Move into the sailing boat featured in new movie Dunkirk for €488K

See inside the vintage houseboat used in Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster film

A sailing boat used in Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed new war movie, Dunkirk, has been put on the market with an asking price of £425,000, or about €488,000. The sale coincides with the release of the film, which re-creates the second World War evacuation of more than 300,000 Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, in northern France, in May 1940.

The film-maker chose the vintage boat, called Xylonite, because of its authentic prewar appearance, but inside it's a cosy and modern four-bedroom home full of polished-timber panelling and brass and steel trims. The estate agency River Homes,which specialises in London waterfront property, describes the 1,396sq ft houseboat as a luxury floating home, and it's already making waves. "We've had a lot of the calls from all over," says Nick Marlow, who is handling the sale and clearly hoping to capitalise on the publicity surrounding Dunkirk.

The boat is moored in Limehouse Basin, in the East End of London, within striking distance of Canary Wharf and the City.

Xylonite, which was built in 1926, retains many of its prewar features. Although the boat was not involved in the 1940s evacuation, the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, reportedly sailed it across the Channel for filming at the exact location of the real event – and was given a role as an extra in the film, which stars Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance.


Hundreds of private boats were requisitioned for Operation Dynamo, as the evacuation was code-named, because the Royal Navy’s destroyers couldn’t enter shallow waters; the rescue fleet included both tiny craft and huge commercial barges from the River Thames.

Xylonite was a humble cargo vessel for more than 50 years, before being sold in 1977; it later became a charter barge and a sailing vessel for underprivileged children.

The current owner bought it in 2011, restored the boat’s interior and has used it as his London home. The fully rigged sailing boat, which is also motorised, is 86ft long and 18ft wide, providing spacious accommodation inside. There’s a 28ft long living and dining room, a shipshape kitchen and a bright-blue bathroom complete with claw-foot bath.

New owners may choose to sail it away to sunnier, and cheaper, waters. According to the Limehouse Basin website, mooring fees for a residential boat on this scale are £875, or about €1,000, a month, and there is also annual council tax to be paid.