Paddle boarding can be exhilarating or tranquil, a way to explore the environment or learn more about your history. No wonder so many people do it!
But you shouldn’t waste your time in locations that don’t fit your needs and style. Read the article below to see the best UK locations for paddle boarding. We’ll discuss different sort of tours according to length, water conditions, and local attractions.
Keep reading below!
Can You Paddle Board Anywhere?
Yes, you can paddle board almost anywhere. The weather might have a say too, but you can virtually take your SUP out anytime and anyplace you feel like it. From lakes and rivers to estuaries, seas, and oceans – the world is basically your oyster.
Depending on your skill level and preferences, you can try tranquil canals, whitewater paddling, or icy ravines.
Now that we’ve set that straight, the additional question is: can you paddle anywhere in the UK?
Luckily, the answer is yes for this one too. The only sections unavailable to paddle boarders are Cromford and Bridgewater Canals. Otherwise, get your license and start paddling your way through the country!
Best Places To Paddle Board In The UK
While you can paddle almost anywhere in the UK, the truth is that not all these places are created equal. Scroll down below to read about 16 unique locations for different interests and experience levels.
1. Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex: Best For Beginners And Romance
Cuckmere Haven is an amazingly lush area in Sussex. You’ll enjoy gorgeous views as well as flat waters for paddle boarding. The Cuckmere River is pretty wave-free, so it’s great for beginners or anyone who wants to chill out and enjoy nature.
Conversely, if you want to feel an adrenaline rush, this place may feel too dull for you.
Here’s a secret:
Cuckmere Haven is also one of the best SUP locations if you want to spend a romantic evening. You and your SO can enjoy a moonlit or sunset stroll in your inflatable paddle boards, making your way through oxbow lakes and chilling on the pebbled beach.
2. Black Rock Sands, Gwynedd: Best For Beginners And Hikers
Black Rock Sands is one of the best places for paddle boarding for beginners too. The shores are safe and pretty wave-free so that you can learn to sup at your own pace.
The real reason to try this place, though, is that you can hike and explore to your heart’s desire. Stop at Ynys Gifftan Island if you want to breathe in some genuine British vistas before getting back to Black Rock.
Pro tip: Explore the hidden gem of Portmeirion, Wales’ Little Italy.
3. River Cam, Cambridge: Best For History Buffs
River Cam in Cambridge offers the perfect trail for history buffs. The tranquil journey takes you through some enchanting sites, floating on calm waters.
River Cam is filled with opportunities to the history and architecture of England on its 40-mile course to the sea. You’ll see the impressive Colleges of Cambridge, float under the imposing Mathematical Bridge, and then relax in Grantchester’s Orchard riverside gardens.
Be warned: this journey is extremely long, so you need the stamina and expertise to tackle it. You should also consider getting touring sup or kayak for the job.
But nobody is hurrying you if you’re a beginner, though. River Cam is quiet, and you can paddle board as long as you like. When you get tired, stop at one of the numerous cafes along your way.
4. Ullswater, The Lake District: Best For Downwind Fans
If you’re a big lake downwinder and wondering where to paddle board, Ullswater is the right choice. Nestled in The Lake District, its flat and tranquil waters help you hone your skills.
Your trip won’t be boring, though. The southwest winds can reach up to 30 mph, so you can enjoy rolling waves that come up to 4 feet high.
Just imagine: you have nine entire miles to learn on while paddling downwind! Besides, other paddle boarders won’t cramp your style because the lake is almost a mile wide.
However, the one-way journey will take you about three hours, so consider bringing some food. If you’re supping with your SO, add a romantic picnic to your list.
5. Woolacombe Sands, Devon: Best For Families And Sunbathing
Woolacombe Sands is a winner if you’re planning a day out with your family or if you also enjoy surfing. You’ll love the vast stretch of gleaming sand as well as the excellent views.
If you consider these features plus the vast and relatively calm stretches of water, Woolacombe Sands is another top hideout for beginners. Not only can you take your SUP board out and practice some moves on your own, but you can also enrol in some lessons!
6. Penzance, Cornwall: Best For Sea Life
If you’re wondering where to sup and enjoy some sea life, try Penzance in Cornwall. Just like most of our destinations above, this one is amazing for beginners too.
But it has a unique selling point: its crystal-clear waters.
Your trip starts at Mount’s Bay, and you’ll reach St Michael’s Mount some 8 kilometres away. Enjoy the wildlife you spot during your trip, from playful jellyfish to colourful starfish.
Or, if you’re fortunate, you may spot a lost seal or two popping up above. If you’re embarking on this trip in the warmer months of the summer, you’ll see some dolphins and sharks too.
7. Mawddach Estuary, Mid-Wales: Best For Trying New Pubs
Some people have their favourite pub, like Seinfeld or Friends. But if you’re too Gen Z to enjoy that anymore, we have you covered:
Mawddach Estuary is one of the best places for paddle boarding between pubs.
But there’s more: paddling on these waters will bring you among some of the most awe-inspiring hillsides in the UK. The Snowdonia National Park hills also guard the broad waters that float between these hills.
As a result, Mawddach Estuary is fantastic if you want a prolonged tour that ends at The Last Inn in Barmouth. Once you’re here, lay back and enjoy the views of River Mawddach reaching the sea.
If you don’t want to paddle back after enjoying a couple of pints, you don’t have to. Rent your equipment from the local SUP store, and they’ll collect your gear at the destination.
