28 December 2022
Kayaking is an incredibly fun water sport that can be enjoyed by all of the family. It is a good bonding activity as you all face the same obstacles and challenges while trying to pilot tiny boats along rivers and across lakes. There are many amazing locations across the UK that are very well-suited to a family kayaking trip and we have listed ten of the best for you below.
Whilst the Thames is a mighty river with dangerous tides and currents in Central London, the further west you go, the more gentle the river gets. In Oxford, the river is smooth and gentle, suitable for young children to kayak. Reading and Windsor are other towns where kayaks can be hired to take in the beautiful scenery as you paddle past. It can be a brilliant experience for all of the family to kayak on the Thames and there are plenty of excellent picnic spots on the sprawling banks.
Set in an incredibly picturesque part of Scotland, Loch Lomond is not just the largest body of freshwater in Scotland but in the whole of the UK mainland. This means that there is plenty of space and it is guaranteed to never feel crowded, even on the most beautiful sunny days. There are numerous kayak and canoe hire businesses dotting the banks and there are many verdant islands in the middle of the loch to discover and explore.
Situated on the Cornish coast, the Fowey Estuary allows canoeists and kayakers to access and follow the tributaries of the river as they continue inland from the dramatic, craggy coastline. This is prime wildlife spotting territory and you may spot shoals of fish, rare birds, otters or even possibly a dolphin pod, if you are really lucky. We would recommend not telling the children this in advance so that it comes as a surprise if you do see them, rather than as a disappointment if you don’t. Please remember to keep your distance and respect the wildlife that you meet on your paddle.
There is so much to see on a trip to the Salcombe Estuary in Devon. Being able to kayak or canoe opens us great opportunities to get close to shipwrecks, explore hidden coves and see an abundance of wildlife up close and personal. This is an excellent trip for all of the family and there are local tours which can show you the sights and there is even a Salcombe Estuary canoe guide available to download from the National Trust.
A visit to Stackpole in Pembrokeshire, Wales will be worth your while. If sea kayaking is your thing, you will love the experience of seeing all the dramatic headlands and cliffs rising from the foam. As stunning locations go, this is up there. Also consider trying out “Coasteering”, which is a fun fusion of cliff-diving, rock traversing and swimming.
This large loch or sea inlet in County Down is the largest inlet in either Ireland or the British Isles and spans 58 square miles. The inlet from the sea is a perfect environment for kayaking, and there is a well-established canoe trail. It can be challenging in places due to fast currents so should only be attempted by experienced and confident kayakers. There is an abundance of wildlife and the views as the sun sets are incomparable.
The site of the UK’s first nature reserve, Studland Bay is characterised by vast expanses of heathland and sandy beaches. There are both deep and shallow waters, just off the coastline from the iconic Old Harry Rocks, and the area is ideal for both beginner and intermediate kayakers alike. There is kayak hire available on-site.
Fell Foot Park is the location to head to if you would like to go kayaking on Lake Windermere. Canoe and kayak hire is available on-site for those who don’t yet own their own equipment and the lovely, calm lake is perfect for all of the family to explore. There are also classes that can be joined in with and a first-rate changing facility.
Located on the edge of the city of Belfast, Minowburn is a perfect launch site for kayaking on the River Laggan. This popular kayaking and canoeing spot is located within a picturesque National Trust parkland with free parking. Minnowburn is a lovely place to explore on foot or from the water.
If you’re planning on kayaking or canoeing on Loch Ness then beware of the fabled Loch Ness Monster or “Nessie” as she is fondly referred to by locals. Okay, in all honesty she probably won't put in an appearance but as a fun story for the children to capture their imaginations, it is second to none. Loch Ness is stunningly beautiful and perfect for a kayaking trip. It is a 37km freshwater loch, located in the highlands of Scotland, so even on the busiest of days you will have plenty of room to paddle.