Top 10 Places to Kayak in the UK
Kayaking is a fantastic sport and whether you are a beginner or an adrenaline-seeking expert paddler, the UK has places to kayak for everyone. From peaceful inland lochs of Scotland to the rapids of Welsh rivers you are sure to find somewhere that floats your boat. We have written this article for all types of kayaker (not just for sit on top kayakers) and we hope it inspires your next trip!
1. The Cornish Coast
© Ianwool | Dreamstime.com – Kynance Cove Cornwall Photo
Cornwall has a plethora of options for kayakers of all abilities. On calm days the coast makes for great exploring of the beaches and cliffs, even for novice paddlers. On windier days with a bit more swell, it is the perfect opportunity to get in some kayak surfing on the waves. Below is Kynance Cove, on the Lizard Penninsula. This is one of the most popular kayaking destinations in Cornwall due to the number of small sheltered beaches, cliffs and outcrops.
2. The Scottish Lochs
© J McSporran, Loch Chon, Scotland
Scotland is bursting with options for any keen paddler. With thousands of miles of coastline, including the magnificent lochs, there is a never-ending supply of places to kayak. Some of the most famous include Loch Lomond, Loch Ness and Loch Awe. Fishing is hugely popular in Scotland due to its abundance of salmon, trout and pike, and a multitude of other species that dwell in both inland and coastal waters. As a result, kayak fishing has been growing in popularity, especially in the calmer inland lochs and lakes.
3. A white water centre
© Lee Valley White Water Centre | Gowhitewater.co.uk
For those wanting some white water action in a safe environment, a white water park is a great choice. There is also the option of kayak instruction for all levels for paddlers wanting to improve their skills.
4. The Lake District
The Lake District is a very popular canoeing and kayaking destination. As well as the spectacular scenery that surrounds the lakes, the area is packed with flora and fauna. For those wanting to do a bit of family kayak touring, this is a great choice due to the number of lakeside campsites and the calm waters.
5. The Tees, Co. Durham
The Tees river is great for experienced kayakers. A stretch commonly paddled starts from below High Force waterfall, and takes in Low Force (pictured above). It is a Grade III-V stretch of river containing numerous rapids, cascades and falls. For experienced paddlers, this makes for a thrill-seeking day out, as paddlers are swept through the beautiful countryside.
6. The Thames in London
© The London Kayak Company | londonkayakcompany.com
Kayaking down the river Thames is an refreshing new way of viewing the capital. You can pass all the major sites including the London Eye, Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London and all the major bridges.
7. The Wye Valley
© Rob Finley | ultimate-canoeandkayak.com
The Wye Valley is one of the most spectacular places to kayak or canoe in the UK. With over 100 miles of navigable water, it is very popular for multi-day trips. It is very beginner-friendly with only a couple of sections of minor rapids throughout it’s length. For the most part, the River Wye winds lazily through fields, woods and cliffs, packed with wildlife. With numerous pubs, cafes and campsites along it’s length it is a no-brainer for anyone wanting a great family day out on the river.
© Nevalenx | Dinas Cross, Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire, on the South Welsh coast is another haven for exploratory kayakers. Packed with caves, cliffs and small secluded beaches, it is a great destination for all water sports. “The Bitches” is a famous kayaking spot near St Davids where one of the fastest tidal flows in the UK creates large eddies, waves and whirlpools. This is only for very experienced kayakers!
© Meditec2000 | Jersey
Want to head somewhere with a slightly more guaranteed chance of sunshine whilst you paddle? Why not try Jersey. There are numerous kayak hire companies based here, as well as those providing kayaking holidays and longer trips. Dolphins are often spotted here, as well as a multitude of birds and other wildlife. The coastline varies between craggy cliffs (above) and secret sandy coves.
10. Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, Dorset
© kBandara | Durdle Door
Durdle Door and Lulworth cove are situated on the Jurassic coast, in Dorset and are brilliant places to kayak. Seeing this dramatic World Heritage coastline from a kayak is a fantastic experience. Lulworth cove is a beautiful round, sheltered cove, one of the finest examples of such a landform in the world. Durdle Door is a natural limstone arch (pictured) which you can paddle through. The surrounding coastline is famous for fossils and many other interesting geological features which you can view from the sea. It is a tourist trap in July and August however so we would advise going either in early summer or autumn to have the best experience here.
Has this inspired your next kayaking trip? Or maybe you have some of your own suggestions for places to kayak in the UK? Comment below!
The Fatyak Team.
Related articles: Caring for your Fatyak, Transporting your Fatyak, How to Paddle a Kayak, Fatyak Stability. Or look under our top menu to see all our paddling advice and product information.