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Flatwater Canoeing Clubs for Kids in the UK

12 March 2024

Canoeing is a fantastic sport for your children to take part in. I’ll teach them an excellent set of skills, and they’ll also gain a deep understanding of water safety, which is imperative for any child to learn.

Where you can canoe depends a lot on where you live because it requires a flat body of water to head into, however, most regions have natural or artificial facilities for your kids to enjoy, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to travel far. Although you can head out as a family and enjoy the water, it’s a great idea to look into signing your child up for a club so they can learn the necessary skills correctly and make the most of the opportunity.

Here is a list of some of the top flatwater canoeing clubs for kids in the UK.

Cambridge Canoe Club

Cambridge Canoe Club is perfect for kids, with the junior section for children aged 8-12. They cater to those who have never set foot in a canoe through to rising talent. For younger ones, the club does allow children younger than 8 to paddle in tandem with their parents. 

They give flat water lessons and slalom and can take your child to racing opportunities if they wish.

Chiltern Canoe Club

Chiltern Canoe Club offers a paddle experience for all ages in and around Buckinghamshire. This club focuses on enjoyment over competitions and organises social events throughout the canoeing calendar. Juniors can begin lessons at 9 years old, and the club follows the British Canoeing Paddlepower award scheme. Canoeing for kids takes place in a swimming pool to ensure maximum safety, and adult courses move outdoors to the Bulbourne canal.

Cumbria Canoeists

Cumbria Canoeists encompass the range of canoe clubs within the Cumbria region and provide canoe fun for everybody aged 8-80 and beginners to elite athletes. 

Copeland Canoe Club, based in Whitehaven, takes juniors aged 8 onto the Lake District's flat waters and practises in pools, gentle rivers and the sea. Your kids will learn the essential skills and progress to competitions if they wish.

Junior Watersports Centre, Newton Abbot

Part of the Devon Windsurf and Canoe Centre, this is an excellent option for youngsters in and around Devon. This club focuses on making paddle sports fun and aims to improve water confidence. With opportunities for kids aged 7-12, they can learn flatwater canoeing, but the centre offers many more possibilities. There are also some great social events throughout the year.

West Yorkshire Canoe Club

If you live in West Yorkshire, this is an excellent place to get your child into the water. They provide lessons for all. A complete beginner will start with basic paddling skills in the pool or lake, which they can then build on. They also use a range of rivers and lakes suited to the age and stage of the canoeist.

With links to the UK’s governing body, British Canoeing, the club provides opportunities for talent progression in flatwater and slalom canoeing.

Photo by Rachel Claire

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