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The Best Places to Paddleboard in the UK
Finding the best place to Paddleboard for you!
Paddleboarding over the recent years has become one of the most popular recreational activity on the water, it’s no surprise people want to know where the best UK locations are. Believe it or not the UK is full of hidden gems with beautiful sceneries to make your supping experience that more enjoyable!
It is important to note with all these things, it will depend on your level of experience and confidence in the water to find the best spot for you. The coastal waters in the UK are tidal so always remember to check the tide times before you set out or you could be disappointed! Slack tides are best for paddleboarders, this is where the tide is moving at its minimum. Beginners should try to go out two hours before and after the lowest tides for easiest conditions.
Rivers may seem like a safer option and also a more accessible option if you don’t live near a beach, but you still need to be weary of other hazards such as weirs and other river traffic. There is also the issue of hygiene as some stretches of water are more polluted than others.
Always remember to tell someone on shore where you intend to go just so someone can keep an eye out for you as water can be unpredictable at times!
Now lets get into our top favourite places to Paddleboard in the UK!
FOWEY RIVER – CORNWALL
The Cornish Amazon
The River Fowey is 27 miles long starting in Bodmin Moor, the Fowey estuary sits at the bottom of a steep valley with over 1000 acres of spectacular views and rare habitats. There are a variety of routes you can take – one being 4 miles long!
The waters here are tidal but experienced boarders should be able to ride the tide an hour before high tide and ride it back on the return. Some paddleboarders may find there are some exposed areas on the water where winds can cause an issue, but the surrounding peaceful wildlife makes up for it. The river has plenty of wooded creeks to explore, all offering stunning views.
If less experienced and looking for more advice when going out, Paddle Cornwall Sup offer a selection of hires, lessons and tours for all abilities.
BALA LAKE – WALES
Gorgeous mountain scenery in the largest lake in Wales
Lake Bala is the largest freshwater natural lake in Wales surrounded by the beautiful hills of Snowdonia. In the summer it becomes a popular spot for all forms of Watersports with paddleboarding being very popular.
The area is filled with rivers coming off the mountains into great bodies of water. The Tryweryn and Dee flow either side of Bala which creates Bala Lake. We are certain you will be able to find a perfect spot here to Paddleboard.
The lake is deep and clear, it is one mile across so if you fancy a short paddle its perfect for you. Or if you want a bit of a challenge you can paddle a circular route that measures about seven miles!
If you are bringing your own board and not hiring please remember to purchase a permit from Snowdonia national park – it is £4.00 a day, this just helps pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the lake making sure its an enjoyable experience for many people in years to come!
KINGSTON UPON THAMES
A tranquil London setting to get away from the big smoke
The River Thames is non tidal making it a great spot for everyone including beginners to explore and enjoy some relaxing time on the water. You will also find many riverside pubs and restaurants nearby, it is a great way to escape from the bustling busy city life!
The Thames has a marina, meaning you will see plenty of barges moored at the side of the river! This lovely place has plenty of SUP clubs in the area so you will have lots to choose form if you need to hire a board. They also offer lessons for beginners and upwards with fully accredited instructors – who offer a club for social paddling and trips.
To go out on your own, please be aware you will need a licence so please contact British Canoeing for more information.
THE LAKE DISTRICT – LAKE WINDERMERE
Panoramic views for 11 miles!
Windermere is the largest natural lake in England, and you can even paddleboard the whole 11 miles of water. There are easy access points and sheltered shorelines on the north side – fab place for beginners to master their technique and fall in love with the sport.
The district also allow dogs so can bring your furry friend for a ride along with you! The calm waters and easy launch access make it a great place to test your dogs sea legs. The mountainside backdrop is just to die for, it is said that you see the best sunsets in the whole of the UK here!
There are several activity providers offering paddleboarding on the lake so no need to worry about bringing a board! Whilst no permit is needed, much of the shoreline is forbidden to launch from or land on, including the largest of the islands, Belle Isle.
