Riding the ripple: What are the best places for paddleboarding in London?

London’s urban landscape is famous for its iconic landmarks, bustling streets, and a river that weaves its way through history. But did you know that amid the city’s hustle and bustle, there’s a watery world just waiting to be explored on a paddleboard? 

That’s right, you can go paddleboarding in London! In fact, we just spent a fortnight doing it! 

We donned our wetsuits and took to the waterways to find the best spots for the activity in this sprawling metropolis. Join us as now as we go over the best places for paddleboarding in London (as well as the best companies to approach for equipment and guides).

Brentford Lock

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Location: Grand Union Canal Walk, Brentford TW8 8GA, United Kingdom

Admission cost:  £7.50 for adults and £3.75 for children aged 5 to 15

Paddleboarding in London can be a challenge in terms of access to water. Brentford Lock, however, offers a fantastic entry point. 

There’s ample space for parking and it’s easy to carry your board to the water. No need to fight through crowds or navigate congested streets – a huge plus, especially if you’re a newbie to paddleboarding.

Now, for all you eager beavers ready to dive into this aquatic escapade, there’s one fantastic provider that stands out – The SUP Company. They’re the go-to for paddleboarding equipment and accessories and they’ve got everything you need to get started at Brentford Lock.

Kew Bridge

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Location: Strand-on-the-Green, London, W4 3NQ, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3393 5360

Admission cost: £30 per person

Website

Kew Bridge sits on the iconic River Thames, and let me tell you, there’s something mesmerising about paddling on a river that’s been the heart of London for centuries. The river’s beauty is just one paddle away, and it’s a sight you won’t forget.

You’ll glide past lush greenery, and charming riverside homes, and perhaps even spot some of the impressive historic structures like Kew Gardens and the Royal Observatory.

Now, let’s talk about the paddleboarding provider that adds an extra touch of excellence to this already incredible location – Active 360. They offer rentals and lessons ensuring that you have everything you need to make your paddleboarding adventure a resounding success.

Thames Ditton

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Location: Paddle Base, Queens Rd, Thames Ditton KT7 0QY, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 7547 917643

Admission cost: £15 for a 2-hour paddleboarding session

Website

The calm and meandering river of Thames Ditton offers a safe and enjoyable experience for beginners, while more advanced paddlers can venture further upstream or downstream to explore the river’s twists and turns. 

One of the unique aspects of paddleboarding here is its historical backdrop. The village itself has a history dating back to the Domesday Book. Here, you’ll get a unique perspective of the past, including the historic Hampton Court Palace and the famous Eel Pie Island.

Dittons Paddle Boarding is the go-to place for all your paddleboarding needs. They offer a range of paddleboards for rent, suitable for all skill levels. They even provide lessons and guided tours if you’re looking to improve your skills or explore the area with a knowledgeable guide.

Walton-On-Thames

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Location: Manor Rd, Walton-on-Thames KT12 2PF, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7993 2036

Admission cost: £45 per person

Website

One of the reasons Walton-On-Thames is a stand-out spot for paddleboarding is its diverse aquatic landscape. The river here is not too wild, making it perfect for beginners looking to master the art of balance. 

However, if you’re more experienced, there are plenty of routes to explore, from leisurely meanders to more challenging upstream adventures.

Blue Chip SUP School is the crown jewel of paddleboarding here. They offer an incredible range of top-notch paddleboards, suitable for paddlers of all levels. Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced pro, they’ve got you covered.

Paddington Basin

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Location: Gilbey’s Wharf, The Pirate Castle, Oval Rd, London NW1 7EA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 7568 157300

Admission cost: £49 per person

Website

One of the reasons Paddington Basin is a top choice for paddleboarding is its calm waters. You won’t be battling strong currents or dealing with choppy waves here. 

It’s perfect for beginners looking to get their paddle legs. But don’t be fooled, experienced paddlers will also find plenty to enjoy with its unique urban scenery.

Once you’re here, make sure to go to a trusted paddleboard provider like Paddle Boarding London offers a top-notch fleet of paddleboards for every skill level. One of the standout features of this provider is their access to exclusive areas within Paddington Basin. 

Kingston Quay

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Location: Sea Cadets Kingston, Thames Side, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1PX, United Kingdom

Contact: [email protected]

Admission cost: £45 per person

Website

What sets Kingston Quay apart is its royal heritage. Kingston upon Thames is part of the Royal Borough of Kingston, a place with a rich history dating back to the Saxon era. 

