Best River Kayaking Routes in England

Kayaking London Health Fitness Travel Guide
Kayaking London Health Fitness Travel Guide

Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced paddler, out on a day trip or looking for a new kind of holiday, river kayaking is one the finest ways to take in your natural surroundings. Check out top river kayaking routes across England.

Farndon Bridge to Chester – The River Dee

Distance: 17.7km

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Although this is a river that is usually talked about as the furious white water that flows from Snowdonia through the Welsh town of Llangollen, this is a far more serene adventure (calm weather permitting of course). During this journey you can take in several highlights, from the stately home of Eaton hall, to Eccleston Village, as well as a chance for fishing at Chester Weir, which is famous for its associated Salmon Leap. There’s also the opportunity to even stop off at the Red House, a pub that’s welcoming to all watercraft riders.

Photo: Health Fitness Travel Guide

Hebden Bridge to Sowerby Bridge, River Calder, West Yorkshire 

Distance: 8.4km

Difficulty: Moderate 

One of the best kayaking routes in England for those who have been kayaking for a while, are confident in their technique and are now looking to push their paddling skills to the next level. Starting at the Bohemian town of Hebden Bridge and finishing up at Sowerby Bridge, a place packed with excellent eating and drinking spots. Although it’s mainly flat, there are several weirs to navigate alongside a slalom style course as kayakers come to the end of their journey.

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Seathwaite to Derwentwater River Derwent, Lake District

Distance: 80km

Duration: Moderate 

Starting at the mountain views of Seathwaite and finishing up at the ‘Queen of the lakes’ Derwentwater this is a beautiful way of cutting through the centre of the Lake District. The river itself is classed as both a Special Area of Conservation and popular angling, so it’s important to take care to not disturb the surroundings whilst kayaking. For the final two months of the year, special white lines are painted on the markers at the Portinscale FootBridge, to show when it is environmentally safe to paddle.

Fal-Ruan Upper Creeks, River Fal, West Cornwall 

Distance: 7.8km

Difficulty: All abilities 

One of the most remote areas of the tidal river in the whole of Cornwall, this calming kayak ride is a superb way to take in the area’s woodland fringed creeks and tranquill birdsong. Experience an array of plants and wildlife as you travel along the Fal-Ruan nature reserve. It’s also worth making a stop at the village of Ruan Lanihorne before heading back to your starting point.

Battersea to Greenwich, River Thames 

Distance: 20.6km

Difficulty: All abilities 

Looking for a new way to see England’s capital city? Although this one-way trip is only a snippet of the great River Thames, by starting off in West London and paddling your way up towards Cutty Sark in Greenwich, you’ll head past, Lambeth Palace, MI6 Houses of Parliament, London Eye, Shakespeares Globe, St Pauls, Tower of London, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf, but to name a few. What’s more, the tidal flow means this journey can be enjoyed by a whole range of abilities.

Watersmeet to the Sea at Lynmouth, East Lyn River, North Devon

Distance: 3.2km (with a 110-foot drop)

Difficulties: Experienced white water kayakers only

Here’s one for those that like the extreme side of river kayaking. Either go alone or hire the services of a guide and take on the ravine fringed rocky downstream challenge that is the East Lyn River. Starting high up on Exmoor at Watersmeet and travelling to the Bristol Channel at Lynmouth, kayakers will experience a fast and lively course that won’t be forgotten in a hurry. It is important to note that due to the low water level, summertime kayaking can lead to disturbance of the river’s natural environment, so the best time to paddle is between the 1st October and 31st March.

Based on materials of PLAY

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