ELIEAN DONAN CASTLE
Simply magnificent scenery
North of Glencoe sits the infamously photographed castle – Eilean Donan Castle. It has become well recognised due to being in a number of Hollywood films such as James Bond and Highlander! The restored beautiful building is floating out on the water with spectacular scenery all around!
There is a bridge so you can access the grounds on foot, but we suggest if you want to appreciate its beauty in the stillness then you can do from the Eilean Tioram peninsula. It is a small piece of land on the other side nearby the car bridge to access the castle, you can find parking and a small boat ramp leading to the water. Once in the water the castle is about 400m away – so it is a fair distance to paddle – however the view while doing it makes it so worth it!
Remember being in Scotland’s cold waters you will want to bundle up warm, we recommend a 5/4 wetsuit, gloves, boots and a hat if possible just in case you fall in! Check out our wetsuit page so we can help get you kitted out.
After you are finished on the water you can enjoy a nice warm drink with a view of the castle at the ‘All the Goodness and Bake Shop’ which is by the car park.
OF COURSE WE SAVED BEST UNTIL LAST – DORSET:
Jurassic Coast – a fossil forest.
The Jurassic Coast is 95 miles long, packed full of iconic locations such as Durdle Door, West Beach and Old Harry Rocks. It is classed as England’s only Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO – it is famous for its rocks, fossils and landforms from the Jurassic age, so if you love history and the water this is the place for you!
Down in Dorset we have a variety of areas to SUP suiting beginners to intermediate and advanced.
Studland Bay is a great place for beginners because it is sheltered yet still a great place to explore, as is our beautiful harbour down in Sandbanks.
If you’re a bit more daring and confident we have an adventurous route from Lulworth Bay, starting on the shingle beaches and paddle down to Durdle Door enjoying the crystal clear waters; there is nothing quite like going through the iconic arch at DurdleDoor – an unforgettable experience definitely Instagram worthy!
Another advanced route for experienced boarders would be Old Harry Rocks – it is not for the faint hearted though as specialist skills are needed to navigate the rocks and tides.
Don’t worry if you don’t own a paddle board there are plenty of places to hire down in Dorset! If Sandbanks is a place you’re interested in Paddle Boarding Poole Harbour Watersports can help you with hires.
The second largest natural Harbour in the world!
Poole Harbour is our home here down in Dorset on the South coast of England, the harbour is huge stretching from Sandbanks to Wareham river, containing many islands, ferry port and plenty of marinas full of luxury yachts. Sandbanks peninsula is a thin stretch of land that separates the harbour from the open sea. The peninsula is full of gorgeous golden sandy beaches with a backdrop of multi-million pound properties, that take your breath away on first glance.
The options for paddleboarding in this area are extensive, beginners should go down to Poole Harbour as the waters of the side of the peninsula are sheltered and only a few feet deep! It is the perfect place to get to grips with the sport. The harbour has a very unique double tide occurring each day, 2x highs, 2x lows, so always make sure to check to the times to make sure you can get on the water. The water in the harbour is very still and calm, making it perfect conditions for beginners. Check out where we are!
If you are looking to explore, head out from Sandbanks harbour-side on a tour round all the islands nearby. Aim straight for Brownsea island, paddling out of the shallow waters, you will have to cross the shipping channel to reach Brownsea. The channel is clearly marked by green and red markers, take the direct route across the channel being weary of the big ferries! Once you have done the scary part, paddling around the islands is beautiful. You will see views across the harbour to the islands with the countryside in the distance, it wont even feel like you’re in the UK.
Truly magical views! This trip can take anywhere between 1-3 hours depending on how fast you can paddle, always remember to take a dry bag with some water, extra layers, food and a phone.
Have a look at our Sups we have plenty of package deals, maybe you can take your new board out for a trip in one of these new places we recommend! Paddle Boards
If you also need a hand picking the style of inflatable SUP, check out our blog ‘ Choosing your SUP ‘ or alternatively give us a call on 01202 700503 – we are always happy to help!