The United Kingdom has some amazing and unique landscapes, obviously enjoyable from land, but for a new perspective why not head to the water. With a seemingly endless selection of waterways, estuaries and, of course, the sea, offering up a huge selection of paddleboarding opportunities. Listed here are 10 paddleboarding routes for you to enjoy.
Cuckmere River, East Sussex
A fantastic cruise along a beautiful waterway, the Cuckmere river is a lovely paddle route. Enjoy the calmer waters further inland in an area unaffected by tidal movement, or make your way down toward the coast, where the river meets the sea. This stretch near Cuckmere Haven is absolutely stunning, with a towering series of chalk cliffs, better known as Seven Sisters culminating in Britain’s highest coastal cliff, Beachy Head.
Brighton, East Sussex
A popular holiday destination, Brighton is a historic seaside village with its iconic, colourful beach huts, framed by the 121 year old Palace Pier and 154 year old West Pier. Enjoy the unique views of this quaint seaside village from the top of your paddleboard as you glide along the lovely calm water paddling alongside the vast pebble beach.
For a beautifully varied shoreline, head to Helford river. This area offers a lot of opportunities to explore with quiet beaches and quaint little villages, find yourself floating down a quiet creek and relaxing in a calm protected cove while taking in the extensive birdlife along the river banks.
If you want something a little different travel toward the coast of Penzance. Setting off from Marazion Beach, enjoy the sea-life, with an abundance of starfish and jellyfish, or even the chance encounter with a playful seal or dolphin as you head towards St Michael’s Mount.
Ullswater, Lake District
Shadowed by the stunning Helvellyn Mountain sitting at around 635m high, this 13km long and 60m deep lake makes for a great 3 hour one way trip, starting at the Steamer Pier car park in Glenridding village and finishing at Pooley Bridge in the north. When the wind is up, it funnels down the lake at up to 30mph making for a great downwind route complete with some 3ft+ waves to enjoy along the way.
Thames, Oxford to Windsor
Of course, a list of the best paddling routes in the UK could not be complete without its most famous river, stretching for an impressive 345km run, there is more than enough water to choose from, and what could be more quintessential than the stretch between Oxford and Windsor. You’ll find safe and easy conditions with a plethora of fantastic campsites dotted along the way, and lets not forget a great selection of classic English pubs for a pint and some tasty pub grub to fuel up.again.
From the start of the river down to the Atlantic, this 53km route in Northern Island runs through some stunning rural countryside, also passing through the historic city of Downey-Londonderry and seaside town of Moville. This route is tidal, so take the time to check the tide schedules before heading off. For the adventurous you can try the whole stretch which could take you the whole day.
For some wonderfully scenic, calm and relaxing paddling, look no further than Snowdonia, offering lovely views of Wales’ largest mountain, Mount Snowdon, which are truly breathtaking. You can paddle along the Llyn Padarn to see some spectacular cliffs and abandoned slate mines, gazing into the distance at the snow-capped mountains of Glyderau, or perhaps a visit to Llyn Gwynant, which featured in the action movie Tomb Raider II, sitting at the base of Mount Snowdon, this is not to be missed.
The River Wye
The River Wye is about 250km long and one of the longest rivers in Britain, The Wye rises in the Cambrian Mountains on Plynlimon before meeting the Severn Estuary at the fortress town of Chepstow. On the river you can see kingfishers, otters and salmon, which is an exciting prospect as you paddle along. Suggested paddleboarding routes would be Llyswen to Hay-on-Wye (16km) or Hay-on-Wye to Brewardine (25k m), alternatively you can try out Hereford to Ross-on-Wye (49km) these are rated as Grade I (Easy: moving water with the odd disturbances).
The Norfolk Broads
The Norfolk Broads is a vast network of rivers and broads, which are shallow lakes. This stunning National Park is popular with motorboats and other powered craft users, but thankfully a lot of the tranquil backwaters make for a wonderful place to paddle. Enjoy some of the beautiful local wildlife from our feather friends to small mammals, and… if you are lucky, perhaps you will spot the elusive otter.
Freshwater Bay, Isle of White
With its striking, dramatic coastline, the Isle of White has long been a favourite of the adventurous water lover. Take in the chalk cliffs and lovely peddle beaches, as you paddle along, tracing the footsteps of smugglers, who hid their wares in the hidden caves, only accessible at low tide. Get in touch with a local tour guide who can take you in to explore some of these interesting caves.