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London, England: Take Your Time In A Wonderful Place

Osbert and Palmer are two lovingly restored house boats that live in a private wharf on the Regent’s Canal, at the back of Islington in north London. Forget thoughts of a cramped, dank living space – reconfigured by an interior architect, the two boats are all sophisticated charm, with roomy kitchen, lounge and bedroom areas.


Anytime is a good time to visit. Summer means evening drinks on the deck and windows flung open to feed passing swans and coots – but we like winter, with mist floating over the canal and the log bumer on, a few candles lit and throws a-plenty to swaddle yourself in.


The decor here feels more Danish loft apartment than British canal boat. Wooden floors run throughout, furniture is a mix of modern classics and vintage finds, and there are tons of design details to intrigue, such as ceramic leopard-head vases and books on local culture by Hoxton Mini Press. Nice touches such as a record player complete with LPs and a film projector at the end of the bed mean you can stay entertained on board. Even on the coldest night, the boats stay toasty warm; falling asleep with the log burner roaring is one of life’s great pleasures.

Regent's Canal
Regent’s Canal


The boats’ kitchens are well stocked with high-quality snacks, such as flavoured popcorn and truffle crisps, and the fridge is stocked with wine and local beers. A cook-your-own breakfast of bacon, eggs and sourdough bread is also provided. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and shops in the area, and owner Calypso has provided recommendations of her favourites. Head over the canal to the convivial Rosemary Branch pub for pints and to Sweet Thursday for excellent, good-value pizza.


The canal itself is a highlight. Take a wander east and you’ll pass cafes and restaurants on the towpath; the popular Saturday food market at Broadway Market is just over a mile away.


With steps down into the boat, the boats aren’t ideal for the less mobile or those with small children. The toilet and shower room open into the sleeping area, so this probably isn’t the best bet for a romantic first weekend away.

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