With the magnificent Thames River flowing through the heart of the city, watersports are a frequent form of recreation and entertainment for Londoners. Totally Sporty has independently researched the top canoeing and kayaking clubs and ranked the best by region to help all locals find the best club closest to them.
Phoenix Canoe Club—Northwest London
Affiliated with the British Canoe Union, the Phoenix Canoe Club operates a progressive programme of training and activities including river trips, whitewater rafting and surf training. The club is based out of the Welsh Harp Reservoir in London.
Anyone can join the club by taking part in an Introductory One Star course or already hold the British Canoe Union 1 Star award. Payment of membership and course fees is also required.
Putney Bridge Canoe Club—Southwest London
Putney Bridge Canoe Club is a friendly West London canoe club that welcomes anyone interested in canoeing and kayaking, from novices to experienced paddlers. The club offers pool sessions, regular paddles on the Thames in the evenings, surf, whitewater trips and trips abroad. We provide kayaks for paddling on the Thames and club trips.
To join a newcomers session, first sign up for the email group via PutneyBridgeCCemail@example.com. A weekly email notice will be sent out with club activities, but please contact the club ahead of time if planning to attend a session.
Weekly kayak sessions take place in the swimming pool. Open to the general public over the age of 18, individuals can practice paddling skills, in preparation for more challenging activities. The open pool sessions are also used to ensure newcomers are OK to paddle with the club on the Thames, and include safety drills, rescue procedures and basic skills. After two or three sessions newcomers can generally progress to paddling on the Thames. The sessions are relaxed and aim to be a fun way of learning kayaking basics. More experienced paddlers practice rolling and more demanding strokes. Pool sessions are run on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m.
Chelsea Kayak Club—Southeast London
Chelsea Kayak Club, a newer club formed in March 2010 by some London kayak enthusiasts, strongly supports paddle sports touring and expeditions, particularly in sea kayaks.
The club runs regular weekly Thursday night Thames session and occasional weekend sessions on the Thames. Away from the Centre, Chelsea Kayak Club runs regular trips including abroad experiences in addition to social events. It also provides regular safety, coaching and leadership training opportunities for its members.
The Club’s main base is Cremorne Riverside Activity Centre in Chelsea.
Richmond Canoe Club—Central London
Richmond Canoe Club was founded in 1944 and specialises in sprint and marathon racing and recreational paddling, both in canoes and kayaks. The club runs a variety of courses and training sessions for all ages and abilities.
As the only racing canoe club 'on the tube,’ meaning it is located within easy reach of the London Underground. Richmond is the only club where someone working in central London could train everyday for their watersport of choice. Even for weekend paddlers, being able to get out regularly without needing a car continues to be a big attraction.
Another result of this accessibility is Richmond Canoe Club’s status as the base for many top foreign paddlers living in London for years. Internationally competing Australians, Kiwis, South Africans, Irish and more have all made Richmond their training base in England.
Lee Valley Whitewater Centre
Lee Valley Regional Park has a variety of different watersports and activities to offer, from marinas and boat centres to white water rafting and canoeing at the brand new world class Lee Valley White Water Centre, there really is something for everyone.
Now open, Lee Valley White Water Centre is the only brand new London 2012 Games venue you can use before the Games. It's a major centre for white water rafting as well as canoeing and kayaking – and it's only 40 minutes from central London! For a more relaxing venture, visit the Lee Valley Boat Centre for a tranquil ride in an motored pleasure craft, row boat or pedalos.