For some people, vacation is a chance to relax and unwind; their ideal day includes sleeping in, a spa visit, and maybe a strenuous walk to a nearby great restaurant for dinner. Other travelers love to be active while visiting – after all, some activities are a great way to explore a new place and see it from a perspective that most travelers miss. Paddleboarding is one of those activities, since it’s both active and requires you to navigate waterways; paddleboarding in London is a perfect activity to add to your itinerary.
From the calm basins of East London marinas to the locks and narrower parts of the Thames, there are some great spots for paddleboarding in London, and some excellent paddleboarding tours and classes you can try during your London trip.
Below you’ll find a guide to paddleboarding in London; while I don’t imagine you’ll bring your own SUP, these locations will help you get a sense of the kinds of paddleboarding you can do throughout the city. I’ve also included a list of tours and rental companies so you can get the right gear if one or more of these waterways looks ideal for you to get active during your trip. Whether you choose a group SUP in Richmond or paddle peacefully through St. Katharine Docks, you’ll have a nice time on the water and a unique memory from your London trip.
Where to Go Paddleboarding in London
London has gorgeous canals practically all over the city, which means there’s no shortage of waterways where you can engage in fun SUP sessions. From stunning city views to quiet neighborhoods, paddleboarding in London will not disappoint. To find the perfect spot to relax in the water, read on for a list of the coolest paddleboarding spots in London.
Based on the canals, Brentford Lock is one of the top paddleboarding spots in London for rookies. The area offers calmer waters and a serene environment for those taking their first steps in the water sport. Also, the place isn’t as busy as other paddleboarding spots.
While you’ll find mostly families and children, they tend to stay in the same area as they’re trying to get the hang of paddleboarding. Consequently, you won’t have to deal with advanced learners constantly paddling around you, which makes some people a bit nervous. Plus, you’ll find many cute cafés and restaurants to enjoy later.
In contrast to Brentford Lock, Camden town is a widely popular area for paddleboarding in London or any activity, to be honest. Week in, week out, tourists and locals flood Camden Town’s streets.
While wandering through the vintage shops and brunching at trendy cafés is a lovely way to explore the area, doing it by meandering along Regent’s Canal is pretty fun and charming. There are numerous paddleboarding rentals offering tours and lessons. One moment you are caught in the hustle and bustle of the street food markets, and the next, you are gliding down Camden’s canals with a bunch of new friends.
Arguably one of the popular spots for paddleboarding in London, Kew Bridge offers stunning views of London at the water level. As you glide down the Thames, you’ll take in views of London’s most iconic sights. Depending on the tides ‘ direction, you can take an individual class or join SUP tours heading towards Hammersmith or Richmond.
Kingston Quay is the place to be if you want to escape London’s urban chaos. Located in southwest London, Kingston promises a relaxing experience navigating the river’s calm waters toward the outskirts of London. The journey starts in Kingston and finishes in Richmond and is quite varied, covering London’s cultural landmarks and the city’s rural areas.
Limehouse Basin is one of the most charming spots for paddleboarding in London. The area allows guests to paddleboard amongst mooring ships and narrowboats. Since Limehouse Basin links the Thames and two of London’s canals, you can navigate north to Hackney and peek at North East London.
Paddington Basin is perfect, being in the heart of London. The spot is ideal, being right in the heart of London. It’s easy to access Regents Canal and Grand Union Canal, meaning you have endless possibilities to explore your journey. Moreover, Paddington sits on calm waters, so everyone, from experts to newbies, is welcome to use them.
River Lane, Richmond
River Lane is an enchanting backwater in the heart of Richmond. The area is ideal for families or anyone who wants to escape London’s hustle and bustle. Drop by River Lane on a Sunday morning for a leisure paddleboard session along the glistening water of the Thames. You can even stop at a riverside pub for a well-earned lunch before paddling back home.
St. Katharine Docks
There are multiple ways to explore St. Katharine Docks. Walking, cruising, and, yes, paddle boarding. The former dock is home to London’s most luxurious boats and prestigious restaurants, and paddleboarding lets you see all that glamour from a completely new perspective. Back on solid ground, try out one of the local pubs or cafés.
When it comes to paddleboarding, Thames Ditton is famous for its versatility. The area has numerous routes of different lengths and difficulty levels, but all equally beautiful. For longer adventures, the stretch from Thames Ditton to Kingston is a stunning alternative. When the sun is shining, locals love to have picnics on the Thames’ gently sloping beach nearby.
The Pontoon, Richmond
Journey down the scenic waters of Richmond at The Pontoon. This area has access to a quiet, calmer part of the Thames, making it an ideal spot to learn paddle boarding or hone your skills.
Richmond is home to lots of greenery and wildlife. You’ll find numerous spots to pull over and explore Richmond’s riverside, or you can simply admire its beauty from the comfort of your board before paddling back.
Walton-On-Thames is a gem for Londoners needing a day away from London’s chaos. The journey takes you down to the south of the Thames and is the perfect way to take in views of London’s greenery and wildlife.