8. Stackpole Quay, Pembrokeshire: Best For Coastal Wildlife
Stackpole Quay is the UK version of a paradise. The crystal-clear waters are surrounded by golden-sand bays and guarded by imposing limestone cliffs.
That’s because this unique location rests against the Pembrokeshire National Park, with its magical scenery and rich wildlife. The fun is just beginning, though, because you’ll paddle to Barafundle Bay, which is incredibly picturesque.
Just imagine the waters that wax and wane through tall, pointy cliffs that harbour cold caves. During your tour, you’ll get acquainted with skittish porpoises and dolphins, as well as tariffing sharks.
9. Symonds Yat, Wye Valley: Best For Advanced Levels And Stamina
Symonds Yat is one of the best sup locations if you’re paddle boarding with an eclectic group. Beginners, intermediates and advanced will love this place, whether you’re kayaking or paddleboarding.
Nestled between Wales and England, the lush river gorge is enchanting and challenging.
When you want to take a break, paddle upstream to Kerne Bridge to enjoy a hearty launch. The quaint footpath next to the road bridge will take you down to the river bank.
Now you can choose how to spend the rest of the afternoon: riding the rapids at Wye’s Grade 2 that are just downstream or starting a more extended tour to Ross-on-Wye upstream.
10. Burgh Island, Devon: Best For Murder Mystery Fans
Burgh Island isn’t just best for murder mystery fans – Agatha Christie devotees will know precisely what we’re talking about. Hint: it has something to do with the Art Deco hotel located smack in the middle of this island.
But like we said, the place has more to offer than this. If you’re a beginner or want to spend the day relaxing, check out Burgh Island.
It only takes about an hour to paddle around it, and, trust us, you’ll have a lot to explore; this island is crested with nooks and crannies!
When you’re done, you can sunbathe, hike, or read a book on the beach. End your day with a hearty meal and a pint at the local pub, The Pilchard Inn, dating back to the 1300s.
11. The Rabbit Islands, Scotland: Best For Explorers
If you like exploring, there’s nothing like The Rabbit Islands in Scotland to quench your thirst for adventure. This secluded island is home to solitary shores and gleaming sand beaches. You can get to it from the north of Scotland, in Talmine.
But before you grab your paddle board, make sure to check the weather. The currents can get pretty strong in the area, so they create waves to match.
Once you’re done with your explorations, you can continue your journey along the North Coast 500. This route is a melting pot of rapid rivers, steamy lochs, and gleaming beaches.
The problem is you have 500 miles in front of you, so you might need to take a few days off work.
You won’t regret it, though. This tour allows you to laze around, surf, and fight challenging waves.
12. The River Tay, Perthshire, Scotland: Best For Whitewater Rapids
River Tay is one of the best places for paddle boarding if you’re craving that intense adrenaline rush feeling. Just in case you’re a bit behind on your geography, River Tay is the longest river in Scotland, waxing and waning its way amid the country’s lush mountains.
Thus, your touring circuit is teeming with wildlife, from frisky otters to juping salmons.
The sections that feature rapids are incredibly intense for advanced and intermediates. The waters run fast, and the waves are snappy.
If you’re a beginner, don’t fret. The River Tay has a beautiful section along Tay Forest Park with more tranquil waters. Besides, you can explore the history-charged Dunkeld or enjoy delicious local food in the quaint Ballinluig village.
13. Strangford Lough, County Down, Northern Ireland: Best For Island Hopping
Island hopping is thrilling because it keeps you on your toes, but we don’t need to tell you that. What we need to do is recommend Strangford Lough, which is the most expansive inlet in the UK.
Guarded amid the Ards Peninsula, this inlet features seventy-plus islands and numerous channel mazes. So, hop on your SUP and start paddling.
Once you’re done exploring, taste the delicious local specialities at one of the many restaurants in the area.
14. Wast Water, Cumbria: Best For Solitude
Wast Water in Cumbria offers a 10-kilometre round trip in the Lake District.
Wait, stop scrolling down.
We know you know that Lake District is teeming with tourists, but we promise we won’t send you in their midst.
Wast Water is surprisingly tranquil, nestled among giant peaks. Therefore, this tour will help you reconnect with yourself in the middle of this awe-inspiring nature.
If you want an extra intake of spirituality, visit the quaint church of St Olaf – one of the smallest churches in the UK. The tiny sanctuary is located on the north beach, so you’ll find it quickly, and you can rest a bit before restarting on your tour.
15. Kingston upon Thames, London: Best For Bird Watching
This tour starts at Kingston Quay, and it takes about 15 km round trip. You already know that River Thames is the most famous waterway in the UK, running a whopping 345-kilometre journey.
We like this particular stretch of the river because of two reasons:
- It’s home to cultural landmarks galore and:
- There’s a poignant contrast between the man-made London’s outskirts and the surrounding greenery. If you’re into bird watching, grab your binoculars too. You’ll get a chance to photograph swans, grey herons, and colourful kingfishers.
16. Loch Harport, Isle of Skye: Best Rocky Wilderness
Scotland is famous for its rugged landforms, steep slopes, and dramatic gorges. So, Lock Harport is the perfect place to enjoy nature’s majestic endeavours.
Start your journey in the heart of the Cuillin Mountains, and then start exploring following your heart’s desire. There’s no fixed route, but you’ll find that the shoreline floats naturally in a southward direction, following the snowcapped mountain peaks.
Stop anytime your stamina runs out to warm your body – and your heart – with a glass of malt whiskey and a healthy meal.