As you paddle through these waters, you’ll find yourself following the wake of ancient kings and queens. And that’s something you won’t find on your average paddleboarding excursion.

Now, let’s talk about the real heroes of this aquatic escapade – paddleboard providers. When you’re at Kingston Quay, there’s no one better than SUP4. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff offer guidance and lessons to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time on the water.

River Lane – Richmond

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Location: River Ln, Richmond TW10 7AG, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8050 4051

Admission cost: £25 per hour

Website

If you’re a nature enthusiast, you’re in for a treat. The River Thames teems with wildlife. Swans, ducks, and a plethora of waterfowl glide by elegantly as you paddle along. Keep an eye out for herons and even the occasional seal that makes its way upriver. 

There are also charming riverside pubs where you can dock your board and enjoy a well-deserved meal or a refreshing beverage. It’s the perfect way to refuel and savour the moment.

When it comes to paddleboarding in this picturesque location, Back of Beyond is the go-to provider, and for good reason. Their team consists of local paddleboarding enthusiasts who know the area like the back of their hand. 

Docklands Watersports Centre

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Location: 235A Westferry Rd, London E14 3QS, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7537 2626

Admission cost: £20 per hour

Website

One of the coolest things about paddleboarding here is the variety of waterways at your disposal. You can cruise along the River Thames, explore hidden canals, and even venture into the Royal Docks.

The centre provides top-quality paddleboarding equipment and facilities. You don’t need to worry about schlepping your own board – they’ve got you covered with a selection of top-of-the-line paddleboards.

Oh, and it’s worth noting that safety is a priority here. They provide life jackets, wetsuits, and all the necessary safety equipment to ensure your adventure is both thrilling and secure.

Chingford 

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Location: 3 Lea Valley Rd, London E4 7PX, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 7534 838966

Admission cost: N/A

Website

One of the standout features of Chingford is Connaught Water, a picturesque lake surrounded by tall trees and teeming with birdlife. Paddleboarding here offers a tranquil and almost meditative experience as you glide across the water, with swans and ducks as your companions.

Now, when it comes to paddleboarding in Chingford, London Watersports Company is your ticket to an unforgettable experience. They provide a range of top-quality paddleboards and all the gear you need for a safe ride. No need to lug your own equipment, they’ve got it all ready for you.

Richmond Bridge 

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Location: Riverside Water Ln, Richmond TW9 1TH, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 7702 958081

Admission cost: £37.50 per person

Website

Richmond Bridge is your gateway to the majestic River Thames. It’s a dreamy spot to start your paddleboarding journey, with the serene waters of the Thames beckoning you to explore its secrets.

Just downstream from the bridge, you’ll discover a cluster of islands known as the “Thames Islands”. These little pockets of paradise are perfect for exploring on your paddleboard, offering a unique perspective on London and its hidden natural treasures.

Anyway, when it comes to paddleboarding at Richmond Bridge, the London Stand Up Paddle Co. is the missing puzzle piece that completes the adventure. They’ll offer invaluable insights into the best routes, hidden gems, and local tidbits that will make your experience even more enjoyable.

Safety tips when doing paddleboarding

Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

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Paddleboarding is an absolute blast, but safety should be your top priority. The River Thames, with its occasional currents and boat traffic, can throw you a few surprises. A PFD acts as a safety net, keeping you afloat if you happen to take an unexpected plunge.

In the UK, wearing a PFD while paddleboarding is a legal requirement. Not only will you avoid getting into trouble with the authorities, but you’ll also set a great example for others.

Check the weather

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London weather can be a rollercoaster. One minute, you’re basking in glorious sunshine, and the next, you’re caught in a rain shower that can rival Mary Poppins’ umbrella flight.

Strong winds can turn your serene paddleboarding day into an exhilarating (read: terrifying) ride. Checking the weather helps you gauge wind conditions, ensuring you won’t get blown off course or into a tricky situation.

Use a leash

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Think of your leash as the safety net of paddleboarding. It’s the lifeline that keeps you tethered to your board. If you take an unplanned dip in the Thames, your board won’t drift away like a runaway tourist bus. 

And remember, you’re not the only one navigating the Thames. Using a leash is also a matter of responsible paddling. It keeps your board in check, preventing it from becoming an obstacle or hazard to other water users.

Get sun protection

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The Thames might not have sand, but it does have water – and that water reflects the sun’s rays right back at you. Factor in this reflection, and you’ve got a recipe for sunburn.

Don’t forget to apply sunscreen generously to exposed skin before you hit the water, and reapply as needed. Sunscreen is your trusty shield against those sneaky UV rays.

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