Canoe camping trip on the river Thames


Going on an overnight canoe trip has been on my bucket list for a long time and I’m happy to say I finally managed to cross it off thanks to CKT Canoe and Kayak Tours. We had a fun weekend paddling down the river Thames from Henley to Windsor. It was a self-guided trip, so we were able to go at our own pace, which was a bonus for us!


Meeting Point: We met the company owner Neil in Henley-on-Thames at the River and Rowing Museum at 9:15 am. He gave us instructions about how to use the locks and paddle and turn the canoe. We got a map as well which showed us where we will meet him on the last day.

Equipment provided: The company provided us with the canoe, life jackets, paddles and a 30 litres dry bag to keep our valuables safe. They also offered a tent, but we preferred using our own one.

What to pack: This is an overnight trip, so just take things you would normally pack for a camping trip and if you have dry bags I suggest putting everything in them. This way you can attach them to the canoe easily and keep them secure and dry.

Tent (the company can provide this if needed)
Sleeping mat, sleeping bag
Clothes+underwear+socks (It can get chilly at night, so having layers is important.)
Camping stove and camping food (This is my favourite camping tip, that I learned from my boyfriend. We love to use Wayfayrer and Mountain House on our camping trips) You can also buy food in a shop or eat out in a restaurant/pub as there will be lots of these along the way. We preferred to make our own food.
-Toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizers, tissues, deodorant, medicine
-Rain coat
-First aid kit
-Plastic bags for your rubbish
-Portable phone charger, camera and batteries
-Water bottle
-Snack, energy bars

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The route:

Day 1 we paddled from Henley to Marlow. It was 15 km. We saw lots of beautiful wildlife. It is a great trip for any bird lover. We spotted red kites, herons, moorhens, great crested grebes, swans, ducks, cormorants. We arrived to our camp site around 4 pm and set up our tent straight away. We treated ourselves to ice cream after our long exercise and had dinner. We were quite tired and went to sleep at around 9 pm.

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Day 2 we had tasty sausage and beans Wayfayrer food for breakfast. We packed up the tent and set off at 9:30 am. Another day with gorgeous weather and beautiful scenery. We loved seeing all the fancy houses and boats along the way. We stopped for lunch at one of the locks. They are normally a great place to stop. At the last lock we phoned Neil, to let him know we were getting close. After paddling 23 km we arrived to Windsor. One of the highlights of the trip was definitely seeing Windsor Castle from a new angle. It is a great view from the canoe and I highly suggest it to everyone!

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Camping: The company suggests booking at Cookham Lock for the night, where you would pay to the lock keeper. When I phoned them they were unfortunately all booked up, so make sure you book ahead if you want to go with this option.
I booked a night in Marlow at Longridge Camping, which meant we had more distance to cover on our second day, but this was ok. This camp site is also an acivity centre so they have a climbing wall, giant swing and lots of kayaks and paddle boards if you feel energetic enough after all the paddling. (I doubt it!) At the reception you can buy ice cream, drinks and snacks.


Price: The cost would be rental of canoe and paddles and buoyancy aids and dry bag, £50 per day per boat. In addition there is a £15 boat transport fee to Henley. Neil can take passengers if he was asked before the event. You will have to book and pay for your own accommodation. It was £16 for 2 adults in Longridge Campsite. I think Cookham Lock is cheaper! So total cost for the weekend would be around £130.

Going on an overnight canoe trip is really fun! It was more relaxing and comfortable than being in a kayak. The canoe was really stable, so we felt comfortable having our cameras next to our feet, to snap some nice pictures along the way. We had some sore muscles by Sunday night, which is a sign of a great weekend!


Neil was very helpful and answered our questions! CKT Canoe and Kayak Tours. also provides shorter canoe trips, sup board coaching and bike trips. I highly recommend going on a trip with them!

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  1. Noemi of Pinay Flying High
    July 15, 2017 at 6:48 am

    I’m not a camping kind of person but with all the outdoor activites around me, I think I may have to try doing at least one. This sounds amazing and very near where I live too. I’m not so sure if my husband will like the idea though, I guess if we’re allowed to drink beer while canoeing it’ll be fine for him. Lol.

  2. Fiona Mai
    July 15, 2017 at 7:29 am

    This is such a useful guide! I didn’t even know that we could do canoe camping on the Thames, otherwise I’d have tried it right away when I visited London last year. It was also not as expensive as I’d normally thought. Thanks for sharing all these tips!

  3. Lisanne
    July 15, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Looks like an amazing trip! Love the photos and thanks for including a packing guide, so useful!

  4. Jurga
    July 15, 2017 at 8:24 am

    What a beautiful area to explore from the water! I have never seen Windsor Castle from this angle, hardly recognized it. Would love to try canoeing/camping with our kids, they would love this kind of experience.

  5. Meg | MeanderWithMeg
    July 15, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Henley and Windsor are in my old neck of the woods as I grew up in Reading. The river Thames has some gorgeous towns and villages along its banks and is perfect for exploring. You would have got an excellent viewpoint from the river. I’m impressed how long your canoed for – definitely hope you rewarded yourself afterwards!

  6. Anna
    July 15, 2017 at 10:13 am

    This is so fabulous! I actually used to work in an office next to the River Thames in Henley, so you probably went past it just before Temple Island!
    I’ve never thought about taking a trip along the Thames, but it’s definitely something I want to do now. Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. Ania | Snow to Seas
    July 15, 2017 at 10:42 am

    This canoe and camping trip on the Thames river sounds like such a great adventure! Before reading your post, I never knew trips like this on the Thames existed, so thank you for writing about it!

