The best places to kayak near me UK [2023]

Do you want to try out kayaking but not sure where to start? I’ve pulled together a list of the best places to kayak near me in the UK, and near you!

As summer quickly approaches and the weather warms it is the perfect time to try out some more outdoor activities such as kayaking!

Not only is it a great form of exercise, aiding balance, and core strength it also provides a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and with the diversity of the UK water ways it can be a great way to reconnect with nature.

This post will take you through tips for those just getting started, choosing the right gear, safety information as well as the best spots for kayaking in the UK.

kayaking spots uk

Image from Pixabay

Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in the UK [2023]

What equipment do I need for kayaking?

When getting started with kayaking the number of different options can be confusing, which is why my first suggestion is always to try before you buy. This is also a great opportunity to find out if it is something you actually want to invest in or if you are better sticking with hire kayak in the long run.

If you decide that purchasing a kayak is the way to go (woohoo!) than the next step is setting a budget and deciding which make and model. There are a number of different options for kayaks on the market including inflatable/blow-up boats, as well as the more traditional kayak.

I would advise some research into the pros and cons of both and their compatibility to your lifestyle. However, for a quick breakdown, inflatable kayaks are more lightweight, easily packable, and often less expensive than a traditional kayak; but they do require time inflating, can be bulky when not in the water and are more susceptible to mildew and mould compared to a traditional kayak.

It can also be very easy to get carried away when choosing kayaking gear, with a whole host of options from buoyancy aids to paddles and then all the optional extras (dry bags, waterproof boots, gloves, paddle straps etc. etc.).

My advice is to keep it simple to start with- a kayak, paddle, and buoyancy aid will be enough to get you out on the water. Once you have done a few trips like this you can then begin to consider other gear you may want to purchase.

kayak in the uk near me

Image from Pixabay

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Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in the UK [continued]

What safety tips do I need to know?

Kayaking is an amazing hobby which can be very rewarding, however with the added element of water it can also be riskier. When kayaking you should ALWAYS wear an appropriate buoyancy aid. It is also a good idea to inform somebody of where you plan to go and the time it should take you to kayak- with a check-in at the end to ensure you arrive safely. If you are new to kayaking, I recommend only paddling on slow/small canals to begin with until you find your rhythm. If you are interested in more intense routes or want to try sea-kayaking a number of places offer training courses and events where you can try it out in a safe and controlled environment.


Do I need a license to kayak in the UK?

If you’ve read this far than it’s almost time to get to the best spots in the UK for kayaking and for you to begin your adventure- however, before we get there, its important to address a little known fact about UK kayaking- some waterways require a waterways/boat licence. This can be purchased as an individual licence; however, a good idea is to become a member of the British canoeing society- their membership includes a licence as well as several other benefits that can be useful.

kayaking in the uk

Image from Pixabay

Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in the UK [continued]

Best places to kayak in the UK

Finally, let’s explore some of the best spots in the UK for kayaking and the perfect routes for you to get started with this summer!

The Lake District, Lake Windermere

Perhaps the Lake District’s most famous lake Windermere offers a plethora of kayaking routes around the longest lake in England. The picturesque landscape adds to the sense of adventure and is a great spot for those looking to get started.

Cornish Coast, St Ives

The crystal clear blue of St Ives is the perfect location to try your hand at sea kayaking. There is also a chance at wildlife spotting with regular appearances of seals, dolphin, and seabirds all visible around the coast. If you are new to sea kayaking the St Ives Surf School runs a perfect sea kayak course and taster sessions for individuals and groups.

Scotland, Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond and the surrounding national park offers a variety of rivers for all kayaking abilities, and many spots to jet off from. A great spot to launch from if you are new to the area is Milarrochy Bay, with access to public toilets and a car park before your paddle.

Wales, River Wye

The river wye is a magnificent river running through the Wye valley over 100 miles to the Bristol Channel. It is a great spot year round for kayaking with plenty of locations that are beginner friendly. There is also a number of rental and hire places dotted along the river offering great places to get started on your paddle. 

places to kayak near me

Image from Pixabay

London, River Thames

Perhaps the most famous river in England the River Thames is a definite bucket list paddle location offering up amazing views of London for those brave enough to paddle along it! You can enjoy a great paddle between the non-tidal section from Cricklade Bridge to Teddington Lock.

Durdle Door, Dorset

For those looking for a stunning location, the famous Durdle door rock formation on the Jurassic coast is the perfect spot for a summer day paddle. If you set off from Lulworth cove you can enjoy a 3 hour paddle to Durdle door to take in all the impressive formations.

Lee valley white water centre, Hertford

If you are looking for a more adventurous paddle the Lee Valley white water centre which hosted the 2012 Olympics offers a faster paced adrenaline paddle. This is the perfect location for those wanting a bit more adventure in their paddling as it offers several courses which include rapids and drops.


Did you find this Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in the UK useful?


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