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Your Guide To The London Boat Show

December 29th, 2016

The London Boat Show Guide

Boating and water sports enthusiasts from around the world gather in the heart of London each year for Europe’s first boat show, the London Boat Show. The annual show immerses visitors in the innovative world of boating, with engaging displays and the latest news in boating and water sports. Our London Boat Show guide gets you ready to experience all things nautical, whether you are an experienced boater or simply like the idea of being on the water. Grab your captain’s hat and get ready to head to London!

What is the London Boat Show?

The London Boat Show is an annual event showcasing all of the latest innovations in watercraft. The event features about 300 exhibitors, along with interactive experiences and demonstrations. London Boat Show exhibitors typically include boat builders, boat-related fashion brands, travel operators and water sports equipment manufacturers. The variety in exhibits, along with the extra experiences and demonstrations, makes the event appealing to a wide range of people, regardless of boating experience.

Another appeal of attending the show is the opportunity for discounts and special deals from exhibitors. Many people attend the show with the intent to purchase a new boat or boating gear. Even if you aren’t in the market for a new boat, you may find some great deals on boating gear or clothes. Others simply like browsing all of the latest options to stay current in the world of boating.

When is the Show Held?

Boating fans, new and experienced, gather each January to attend the London Boat Show. The event takes place over 10 days each year, usually toward the beginning and middle of the month. The London Boat Show dates for 2017 are January 6 to 15. The London Boat Show opening times each day of the event are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Thursday show stays open two hours later, giving you a little extra time to pick out your next boat.


Location of the London Boat Show

The current London Boat Show location is ExCeL London, appropriately located on the water. If the name sounds familiar, it could be because some of the London Olympics events took place there. No stranger to hosting large exhibitions like the London Boat Show, the venue boasts over 100,000 square meters of exhibition space, making it perfect to hold the hundreds of exhibitors and their boats. The waterfront location makes it all the more perfect for holding the London Boat Show.

ExCeL London sits right in the middle of a popular business and entertainment district. When the event ends each night, your fun can continue as you explore the surrounding attractions.

Tickets to the Show

London Boat Show tickets are available in advance and at the gate. Purchase your tickets ahead of time to save money and get into the show faster. Two children under the age of 15 get in free with a paid adult admission. You also get a discounted rate if you enter the show after 3:00 p.m. Keep in mind this doesn’t give you much time to explore the displays at the show.

Events and Displays at the London Boat Show

The boat exhibits make up the bulk of the London Boat Show map. The exhibits feature boats crossing all price ranges, with almost every type and size of boat imaginable on display. This is the place to go if you are in the market for a new boat or want to see the options for a future purchase. It’s also a great way to simply see what’s available. You’ll also find water sports gear on display.


While the schedule may change from year to year, these features typically happen at the London Boat Show each year:

  • Boardwalks: Boats are displayed within the venue in a boardwalk-style arrangement. This gives you the feel of being in a marina minus the actual water. You’ll find boats with motors and sails in this section of the show. Walk the faux marinas until you find the watercraft that catches your eye.

  • Featured Boats: If you want to see boats on the water, explore the featured boats displayed at the dock. These boats are chosen for their unique characteristics. Some boats in the featured area have a significant historical value or are on-display for charitable reasons. Whatever the purpose, you’ll want to take time to explore these impressive displays.

  • Boat Products: The boats themselves are not the only draw at the show. Many people attend to see the latest in boat accessories and products. The displays include outboard motors, trailers, clothing and other boating gear. This is a great time to pick up new boating accessories for your water-based adventures.

  • Telegraph Cruise Show: Each year during the London Boat Show, you have the opportunity to attend the Telegraph Cruise Show. Your ticket for the London Boat Show grants you access to the program. The cruise show typically occurs on three days that overlap with the boat show. The program gives you access to information on various cruise lines, giving you a chance to explore your options if a cruise is in your future plans.

  • Boating Celebrities: Catch some big names in the boating world during the 10 days of the show. These celebrities often give presentations about their experiences and accomplishments. You may even get to meet the boating personalities. Past examples include competitive sailor Sir Ben Ainslie and Dee Caffari, a woman who sailed around the world solo. Mainstream celebrities have also made appearances at past shows, including Hugh Bonneville and Lucy Watson.

  • Water Sports Pool: The London Boat Show typically includes a temporary pool designed for water sports. The pool gives visitors a chance to try a variety of activities, including kayaking and water-walking. Another use for the pool is to hold water-based seminars on a variety of topics, including boat handling and how to manage a capsized boat. The show may be indoors, but that doesn’t stop organizers from giving you on-water experiences.

The organizers continually work to improve the show and bring a fresh, innovative perspective to boating. Check the schedule each year to explore new additions to the show. You’ll find a variety of interactive displays and opportunities to learn more about boating in a hands-on way.

Food at the London Boat Show

You can spend all day amid the boats without worry of going hungry. The London Boat Show offers up several dining options and bars throughout the venue to keep your energy levels and spirits high. The food offerings include a wide selection, from burgers to Italian, arranged along the Boulevard so you can easily browse the options.

