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Where to go kayaking in London (canoeing and SUP too!)

Stratford London

Disclosure: I may earn a small commission from the companies or products mentioned in this post.

Can you go kayaking in London?

Yes!

Kayaking in London is definitely possible and makes for a fun activity for friends and families, a unique way for visitors to see the capital from a different perspective, or even an alternative form of exercise.

Where can you go kayaking in London?

There are two main places you can go kayaking in London; in the canals and in the Tidal Thames (the section of the River Thames which is subject to tides and runs through central London).

Can anyone go kayaking in London?

If you do own your own boat or board, you can take it out in London, however, there are some important things to know first and rules you need to abide by…

If you want to kayak, canoe or paddleboard on London’s canal system you need to have either a Canal & Rivers Trust permit or British Canoeing membership.

For taking part in any type of paddlesport on the Tidal Thames, you’ll need to check out the Port of London’s Tideway Code.

If this all sounds like too much hassle, the next easiest way to go canoeing or kayaking in London is to hire a boat or board from a registered company or join an organised tour where you’ll be escorted by an experienced guide.

Below are 8 of the best places to go kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding in London…


Kayak, Canoe & SUP Hire in London


 

 
 
 
 
 
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Moo Canoes, Hackney

Moo Canoes is my personal favourite place to hire a canoe or kayak in London, especially on a hot summer’s weekend, and I think it’ll become pretty obvious why…

Where? Located in the cool East London neighbourhood of Hackney Wick, Moo Canoes offer canoe and kayak hire from the Milk Float – a quirky bar & cafe on a ship moored at the side of the canal. You can then head out on an adventure around North London’s historic canals, taking in the view of the Queen Elisabeth Olympic Park as you head north towards Tottenham and back.

You can also hire kayaks from their Limehouse location.

The best part? Moo Canoes is one of the most unique places to hire a canoe or kayak in London because once you’re in your boat, you can paddle past Milk Floats sail-up window to grab a take-away cocktail to enjoy out on the canals. Ideal for those looking for a fun activity with friends rather than more strenuous exercise.

How much?

  • Canoes (2-3 people): £36 (1st hour) + £10 per hour.
  • Kayaks (2 people): £26 (1st hour) + £10 per hour.

Skill level: No prior experience needed.

Social responsibility: Moo Canoes offer CSR events and volunteering sessions where you can jump in one of their boats and help to clean up London’s canals by removing litter and dangerous plastics from the water.

Person stand up paddle boarding under Tower Bridge in London
Photo credit – Active360

Active 360, Paddington

Another spot you can find canoe hire in London is Active 360.

Where? Active360 offers canoe and SUP hire in Paddington which you can then take out into the Paddington basin. SUP’s can also be hired from the companies other venues in Kew Bridge, Richmond & Brentford Lock.

The best part? Active360 also hosts regular SUP yoga and pilates classes where the paddleboard becomes your new floating yoga mat.

How much?

  • Canoes (2 people): 2 Hours £50 / 3 Hours £60 / 1 Day £85
  • Canoes (3 people): 2 Hours £60 / 3 Hours £70 / 1 Day £95
  • SUP: 2 Hours £30.00 / 3 Hours £40.00 / 1 Day £60.00 / Weekend £85.00

Skill level: Active360s canoes can be hired by anyone, however, SUPs are only available for people with previous experience. If you’re new to the activity you can opt for one of the SUP group or private classes. They also offer Thames Skills & Knowledge (TSK) courses for those who want to take SUPs out on the Tidal Thames independently.

Social responsibility: You can also take part in a paddle and pick session to help get involved in clearing a section of the canal of plastic waste.


Kayak, Canoe & SUP Tours in London


Secret Adventures

Secret adventures offer without a doubt one of the coolest and most unique kayak tours in London; a nighttime kayak adventure across the capital.

Where? Secret Adventures night kayak tour takes you along the River Thames through central London, from Battersea in the west to Greenwich in the east, past many of the city’s most iconic landmarks including the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, St Paul’s, Tower Bridge and the Old Naval College.

