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Kayaking & Canoeing Holidays

Canoe and kayak holidays in the UK

Whether you are a seasoned canoeist, or you have never set foot in a boat, enjoying a few hours on the water when you stay at one of our locations is the most satisfying experience you can imagine. From tranquil Scottish lochs, to gently meandering rivers, to white water adventures, you can choose a canoe or kayak holiday that’s perfect for you. After tuition and a safety briefing from experienced canoeists, you are kitted out with all the safety equipment necessary and off you go. It’s a great way to turn your Forest Holidays break into an exciting adventure holiday. Stay in our cabins at Forest of Dean, Thorpe Forest, Ardgartan Argyll or Strathyre and book your canoeing trip through your account or by calling us on 03330 110 495.

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UK canoe and kayak routes

From the mighty River Wye in Gloucestershire to the crystal clear lochs of Scotland, a UK kayaking holiday offers breath-taking scenery and exciting adventures.


Beautiful kayaking routes around England

The River Wye is one of the best known rivers for canoeing in the UK. An enjoyable 9-mile canoe trip takes you through the peaceful Gloucestershire countryside at Symonds Yat, one of the most photographed river stretches in the country. Bring a picnic, for a great family adventure. If you’re after a few more thills, then kayaking is the answer. The scenic Wye Valley gives you the opportunity to negotiate white water stretches too. On our Kayaking Experience, a qualified instructor teaches you the basic skills you need. Another enjoyable river canoe route runs beside our cabins at Thorpe Forest. Here the River Thet wends its way through the Norfolk countryside and taking out a canoe is a great idea as part of a family holiday.


Kayaking on tranquil lochs of Scotland

In Scotland, stay at Strathyre or Ardgartan Argyll and enjoy canoeing or kayaking in the glorious natural setting of a Scottish loch. The calm waters of Loch Long at Ardgartan Argyll, framed by the surrounding mountains, are perfect for canoeing. Loch Lubnaig at Strathyre is another canoeing beauty spot, in the heart of the Trossachs.

Kayaking vs canoeing

If you’re a beginner, you may be wondering what the difference is between kayaking and canoeing. The most visible difference is the method of rowing. The canoeist uses a single blade oar while the kayaker uses an oar with a blade at both ends. Canoes are open topped with a raised seat on which the canoeist either kneels or sits. Kayaks have a closed top, with the kayaker’s legs under cover. There’s not much more to it than that.

You may hear the term Canadian canoe, which is simply a UK description of a canoe (in the UK, canoe is the umbrella term, which is then split into kayaks and Canadian canoes.) This leaves one main question; which boat should you choose? Broadly speaking, if you are a beginner or there’s a few of you together, choose canoes -they are larger, more stable, and you can carry your gear and provisions. If you are more serious about rowing and looking for a challenge, such as a fast-flowing river, a kayak is the best choice, but you will need to learn a few techniques to get the best out of kayaking and so that you are safe on the water.


Is kayaking easier than canoeing?

Yes and no. You can get going in a kayak in calm waters and it looks easier, but safe kayaking needs more technique and skills than canoeing. A canoe is more stable in the water and if there are two of you to paddle, it’s probably the easiest for a gentle river trip.



What’s the best type of kayak for a beginner?

For your first kayak, look for a shorter boat length with a wider, flatter base. This makes the boat slower and more stable on the water. A length of 10 to 12 feet is about right. Also consider how easy the boat is to move out of the water, as you will probably need to transport it. An inflatable kayak may be worth considering. And throw into the mix what you’ll be using the boat for: fishing; recreation; touring; will you be on your own or with a partner; on calm waters or choppy waters? There are different specs for each of these considerations, such as weight, storage room, seating and other design features.



Best places to kayak in the UK?

You can’t beat the Scottish lochs for an all-round outdoor experience, with ample space to kayak, calm waters, opportunities to fish and spectacular scenery. For more experienced kayakers looking for action, the rivers of the UK offer lots of choice and our top recommendation is the River Wye in Gloucestershire. And, if you are feeling brave, sea kayaking off the coast of Cornwall is sure to get the adrenaline flowing.


Book a kayaking holiday in the forest