When walking alongside the many canals in London, you’ll occasionally pass a houseboat or two, old or modern. Standing still or on its way. In some places you’ll find clusters of houseboats, even small communities of people around them with bicycles and massive gardens on top of their boats. Wherever you are, you should stop and have a chat with people living on them. They really don’t remind of typical Londoners, but have an attitude as if they just came from a meditation retreat in India.
If you’re lucky maybe you can get a ride with one just like I did the other day. True story! Axel and I went for a canal walk in the stunning weather and stopped by some dikes to observe how they work and envy the houseboat owners for having understood where it’s actually best to live in London.
After asking one man some questions about his boat, the dikes and how it’s living on a houseboat, he invited us on board to see it from inside and told us we could travel with them to wherever we were headed. Epic.
According to Wikipedia there are a number of residential houseboats in the London Port Health Authority (LPHA) District. Although a significant number of houseboats are permanent floating residences, many are occupied only at weekends and seldom move whilst others periodically go for short cruises. Nowadays Id assume many of these boats are listed on Airbnb, giving over-priced land accommodation some competition in London.
Apparently research has shown that living on canal boats is attractive to people that see a good lifestyle by combining their home with pleasure, the closeness to nature, camaraderie and the escape from day-to-day pressures of life ashore. Indeed, Wikipedia says: people living on houseboats are a very diverse group, but that they have in common a strong sense of their local community and its environment. Good call!
One day, Jeanett. One day… 🙂
All photos in this post are my own.