Stay on the River Thames with these London Airbnbs

Written From… my flat, overlooking the towering buildings of Canary Wharf.

I love to Airbnb. I know Airbnb can be a bit controversial; however, it allows me to do my research on the destination’s top neighbourhoods and then try and experience that place a little more like a local. For example, meeting some of the neighbours and making friends. Which on our last trip to Spain actually ended with dinner with a lovely lady who had so many fascinating stories about her years of travel and life abroad. Or it gives the opportunity to have a completely different kind of experience that a normal hotel or home stay wouldn’t allow for.

As my home base is in London, living so close to the river has made me realise the beauty of having water nearby in a city that is constantly moving so fast. The waves lapping against the river banks. Watching people kayak from Canary Wharf down to Tower Bridge. The mornings when the tide is low, watching people head down to the banks and throw a ball around for their dog. The Thames provides a serene backdrop to the bustling urban life in some of London’s best neighbourhoods. I wanted to showcase what London Airbnb has to offer for one of the things I can say, without any doubt, is a favourite: the River Thames, so that you too, can experience this amazing city.

The River Thames divides the city into the north and south, each boasting great areas to visit. On either side of the river, you’ll find a wealth of attractions. From the historic landmarks of Westminster and the vibrant markets of Borough to the cultural hubs of Covent Garden and Southbank. Additionally, the city is interlaced with a network of canals that link some of London’s must-see places, such as the picturesque Little Venice and the eclectic Camden. These waterways offer a unique and charming way to experience the city, showcasing its diverse neighbourhoods and hidden gems.

With Airbnb offering such unique experiences, staying on the water in London can combine the best of both worlds that this city has to offer. Whether it’s the soothing sound of the water or the stunning views of the city’s iconic landmarks from a riverside perspective, staying on the Thames provides a refreshing escape from the city’s fast pace. By choosing a London Airbnb on the water, you can immerse yourself in this tranquil environment while still being in the heart of one of the world’s most vibrant cities.

London Airbnb on the Thames in Canary Wharf – Limehouse Basin

London Airbnb boat in Limehouse Basin with Canary Wharf in the background - Written From Travel

Canary Wharf, a bustling financial district, offers a blend of modern architecture, upscale shopping, and a vibrant dining scene. With its towering skyscrapers, sleek office buildings, and waterfront views, it is a hub of activity both day and night. Here you will find food markets, rooftop bars and gardens, and many activities, including jacuzzis around the dock. Just a 15-minute walk away lies the quaint Limehouse Basin. Limehouse Basin is a small marina that provides a stark contrast to the high-energy atmosphere of Canary Wharf. Limehouse Basin is a peaceful retreat, where visitors can enjoy the serene waters, charming boats, and a selection of cosy cafes and pubs. This makes it the perfect spot to unwind after exploring the dynamic offerings of Canary Wharf or the rest of the city. Here, you can also rent kayaks to take you through the London canals.

Canal boat rental in Little Venice

Little Venice is a picturesque area in London known for its charming canals, colourful houseboats, and calm atmosphere. It offers a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, with canal-side cafes, quaint pubs, and beautiful gardens. A leisurely canal walk from Little Venice to Camden takes you through the scenic Regent’s Park and past the renowned London Zoo, providing a unique way to explore some of London’s most iconic spots. Furthermore, Little Venice’s proximity to Paddington Station ensures easy access to all other areas of London, making it an ideal base for exploring the city’s many attractions.

Houseboat overlooking Tower Bridge

London’s Tower Bridge is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, renowned for its majestic twin towers and drawbridge mechanism. Spanning the River Thames, it offers stunning views of the surrounding area, including the Tower of London and the modern skyline. Staying in a houseboat overlooking Tower Bridge provides a truly unique experience, combining the charm of life on the water with unparalleled views of this historic structure. Imagine waking up to the sight of the bridge framed by your window, enjoying a morning coffee on deck as boats pass by, and soaking in the vibrant atmosphere of the Thames. While staying here, you can also visit the Tower Bridge museum, where you can walk along the glass-floored walkway and watch the famous red London buses pass under your feet. You will also find fantastic cafes for brunch and The Scoop nearby, which hosts a summer festival and Christmas markets depending on the time of year you visit.

