London may be known for its bustling city life, but there are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities. One such activity is stand up paddleboarding (SUP), which has become increasingly popular in recent years. Not only is it a fun way to explore the city’s waterways, but it also provides a great workout for the core muscles.
For those unfamiliar with SUP, it involves standing on a large board and using a paddle to propel oneself through the water. It’s a relatively easy activity to pick up, and there are plenty of places in London to try it out. In this article, we’ll explore what stand up paddleboarding is, and highlight some of the best places in London to give it a go.
- Stand up paddleboarding is a fun and accessible way to explore London’s waterways while getting a workout.
- SUP involves standing on a board and using a paddle to move through the water.
- London has several great locations for trying out stand up paddleboarding.
What Is Stand Up Paddleboarding?
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a popular water sport that involves standing on a board and using a paddle to propel oneself through the water. It is a versatile activity that can be enjoyed by people of all fitness levels and ages. Initially popular in the ocean, stand-up paddleboarding has now become a fast-growing sport in cities like London.
One of the great things about stand-up paddleboarding is that it is no longer just reserved for those living in sunnier climates. Londoners have embraced the sport, and there are now many places in the city where people can rent equipment, take lessons, and meet new friends.
While purchasing one’s own stand-up paddleboarding gear can be a significant investment, renting equipment is a great option for those who want to try the sport without committing to the expense. Stand-up paddleboarding is a fun and accessible way to enjoy the water and get some exercise at the same time.
12 of the Best Places for Paddleboarding London
London is home to many beautiful waterways that are perfect for paddleboarding. Here are 12 of the best places to enjoy this fun and exciting activity.
Kew Bridge is a popular spot for stand up paddleboarding in London. With the tide direction, SUP tours from Kew Bridge head towards Hammersmith or Richmond, offering incredible views of the city from a unique water-level perspective. This location is ideal for meeting new people and exploring London’s sights.
There are several local providers to rent a board from, including Active360, which offers beginner taster options to comprehensive lessons for those hoping to head onto the Thames alone.
Brentford Lock is a peaceful location that is ideal for those new to paddleboarding. It is popular with groups of all different abilities, including those with children. The area offers calmer waters and none of the crowds, and sit-on-top kayaks are also available for those searching for something different. There are also many fantastic cafes in the area to enjoy a refreshment afterwards.
Active360 offers coaching lessons and small group paddleboarding sessions in the area.
St Katherine Docks
St Katherine Docks is a stunning area of London consisting of a sparkling marina lined with incredible restaurants. Paddleboarding here is an incredibly tranquil experience. Once on the water, it is hard to believe that you are in the heart of central London. The experience on the board transports you to another world!
Paddle Boarding London offers a range of activities at St Katherine Dock, including 1-1 classes, group sessions, and even paddleboard yoga.
Thames Ditton is a relaxed and leafy area that provides the perfect dose of escapism for Londoners. It offers many short routes around the area, and the gently sloping beach into the river Thames provides the perfect place to paddle and relax. On warmer days, groups enjoy picnics on the riverside after their adventure. For those feeling particularly energetic, paddling from Thames Ditton to Kingston is stunning.
Thames Ditton is the original home of Dittons Paddle Boarding, which now offers services all over London. They provide taster sessions, group social paddles, and 1-1 training options.
Limehouse Basin is a great place for paddleboarding among the narrowboats through the winding canals. It caters to paddleboarders of all abilities, from 1-1 sessions for those who want to learn the basics to board rentals for those confident on the open water. You can follow the canal all the way up to Hackney for a full tour of north east London. There are also organised paddleboard litter picks in the area, which is an excellent way to exercise, have fun, and clean up the local space.
Moo Canoes provides paddleboarding lessons and canoe hire in Limehouse. For those looking for an entrance into the sport, the company also offers a 15-minute taster session completely free.
Walton-On-Thames is situated in southwest London and is well worth the journey for an incredible paddleboarding experience. The delicate architecture combined with the quaint houses and coffee shops makes the area a beautiful place to explore before and after your paddleboard adventure. All instructors here have an accreditation from the Academy of Surfing Instructors, meaning beginners can rest assured that they are in the best possible hands.
Blue Chip SUP School is open 9 am – 6 pm every day but can arrange 1-1 sessions outside of these times for anyone who would prefer.
Paddington Basin is centrally located on calm, quiet waters, making it an excellent solution for those who want a taster of paddleboarding. If you have stand up paddleboarding experience, Paddington Basin is the perfect base for exploration. Regents Canal is just a 45-minute paddle away, making this area the ideal spot to discover the canals of London.
Active 360 offers a range of 1-1 lessons and group sessions at Paddington Basin.
Camden Town is an extremely popular area of London, and viewing it from water level offers a whole new perspective. It allows you to see the area in a way that doesn’t appear on every ‘top 10 things to do in London’ list. Whilst it is not ‘off the beaten track,’ viewing the area from the canal has a certain charm about it. Paddle Boarding London offers private lessons and social tours. They donate a portion of all takings to their charity, The Pirate Castle, dedicated to teaching children water sports.
These 12 locations offer some of the best paddleboarding experiences in London. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced paddleboarder, there is something for everyone.