London's Liveaboard Marinas Explained - 2023 Update

St Katharine Docks
London’s most central and famous marina is located justdownstream from Tower Bridge and is a fantastic location if you want to feelpart of the buzz. Lots of restaurants and bars surround the marina and in thesummer, visitor boats are coming and going every day so it is a lively place tobe. The East Basin is a bit quieter and many people prefer being moored away fromthe masses. There are regular events throughout the year including the ClassicBoat Festival.

All the moorings here are leisure so can be used as a pied-a-terre. Mooring fees are very high and there is usually availability for berths so you do not necessarily need to buy a boat in situ to get into the marina. Beware of estate agents offering boats at well above their value because of the mooring.

Limehouse Basin
Another very well-located marina for transport links, Limehouse is now run by Aquavista and offers leisure and residential berths. Limehouse has the benefit of access to the canal network and the river Thames so it is an excellent base for someone who wants to explore on their boat. Unfortunately, mooring fees have been rising steeply for a few years and the way the marina is now being run has caused a lot of customers to sell up and leave. Sale prices have also been falling as mooring fees have risen. They have recently banned third party brokers from operating in the marina so boats are only able to be bought and sold through their own brokerage.

Example mooring fee for a 57’ Narrowboat - £15,000 per annum inc VAT.

Poplar Dock Marina
Also run by Aquavista so see above for the mooring information and fees there, Poplar Dock is located just to the east of Canary Wharf and makes up part of West India Docks. Historically, has been a really tightknit community but again, is seeing a lot of departures as the new fees take effect. A 10 minute walk to the Elisabeth Line station at Canary Wharf and one of the few marinas to come with a dedicated car park.

South Dock and Greenland Dock
Perhaps the last remaining “affordable” marina, South Dock is increasing in popularity as it has much lower mooring fees than its nearby neighbours and benefits from being council run so won’t ever see sudden jumps in mooring fees. There is a working boatyard and craning facilities giving boaters easy access to engineers and tradespeople. A little bit further to walk to a tube but it has a riverbus pier next to it and it’s beautifully quiet all around the dock.

Chelsea Harbour
Situated in West London, this marina is mainly populated by motor cruisers which are often used as pied-a-terres. The moorings offered are entirely leisure so there is no full residential living here but boats can be used most of the year. Transport links are good with Imperial Wharf overground line neighbouring the marina as well as a riverbus pier. The marina is managed by the same company that owns the surrounding buildings and mooring fees are expensive but average for London.