A stylishly decorated barge on the Regent’s Canal, close to Hackney’s contemporary art galleries and nightlife, makes a refreshingly different, if pricey, option for a stay in London
The coot’s nest was very east London. As well as the usual twigs and foliage, the bird had used a discarded Golden Virginia packet and a coat-hanger in its carefully crafted structure. “Maybe it’s an art installation,” said my friend. After all, this was Vyner Street in Hackney, one of the capital’s prime creative hubs.
It was a sunny summer evening and we were checking out the bird life on the Regent’s Canal from the roof deck of a brand new floating hotel, Bert’s Barges. The brainchild of Lee Thornley, owner of Bert & May, a bespoke tile company based on Vyner Street, the “hotel” is essentially a one-bedroom houseboat – though Lee (Bert is his nickname) has plans to add six more barges here, and more later in London’s Little Venice, as well as York and Bristol, some with two bedrooms.