Floating Airbnb in London’s South West

Staying on a boat in Wandsworth offers a unique perspective on riverside living, with its proximity to several of London’s vibrant neighbourhoods. Just across the river lies Chelsea, known for its upscale boutiques, elegant streets, and charming cafes. This affluent area provides a perfect blend of luxury and sophistication, offering an array of dining and entertainment options. You will also be close to cultural attractions such as the Saatchi Gallery and the Chelsea Physic Garden, providing ample opportunities for exploration. Inland, Clapham boasts a lively atmosphere with its bustling high street, trendy bars, and leafy common, making it a popular destination for young professionals and families alike. 

Meanwhile, Battersea, another close by neighbourhood, offers a mix of riverside charm and urban vibrancy, with its iconic Power Station redevelopment where you can find shopping and view decks, to the picturesque Battersea Park, one of London’s most beautiful parks, offering expansive green spaces, a boating lake, and beautiful gardens. The area is also known for its vibrant arts scene, with the Battersea Arts Centre hosting a variety of performances and events.

Being near these areas ensures easy access to a variety of amenities, attractions, and cultural experiences, making Wandsworth an ideal base for exploring the best of South West London.

London Dockside stay in St. Katharine Docks Airbnb

Staying in a London Airbnb boat at St. Katharine Docks will give you a truly unique and memorable experience. Nestled in the heart of the city, this historic marina provides a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling urban landscape. From the comfort of your floating accommodation, you can enjoy picturesque views of the marina’s vibrant waters, surrounded by a backdrop of iconic landmarks such as the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, both of which are open to the public. Here you can enjoy the luxury of waterfront living while still being within walking distance of London’s most renowned attractions, including the vibrant markets of Borough, the cultural hub of Southbank and the London Eye, and the historic sights of the City of London.

St. Katharine Docks offers plenty of dining and leisure options. The marina itself is home to several restaurants and cosy cafes, perfect for a relaxing meal with a view. The Dickens Inn, a charming 18th-century pub, offers traditional British fare and a lovely beer garden. The marina is also a gateway to various river cruises that let you see London from a unique perspective, with several tour operators offering trips to Greenwich, the Houses of Parliament, and beyond. The proximity to the Tower of London means you can easily explore this historic fortress, which has stood for nearly a thousand years, witnessing the city’s rich and often tumultuous history.

Water stay near Hampton Court

Staying on a boat in Hampton, close to Hampton Court, offers a serene retreat steeped in history along the picturesque River Thames. Nestled within the verdant surroundings of Greater London, this quaint riverside town provides a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. With Hampton Court Palace just a stone’s throw away, you can immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of royal heritage, exploring the opulent chambers, lush gardens, and intricate maze of this iconic Tudor palace. Meanwhile, the scenic riverside setting of Hampton offers ample opportunities for leisurely walks along the Thames Path, charming riverside pubs, and idyllic picnics by the water’s edge. 

Hampton itself is a charming village with a slow-paced atmosphere that contrasts beautifully with the bustling city. Local attractions include Bushy Park, one of London’s largest parks, offering vast green spaces, beautiful gardens, and a large herd of deer. The nearby town of Kingston upon Thames offers a mix of high-street shopping and riverside dining, making it the perfect place for an afternoon stroll or a shopping spree. The combination of history, nature, and tranquillity makes a stay in Hampton an enriching experience.

Another great aspect of staying in Hampton is your proximity to Richmond. Known for its stunning park, vibrant high street, and more riverside pubs, Richmond offers a picturesque setting with a relaxed vibe. Richmond Park, the largest of London’s Royal Parks, is home to herds of red and fallow deer and provides expansive views over London. The area is also home to several theatres and the historic Richmond Theatre, which hosts a variety of performances year-round. 

Additionally, the proximity to Kew Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, means you can explore one of the world’s most famous botanical gardens during your stay. Throughout the entire year they also have an array of special events going on. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in wellbeing, nature and music.

