Saturday, 20 May 2017

Taking A Cocktail Cruise Of East London

With summer fast approaching and the days getting warmer, it's time to start thinking of outdoor activities, to maximise our time out in the sun. So, how about a canal boat ride?

Hackney Wick

London canals provide perfect spots to spend your summer days by the water, with a variety of pubs and cafes ready to capitalise on the nice breeze and feeling of not being in the middle of one of the biggest European capitals. Sitting by the water and enjoying a cocktail is as close as you can get to a holiday without leaving the city.

canal London

Now, we have already checked out a lovely route to go for a walk by Regent's Canal, but, if you are feeling particularly lazy, you can hop on a canal boat and let it take you up and down the canal for an hour or two, while you can focus on the important task of sipping cocktails.

canal boat

To do just that and to reward some of our top volunteers at work, I arranged a lovely Saturday out in East London, on board the Alfred Le Roy canal boat cruise. The cruise begins at Hackney Wick, following the river Lea all the way to the Olympic Park, down to Limehouse (or Springfield Park) and back again.

canal boats

Along the way, you can either sit inside the boat, the roof may be removed if the weather is warm enough, or go to the front of the boat for some Titanic reenactment (aka Jack I'm flying and such) and pretend you are the captain of the boat. The actual captain is at the back and controls the boat from the rear.

Alfred Le Roy Cocktail Cruise

Still, the front of the boat is the best place to take photos of the canal with an unobstructed view and also get your photo taken with it (like I did below).

Kristine Tsiknaki

Now, let's talk about the cocktails, pretty much a huge part of a cocktail cruise... In a few words, well, they are awesome! The cruise offers five signature cocktails (the menu can be found here), out of which you get one as part of your ticket, which is pretty cool. I then of course proceeded to try all the others as well, my favourite being the Toffee Apple Sour (bourbon, apple, citrus and egg white), which is pretty much like a whiskey sour but with sweet apple. In the photo below it is the one with the foamy top. 

Alfred Le Roy Cocktail Cruise

One particularly strange thing I enjoyed, which you do not really get by walking along the canal, is being inside the lock when the boat goes from a high to a low part and the reverse. I for some reason find it fascinating going higher or lower on the river and greatly admire the engineering work that is required to do so. Being from an island, boats were just in the sea and no such mechanisms were needed. I think the novelty has not worn out for me yet.

Alfred Le Roy Cocktail Cruise

At the end of the cruise, the boat returns to its original place, where there is a lovely pub/brewery (CRATE Bar & Pizzeria) to sit at and have some food by the water and more drinks before you head home, so the day does not have to end when the cruise does, which is a big plus for me.

Alfred Le Roy Cocktail Cruise

If you are in fact considering going on this cruise, I particularly recommend it for bigger groups, as you can easily fill up the boat and have a pretty much private cruise if you can get 30-40 people together. Birthday parties, team days out and such would be ideal for this cruise, you will do something unusual, explore the city and take some great photos to remember it all afterwards. 

Alfred Le Roy Cocktail Cruise

The prices were about £25 per person when I booked it, although I checked again now and they seem to encourage group bookings rather than individual tickets, meaning you may have to get some people together for it anyway, even if that does not actually affect the price per individual at the end. You can book, read more about the cruise and check out the menus for food and drinks on their Design My Night page.

Alfred Le Roy Cocktail Cruise

Are there any other canal boat tours you've been on and what's your favourite canal in London? Leave a comment and let me know!

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