Activities, England, Europe, Kayaking/Canoeing, Travel, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, Videos

8 best kayaking and canoeing adventures near London


Last Updated: Sept 2021

This year I really started to enjoy paddling, let that be in a kayak or canoe. As you know I live in London, which at first might not seem like a good place to do any sort of paddling sports. London is a big city full of buildings, constructions, cars and people. There is always some sort of event going on that attracts a crowd. However, London also has canals, the river Thames and thanks to the excellent public transport system it is only a short train ride away to the sea. So many of the UK’s best canoe and kayak trips are within easy reach!
Although London has lots of green parks, it is often difficult to find a quiet spot and fully enjoy nature. A lot of people visit the capital to spend Christmas in London and enjoy the festive lights and food. However, if you are spending summer or spring in London and you want to spend your day a bit different than walking around the city I have a few suggestions for you. Kayaking and canoeing can be very relaxing. It is a great form of exercise, a good chance to get some fresh air and you will also come across some beautiful scenery. I took part in a few kayaking and canoeing adventures in and around London and I really enjoyed all of them. These are some of the best kayaking tours in the London area. You can also do some of these tours on your own if you have a boat. An inflatable kayak is a good way to get started.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Guide book suggestions for the area

I love the Wild Guide books and have the whole collection. This one focuses on hidden gems, beaches, unique accommodation and canoe/kayak trips within easy reach from London.

This edition covers interesting walks (all accessible by train) which lead to secret lakes, rivers and seaside beaches. Perfect place for a wild swim or paddle.

Where to stay

All of these kayaking trips are either very central or outside of London. If they are a day trip from London, then I provided information about how to get there by public transport. Your best bet is to book accommodation somewhere central, so you can easily get to the starting point or train station. London is huge, so getting from one side of the city to the other can often take hours and also cost a fortune. So choose your base wisely!

Kayaking and canoeing tours in London

Battersea to Greenwich – Sightseeing London by kayak

This is a great trip to see all of London’s famous landmarks. I can’t think of a more unique way to do sightseeing in London, than by kayaking down the tidal Thames. You will pass The London Peace Pagoda, the Houses of Parliament, London Eye,  St Paul’s Cathedral, Gherkin, Skygarden, HMS Belfast, Tower of London, Tower Bridge and Cutty Sark.

The highlight of the trip: Paddling under the Tower Bridge
Who do I recommend this trip: Great trip for tourists who want an alternative way of seeing London’s top attractions.
Child-friendly: The event is for adults only
Starting point: Battersea next to St Marys Church
How to get there: Several bus, train and tube stops nearby as it is quite central in London
Duration: You will cover 17 km in under 3 hours
Price: £64.69 per person, which includes the guides and all the equipment you will need. (double kayak, paddles, buoyancy aids, spraydeck, waterproof trousers and rain jacket)
Difficulty: Easy – perfect for beginners, the tide will be in your favour. There will be some waves and it can be busy with boats, but having 4 guides on the trip ensures you will be completely safe.
Tip: No need to bring your camera as we had 4 guides with us and they had waterproof cameras. We stopped briefly to take pictures in front of the Tower Bridge and the company sent us all the pictures they took during the day by e-mail.
Where to book: The London Kayak Company

Kayaking on the Regent’s Canal in London

This trip is great if you are in London on holiday or you live here and want to get away from the busy city life. Although the tour takes place in central London, it is like you are completely elsewhere thanks to the tranquil settings. The tour starts by Regent’s Park and finishes at Camden Lock. It is a short 90-minute paddle on the canal. We had lovely weather and enjoyed this relaxing kayak trip. Lot of birdlife on the canal as you can imagine and if you go in the spring you will see lots of ducklings as well.