Walton-On-Thames sits on the south bank of the Thames and has a historic town center of Celtic origin that’s worth exploring after your adventure.
Paddleboard Rentals & Paddleboarding Classes in London
If paddleboarding has already made it into your London itinerary, here is a list of the best paddleboard rentals in London. I’ve also included the areas where the rentals’ have their bases so you know where you can find them.
- Where: Kew Bridge, Grand Union Canal, and Brentford Lock
- Starting Cost: £ 59.00 for a two-hour group tour
Active360 has three locations around London, with Kew Bridge as the main one. The company Active360 offers private or group lessons and mainly specializes in introducing people to the art of paddleboarding. The highlight of this company is that they offer sessions for literally everyone. They even have dog-friendly SUP sessions! According to its website, Brentford Lock is the company’s most suitable outpost for families.
Back of Beyond Adventures
- Where: Richmond
- Starting Cost: £40 per adult (age 18+), | £30 per child (age 8-17)
If you happen to be in Richmond, then Back of Beyond Adventures will be in charge of teaching you the basics of paddleboarding. You couldn’t ask to be in better hands. The company has excellent instructors who’ll give all the necessary techniques to enjoy a pleasant first time drifting along the river. Their portfolio also offers dog-friendly sessions and meditation masterclasses.
Blue Chip SUP School
- Where: Walton-on-Thames
- Starting Cost: £52 for a group 2h SUP session
Run by Piotr Kądziela, Blue Chip SUP School is London’s first ASI Academy of Surfing Instructor’s Stand-up Paddle Boarding School. They offer comprehensive SUP group sessions every day from 9 am to 6 pm. However, you can arrange private lessons outside these times.
Dittons Paddle Boarding
- Where: Thames Ditton, Weybridge and Walton, Maidenhead and Cookham, Woking and Frimley
- Starting Cost: Varies
As the name suggests, Dittons Paddle Boarding first started imparting classes at Thames Ditton. Today, the SUP school has bases all over London. They offer beginners, improvers, advanced paddlers, and group or private paddles sessions. Their longer paddle sessions include a stop by the beach with a picnic and a swim in the summer!
Advanced paddleboarders can sign up for the company’s hot tub paddle session. It’s a chance to polish your SUP skills in clean, warm waters. Dittons Paddle Boarding also offers social sessions for people who already have aboard. After both experiences, your coach books a table in a lovely pub to finish up with a good pint of ale!
Lucie Norris SUP Yoga
- Where: West Reservoir
- Starting Cost: £30 for 1.5 hours
Just when you thought paddling about the Thames wasn’t relaxing enough, you learn about yoga SUP sessions! Lucie Norris SUP Yoga is one of the top schools for yogis who want to combine the Indian discipline with the British pastime.
Lucie’s classes focus on breath and the alignment of the body and incorporates natural movements. She hosts SUP Yoga classes every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Lucie’s classes are even more appealing because she hosts the sessions during sunrise and sunset times. So, you can choose to start your day or finish it out on the water.
- Where: Limehouse Basin
- Starting Cost: £15 per hour
No one knows London’s waterways as well as Moo Canoes. The company provides paddle boarding lessons and canoe hire in Limehouse. They are open every weekend from April 3rd to 24th October and some Fridays. For first-timers, instructors offer a free 5-minute taster session. If you like what you experience, you can book their hourly sessions.
Paddle Boarding London
- Where: Camden Town, St Katharine Docks, Regent’s Park
- Starting Cost: £54 for 90-minute group sessions Camden
Paddle Boarding London offers SUP classes for beginners in Camden and St Katherine Dock. Their portfolio includes 1-1 classes, group sessions, paddleboard yoga, and even Full Moon paddles for advanced students.
For their beginner session, instructors provide attendees with equipment and practical information on using a SUP. They also give a bit of a guided tour of the canal sharing interesting facts.
- Where: Poplar Union
- Starting Cost: £35 for 1.5 Hours
POPSUP offers group and 1:1 paddle sessions to explore East London’s waterways. Newbies warm up with some technique on the shore, then use the most stable boards and take to the water sitting or kneeling until they’re ready to stand.
They also provide changing rooms and showers on site. Environmentally conscious (and advanced) paddlers can join their Floating Litterpicks, where you pick up floating litter as you meander through the canal.
Wake Up Docklands
- Where: Royal Docks
- Starting Cost: £ 35.00 for their Introduction to Paddleboarding Experience (1 hour)
Wake Up Docklands provides many paddleboarding experiences, from ‘yogalates’ (yoga+pilates) sessions to tours of the historic Royal Victoria dock tours. Their introduction to paddleboarding lessons is an excellent way to take your first steps into the adventurous world of paddleboarding. Qualified instructors cover different techniques, skills, and knowledge to help you overcome the “wobbling” stage, gain balance, and venture into a new watery adventure.
Have any other questions about paddleboarding in London? Let me know in the comments, or join my London Travel Tips Facebook community.