The Black & White Bar is perhaps the most popular bar at the show. Plan to grab your favorite beverages, including Guinness, while socializing with friends and fellow boat lovers at this hotspot.


Where to Stay

Staying near the London Boat Show gives you easy access to the venue without the worry of parking or driving. Many hotels are within walking distance of the venue, so you can easily visit when you want or take a break back in your hotel room. London Boat Show hotels include a variety of luxury hotels offering suitable accommodations near ExCeL London.

Consider these accommodation options:

  • Crowne Plaza London Docklands: Experience four-star accommodations within walking distance of the London Boat Show at the Crowne Plaza London Docklands. The hotel prides itself on offering a bit of tranquility in the city, with luxurious features for your comfort.

  • Sunborn London: Embrace the boat theme and reserve a yacht suite at Sunborn London. The suites aboard a luxury yacht offer indoor and outdoor spaces, giving you some of the best views of the city. If you prefer a land-based option, Sunborn London offers plenty of traditional luxury hotel rooms in their contemporary building. The hotel is right next to ExCeL London, giving you easy access to the venue.

  • Aloft London Excel: When quick, easy access to the London Boat Show is a priority, choose Aloft London Excel. This hotel is the only one connected directly to the ExCeL International Convention Centre. Aloft provides luxurious, contemporary accommodations with restaurants, live music and lounges for your entertainment after you’re done perusing the latest boating innovations.

  • Novotel London Excel: Yet another upscale hotel option within walking distance, Novotel London Excel offers beautiful views and an onsite restaurant for a comfortable, convenient stay during the boat show.

If you have a favorite London hotel that isn’t right next to ExCeL London, we can help you find a driver to make your trip to the London Boat Show stress-free.

How to Get to the Show

Your London Boat Show travel itinerary includes plenty of options for getting to the location. If you plan to fly, the London City Airport offers the easiest access to the venue with a short five-minute drive to ExCeL London. Other airport options include Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Luton and Southend.

Once in London, you can access the London Boat Show via car, rail, tube, boat and even cable car. Explore the options below:

  • Driving: If you plan to drive, London Boat Show parking options include a number of parking spaces and car parks within walking distance of ExCeL London. The venue boasts 3,700 onsite parking spots. All parking in the area is on a pay and display basis, with options to pay for parking with cash or credit card.

  • Rail: For visitors who prefer rail travel, ExCeL Londong boasts three onsite Docklands Light Railway stations for easy access. Other rail service options also get you within walking distances of ExCeL London.

  • Tube: Stops along the London Underground get you within two minutes of the London Boat Show.

  • Boat: Take a boat from major piers to the North Greenwich Pier for a unique way to access the boat show. The Emirates Airline Cable Car connects you from there, taking you right to ExCeL London with an amazing aerial view of the city.

If you prefer to avoid public transportation, let Quintessentially People help you arrange private transportation. You get a customized travel plan for the show based on your needs and preferences without dealing with the headaches of public transportation or driving yourself and searching for parking spots.

Tips for Attending the London Boat Show


The London Boat Show is full of activities, but it can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect. Going into the show with a plan helps you navigate all of the excitement to come out of the event with a positive experience — and maybe even a new boat.

Follow these tips for attending the London Boat Show like a pro:

  • Dress for Walking and Exploring: You always want to look you best, but ExCeL London is a huge venue, which means you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Wear comfortable shoes that won’t cause blisters. If you plan to climb aboard any boats during the show, wear stable shoes with a low heel to make the climb easier. Skip dresses or skirts, which make getting on and off boats difficult and potentially embarrassing.

  • Don’t Rush: The London Boat Show offers a lot to take in. Don’t miss the excitement by rushing through the venue. Since the event lasts 10 days, you have plenty of time to soak up all of the latest boating innovations and shows you want to see. Plan to visit the show multiple days. You may be surprised how many new things you notice each day. Get there early so you have all day to explore the many exhibit areas.

  • Go in with an Open Mind: If you’re heading to the London Boat Show with intensions of buying a new boat or gear, keep yourself open to the possibilities. You may think you know exactly what you want, but you may discover something completely different that fits your needs even better.

  • Take Advantage the Displays and Experiences: This world-renowned boating event is not your average boat show. Explore everything it has to offer, including the interactive displays and demonstrations.

  • Make Connections: The interactive format of this boat shoat gives you a chance to connect with the innovators in the boating industry. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with exhibitors and other official boat show participants. It’s also a great way to network with your fellow boat enthusiasts.

  • Access the Business Center at ExCeL London: The venue offers a business center with internet, photocopying and faxing capabilities. If you need to take care of business while you attend the show, this is the place to do it.

  • Plan Your Activities: You’ll want to explore everything at the London Boat Show, but it’s a good idea to create a plan to tackle it all. Take a look at the setup for the event so you can hit everything you want to see in a systematic way.

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to embrace your inner boat captain at the London Boat Show. And if you leave the boat show with a new boat, you can rely on Quintessentially people for all of your boat and yacht staffing needs! Quintessentially People is your best source for information on all things luxury, including the London Boat Show and other similar events. Let your friends know all about the London Boat Show by sharing this piece with them!