The UK has some of the best waterways in the world for paddleboarding on (not that we’re biased or anything), it’s full of epic coastline, beautiful lakes and serine valleys – a paddle boarders haven if we do say so ourselves. From the Jurassic coast in the South West to the rivers flowing through Scotland to finally the canals breaking up the hustle and bustle of London. And with staycations becoming the best thing since sliced bread, we’re spoilt for choice when deciding where to go paddleboarding in the UK this summer.
But, fear not, we’ve put together our list of the best places that you NEED to tick off your UK paddleboarding bucket list this summer.
Just remember that you need a licence to paddle on Canal & River Trust and Environment Agency waterways, plus other actively maintained waterways including the Norfolk Broads. Most of the waterways which require a licence to paddle on are covered by British Canoeing (or Canoe Wales) membership. Check waterways covered here.
Read on to create your epic paddleboarding bucket list spots for this summer! You might also enjoy The 8 best paddle boarding locations in the south of England.
1. Ullswater, Lake District
The lake in Ullswater is watched over by the incredible Helvellyn Mountain, which stands at 635 metres tall and is breathtaking at all times but especially if you catch it during the afternoon sun.
If heading to Ullswater and want to try out paddleboarding or don’t want to go through the effort of bringing your own board then fear not, there are plenty of services in the area that offer board rentals, and beginner classes, and even tours around the lake. Just turn up prepared with a sense of adventure (and maybe you’ll swimwear) and you’ll be fine!
Paddling the length of the lake usually takes three hours, one way. You’ll start from Streamer Pier cark park in Glenridding Village and finish at Pooley Bridge at the north of the water. A must for every UK paddleboarding bucket list.
2. Dorset and The Jurassic Coast
Dorset spoils paddleboarders with so many options for places to get on the water. Whether you want a gentle river paddle or some more challenging waves of the Jurassic Coast, Dorset delivers. The Jurassic coast is a personal favourite (being located so close to it) with its rugged rock formations, incredible coves and crystal clear waters, it’s a spot not to be missed this summer.
3. Leeds and Liverpool Canal
If you’re a city goer this summer, fear not! The cities throughout the UK have some of the best spots to paddleboard, particularly the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
The still waters of canals are perfect for paddleboarding and kayaking, especially if you’re just starting out. The Leeds and Liverpool canal provides 127 miles of water over the Pennines between the two cities. It’s a beautiful trip, mixing long stretches across the wild countryside with peaceful water-level views. Mixed in is a challenging mile-long tunnel to navigate at Foulridge; inspired by Buttercup, a cow, who swam its length in 1912!
4. River Cam, Cambridge
If you like your SUPing adventures to include a healthy dose of history and inspiring architecture, then the River Cam in Cambridge is the perfect spot for you. Set off at Jesus Green (just downstream of Jesus Lock) this gentle river adventure will see you weaving between the hustle and bustle of Cambridge’s famous punters as you pass alongside the university’s famous colleges that are set in Cambridge before drifting under the epic Bridge of Sighs as well as the beautiful Mathematical Bridge.
5. Stratford-upon-Avon Canal
If you love small villages, idyllic countryside mixed in with enough locks to keep you on your toes (literally) as you navigate through Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. With some of the best, most relaxing sites in the UK don’t miss this spot off your list.
6. Burgh Island, South Devon
An island in the UK? Yes, that’s right. Burgh Island located in South Devon is the perfect spot to take your SUP for a spin around. It takes about an hour to explore all the ins and outs and caves around this beautiful little island, located just a short way off the coast of Bantham beach.
You’ll need to wait for high tide to be able to paddle over to it, at which time you’ll also likely enjoy the strange sight of other would-be island hoppers making the same journey from beach to land aboard the island’s famous sea tractor.
7. Penzance, Cornwall
Cornwall has undoubtedly some of the best beaches in the UK, its blue waters and beautiful beaches can make you feel like you’re somewhere far far away from England, it’s the perfect spot if you are after a bit of escapism. Penzance is a beautiful spot to take your paddle board for a spin. You can also opt to visit Mounts Bay. With Penzance at its centre, Mounts Bay has recently been described as one of the ‘Most Beautiful Bays in the World’ making it the perfect spot to take your paddle board out on the water.
8. Kingston-upon-Thames, London
A short train journey away from the city of London lies Kingston-upon-Thames. Filled with a wealth of cultural landmarks and nature spots this 9-mile stretch between Richmond and Kingston-Upon-Thames is one of the UK’s most iconic waterways and certainly not one to be missed if you live in the big city.
9. The River Tay, Perthshire, Scotland
Scotland is home to some incredible scenery and when the sun is shining it’s one of the best spots in the world to take your paddle board and spend the day. Paddling along Scotland’s longest river, there are several sections of the Tay that are a paddle boarder’s dream. A selection of rapids and fast waters will keep you on your toes between Stanley and Thistlebrig; then, there’s the much-welcomed calmness beginning at Tay Forest Park and Ballinluig Village. There’s a spot for everyone, no matter how much experience you have with paddle boarding.
10. Regents Canal, Camden
You didn’t think we’d write this list without including a spot in the centre of the capital, did you? Regents Canal is one of London’s best spots to paddleboard. The canal runs from west to east, linking the Paddington Arm to Limehouse Basin.
Our personal favourite spot to paddle board is the stretch from Little Venice to Granary Square a beautiful route where you can take in the surrounding sites from London Zoo to buzzing Granary Square just behind the Kings Cross Station, a perfect way to explore London whilst avoiding the hustle and bustle of the city centre!
Wherever you decide to go on your UK paddleboarding trip, remember paddleboarding should be FUN! It’s an epic way to see some beautiful spots, relax by yourself or enjoy it with friends all whilst getting some exercise in.