From Dover all the way to St Ives and London all the way to the Isle of Wight, the South of England has some pretty awesome places to take your paddleboard for a long weekend or an even longer staycation. It’s home to the incredible Jurassic Coast, the clear blue sea that surrounds Cornwall, the twisting and turning rivers that run throughout London and its outskirts as well as the unique atmosphere a SUP session in Brighton brings. We’ve put together a list of our favourite unique spots to make your SUP staycation even better than it was going to be. Have a read below to discover our favourite SUP spots in the South of England.
1. Durdle Door, Dorset
Possibly the most iconic spot along the Jurassic Coast, Durdle Door is a naturally formed arch crafted out of a layer of limestone. It’s a great spot to spend the day and even better one to take your SUP down to and paddle around. If you’re looking to spend a weekend or longer along the Jurassic Coast then we would recommend heading over to Lulworth Cove as well, a short drive from Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove is an awesome location for a scenic sea paddle with inlets, caves, arches, stacks, rock formations all topped off with some super clear water. Park at the top of Durdle Door and head down the path towards it, once you are at the bottom either opt for Man of War, which then if you head out to your left, will take you to Lulworth Cove and beyond or head for Durdle Door and around that side.
2. Brighton, East Sussex
Brighton had to make it pretty high up on our list. One of South East England’s most popular seaside cities, best known for its famous pier; home to amusements, bars and rides, a pebbled beach spanning the length of Brighton and beyond, and colourful beach huts. Better yet, it's less than an hour from London by train, making it the perfect day trip if you want a change from the awesome rivers London has to offer. There are a few popular paddle boarding routes along Brighton seafront. Some are more popular than others. A couple we would recommend are West Pier to Palace Pier or the 3-hour route from Southwick to the Marina, both ideal if you’re an experienced paddle boarder and want a longer route. Or, If you're a newbie, travel from Palace Pier to the Marina. The best bits of the first route, just quite a bit shorter.
3. Carbis Bay, St Ives
Home to arguably some of the most beautiful beaches in the whole of England, with its golden sands and turquoise waters, St Ives (and Cornwall as a whole) has some epic spots for a SUP staycation. But for us, St Ives, and specifically, Carbis Bay just takes the biscuit. This unusually sheltered spot on the north coast is absolutely breath taking and is the ideal spot for paddleboarding in Cornwall. For one of our favourite trips, once you get down to the bay head left and you can paddle right into St Ives town where you can grab a drink or an ice cream (just watch out for the greedy seagulls). Or head right from Carbis Bay and paddle around the cliff to Porth kidney Sands. Both, absolutely beautiful locations for a day out paddle boarding!
4. Firestone Bay, Plymouth
Nestled right in the heart of Plymouth, Firestone Bay is an awesome spot for some SUP’ing. Perfectly located between the River Tamar and Plymouth sound, it provides breath taking views from all directions. If you’re looking for a place which you can enjoy the whole day on and off your paddle board, diving into restaurants and then back onto your board, then Firestone Bay should be high on your list!
5. River Stour, Kent
The River Stour is a really picturesque spot for some paddle boarding. It’s ideal for those looking to embrace nature and paddle through the heart of the Kent countryside. At 47 miles long there are plenty of parts to explore, our favourite spot for SUP’ing is to start at Grove Ferry and paddle in either direction. It is also a beautiful spot for a sunset paddle, if that’s your thing.
6. The Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a small island (like, really tiny) just off the south coast of England, known for its sandy beaches, rolling hills, chalk cliffs and seafront promenades. With the most famous spots including Shanklin Beach and south-facing Ventnor Beach. The SUP scene on the Isle of Wight has seen incredible growth over the past few years and with 57 miles (92 km) of stunning unspoilt coastline, it’s easy to see why! The Isle of Wight is awesome with plenty of spots to choose between for your Saltie staycation. If you get the right weather and squint your eyes, you could even pretend you’ve gone abroad! With so many incredible spots to choose between it’s hard to pick a favourite but, if someone twisted our arm, and forced us to choose then one of our favourite paddle boarding spots would include Sandown Bay. This beautiful little bay is approximately 4 miles wide - so maybe not so little, bordered by Culver Cliffs in the north, Luccombe Chine in the south and with Sandown Pier at the midpoint. The bay is filled with white sand, great facilities and plenty of starting points for your SUP day out.
7. River Avon, Bristol
Flowing a staggering 134km from Gloucestershire all the way down to Bristol, the River Avon offers tons of opportunity for paddleboarders throughout the South West to enjoy a staycation on the water. It’s location makes it perfect to explore Bristol, whilst getting to take it in from a different perspective. Launch your SUP from any location along the water's edge for a relaxing paddle - just be careful, if there has been substantial rainfall and the river is high then this can make it a lot harder to paddle, so be sure to check the weather forecast when you’re planning on going!
No list would be complete without including the capital. Home to the river Thames, London might not be the first place you think about when you think about paddle boarding, but it really should be! With all of its waterway it’s an awesome spot to head to with your SUP and escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Really any spot which has a canal we would recommend launching your paddle board from, as each has its own unique look and feel to it and will provide you with incredible views of London. We personally love a SUP session along Regents canal, starting from Camden and going all the way to little Venice. But, as we previously mentioned, there is such a high volume of waterways across the city, that you’ll be spoilt for choice when trying to decide!