Best kayaking spots in london

Best Kayaking Spots in London: Paddle Your Way Through History and Scenery

London, with its bustling streets, iconic landmarks, and rich history, may not be the first place you think of for kayaking. However, the city offers a unique waterscape perfect for urban adventurers. Whether you’re seeking serenity in the midst of city chaos or looking to explore London from a fresh perspective, kayaking is your answer. Here’s a look at the best spots in the capital where you can embark on a paddling adventure.

1. The Regent’s Canal: Nature Meets Urban Life

Starting Point: Little Venice
Route: Little Venice to Camden Lock, with an option to continue to King’s Cross
Highlights: An oasis amidst the urban landscape, the Regent’s Canal offers a tranquil escape. As you paddle through the waters, you’ll be surrounded by leafy trees, picturesque houseboats, and even get a chance to glide underneath the London Zoo. Reaching Camden, the vibrant market and its eclectic atmosphere are a stark yet fascinating contrast.

Difficulty Level: Beginner. With calm waters and less boat traffic, it’s a perfect start for novices.

Book here: Kayak Hire from Paddington Basin

2. Lee Valley White Water Centre: Thrills and Spills

Starting Point: Lee Valley White Water Centre
Route: Various circuits within the centre
Highlights: If you’re after a bit more adrenaline and have some experience under your belt, Lee Valley is the spot. Originally constructed for the London 2012 Olympic Games, it provides a series of controlled white water courses. Not for the faint-hearted, but an absolute blast for thrill-seekers.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate. This white-water course is suited for those with prior kayaking experience, given its challenging rapids. It is a great place to improve your skills.

3. The Grand Union Canal: A Paddle through Little Venice

Starting Point: Paddington or Brentford
Route: Paddington to Brentford, through Little Venice and onwards
Highlights: This waterway is another serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Passing through the charming Little Venice with its array of colorful houseboats and waterside cafés, you can continue onward, encountering a series of locks, old factories, and delightful green patches.

Book here: Canoe Hire from Brentford Lock or Kayak Hire from Paddington Basin

4. Docklands: Modern London from the Water

Starting Point: Limehouse Basin or Hackney Wick
Route: Circuits around the Docklands
Highlights: The Docklands offer a contemporary view of London. Paddle around the revamped docks and witness the modern skyscrapers of Canary Wharf towering above. It’s an area steeped in maritime history, now reimagined for the 21st century.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate. The canals around Limehouse are beginner friendly but the docklands can be more suitable for those who’ve had a bit of paddling experience, as waters can be slightly choppy with occasional boat traffic.

Book here: Kayak Hire from Limehouse or Canoe Hire in Hackney Wick

5. The River Thames: Iconic Views and Rich History

Starting Point: Putney Bridge or Westminster
Route: Putney to Greenwich, passing through the heart of London
Highlights: As you glide along the Thames, you’ll pass by many of London’s most iconic sights. The Houses of Parliament, London Eye, HMS Belfast, and the Tower Bridge are just a few of the landmarks visible from the water. This route offers a unique vantage point of London’s skyline.

Difficultly level: Advanced. Due to strong currents and high boat traffic, a good level of kayaking experience is required and a going with a guide who knows the river well is highly recommended. The level of the river rises and falls by seven metres! This area of the Thames is more akin to sea kayaking that river kayaking.

Note: If you’re kayaking on the tidal Thames, remember you’ll need a license from the Port of London Authority. If you are worried about its cleanliness check out this post.

Book here: Thames Skills and Knowledge & Coach Training

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Co-founder and Chief Adventurer

I am Max, the co-founder and CEO of adventuro. We are on a mission to help you get into the sports you have always wanted to try, or develop in the sports you love, exploring new skills and locations. We do this by partnering with the best instructors, guides, and activity centres to get a great spread from beginner all the way to instructor training.

For too long, it has been way to confusing to find your next steps, or even to know where to start when getting into adventure sports. I am an experienced and/or qualified paraglider, skydiver, scuba diver, freediver, power boat driver, snowboarder, kitesurfer, kayaker, mountain biker, surfer, dirt biker, wakeboarder, and sailor.

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