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Being active in London looks like pumping weights at the gym, pounding the pavement, and… paddling on the Thames. That’s right — SUP, and its close cousin SUP yoga, are quickly becoming a popular way to get moving (literally), and see the sights of London from the water.
So, whether you’re up for a river cruise or a yoga flow with a twist, gear up and get on the water to make waves at these London area locations. Go on — get on board!
Putney is well-known for its abundance of cosy pubs and restaurants, but it’s a hugely popular spot to take to the water. Putney Bridge is the starting point of the yearly Oxford and Cambridge University race, and rowing clubs dot the riverside. Paddle east from Putney Bridge to reach Battersea Park, one of London’s most popular green spaces. And for a lunch pit stop, park the board and find Pear Tree Café nestled in the park before you head back.
Start under the arches of Kew Bridge and (depending on the tide) head towards Hammersmith or Richmond for fantastic views of West London. Active360 (based at the Kew Bridge Arches) will kit you out with everything you need to paddle for hours on end. Fitt Tip: there are plenty of riverside pubs along the way, including City Barge, which offers discount for Active360 paddlers.
For the perfect photo opportunity, paddle alongside the jaw-dropping Royal Palace of Hampton Court in South West London. Take the chance to get grounded after your water session at Hurst Park and Bushy Park, which are only a short cruise away and are stunning to walk around (and normally full of dogs — winning!).
On the east side, Royal Victoria Dock is London’s home of watersports. The area is a futuristic district full of bars, restaurants, hotels, and interactive museums. And now, it’s sheltered waterways are making it a go-to destination for SUP. Wakeup Docklands will set you up with everything you need (from April–November) for SUP and SUP yoga.
Starting at Camden Lock just north of Central London, follow the river all the way through Regent’s Park to admire the beauty of one of London’s most popular Royal Parks from a different perspective—the water. Who else but Active360 is there to prepare you, as being out in the open water is a bit more challenging than the sheltered docks.
Paddle your way around the 8.9-acre island smack bang in the middle of the Thames. You can only get to the island by boat, footbridge, or—you guessed it—paddleboard. Eel Pie Island Club Sup runs from the Twickenham Rowing Club, and is ready to get you on the water. If you’re up for a challenge, these guys are also taking yoga to the water! Check out their timetable here and pre-book your spot.
Cruise the canals of London starting at Paddington Basin, super close to London Central. There, you’ll have access to Regent’s and Grand Union Canal, so you’re free to roam. The quiet waterways are a good option for a carefree ride, and for beginner SUPers who don’t want to tackle the tides just yet. Again, the guys at Active360 will provide you with all the equipment to keep your head above water. They also run SUP yoga classes every Wednesday night if you’re down to downward dog on water.
Coast your way around Brentford Lock, a quiet waterside area in West London. It’s only seconds away from where the River Brent meets the Grand Union Canal, and is lined with impressive buildings, shops, and restaurants for you to explore. It’s the perfect current-free spot for anyone new to SUP or families wanting to paddle together. Active360 is again there to make sure you have everything you need. Fitt Tip: Time Café just across the footbridge is the perfect refreshment spot, and has plenty of outdoor seating — talk about a perfect summer’s day!
The Ember River trickles its way through Surrey in the South of London, with the River Mole branching off it, so you’ve got options on this adventure. It’s only a short trip from Central London (one hour) and is worth it for the fresh(er) air and peace and quiet. Though, you’ll have to BYOB(oard) unless you join BlueChip SUP, who often paddle those ways.
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