How much?

  • Night Kayak (3 hours): £69.33 per person in a double kayak.

Skill level: No prior experience needed.

Where to book: Secret Adventures.

London Kayak Co

London Kayak Co.

Where? London Kayak Co. run three main tours for those wanting to go kayaking in London; one of which takes you from Greenwich to the Tower of London and back, one which takes you from Greenwich eastwards towards the Thames Barrier and back, and finally, their longest 3 hour ‘Kayak Bus’ in which you’ll paddle all the way through central London during either the day or night, past the city’s top landmarks on the Thames, before returning to your starting point by bus.

How much? 

  • Kayak Bus from Battersea to Greenwich (3 hours): £64.69.
  • Night Kayak Bus from Battersea to Greenwich (2.5 hours): £69.
  • Greenwich to Tower of London and return (2 hours): £58.10.
  • Greenwich to Thames Barrier and return (2 hours): £56.82.

Skill level: No prior experience needed.

Where to book: London Kayak Co.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Pirate Castle, Camden

The Pirate Castle is an amazing boating charity, running since 1966, which provides free and affordable activities so that local children, disability groups and vulnerable members of the community can experience the benefits of being on London’s many waterways.

The charity also runs regular kayak tours from which 100% of ticket sales help to fund their projects for local people.

Where? The Pirate Castle is located in Camden Town and their kayak tours take you on a leisurely adventure along the picturesque Regent’s Canal towards London Zoo and back again.

How much?

  • Regents Canal Kayak (1.5 hours): £30 per person.

Skill level: No prior experience needed.

Where to book: Airbnb experiences. 

Paddle Boarding London, Camden

Paddle Boarding London offers a whole variety of fun SUP activities, including group and individual classes, tours, special events and more.

Connected to The Pirate Castle (above), all of their sessions include a donation to the charity. Yet another opportunity to have fun and help the local community!

Where? Based out of The Pirate Castle in Camden Town, with sessions and tours taking place on the beautiful Regents Canal. They also offer SUP sessions, plus canoe and kayak hire, in historic Windsor.

How much?

  • 90 minute group SUP class: £46
  • 1:1 SUP lesson: £119
  • 2 hour paddleboard tour: £60
  • Paddle & prosecco socials: £49
  • Full moon paddles: £35
  • Sunrise sessions: £46
  • SUP yoga: £42

Skill level: No prior experience needed.

Where to book: Paddle Boarding London / Airbnb experiences.

SUP on Regents Canal London

London Kayak Tours

London Kayak Tours, as the name suggests, offer fun kayaking tours all around the capital run by qualified BCU (British Canoe Union) instructors.

Where? London Kayak Tours run kayaking trips along the Regents Canal in central London, on the River Thames close to Hampton Court Palace in Richmond, and in historic Windsor.

How much? TBC.

Skill level: No prior experience needed.

Where to book: London Kayak Tours / LKT also regularly offer deals through companies such as Buyagift, Virgin Experience Days & Lastminute.com – I’ll be sure to add links as I find them!.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Back of Beyond, Richmond

Last but certainly not least, Back of Beyond Adventures are another fantastic company offering SUP, canoeing and kayaking.

Where? Richmond upon Thames in London, as well as in nearby Kent and down on the Cornwall coast.

How much?

  • Self Guided Kayak or Canoe Adventure (2.5h): £37.50
  • The Grand Self Guided Kayak or Canoe Adventure (5h): £70
  • Eel Pie Island Kayak Guided Adventure: £60
  • Stand Up Paddleboard Lesson: £60
  • SUP with your PUP Lesson: £60
  • Self Guided SUP Adventure (2.5h): £65

Skill level: No prior experience needed.

Where to book: Back of Beyond Adventures.


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Emily is a born and raised London girl, starting life in the north of the capital then moving down to Fulham in the south west. She has a masters degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from University College London and now works as a freelance travel writer, digital marketer and VA, splitting her life between London and travelling the world.

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