The highlight of the trip:  Entering the “secret tunnel” which was featured in the James Bond Spectre movie.
Who do I recommend this trip: Great for beginners, as there is some tuition at the beginning of the tour and it is a short, slow-paced relaxing paddle.
Child-friendly: This trip is suitable for children over the age of 9 if they are accompanied by an adult and able to swim a minimum of 10 metres.
Starting point: Primrose Hill Bridge, by the Regent’s canal.
How to get there: Baker Street, St John’s Wood and Camden Town tube stations are all about a 20-minute walk to the launch site. Alternatively you can take bus  #2, 13, 18, 27, 30, 74, 82, 113, 139, 189, 274, 453 , or C2.
Duration: The total distance is less than 3 km and it takes about 90 minutes at a very slow pace.
Price:  £39 per person, which includes the guide and equipment (single kayak, paddles, buoyancy aids)
Difficulty: Easy – The canal is a safe environment for kayaking and the trip is short and slow, perfect for beginners.
Tip: No need to bring your camera, as the guide took some pictures of the guests during the trip and they e-mail them at the end of the day!
Where to book: London Kayak Tours

London Canoe/Kayak hire

Moo Canoes

Location: They have a  Hackney Wick and Limehouse location.
Price: For standard weekend hire; Tandem Kayaks are £26 for the first hour and £10 per hour thereafter, Canoes are £36 for the first hour and £10 per hour thereafter.
Highlight: You can paddle past the Milk Floats window to buy a take-away drink to enjoy out on the canals.
Where to book: Moo Canoes


Location: Paddington basin for canoe hire. Other locations available for SUP hire
Canoes (2 people): 2 Hours £50 / 3 Hours £60 / 1 Day £85
Canoes (3 people): 2 Hours £60 / 3 Hours £70 / 1 Day £95
Where to book: Active360

Kayaking and canoeing day trips from London

Seal Colony kayak trip from Dovercourt

Who would have thought that you can be in busy London in one moment and after a train ride, you can be paddling in the sea among with seals? This trip is really unique. I loved seeing the seals popping up their head from the water and staring at us curiously. Our instructor Kurt shared some interesting facts about their habitat. He is very passionate about nature and wildlife and it was fascinating hearing his stories!

The highlight of the trip: Seeing seals in their natural habitat.
Who do I recommend this trip: Great trip if you love nature and wildlife, as you will see seals and birds in their natural habitat.
Child-friendly: Must be over 16 years old to take part in this trip
Starting point: West End Lane Car Park in Dovercourt
How to get there: Take the train from Liverpool Street to Manningtree, then change for a train to Dovercourt. This should take about 1,5 hours. Then another 30 minutes walk by the beach to get to the launch point, or you can also take a bus.
Duration: The total distance is 13 km, that you will cover in 5-6 hours. This also includes a lunch/snack break at a beach.
Price: £99.99 per person, which includes a guide and all the equipment you will need. (sit on top kayak, paddles, buoyancy aids)
Difficulty: Moderate – you will need to be relatively fit, to be able to keep up with the group. Although during the most part the tide will be in your favour, you will still need to paddle quite hard, especially if there is some wind.
Tip: Bring a change of clothes, as you are likely to get wet. The kayak has a hatch, where you can store your quite a bit! I suggest coming early and taking a stroll on Dovercourt beach as it is really beautiful!
Where to book: Nomad Sea Kayaking

Kayaking in the Seven Sisters Country Park

The Seven Sisters Country Park is a great place to do hiking near London. We did the Seven Sisters Cliff Walk, but there are so many other things to do there. Buzz Active provides many different water sport activities in the area. We decided to try their organised kayak trip to Alfriston. We were lucky as only two of us were booked in for the trip with a guide. The Cuckmere River is home to beautiful wildlife and to our amazement, the river wasn’t busy with people at all. We really enjoyed how peaceful it was. Thanks to the gorgeous views, lovely weather and relaxing atmosphere this kayak trip became one of our favourites. There is a possibility to stop for a drink or food at the pub in Alfriston, however, we preferred to have a quiet picnic on the river bank.

The highlight of the trip: The gorgeous views of the Litlington white horse.
Who do I recommend this trip: It is a great trip for wildlife and nature lovers, who are not completely new to kayaking.
Child-friendly: This particular trip is more aimed at adults, but the company offers kayak and SUP taster sessions for children as well.
Starting point: Buzz Active Cuckmere
How to get there: You can get a direct train from London Victoria or London Bridge to Brighton and then change onto bus Coaster 12, 12A or 12X.  You will need to get off at Seven Sisters Park Centre. Another option is to take a train to Eastbourne and then bus to Seven Sisters Park Centre. Either way, the total journey time is about 2 hours.
Duration: The total distance was 14 km, but as we travelled with the tide, it wasn’t too exhausting. The total duration of the trip including kitting out, lunch and paddling is about 4 hours.
Price: This trip will cost £34.00, which includes all the equipment you will need (kayak of your choice, paddles,  buoyancy aids, wetsuit)
Difficulty: Moderate – You will need to be relatively fit to paddle 14 km.
Tip: Bring a towel and swimsuit. The company will provide you with a wetsuit and there are nice changing rooms with showers.
Where to book: Buzz Active

