When we first moved to York four years ago we saw these self drive boats to hire on the river Ouse and thought they looked great fun. Last weekend we finally did it and it was brilliant. M loved it and keeps asking to go back on the boat again.
The boat isn’t cheap on first glance as it is £40 for an hour (£30 for half hour) but they do accommodate up to 8 so if you can get a group together it brings down the price; we had 6 adults in our boat and M. There is also a £40 deposit, it is also cash only so you need to have a bit of money on you. You can hire the boats from 9.45am but check about closing as they sometimes close early.
The landing for the boat is by the Ouse Bridge and we had a lovely wander through the city to get there.
After you pay they lead you to your boat and it was meant to be as our boat was aptly named Lucy, (there is also an Emma). M got to put on a life jacket which he was extremely excited about. After some instructions on how to drive the boat, a push off and we were on our way.
There is a simple map of the river which shows you the bridges you pass under and where to turn around, M wanted to keep hold of it and made a good second mate. It is a lovely scenic tour of York which takes you through some lovely parts of the city centre and into the surrounding countryside.
It takes the same route as the large York river cruises so you sometimes get caught in some waves as they go past but if you keep to the right of the river it is all very simple and easy, even a 2 year old could drive the boat (with a little bit of help).
I took the time to sit at the back of the boat and relax whilst being taken down the river on a lovely tranquil sunny day, you could even take a little picnic with you to have on the boat. M loved waving at the other river users, we saw other hire boaters, kayaks, rowers, barges, cruisers and posh boaters. He got extremely excited about the ice cream boat which we passed, it is moored just outside the museum gardens and definitely worth a visit and of course we had to get an ice cream once we got off the boat as M wasn’t forgetting.
I would definitely hire one of these boats again, I do think that I would want to go on with at least four paying adults and for £10 each it is good value for money. There are so many great attractions in York and this boat trip would make a great addition to a day out in the city. However long you have to stay, whether you live in the city or just visiting it is a great way to spend an hour and you get to see a totally different side of york and my little one certainly loved every minute of it.