Kayaking, Canoeing & Rafting

Kayaking in London | 5 of the Best Kayak Adventures in and Around London

A handy guide for getting your kayaking fix around London

Photo: – David Illiff

Living in a bustling city like London, kayaking you might seem like a far off, wilderness dream but there are actually tonnes of great places to go kayaking in London and just outside the city too.

Built on the Thames, water is at the heart of the UK’s capital and there’s plenty of fun to be had on London’s most iconic river both in and out of the city. You can also find some great UK kayaking spots within easy reach of the city, from whitewater fun parks to chilled river and city tours, there’s a great variety of kayaking right on your doorstep.

Thames, Central London

The Thames at night – Photo:

If you’re kayaking in London there’s no way you’ll want to miss out on a trip through the capital by boat. Lined with epic architecture like Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament a trip kayaking in London down the Thames is the perfect combination of sight seeing trip and adventure.

There are plenty of companies that run trips kayaking in London during the day, but if you want a truly unique experience you should try touring the Thames at night.

Organised by Secret Adventures a night kayaking trip down the Thames gives you a whole new perspective on the UK’s most famous city. Kayaking in London when it’s dark is a really special experience which shouldn’t be missed and we’re speaking from experience because you can read all about Mpora’s Thames adventure right here .

Grand Union Canal, Central London

Little Venice – Photo:

So fancy some kayaking in London but don’t want to spend all your time on the Thames? Then the Grand Union Canal is the place to be.

Based in the Cremorne Riverside Centre on the bank of the Thames at Chelsea, the Kayaking London crew run tonnes of trips around the capital’s waterways including trips up the Grand Union. The three hour Kayaking London tour guides you up the canal until you reach picturesque Little Venice, where you stop for a spot of well earned tea and cake before heading back to base in Chelsea. Kayaking in London doesn’t get much more civilised than this!!

River Thames, Windsor

River Thames Windsor – Photo geograph org uk

As the longest river in England you can kayak the Thames in more places than just London. Stretching from Gloucestershire to the UK’s east coast, the Thames offers plenty of boating opportunities whether you’re kayaking in London or further afield.

Windsor is one super popular spot for both kayak and canoe tours of the Thames. If you don’t fancy paddling all the way a short trip west of London will get you to this historic town where you can take a leisurely tour through the heart of Windsor, close enough to give the Queen a quick wave back if she’s at home.


Lee Valley, Hertfordshire

Lee Valley White Water Centre – Photo:

Just outside the M25, north of London in Waltham Cross, Lee Valley White Water Centre is the place to head if you’re kayaking in London and want a bit of a white water rush.

Lee Valley White Water Centre was a former venue for the London 2012 Olympics, playing host to the games’ white water kayaking and canoeing events. Here you’ll find Olympic level grade five rapids created by pumps that push 13,000 litres of water per second around the 300m long, man made course. With drops, stoppers and eddies all over the place there’ll be plenty to challenge experienced kayakers while novices and beginners can develop their skills in Lee Valley’s gentler Legacy Loop course.

The £31m facility also offers kayak lessons, taster sessions and trips out so this is a cracking spot for beginner kayakers if you’re looking to go kayaking in London.

River Lea, Hertfordshire

River Lea – Photo:

With its source somewhere near Luton, about 30 miles north of London, the River Lea is one of the closest places you can go to enjoy a bit of nature and get a break from just kayaking in London.

Through a slight twist in spelling this is the river that gives Lee Valley its name and though it starts outside the city the Lea works its way south east, back to the capital where it joins up with the Thames.

The Lea is a great spot for anyone who normally finds themselves kayaking in London. It’s easy to reach and gets you outside the hustle and bustle of the city, giving you a much needed break from all that urban stress. For the most part this is a pretty chilled river but if you’re feeling adventurous just grab yourself a British Waterways permit and you’ll be free to paddle all the way back home if you like.

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