Henley to Windsor – Canoe camping trip

This canoe trip on the Thames was my first time doing an overnight trip by a canoe, which was on my bucket list for a while. We had great weather and we really enjoyed this self-guiding trip. The company gave us clear instruction about how to use the locks and which way to go. You will have a few options about where to spend the night. Cookham Lock or Longridge Camping are your best options. You will need to book the campsite yourself and think ahead as they tend to fill up quickly.

The highlight of the trip: Seeing the wildlife and the gorgeous view of Windsor Castle at the end of the trip.
Who do I recommend this trip: It is a great trip for wildlife lovers, as this part of the Thames is very quiet. We saw red kites, herons, moorhens, great crested grebes, swans, ducks, cormorants, cows and horses.
Child-friendly: Suitable for families with children.
Starting point: Henley-on-Thames at the River and Rowing Museum
How to get there: You can get a train from London Paddington to Twyford, then change for Henley-on-Thames. This will take you about 1 hour 15 minutes, then a 5-minute walk to the launching point.
Duration: The total distance is 38 km, that you will cover in 2 days. It is about 5-6 hours of paddling each day.
Price: This 2-day trip will cost about £130, which includes all the equipment you will need (canoe,  paddles,  buoyancy aids, dry bag and tent)
Difficulty: Moderate – You will need to be quite fit to paddle 5-6 hours each day.
Tip: Feel free to take your camera, as in a canoe you have more space to move around, than in a kayak, and it is very unlikely that you will capsize. I would also take an emergency GPS for peace of mind.
Where to book: CKT Canoe and Kayak Tours

Tonbridge to Yalding – Kayaking the river Medway

A nice relaxing kayak trip on the river Medway in Kent. This section of the river was very peaceful and quiet. There were 6 canoe passes that I really enjoyed. The last one was the biggest with a big splash at the end. It was great fun. No need to worry at all, as very beginner friendly to use these “slides”.

The highlight of the trip:  The canoes passes and the jungle section, where we kayaked in a narrow bit with lots of fallen trees around.
Who do I recommend this trip: Great trip for anyone looking for a relaxing paddle.
Child-friendly: This trip is suitable for children over the age of 12. You can do the same trip in a canoe, where children under 11 can join free of charge.
Starting point: Tonbridge
How to get there: There are direct trains from London Victoria and London Bridge stn. Journey time is 45 min-1 hour depending on the route you take, then a 10-minute walk to the launch site.
Duration: The total distance is 14 km, that you will cover in 5-6 hours. This also includes a lunch/snack break.
Price: £75 per person with transfer from the finish to the start or £65 without transfer. It includes 2 guides and all equipment was provided (single kayak, paddles, buoyancy aids, spraydeck)
Difficulty: Easy – This was my first time using the canoe passes, but they were very straightforward.
Tip: Bring a change of clothes, as you are likely to get wet. The kayak has a hatch, where you can store quite a bit!
Where to book: Kent Canoes

Canoeing from Cambridge to Grantchester Meadows

This is a lovely, relaxing canoe trip. On quiet days you can enjoy the wildlife and peaceful atmosphere. We saw baby herons and ducks along the way! On busier, sunny days, you can stop for a swim, as there are lots of opportunities for this along the way. There is even a rope swing at some point! When you get to Grantchester Meadows you can have a picnic or play some football. The Orchard Tea Garden is only a short walk away, where they serve delicious cakes and sandwiches.

