Living on a houseboat: the pros and cons of a floating home

Living on a houseboat sounds romantic and peaceful. But it’s not as straightforward as it looks, says Nicole Garcia Merida

Owning a houseboat isn’t all plain sailing
(Image credit: kodachrome25)

Penelope, London SW18. A houseboat moored at Riverside Quarter with views up river towards Putney Bridge. It has an open-plan living area with floor-to-ceiling windows, wood floors and a fitted kitchen. Riverside Quarter’s residents have access to leisure facilities and a parking space. 3 beds, 2 baths, study. £1.75m Savills 020-8877 4823.

Wylam, Canary Wharf, London E14. A large houseboat moored in a secure, gated marina in Canary Wharf. The boat has wood floors, exposed beams, a large, open-plan living area and a newly refurbished kitchen. 5 beds, 2 baths, engine room, store, substantial upper deck area. £238,000 Waterview 020-7517 0069.

(Image credit: Jerome Scott-Blount)

Matrix Island, Wapping, London E1W. This converted, 1920s steel coal barge has a two-storey interior with in excess of 5,000 sq ft of living space. It has large, picture windows, a free-standing wood-burning stove in the living area, a central atrium stairway, a covered upper deck area with glazed walls and ceiling, and a winter garden enclosure. 5 beds, 4 baths, 2 receps, study, top deck dining area. £3.5m Waterview 020-7650 5359.

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Elspeth Mabel, Polar Dock Marina, London E14. A restored Dutch barge on a secure residential mooring with 24-hour security, just minutes from Canary Wharf. The barge has an open-plan living area with portholes and skylights and a large bathroom with a full-sized bath. 2 beds, 2 baths, wheelhouse, parking available on request. £260,000 River Homes 020-8788 6000.

Dragonfly, Wharf Road, Wenlock Basin, London N1. Dragonfly is a 33ft ex-Thames Inspection launch with a sought-after residential mooring within five minutes’ walk from Angel tube station. Dragonfly dates from the 1940s and was fully restored in 2011 to include a new steel hull, solid oak floors and walls, a bespoke, Art-Deco kitchen in the open-plan living room/kitchen area and a built-in sofa bed. Bath, front and back upper deck. £67,500 Fyfe McDade 020-7354 4044.

Imperial Wharf Marina, Fulham, London SW6. A steel-hulled Dutch barge on a pied-à-terre mooring. It has been refitted to include a split-level living area with an integrated kitchen, retractable skylights and bamboo flooring. 3 beds, 2 baths, wheelhouse. £625,000 River Homes 020-8788 6000.

Noordkaap, River Brent Moorings, Brentford, London TW8. This fully functional barge has been restored over a five-year period by the current owners and now includes a bespoke kitchen with a Belfast sink, a main living area with wooden floors, a multi-fuel log burner and six large windows. The barge has a wooden deck area that is ideal for entertaining and a wheelhouse with a seating area. 2 beds, study/bed 3, 2 baths. £170,000+ Chestertons 020-8104 0340.

Port des Champs-Elysées, Paris 8th District, 75008, France. A 200 sq m houseboat moored in a Unesco-listed site with views of many of Paris’s most iconic landmarks. It has wooden floors, a split-level reception area with a separate galley kitchen, a spacious upper deck and two self-contained studio apartments in the bow and the stern. 4 beds, bath. Price on application. Daniel Feau, Belles demeures de France +33 (0) 1 53 23 81 88.

Nicole García Mérida

Nic studied for a BA in journalism at Cardiff University, and has an MA in magazine journalism from City University. She joined MoneyWeek in 2019.