Water sports and boating

Water sports and boating intro req

Water sports and boating intro req

Water sports and boating


Canoeing, kayaking & white water rafting


If canoeing is your thing, Britain has an impressive range of locations where you can indulge your passion from quiet, calm canals to expansive lakes and rushing rapids. If it’s thrills and spills you seek, you’ll feel right at home racing down one of Britain’s numerous white water courses:




Although England itself has few natural white water courses, there are 3 outdoor centres that offer excellent man-made rapids:


The National Water Sport Centre near Nottingham has a 2000m Regatta lake, 700m Slalom Course, 270 acre country park, white water rafting, canoeing,  and kayaking – all with artificially created rapids!


The Tees Barrage White Water Course is a world-class water sports facility in north-east England where outdoor white water rafting is available all year round on a man-made, fast-flowing white water river.


Nene White Water Centre in Northampton is Britain’s first pumped artificial white water course. Three pumps control the discharge of water down the 300-metre white water course so the difficulty level can be altered to cater for experts and novices alike.




The National White Water Centre (Canolfan Tryweryn), near the town of Bala in the Snowdonia National Park offers white water rafting all year round on the steep and rocky mountain river of the Tryweryn. The bonus is that because the Tryweryn is a dam-controlled river, there is often water there when all other rivers are dry. The River Dee in Llangollen and the Black Mountains in southern Wales are other good locations.


See the Welsh Canoeing Union for other suggestions and full provider information.




Some of Scotland’s most exhilarating rafting locations are the rivers Tay, Tummel, Braan, Orchy and Ericht. All are only an hour or 2 from Edinburgh so can easily be done as a day trip from the capital.


Adventure Scotland has full provider and location details and the Scottish Canoe Association lists locations, providers and training and hire centre details.




From the South West’s Atlantic coast (hosting this year’s Boardmasters championship) to the outstanding waves of Thurso in Northern Scotland, Britain has a vibrant surfing scene and some world-class waves.


There are currently 250,000 surfers in the UK and the two most popular beaches in Britain are Croyde Bay in North Devon and Fistral Beach in Cornwall, with the biggest surf on the Bristol Channel coast.


Here is a selection of Britain’s top surf spots:


Newquay, Cornwall


The venue for some of Britain’s top surfing competitions and boasting a 3-quarter-mile stretch of beach, the standard of surfing is high. This is the UK’s surf capital and has the partying to match.


Croyde, Devon


Croyde is renowned for having one of the best and most consistent surf beaches in the UK. With 3 sandy beaches to choose from, there has been great input into the area over the years by the community of young surfers.


Gower, Wales


The Gower peninsula was the first place in Britain to be designated as an area of “outstanding natural beauty”. Gower offers some of the best surfing in Wales with 19 miles of coast and numerous beaches.


Bantham, Devon


One of the few beaches that hasn’t yet been touched by commerce. Make sure you bring everything you need for the day, as you will literally just find the beach on arrival.


Sennen Cove, Cornwall


This beach can get quite busy and is very popular with surfers. It boasts one of the loveliest stretches of sand in Cornwall and has a local surfing club.


Thurso, Scotland


Voted as one of the top 10 surf spots in Europe, the tip of Northern Scotland offers some of the best waves you’re ever going to get and a friendly group of local surfers to match.


Tynemouth, North East England


A past venue for the British Cup – the most coveted surfing award in Britain. People travel all over the world and brave the cold waters to surf at Tynemouth.


Bude, Cornwall


The home of British pro Ruben Ash and former European champion Mike Raven, this beach is also perfect for beginners. It’s a popular location due to the waves along the entire length of the bay.


Bournemouth, Dorset


Bournemouth is renowned for its safe surfing and clean beaches. Fresh winds can create waves in a few hours in this area, and ways to catch them range from bodysurfing to longboarding. Europe’s first artificial surf reef at Boscombe creates big surf for intermediates and experienced surfers.


Canyoning & Coasteering




In this latest extreme sport participants navigate their way through river gorges and waterfalls, throwing themselves off escarpments, abseiling down steep drops and scrambling up rocks. Safety comes first of course and you’ll be supplied with helmets and wetsuits for full protection. So the question is, are you ready to jump down a waterfall? If so, check out these links:


Canyoning in Scotland


Canyoning in Wales




Coasteering was first developed in Pembrokeshire in the 80s and 90s but its popularity has spread far beyond the Welsh coastline. Coasteering is known as the “saltwater cousin” of canyoning: instead of waterfalls, you’ll be negotiating your way around the coastline through an exciting mixture of scrambling, climbing, traversing, cliff jumping and swimming. Fancy an ultra-refreshing dip in the sea? See these websites:


Coasteering in England


Coasteering in Wales


Coasteering in Scotland


Boating and water activities


Canal tours


Taking a holiday on Britain’s inland waterways gives you the chance to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery the country has to offer. Britain's waterways pass through ever-changing landscapes and offer a unique insight into many British cities.


To find out more about Britain’s charming and historic canals and for routes and maps check out




Britain has a strong tradition of seafaring, boating and sailing in all its various forms. You’ll find all types of sailing, from dinghies to yachts, are popular in Britain.


Sailing is possible in a number of locations all over Britain. There are, of course, a multitude of coastal possibilities, but lakes also provide excellent spots for racing, learning and enjoying this sport.


You’ll find specific information well worth a visit on the Sailing in Scotland ( website and on the Wales Watersports website.


Otherwise, a great source of information on sailing all over the UK is the Royal Yachting Association ( They provide details of places to sail or charter a boat and information on training centres.




Fast running mountain streams, slow, winding rivers, thousands of miles of spectacular coastline: Britain’s landscape and climate make it the ideal location for fishing. Whether you’re looking for a day’s relaxation by a peaceful lake or river or you’re a serious enthusiast seeking a prize-winning salmon, Britain’s waters offer an abundance of fish amidst wonderful scenery. For regional details check these websites:


Fishing in England


Fishing Wales


Fishing Scotland