The highlight of the trip: As we went on a windy and grey day, not many people were out on the water. We enjoyed the peace and quiet and observing the bird life!
Who do I recommend this trip: It is a great trip for anyone. A group of friends, families, couples, the elderly. Everyone will find something fun about this trip!
Child-friendly: Suitable for families with children as well.
Starting point: Granta Place Boatyard, Cambridge
How to get there: You can get a train to Cambridge from King’s Cross or Liverpool Street Station. This will take you about 1 hour and then a 25-minute walk to the launching point.
Duration: The distance to Grantchester Meadows is 4.5 km and then you will need to paddle back to Cambridge. The 9 km canoe trip should take about 3 hours at a very relaxed pace. However, you can spend a whole day on this section of the river Cam, as there are lots of places to stop for a swim on sunny days.
Price: All day canoe hire costs £132.00 per boat or you can rent £33 per hour. Canoes can hold up to 4 people. The price includes all the equipment you will need (canoe,  paddles,  buoyancy aids, dry bag)
Difficulty: Easy – It is a slow flowing river and you don’t need to be particularly fit to do this canoe trip, especially if there are several people paddling in a canoe.
Tip: Take a picnic with you to enjoy at Grantchester Meadows.
Where to book: Scudamore’s

Kayaking on the river Stort from Sawbridgeworth

A lovely Saturday morning session on the peaceful river Stort. It is a great place to learn how to paddle. You can have a go at canoeing and kayaking as well. The area is lovely and the organizers are very friendly and helpful. You can learn a lot from them about the area and just generally chat if you are social. They also do cleanups regularly, so if you are keen bring a bag to collect rubbish in!

The highlight of the trip: Learning about the area from our guide Peter, who is very passionate about the outdoors!
Who do I recommend this trip: Great trip for beginners, who want to learn and get some practice and for people who just like to be outside and have a chat with friendly people.
Child-friendly: Absolutely! They encourage young children to go and have a try and also do trips for scouts.
Starting point: Sawbridgeworth at the Whoosh Explore Canoe Club.
How to get there: Take the train from London to Sawbridgeworth and then a 15-minute walk to the launch point.
Duration: Saturday sessions normally run from 9:30 am till around 12 and cover about 5-6 km.
Price: £12.50 for 1.5 hours paddling or £45 Half days paddling session for up to 2 paddlers, which includes basic coaching and all equipment.
Difficulty: Easy – perfect for beginners. The river is very calm and a lovely location to paddle.
Tip:  Bring some money in case you make a stop at the local cafe, where you can buy some refreshments.
Where to book: Whoosh Explore Canoe Club


Did you like this post? Why not PIN it for later?

Note: We were guests of these kayak and canoe companies stated above, but as always all opinion is my own!

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

Other water based activities in London



Hey, I'm Enikő! I'm currently an au pair and I want to share my experiences with you. I've travelled a lot in the past years. I'm gonna teach you how to settle in to a new country and get free accommodation anywhere in the world. Circle Enikő on Google+!


  1. Lauren
    May 19, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Since backpacking New Zealand and I have fell in love with Kayaking but would never have thought to do it in London! Such a cool way to see the city! Can’t wait to try when I’m back in the UK.

  2. Zoe
    May 19, 2018 at 7:04 am

    Wow as a Brit I didn’t know this was possible near London! Great post

  3. Neha
    May 19, 2018 at 7:24 am

    I lived in London for 8 years but never thought about Kayaking. Its a great post and you inspired me to do my next adventure :)…

  4. Kate Korte
    May 19, 2018 at 7:28 am

    I lived in london for 6 months and I never knew about any of these things! Pinned it for my next trip there xx

  5. Catherine’s Cultural Wednesdays
    May 19, 2018 at 8:23 am

    I want to canoe under Tower Bridge!

  6. Kat (Wandering Bird)
    May 19, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Wow- didn’t even know you COULD kayak here. Adding that to the bucket list- thanks 🙂

  7. Josy A
    May 19, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    These all look awesome!!

    Do you know about dragon boating? There are some dragon boat teams that practice in the docks in East London. I practiced with them last year and they were sooo welcoming to new people! If you like the idea, let me know and I’ll look up the name of the team so you can find them and try a new way to paddle! 🙂

  8. London Romantic Places - Top 21 Best Places in London For a Date
    May 22, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    […] See also: The 4 best kayaking and canoeing adventures near London […]

  9. Highlights of London - Everywhere Forward
    May 23, 2018 at 3:12 am

    […] For the outdoors type, there are lots of things to do outside of London as a city escape! If you like canoeing or kayaking, check out this post! […]

