Stand up paddleboarding isn’t just for idyllic, weeping willow draped rivers in the countryside. Most cities have really accessible canal networks that are just waiting to be discovered. And, they’re actually prettier than you’d think! City adventures while stand up paddleboarding are not to be sniffed at!
When most people think about stand up paddleboarding or just paddling in general, they imagine people in the middle of nowhere in the peace and quiet. And it can be like that, but the cities have just as much to offer as countryside! Most cities have a network of canals waiting to be discovered with history, nature and stories aplenty. Take a look at our top 5 stand up paddleboarding city adventures and discover somewhere new!
Top 5 stand up paddleboarding city adventures
It has to be the capital city of England at the top of the pile. London has an incredible network of canals weaving through the very heart of the city. You can paddle on the Regent’s canal from Little Venice. Through the London Zoo at Regents Park, and all the way through to Camden Lock before continuing to Kings Cross Station. There’s also the Limehouse Cut where you can paddle towards the River Lea. Her you can loop around the whole of the Olympic park to relive the glory of the 2012 London Olympics. On the outskirts of the city you can pick up the non-tidal sections of the Thames as well as the Grand Union Canal. An opportunity to see London from a totally different perspective. Go to PaddlePoints and search London for canals, rivers, routes and launch points.
With more waterways than Venice attributed to this city in the Midlands, you can spend days exploring the waterways of Birmingham. You can paddle all the way into the centre of the city from many different directions. Plus you can paddle past the Cadbury’s factory to get a whiff of the fresh chocolate bars being made! Hundreds of paddlers make use of the waterway in the annual event ‘Paddle to the heart’ here. Go to PaddlePoints and search Birmingham for canals, rivers, routes and launch points.
Liverpool, famous for its ship building history with the Titanic being one of it’s most notable residents. It is a superb city to explore from the water. A brilliant spot to explore on SUP is the Royal Albert Docks, an iconic docks which links to several others, making it a lovely enclosed and bustling place to adventure. You can also start the Desmond Family Canoe Trail from Liverpool, which is the first paddling coast to coast in England, taking you from Liverpool in the West, all the way through to the East coast around Goole. Go to PaddlePoints and search Liverpool for canals, rivers, routes and launch points.
Manchester has an easy advantage over some of the other cities in that it’s right on the edge of the Peak District as it is, meaning access to beautiful spaces is relatively easy. But stand up paddleboarding in the city is just as fun, with the option of the River Irwell, or canals such as the Rochdale Canal or Ashton Canal to explore. Fancy a longer paddle? The Rochdale Canal offers jaw-dropping scenery across the Pennines as you paddle out of the city centre. Go to PaddlePoints and search Manchester for canals, rivers, routes and launch points.
Leeds has been one of those cities which has gradually crept up into most people’s consciousness in the last few years due to its brilliant museums, culture, and shopping experiences! A small city rich in history, Leeds made our top 5 because of how accessible paddleboarding is in the city. There’s a few different options for exploring, including the Leeds Liverpool Canal which forms part of the coast to coast route, plus the River Aire and Aire and Calder Navigation which will take you back out into the wilderness of the rolling Yorkshire hills. There’s a lot to explore in the city centre and making your way out to the countryside. Go to PaddlePoints and search Leeds for canals, rivers, routes and launch points.
So there you have it, the top 5 cities in for stand up paddleboarding adventures in England. Of course there are many, many more to explore though. And remember to stay safe on the water, we have lots of advice on how to do so on our safety blogs section of the website. Looking for something a bit more local to you? Check out PaddlePoints and get planning your staycation adventure!