I would recommend staying here if you’ve already been to London and want to see a slower side not everyone gets to see. Or if you’re visiting for a week as the second half of your trip.

Exploring London’s waterways

London’s extensive network of canals and waterways offers countless opportunities for exploration. From the historic Regent’s Canal to the bustling Paddington Basin, these waterways provide a unique perspective on the city. A stay on a houseboat or canal boat allows you to experience these hidden gems up close.

Regent’s Canal, which stretches from Little Venice to Limehouse Basin, offers a scenic route through some of London’s most interesting neighbourhoods. Along the way, you can explore the bustling markets of Camden, the tranquil surroundings of Regent’s Park, and the vibrant atmosphere of King’s Cross. The canal is also home to a variety of wildlife, providing a peaceful escape from the urban environment.

Paddington Basin, located in the heart of London, is a vibrant area with a mix of modern architecture, restaurants, and bars. Staying on a houseboat near here allows you to enjoy the lively atmosphere of the basin while being just a short walk from Hyde Park and Oxford Street. The area’s floating pocket parks provide green spaces for relaxation and recreation, making it a perfect spot for a unique London stay.

The appeal of a London Airbnb houseboat

Houseboat living offers a unique and appealing way to experience London. The tranquillity of the water, combined with the convenience of being in the heart of the city, creates a perfect balance of relaxation and excitement. Whether you’re staying for a few nights or a few weeks, a houseboat offers a memorable and distinctive accommodation option.

One of the main appeals of houseboat living is the sense of community. Many houseboat owners form close-knit communities, often gathering for social events and helping each other with boat maintenance. This sense of camaraderie adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the experience.

Additionally, houseboats often provide more space and amenities than traditional hotel rooms. Many houseboats come equipped with fully functioning kitchens, comfortable living areas, and outdoor decks, allowing you to enjoy a home-away-from-home experience. The ability to cook your own meals and relax in a private space adds to the appeal of houseboat living.

Practical considerations for houseboat stays

When planning a houseboat stay in London, there are a few practical considerations to keep in mind. Firstly, it’s important to check the accessibility of the houseboat. Some houseboats may have steep steps or narrow walkways, which could be challenging for those with mobility issues. Be sure to ask the host about accessibility before booking.

Secondly, consider the location of the houseboat in relation to public transportation. While many houseboats are located in central areas with easy access to buses and trains, others may be in more remote locations. Ensure that you have convenient transportation options to get around the city.

Lastly, be aware of the facilities on the houseboat. While many houseboats offer modern amenities, some may have limited facilities, such as small bathrooms or basic kitchen equipment. It’s important to check the listing details and read reviews to ensure the houseboat meets your needs.

Final thoughts

If you couldn’t tell already, the River Thames holds a special place in my heart. It really is one of my favourite aspects of London life. Its presence, with its calming waters and scenic views, provides a serene counterbalance to the city’s fast-paced environment. Staying on the water in a London Airbnb, whether it’s in Canary Wharf, Little Venice, or St. Katharine Docks, offers a unique and unforgettable experience. From the tranquil retreats along Hampton’s riverside to the bustling marinas of St. Katharine Docks, each location provides its own charm and allure. Visiting this way will allow you to immerse yourself in the beauty and history of London’s waterways. With Airbnb offering such diverse and unique accommodations, staying on the water in London truly combines the best of both worlds – the tranquillity of river life and the excitement of urban exploration.

Whether you’re drawn to the historic charm of Hampton Court, the vibrant energy of Canary Wharf, or the picturesque beauty of Little Venice, there’s a houseboat stay to suit every traveller’s preferences. Each of these locations offers its own unique blend of experiences. From the quiet serenity of riverside walks to the lively atmosphere of city life just steps away from your floating home. So next time you’re planning a trip to London, consider an Airbnb stay on the water for a truly memorable and distinctive experience.


Picture of Megan Jessica
Megan Jessica
Megan is the Co-founder of Written From Travel. Her love of travel stems from a childhood dream to experience life abroad, of discovering something new outside of her well known territory, London. Megan enjoys snapping pictures, drinking copious amounts of tea, keeping active, and having a good weekend Netflix binge.
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