Looking for a way to see the capital from the water? Secret Adventures’ urban kayaking in London offers the chance to paddle along some of the city’s most famous waterways…
Something about me that not many people know – as a teenager, I was really into kayaking. Most weekends, I’d load into a van with all the boys from my Sea Scout group and head to the Norfolk broads to paddle around. I did my star awards and even donned my wetsuit on New Year’s Day. And kept up. But as I hit my late teens, hanging out with my friends took over and kayaking became something I did less and less often. Throughout my twenties, I barely touched a paddle – but in recent times, it’s something I’ve missed and wanted to take up again. Which is why Secret Adventures’ urban kayaking in London really appealed to me.
Secret Adventures run a range of urban kayaking adventures in London, including trips along the Thames and night kayaking. Kayak To Crate Brewery takes adventurers along London’s oldest canal, past Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and ending up at one of East London’s coolest riverside drinking spots.
If you’ve never canoed before, don’t panic! Before taking to the water, we were shown the basic paddling techniques. And honestly, they’re pretty simple to get the hang of. The kayaks felt really stable and comfortable, and there are instructors out on the water with you if you do end up struggling. There’s no set pace with an instructor always behind the last canoe, and plenty of time to take some photos along the way.
The group size for Secret Adventures’ Kayak To Crate Brewery trip is a maximum of 30, with two people to a canoe – meaning you don’t have to do ALL the work alone! I partnered up with the wonderful Kariss and managed to get myself into a kayak without flashing my pants. Note to self – next time, wear shorts. As it was a ridiculously sunny day, I just wore my normal clothes, but a waterproof jacket can be advisable, as you might get a bit splashed!
The route is an easily achievable 6km, along the Limehouse Cut and River Lea. I’ve cycled along the canal towpaths before, but never along the water itself. Along the way, we spotted some of the wildlife that makes London’s waters their home. Avoiding the swans (because they’re a bit terrifying), we also paddled alongside moorhens and ducks that tended to mind their own business as we passed by. I did get a bit of a shoulder ache half way through, so we took some time soaking up the views of London from a perspective that not many locals or visitors get to experience.
In the final stretch of our urban kayaking adventure, the group cosied up in a lock, and as the water slowly rose, the end was in sight. With a renewed energy for the final minutes, we quickly arrived at Crate Brewery, a bar and eatery just moments from Hackney Wick station. And, to my delight, they have a HUGE range of sour beers – my fave. With a can of Tiny Rebel FrambUZI in hand, we settled in for a well deserved drink and rest after kayaking London’s oldest canal…
What The Kayak To Crate Brewery adventure costs £45 per person, and includes kayak and paddles, buoyancy aids, instructors, waterproof barrels for valuables (there aren’t many of these so I’d advise taking as few as possible) and van transportation for belongings to the end point.
Where Limehouse – Hackney Wick
When Current available dates run through July and August, from 6.30pm-9pm
I went on the trip as a complimentary experience through Love Pop Ups London – check out their blog post on the evening here!
Looking for more fun London viewpoints? Climb to the top of the O2 Arena | See London from it’s tallest building