5 of our favourite places to canoe and kayak near London

by Daniel Steele

Although London is celebrated for its quirky landmarks and contemporary skyline, one of the good things about one of the world’s most vibrant cities is that it's also filled with scenic waterways that are itching to be explored. One of the most unique ways to survey the city is on a canoe or kayak - check out 5 of our favourite places to canoe and kayak near London

1. Osterley

Recommended School: The Sharks

What we love: The Sharks operate from various areas around West London, with the winter season seeing the club based in the NW10 area. The nearby canal is perfect for beginners due to its calm waterways and scenic routes. The club offers a range of sessions such as kayaking and slalom. For those of you that are a little more advanced, you can also try your hand at white water kayaking. One of the core ethos’ at The Sharks is that anyone of any age or ability can try kayaking, so you’re in safe hands if it's your first time.

Travel:  The closest tube station is Harlesden underground station which is just a 7 min walk from the meeting point, NW10 7AE. 

people kayaking on calm stream

2. Richmond

Recommended School: Back of Beyond Adventures

What we love: Operating from the picturesque Richmond in South-West, Back of Beyond Adventures offers both canoeing and kayaking sessions, taking you along  the River Thames where you can enjoy views of the quaint town and embrace yourself in nature. Once you’ve finished paddling, you can let your hair down and enjoy a nice drink at one of the many riverside pubs on offer in Richmond. If you’re looking for a more tranquil paddle, Back of Beyond Adventures also run several SUP sessions suited for beginners and people who are looking to take the sport up as a hobby. 

Travel: The meeting point for Back of Beyond Adventures varies on different days, the closest station to most meeting points is Richmond station. Richmond station is linked to three train operators (London Overground, District Line and National Rail). Make sure to double check where the meeting point is before your session. 

people kayaking in Richmond

3. Chertsey

Recommended School: Thames Kayaking and Adventures

What we love: Thames Kayaking and Adventures is one of the best ways to explore London’s biggest attractions via kayak. As the name suggests, you will be paddling along the River Thames where you will get to see some of London’s most prominent landmarks such as London Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye - the best part, you won’t have to deal with overcrowding as you’ll have plenty of space on the wide stretch of the river, so you can truly bask in one of the world’s most fascinating historical sites. The club operates from the 1st April till the end of Sept , keep an eye out on their website to find future events. 

Travel: Thames Kayaking and Adventures is based around London where the meeting point is the nearest underground station - keep up to date on the latest dates and locations by visiting Thames Kayaking and Adventures.

people using inflatable kayak on calm stream

4. Letchworth Garden City

Recommended School: Baldock and District Canoe Club

What we love: Organising regular river trips for all abilities and ages, Baldock and District Canoe Club is good if you’re looking to get into canoeing or kayaking. The club runs year-round swimming pool sessions at the North Herts Leisure Centre for beginners where you can try three swimming pool coaching sessions to ensure you’re comfortable in the water and learn the basic techniques, followed by a fourth session which will see you take your skills to the local river. 

Travel: The nearest station to North Herts Leisure Centre is Letchworth Garden City railway station which is an 11 min ride on the 98 bus. Alternatively, you can walk from the station to the leisure centre which will take approximately 25 mins.  

person canoeing on calm stream

5. Sawbridgeworth

Recommended School: Whoosh Explore

What we love: Whoosh Explore operates on the River Stort which offers miles of channel to paddle along with picturesque views and various weirs and backwaters for you to explore.. The club is ideal for beginners as they offer guided trips along the River Stort, as well as various equipment hire such as dry bags and spray decks. Canoes and kayaks can also be hired for experienced paddlers looking to explore the waterways on their own. The area is filled with unspoilt countryside, as well as several riverside pubs to wind down in. 

Travel: Whoosh Explore is a short walk from Sawbridgeworth, a quaint town located in Hertfordshire. The area is surrounded by scenic views as well as National Trust sites such as Hatfield Forest which you can explore after your paddling session.

two people kayaking on calm stream

There you have 5 of our favourite places to canoe and kayak near London and if you’re looking to get out of the city, there’s plenty more canoe and kayaking schools around the UK for you to explore - search the eola marketplace to find a school that suits you.

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