrive early to decorate - Able to extend our stay as we were having so much fun - Fantastic value - Fantastic location - Lots to use on board to make any party complete - tables, glasses, plates, cutlery
Sarah T.
Booked The Lounge at Floaty McFloat Face
Elizabeth decorated the boat beautifully for my friends surprise 30th birthday, it was perfect for 11 of us with a great sound system and Elizabeth was on call for all questions (when we didn't know how to open the roof!!). we would certianly recommend to any one wanting an intimate event with a difference! Thanks again!
Bianca C.
Booked Whole Barge at The Dirty Gary
The boat is cute / cost, would be a lovely place to stay overnight. However the hosts are not helpful at all and I would recommend at all costs staying away from hiring this venue.
Sophia J.
Booked The Lounge at Floaty McFloat Face
I can't thank Eli and Katie enough for the incredible experience we had this Saturday. From the moment I made contact I almost felt like the deal was too good to be true as it was everything we wanted and a very good price for the 5 hour time slot and we were even allowed to arrive early to set up However, it really was that good! When we arrived to set up, Katie had already decorated and the boat looked utterly magical, she then proceeded to help with all the food and drinks, which is definitely not part of the deal, yet was so kind and helpful -especially since I am 6 months pregnant. She also came back to the boat and glittered us all up with her amazing facepaint skills. Again not part of the deal and totally our of the kindness of her heart. She was absolutely amazing and made everyone look fantastic. We had so much fun and the bride loved every second. It was totally unique, private and was perfect for the humid yet showery weather. It was the absolute highlight of the Hen party, I am already trying to think of another event we could hire it for. Thank you both for making Glastonbecca such a special, stress-free and fun party!!
Booked The Lounge at Floaty McFloat Face
Everything was literally amazing! I hired this place for my boyfriends birthday and it was great. I loved every moment, it was a very special and unforgettable birthday for him. The help from Elizabeth and Lorraine was fantastic!!! Quick responses, they were very helpful. I would definitely recommend!
Booked Vessel Cabin/Bar at Alfred Le Roy
Great afternoon in an unusual setting. We brought our own food onto the boat which worked well. The cocktails were delicious and the service was always with a friendly smile. Definitely recommend.

Used by over
really smart customers