  10. Kayaking around the Elaphiti Islands, near Dubrovnik | Travel Hacker Girl - A blog for travellers.
    August 26, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    […] wild bays and lots of islands. It is the perfect place to explore by kayak. We have done some kayaking around London and we even went on a wild camping kayak trip in Dorset, so it wasn’t a completely new thing […]

  11. The Ultimate Guide to London in 48 Hours - Sophie's Suitcase
    September 4, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    […] The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 (Ranulf Flambard) until 1952, although that was not its primary purpose. I headed her early on the Sunday morning so I could beat the crowds, and I picked a beautiful day. I wandered around the outside of the building, right across Tower Bridge to get some wonderful shots, before heading inside to explore. You can also head out here on a kayaking tour of The Thames! […]

  12. Jerin
    October 2, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    If you love to paddle, love to travel and looking for a convenient and affordable way to get out on the water, then an inflatable kayak is an excellent way to go. The great thing about inflatable kayaks is that there are lots of choices and no matter what your criteria, you are sure to find the portable kayak that suits your needs and skill level.

  13. Natasha
    November 9, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Wow! Never have I thought about such an unusual and amazing way to experience London. Thanks for the detailed description. These canoe trips allow to look at London from a different angle.

  14. Helen Lessard
    March 28, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    As for me, it took about two months to learn canoeing for me. Can you please also give more advice about tandem paddling. I know that I need practice more 🙂

  15. 15 off the beaten path bucket list items in London | Travel Hacker Girl - A blog for travellers.
    September 27, 2019 at 7:01 am

    […] got into kayaking recently and try and explore more and more places this way. I think exploring London by kayak is the coolest experience ever! You will see London’s most famous landmarks as you paddle on […]

  16. Spring in London – events and activities | Travel Hacker Girl - A blog for travellers.
    February 19, 2020 at 10:01 am

    […] watch the whole thing on TV as it is televised. If you get in the mood to paddle as well you can go canoeing or kayaking in London, as a lot of companies organise tours on the Thames and canals. When: Sunday, 29 March The […]

  17. 17 places to go hiking near London by train | Travel Hacker Girl - A blog for travellers.
    February 23, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    […] many options for hiking near London. I love nature and adventures, so I try and spend my weekends kayaking near London, exploring local parks or going on hiking day trips outside of London. A peaceful walk in the […]

  18. The Ultimate Guide to 2 Days in London Itinerary - Sophie's Suitcase
    June 9, 2020 at 9:57 am

    […] I headed her early on a Sunday morning so I could beat the crowds, and I picked a beautiful day. I wandered around the outside of the building, right across Tower Bridge to get some wonderful shots, before heading inside to explore. You can also head out here on a kayaking tour of The Thames! […]

  19. 12+1 Sustainable Things To Do in London – Travelinho
    January 19, 2021 at 8:14 am

    […] Travel Hack Girl explains in this post more details about this experience, as well as other possible kayaking options in London, such as […]

  20. 12 Fantastic Brunch Places In London! - Towiome
    May 26, 2021 at 2:19 pm

    […] Dishoom is the perfect place to relax and have brunch before you start an exhausting day of sightseeing around London. […]

  21. Kris
    June 4, 2021 at 11:08 am

    I just ordered Grabner inflatable kayak. Gumotex any inflatable would do the job as they are very high quality and affordable by Grabner’s standarts. London waiting!

  22. Seven Sisters Cliffs | Travel Hacker Girl
    February 22, 2022 at 9:50 am

    […] There is a lot to do in the area. You can go hiking, cycling, kayaking or SUP paddleboarding. Buzz Active offers some great watersport activities on the Cuckmere River. Their kayak trip to Alfriston is a lovely paddle with nice wildlife and gorgeous views to Litlington White Horse. They also offer kayaking and SUP taster sessions, where you can get to know these sports if you haven’t tried them before. A great kayaking experience near London! […]

  23. Best UK kayak and canoe trips to add to your bucket list
    March 3, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    […] with wonderful riverside campsites along the way, plus plenty of charming pubs. You can also go kayaking in Central London with an organised tour. We did the Henley to Windsor section in two days, which covered 38 km. But […]

Reply your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*