If walking or climbing doesn’t appeal to you, why not pick up a paddle? There are many ways to enjoy the UK’s fantastic collection of waterways, lakes and coastline. Here are some of the more popular craft you might see: 



Think serene Canadian lakes – canoes are large open boats that can be paddled solo or in a pair. They’re a good place to start as they’re quite large and stable, and are great for journeying, or even overnight trips, as they’re so spacious. They can also be paddled down rivers and even rapids, with specialist canoes available for more technical terrain. 



Kayaks come in lots of different flavours. The ones you most often find available to hire are either one- or two-seater sit-on-top. These are usually stable and comfortable to paddle, but be prepared to get a wet bum! 

Closed-cockpit kayaks are the next step. These come in different shapes, and whilst they can easily be paddled on flat water, are usually suited to a specific use – for example, whitewater paddling, surfing, waves or freestyle (tricks!) 

Sea kayaks are very long and narrow, and are suited to maintaining a course even in choppy waves. They often have ‘bulkheads’ or storage compartments for carrying kit for big adventures! 


Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP)

SUPs are becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason! They are an extremely versatile craft – suitable for gliding across lakes, surfing waves or even negotiating rivers for those blessed with good balance. Pick a warm day and be ready to swim! 


What to Take

  • Old trainers to protect your feet as you get in and out 
  • A swimming costume under your clothes, or wetsuit if you have one. (These are often available to hire.) 
  • A windproof outer layer – something simple like a pac-a-mac is perfect. It won’t keep you dry, but the wind will affect you significantly more if you’re wet. (Try blowing gently on your hand. How does it feel? Now lick your hand and try again!) 
  • Layers (especially baselayers if you don’t have a wetsuit) that stay warm when wet – e.g, fleeces, synthetic insulation, wool, NOT down or cotton 
  • A towel and change of clothes (including shoes and undies) – we recommend leaving these in a safe place on the shore. 
  • A waterproof watch if you’re hiring boats, so you know when to give them back! 
  • A phone or camera in a waterproof case 


Governing bodies, organisations & groups

There are many established associations, groups and clubs that you can join to practice and develop technique within a controlled environment, and with robust equipment. There are also many outdoor activity centres within the UK that can safeguard water based activities. 

The links below will take you to the relevant governing body for British Canoeing. Here you will find information on training courses, affiliated instructors and venues, and organised events. 

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions on how to get started on your next adventure. 

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 Canoeing / Kayaking /  UK Wide

You can see all the affiliated British Canoeing clubs and centres on their website.

 Canoeing / Kayaking /  UK Wide

We are British Canoeing, the national governing body for paddlesports in the UK. Read on to learn our past, our present, and our plans for...

 Canoeing / Kayaking /  UK Wide