  8. Anouska
    July 15, 2017 at 11:12 am

    This is such a fun idea, something I would never have imagined was possible on the Thames! And camping aswell makes it even more memorable, such a special experience! X

  9. Ana Ro
    July 15, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    So beautiful! Such a pity I didn’t know about it when I lived in the UK though.

    You have to be lucky with the weather I guess!

  10. C-Ludik
    July 15, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Ha, ha what an adventure ! This canoe and camping trip on the Thames river sounds great 🙂 You have an excellent viewpoint from the river on some gorgeous villages along, on the Windsor Castle from a different angle and of course on the beautiful wildlife. Thank you for sharing your amazing trip.

  11. Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad
    July 15, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    This is really cool, and not something I’ve ever thought about doing! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Leigh
    July 16, 2017 at 12:38 am

    This is my kind of trip! I love canoe camping, have made several trips in the States, but I never considered England for this type of adventure. So fun!

  13. Kavey Favelle
    July 16, 2017 at 7:05 am

    I had absolutely no idea that people can and do canoe the Thames but love the idea and the perspective you get of London must be so different to the usual tourist activities. Love this idea!

  14. Claudi
    July 16, 2017 at 7:44 am

    I love camping and going on a boat tour. I have only done it in Germany and I didn´t know that you can do such a trip on the river Thames. Good to know and will definitely put it on my list for a trip to London. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Melissa
    July 16, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Wow! such a cool experience! I didn’t know this was even possible! :O I’m afraid I wouldn’t be fit enough to do something like that though! 😛

  16. Mindi
    July 16, 2017 at 9:43 am

    The last time I did an overnight canoe trip was in Colorado. That was cool, but not as cool on the River Thames. Hopefully, I’ll do it one day myself.

  17. Sally
    July 16, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    This looks so cool! I never thought of paddling the Thames before! Was there a lot of boat traffic? (Motorized). Will have to add this to my bucket list!

  18. Deni
    July 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    This is actually so cool! I’ve heard about similar trips in Canada and the U.S., but I’d never thought I’d see something like this in the U.K.! Glad to see you had fun on your trip 🙂

  19. Laura
    July 16, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    This is such a good trip! I had no idea you could do this and I’m not far away from London either. Funny the things you never know were on your doorstep!

  20. Alice
    July 16, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    I had no idea you could do that, and I find it amazing ! It’s totally my kind of adventure, I’d love to try it !!

  21. Tarah Vongbouthdy
    July 16, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    This looks so fun! Such a helpful guide! The prices are really good too! Id love to try it sometime!

  22. Susanna
    July 17, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Loved this! It’s great to hear about outdoor stuff near London. We almost moved there, but a major reason I decided to stay in Germany was because of the outdoor culture here, but I would love to visit London and do things like this. I’m surprised you think canoeing is more comfortable than a kayak. Last time I canoed was years ago and I think I’ll have to try it again. I’ll keep this company in mind if we head back there!

  23. Miranda Menelaws
    July 17, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    That looks like a great experience 🙂 I’ve only done one overnight canoe trip with a group in middle school, it was NOT a success haha

  24. Lisa - The Wandering Lens
    July 18, 2017 at 9:18 am

    This looks SO fun! I’m a huge fan of kayaking/canoeing and think it’s a great way to see an alternate side to a destination. The fact this tour follows the River Thames and passes by so much history and British beauty looks amazing!

  25. Jenn
    July 19, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    I love overnight canoe trips! You were able to capture some amazing photos while you were paddling. Looks like a fun trip!

  26. Katie
    July 19, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    This sounds like a fabulous activity. Do you need to have kayak/canoeing experience to be able to do it?

  27. Meghna Malhotra
    July 19, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    That’s a bucket list addition for me! Overnight canoeing sounds so much of fun! And from what you have described, its not a pocket breaker as well!! Thanks for this informative post!

  28. Meghan
    July 19, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    This looks like such a fun trip! I love getting outdoors and camping. Sounds like a great mix of relaxing and adventure which is just perfect.

  29. Jas from My Suitcase Journeys
    July 19, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    This looks like such an adventure and love the footage you captured!! I can’t really swim so I’ve always had a fear of canoeing. Your beautiful photos definitely make me want to try though!

  30. Elaine J Masters
    July 20, 2017 at 3:26 am

    What a cool trip. I love the idea of an overnight on the Thames. Looks like a great outfit to travel with. So glad you had decent weather.

  31. Nicole
    July 20, 2017 at 11:08 am

    I didn’t even know you could do this! It looks like a great trip and lovely to see things from a new angle. I’m not really a camping person (anymore) but will definitely look up the company for day stuff.

  32. Amy Krigsman
    July 21, 2017 at 1:31 am

    This looks so awesome! My kind of trip. What a great way to see a place.

  33. Kim
    July 21, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Canoe camping is a completely new concept to me, but it’s something I would totally be down to do. It looks so fun but also seems like a lot of work, I’m sure you got quite the arm workout!

  34. Timex t49939
    July 28, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Wow such a wonderful photos. great post.

  35. Stefinia
    August 6, 2017 at 7:09 am

    So nice that you finished a canoe overnight camping trip that was in your bucket list!! … lovely shots, love the birds. Can see you had a great experience with this canoe paddling trip from Henley to Windsor with the guidance of CKT Canoe and Kayak Tours.

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