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Thames Natural History Tour (beginners)

sup - Up to 4 people


We have adapted our sessions to adhere to social distancing guidelines and all equipment will be disinfected after each session.

Join us as for a special Thames Natural History Tour, as we explore the wonderful wildlife of the River Thames. The river was once biologically dead, all life extinguished by industrial pollution, but since the 1970s wildlife has been returning, and thriving. And we’re on a mission to find it.

The Thames is now home to more than 125 species of fish, which in turn support two species of seal, deep-diving cormorants, stealthy grey herons and more. Stand up paddleboarding allows us to enjoy a unique perspective of the river’s wildlife, immersing ourselves in nature.

During the first half of the session we will focus on the aspects of water safety and how to identify hazards, before moving on to basic paddleboarding techniques. Once you’re feeling confident, we will head out onto the water and start paddling. As we paddle, you will be introduced to the natural history and ecology of the Thames, and the issues that still threaten this iconic waterway.

A few interesting facts about our beloved river:

  1. The River Thames was formed 30 million years ago.
  2. The name of the River Thames originates from the Latin word ‘Tamesis’ meaning darkness.
  3. Following The Great Stink in 1858, John Bazalgette proposed building an intercepting sewage system along the river – embankments were built on it – and subsequently the Thames became narrower, faster and deeper.
  4. By the 1960s the River Thames became biologically dead with no established fish population in the mid tidal section.
  5. Today it is London’s largest continuous wildlife corridor or ‘wildlife superhighway’.
  6. The River Thames is a vital link and migration route for many species some travelling hundreds or thousands of miles e.g. eels, over-wintering wildfowl and waders, and summer visitors such as common house martin and common tern.
  7. There are 146 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) along the River Thames.
  8. The River Thames is 215 miles (346km) long - the tidal extent ends at Teddington.
  9. In 2010 the River Thames won an international prize for being one of the cleanest metropolitan rivers.
  10. The River Thames provides 2/3rd of London’s drinking water.

This two-hour session is suitable for those who have never paddled before. Upon taking part in this session you will be able to sign up for the three-hour guided tour to Richmond.

Please note that following the guidance set out by the UK government, we will require you to keep a safe distance of at least 2m from your coach during both the safety briefing and the on-water session. The coach only come within this distance if it is absolutely necessary for your safety.

What to bring

No specialist clothing is required. In warm weather, ordinary gym gear will be fine (shorts/leggings/T-shirt/sweatshirt), with old sandals or trainers you don't mind getting wet or muddy. Or you can get cheap neoprene wet shoes from most large supermarkets. No bare feet, footwear is required at all our SUP locations.

In colder weather (November - March), a wetsuit would be advisory. We have wetsuits available if requested in advance. Always bring a towel and a change of clothes just in case you take a little dip during the SUP lesson.


You do not need to be a proficient swimmer, but should be comfortable about falling into water while wearing a buoyancy aid.

A certain level of flexibility and ability to get up to standing from kneeling is required for learning to paddleboard.

You will need to shower / wash thoroughly after the session if you have fallen in or been splashed and need to ensure any open cuts are covered.

We have taken people with physical and mental disabilities out on the water however please contact us before booking as we may need to take you out privately to ensure you receive the coach's full attention.

We will also need to know of any recent injuries prior to the session.


We will set off from Kew Bridge and depending on the direction of the tide, paddle either downriver to Chiswick or upriver to Isleworth Eyot. After stopping for a short break we will return to Kew Bridge.


Free flexible rescheduling of sessions with 5 days notice

We do not offer full refunds. Refunds minus admin/coaching fee will only be considered in unprecedented circumstances.

We understand circumstances change and you may wish to change the date/time of your session.

We offer flexible rescheduling:

  1. first reschedule is FREE if email request to reschedule is submitted 5 days before the session's start; every subsequent reschedule will be subject to £15 admin fee
  2. reschedule request submitted less than 5 days but more than 72hrs in advance will be subject to £15 admin fee
  3. reschedule request submitted less then 24hrs will be subject to 50% charge of the value of the session
  4. sessions cancelled on the day are considered missed sessions and full charges apply; partial refunds or credit vouchers for parts of payment can be offered only in exceptional circumstances and depending on the session type

All requests to reschedule must be submitted by email to: [email protected]

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About this business

Where we'll meet

£69 per adult
£59 per child

Sun, 9th Aug
13:30 - 15:30 · 1 spaces left
Sat, 15th Aug
17:45 - 19:45 · 4 spaces left
Sun, 23rd Aug
13:00 - 15:00 · 2 spaces left

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