If you want to know where to stand up paddleboard in England then start with your nearest body of water. Whether it is coastal, river or lake there is bound to be fun SUP near you. But having said that, the very best English SUP spots are well worth travelling for.
Many people still view SUP as an extension of surfing. But it offers so much more. In addition to surf SUP, you may be interested in downwind, downtide or down river paddling? Perhaps race and competition or touring and recreational SUP is more your thing? Or specialisms such as white water, fishing, yoga or wind and kite SUP is the way you like to paddle?
Where to stand up paddleboard in England?
Whatever kind of SUP you are into you can enjoy it in many places around England. And the beauty of the sport is it’s versatility. If the sea is as flat as a pancake, drop surfing and perhaps do some fishing, yoga SUP, or just explore the coast.
England is perfect for SUP. With vast amounts of varied coastline to explore you can get out on the brine from most places in the country. Likewise there are plenty of lakes and reservoirs to explore.
But the jewel in the English SUP crown is it’s network of interconnected waterways. There are plenty of rivers to paddleboard that range from idyllic English countryside to whitewater adventures. Plus many of the rivers are connected via England’s network of canals, which enable you to tour around the country.
You can get from London to Liverpool, Lancaster to Lincoln and Leeds to Leicester – and that is just the Ls! Canals and rivers link Birmingham and Bristol, Kendall and King’s Lynn and Chester and Cambridge. They are almost nation wide and a great way to explore.
But canal boats cannot make it along all of the waterways an SUP can. So when asked ‘where to stand up paddleboard in England?’ the answer could be everywhere. A different SUP break would be to hire a canal boat and take your SUP with you. You can then explore different areas every day.
7 best English SUP spots
Obviously one paddler’s interests and requirements will not be the same as the next. But there are some places that are just better to SUP than others. So although this list is a long way from exhaustive, here are some of the best SUP spots in England.
Bantham has two things that make it great for the SUPer. The first, and less attractive option (believe it or not), is the main surf break out front.
Bantham makes up one half of Bigbury Bay, which is easily identifiable with Burgh Island dominating the horizon. At super low tides it’s possible to access the Bigbury side on foot. But at high tide the two beaches are separate.
During big swells Bantham can serve up some serious wave action that’s not for the feint hearted. Add to the mix a busy line up and the occasional bit of localism, and Bantham as a wave spot is for the experienced paddler only. Smaller swells are sometimes doable for the novice but be aware of rips and currents that can catch the uneducated off guard.
But the star attraction for SUPers is the River Avon that empties into the bay. This tidal river is a fantastic place for a spot of cruising/touring. If you get the tides correct, you’ll be rewarded with one of the top places to stand up paddleboard in England.
The current takes you along the meandering river all the way to Aveton Gifford. Stop for a quick pint, wait for the tide to turn and then make the return journey. During sunny spells the scenery is simply stunning and this is definitely one the best English SUP spots.
Saunton Sands, Devon
Saunton Sands is a classic and well frequented surf spot. Offering relatively soft breaking waves, this is the perfect introduction for anyone looking to get into surf SUP.
The massive expanse of sand allows the novice to find his or her own peak. This means you won’t be causing a nuisance to any other water users while you stand up paddleboard in England.
Even on massive swells it’s possible to practice in relative safety. You may not make it out back, due to the seemingly endless walls of white water, but the reforms on the inside banks will be more than adequate for you to snag a few waves.
If you get tired of being battered by the Atlantic then head to Instow or Appledore. Here you’ll find some flat water estuary paddling. It’s this variety which helps make Saunton one of the best English SUP spots. Just be aware of tides and boat traffic!
Cotswold Water Park, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire
Cotswold Water Park is a network of 150 lakes and waterways covering 40 square miles across three counties. It is an incredibly important wetland area for birds and other wildlife and is rightly protected.
It is also a fabulous place to paddleboard with hire facilities and a range of lessons available. And the nearby Cotswolds are a classic English holiday destination. Stunningly beautiful whilst not being over developed.
The Cotswolds can get a bit touristy in spots, but much of it still retains a traditional charm. If you are on holiday in the Cotswolds a spot of SUP at Cotswold Water Park is the perfect activity.
But Cotswold Water Park can also just be part of a larger SUP adventure. Begin on River Coln in the Cotswolds around Brockhampton and float along it’s meandering course through the hills. Eventually you reach Cotswold Water Park where you could easily SUP for a few days.
Once you have had your fill of lakes continue along the River Coln to where it meets the Thames. From here you can paddle board all the way into London which is another of the best English SUP spots.
Yes it’s true! Our capital city is fantastic place to stand up paddleboard in England. With the seemingly endless length of the Thames and subsidiary canals and tributaries, SUPing in the city has never been more attractive.
But don’t think this means paddling bedside The Houses of Parliament or the London Eye. Not only does the city make up just a small part of what you can experience, but it would not be advised for the inexperienced.
The gentler and friendlier spots such as Kingston-upon-Thames are where to head. This offers a safer place to learn and more placid water to explore. There are many suitable stop off points all along the bank. So pack a picnic and make a day of it!
Being such a big city it is no surprise that there is a thriving SUP scene in London. There are SUP races you can enter plus paddle boarding clubs and many places offering hire and lessons. All of which makes it one of the best English SUP spots.
Hurley Weir, Berkshire
Whitewater SUP is a big deal in the US but is still very much under the radar in the UK. Having said that, there are a few hardy souls pioneering UK whitewater SUP. And one noted spot is Hurley Weir in the Thames Valley just outside London, which happens to be a great place to stand up paddleboard in England.
Hurley Weir has been on kayaker’s radars for many years, but now the sight of boards in the froth is becoming increasingly common. With its fast flowing water pouring through loch gates, Hurley Weir is perfect for what is termed as river surfing.
All this H2O forms a standing wave. With the right skill it is possible to position your SUP and ride this phenomena. Which is basically surfing without moving anywhere. Easily one of the best English SUP spots for surfers and it’s not even on the coast!
Be warned paddleboarding at Hurley Weir requires a degree of skill. So this type of SUP shouldn’t be attempted without suitable knowledge and experience. But as one of the more extreme forms of SUP its not surprising that it is becoming increasingly popular.
The Lakes, Cumbria
In an article about where to stand up paddleboard in England it would be pretty remiss of us to leave off the Lake District. It is, of course, well known amongst outdoor types for its fells and peaks that are cracking for biking, walking and climbing. But all that lake water is perfect for a spot of SUP as well.
Many of the lakes in this area of Cumbria are ripe for SUP action. Whether you’re into flat water sprint or distance training, gentle exploring or even downwind paddling. Regardless of the weather forecast there is almost always a body of water in the Lake district that will fulfil your SUP needs.
Popular lakes to SUP include Derwentwater, Ullswater, Coniston water and Wastwater. All offer different challenges and stunning scenery. The wildlife alone makes the Lakes one of the best English SUP spots, you can spot rare British wildlife such as otters, kingfishers and ospreys. The views aren’t bad either.
While you are up in that neck of the woods there is some pretty spectacular and varied coastline to explore including some good surf at Saltburn. Furthermore, the Lancaster Canal heads as far north as Kendal which is the gateway to the Lake District.
Regardless of how you like to paddle there is somewhere within England that will offer the SUP nirvana you are looking for. And to answer the original question, ‘Where to stand up paddleboard in England?’, the reality is anywhere that works for you. But try to visit the above spots when you get the chance!
We hope this guide to the best English SUP spots has you planning a trip. Be sure to check out our SUP discounts as you could save a fortune on your next adventure.