From azure seas to flowing rivers and glittering lakes, the UK has a great variety of canoeing options. There’s always somewhere to paddle whether you live near the seaside or not. Discover the richness of wildlife and admire the spectacular picturesque sceneries while exploring England’s diverse range of beautiful bays and canals.
Below are 10 great places for open canoeing in the UK.
Ullswater is one of the largest lakes in the Lake District, and many believe it to be the most scenic, as well as the most diverse. You could easily spend your entire weekend here, discovering all of the nooks and crannies the geological formations’ complicated shoreline has to offer, and still feel like you’ve seen the full range of landscapes in the Lakes.
2. Hadleigh Park Reservoir, Essex
Hadleigh Park is one of Essex’s largest green areas, with magnificent countryside views as well as a beautiful reservoir ideal for canoeing. The reservoir is ideal for establishing confidence and practising strokes while enjoying the picturesque surroundings as it is protected from the wind and has no currents.
3. The River Wye
The Wye is the UK’s fifth-longest river, rising on the Welsh mountains Plynlimon before flowing down the Welsh marches and into England, much like its larger neighbour, the River Severn. The beautiful River Wye is a part of British paddling history, and it is arguably the most popular river in the UK for open canoe outings. Canoeing across its meandering and occasionally cascading waterways, which flow through gorgeous landscapes and stunning wooded valleys, is a joy. Here, thousands of individuals take their first paddle strokes in a rented canoe every summer since it’s the ideal environment for a river journey.
4. River Thames
The River Thames begins its voyage with a trickle of water known as Thameshead, which flows through a meadow just north of the village of Kemble in the Cotswolds. After about 30 miles, beyond Cricklade, it becomes a little wild stream, and by the time it reaches the lovely town of Lechlade, the river has widened to accommodate a small craft, and this upper length makes for some excellent canoeing.
5. River Lane, Richmond
In Richmond, you may explore the picturesque backwaters of London. A beautiful area to canoe in central London that nonetheless has peaceful, tranquil waters and plenty of wildlife. Paddle through Richmond Bridge’s lovely stone arch, and perhaps try one of the riverside’s delightful eateries and taverns.
6. The Norfolk broads
Keeping with the East Anglian theme, the Norfolk Broads are another popular ‘must-see’ destination for you and your canoe. The Broads are a huge network of rivers and shallow lakes that are all accessible by boat and are less than four metres deep. While many parts of the vast area, which is protected as a national park, are popular with motorboaters and other powered craft, many of the calm backwaters are shut off just enough to be reserved for canoeists.
In Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, around Upper and Lower Lough Erne, which are linked by the River Erne, is an award-winning canoe trail. The Loughs themselves offer a variety of canoeing opportunities, with Upper Lough Erne’s sheltered tangle of coves, channels, and peninsulas standing in stark contrast to Lower Lough Erne’s huge, open expanse of water.
8. River Dee
The Dee, or Afon Dyfrdwy as it is officially known, is a legendary Welsh river that attracts thousands of canoers every year. There are portions popular with whitewater and slalom paddlers, as well as those perfect for a pleasant canoeing excursion, in the more than 140 km between the first paddled section beneath Lake Bala and where the river enters England at Chester.
9. Osterley Park, Surrey
The National Trust owns Osterley Park, which offers breathtaking views of the gardens and Osterley House, a historic Georgian country manor estate. A huge lake directly across the street provides sheltered and tranquil waters, ideal for novice paddlers. It’s a fantastic site to hire a canoe and go canoeing in the beautiful surroundings.
10. Cornwall, Port Quin
Between Port Isaac and Polzeath in North Cornwall, Port Quin is a calm rugged inlet on a stunning piece of pristine coastline. It’s a wonderful, secluded near-deserted bay with magnificent blue clear quiet seas that make canoeing ideal. Wild fennel thrives on the beautiful green gorgeous cliffs, and there is a variety of aquatic life to be found. It’s the ideal location for paddling, relaxing, and taking in the scenery.
With a limitless amount of routes and destinations, the UK is the ideal place for best outdoor activities. There are countless opportunities to choose from, so whether you are a novice or expert, you can find a route to take through the UK, with the adventure ending in tea and scones.