Paddleboarding (SUP) Session at Paddington Basin

Best Stand Up Paddleboarding Spots in London

London might be famous for its historic landmarks and bustling streets, but it also offers some surprisingly serene and scenic spots perfect for paddleboarding enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a beginner looking to try something new, London and its vicinity offers a variety of waterways that provide a peaceful escape from city life. 

Planning to visit? Exploring London by water offers a quieter and more personal way to experience the city. Stand-up paddling (SUP) allows tourists and locals alike to see the city from its quieter, water-lined edges, providing a peaceful alternative to its usually busy streets. We’ve highlighted a selection of popular courses, lessons, guided tours, as well as centres where you can conveniently rent the necessary equipment if you choose to venture out on your own.

1. River Thames

While the central part of the River Thames might be too busy for some beginner paddleboarders, the stretches outside the city centre offer a calmer experience. Places like Putney, Richmond, and Kingston have quieter waters and are ideal for paddling. You’ll get to enjoy scenic views and might even spot some wildlife along the way.

2. Paddington Basin

Settled in the heart of London, Paddington Basin is a calm spot perfect for beginners. The area is sheltered from strong winds and currents, making it a safe choice for those just starting out. Plus, the surrounding modern architecture and occasional floating art installations add a unique backdrop to your paddleboarding adventure. From here, you can easily paddle through Regents Canal and the Grand Union Canal.

Private Paddleboarding (SUP) Session at Paddington Basin - adventuro
Private Paddleboarding (SUP) Session at Paddington Basin

3. Little Venice

For an even more scenic paddleboarding experience, head to Little Venice where the Grand Union and Regent’s Canals meet. This area offers a unique paddleboarding experience with its charming canal boats, beautiful bridges, and quaint waterside cafés. It’s like stepping into a quieter, slower-paced world, right in the middle of London.

3. Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park

Located in the iconic Hyde Park, the Serpentine Lake is a classic choice for paddleboarding in London. It’s a popular spot not only for paddlers but also for swimmers and boaters. The calm waters and natural surroundings provide a relaxing environment, and there’s plenty of wildlife to see.

4. The Royal Docks

If you’re looking for a more urban setting, the Royal Docks in East London is the place to go. The docks are closed to commercial traffic, making them safe for water sports. The area has become a hub for water activities, and there’s often a vibrant community of paddleboarders and other water sports enthusiasts to join.

5. River Lee

Escape the city with a trip to River Lee (or Lea), which runs through northeast London. This spot offers both tranquil stretches and more challenging areas, making it suitable for paddleboarders of all skill levels. The river passes through several parks and natural reserves, providing beautiful landscapes and abundant wildlife.

6. Windsor

Just a short journey from London, Windsor is an excellent spot for paddleboarding. Paddle along the River Thames with views of Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the Queen. The area is rich in history and offers a charming countryside atmosphere.

7. Hampton Court

Another great paddleboarding destination near London is the area around Hampton Court Palace. You can explore the historic stretch of the Thames, with stunning views of the palace and the beautifully landscaped gardens. It’s both a workout and a historical tour rolled into one.

SUP Adventure Tour in Thames Ditton - adventuro
Paddleboarding Improver Session in Thames Ditton

8. Thames Ditton

Thames Ditton is an ideal spot for those looking to combine a bit of exercise with serene surroundings. The area is well-suited for those looking to enjoy a more relaxed paddling session. As you paddle, you’ll pass by charming riverside homes and lush, green landscapes. The gentler flow of the river here is accessible for both beginners and experienced paddleboarders seeking a leisurely outing. You might also spot some local wildlife.

9. Richmond

Richmond provides a pleasant and quiet environment for paddleboarding, situated on a more gentle section of the River Thames. This location is suitable for paddlers looking for a smooth and steady experience. Along the way, you’ll see attractive riverbank gardens and traditional architecture that enhance the scenic route. The calm water makes it a comfortable spot for beginners and those seeking a relaxed paddle. Start near Richmond Bridge, then paddle either upstream towards Eel Pie Island and Teddington or downstream towards Isleworth, Kew Gardens, and Chiswick.

Paddleboard (SUP) Hire from Paddington Basin - adventuro
2-Hour Group SUP Experience – Richmond

10. Teddington

This area is ideal for those seeking a gentle paddling experience, away from the busier waters found further towards central London. As you navigate through the water, you’ll enjoy the scenic views of leafy riverbanks and local wildlife, which contribute to the area’s peaceful atmosphere. Teddington is a favored spot for those looking to enjoy a leisurely day on the water in a serene setting. The Angler’s Pub is a great starting point, which is also ideal for a post-session drink or bite to eat. 

11. Kew, London

This area is perfect for those who prefer a quiet paddle, with beautiful views of the Kew Gardens and the diverse plant life along the riverbanks. The water here is generally calm, making it a great choice for beginners or anyone looking for a relaxed paddle. Kew Bridge (built in 1903) is the original home of SUP in London and it offers unique views of the city and a great starting point.

Group Paddleboarding (SUP) Session at Kew Bridge - adventuro
Paddleboard (SUP) Hire from Brentford Lock

12. Brentford Lock

Brentford Lock is a serene canal location, close to the lock where the River Brent joins the Grand Union Canal. The spot is ideal for beginner sessions, children’s parties, youth groups, family groups, or groups of adults wanting to try SUP in a calm, quiet location with minimal boat traffic. 

13. Poplar

Poplar, located in East London, offers a unique paddleboarding experience in an urban setting. Situated along the River Thames, this area features a mix of modern developments and historic maritime sites, providing an interesting backdrop for paddlers. The waters here are relatively calm, making it suitable for both beginners and those with more experience. As you paddle through Poplar, you can enjoy views of the dynamic London skyline and the quieter, more residential parts of the riverside. This blend of old and new makes Poplar a fascinating place for paddleboarding within the city.

Intro to Paddleboarding (SUP) in Poplar - adventuro
Intro to Paddleboarding (SUP) in Poplar

Tips for Paddleboarding in London

  • Check the local regulations and weather conditions before you head out.
  • Always wear a life jacket, regardless of your swimming proficiency.
  • Consider taking a guided tour or joining a paddleboarding club if you’re new to the sport.
  • Please keep in mind that if you are using your own board, you must have a valid Paddle UK (British Canoeing) membership.

Paddleboarding in London offers a unique way to see the city from a different perspective. Whether you’re gliding past royal palaces or floating peacefully through hidden canals, each spot offers its own unique charm and challenges. So grab your paddleboard and explore the serene waters of London and beyond!

For additional insights and information on paddleboarding, be sure to explore these related blogs:

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I am a keen adventure sports enthusiast and have been mountain biking and kayaking around the world for many years!

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