The best UK paddleboarding destinations – and where to stay for family-friendly fun and adventures

·6-min read
Paddleboarding in Glencoe, west Scotland (Rugged Paddleboard Glencoe)
Paddleboarding in Glencoe, west Scotland (Rugged Paddleboard Glencoe)

SUP, or stand up paddleboarding as it’s also known, combines outdoor enjoyment with a superb workout – all that balancing and paddling is excellent for the core.  But where to begin?

We’ve found some of the best places to stay with excellent paddleboarding right on your doorstep. All except one offer tuition and the water is often warmest at the end of summer (not that you’re going to fall in, of course).

The best paddleboarding destination hotels are:

Best for self-catering: Bank Ground Farm, Coniston Water, Cumbria

The views from Bank Ground Farm are unrivalled (Bank Ground Farm)
The views from Bank Ground Farm are unrivalled (Bank Ground Farm)

Paddle back in time to the innocence of Swallows and Amazons on the remote, but sheltered, northeast shore of the five-mile-long Coniston Water, Arthur Ransome’s inspiration.

Bank Ground Farm offers a gorgeous B&B and self-catering cottages on a working farm where the original Swallows and Amazons film was shot. It has a kilometre of lake frontage and a jolly nice cafe serving their own produce. SUP tuition and tours are available from Lake District Paddleboarding and you can hire boards by the day or week.

Price: Rates from £182

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Paddleboarding from £50 for three hours

Best for bringing your pets: Watersedge, Hickling Broad, Norfolk

The largest of the Norfolk Broads, Hickling, edged with expansive reed beds and dotted with thatched cottages and boathouses, is not only quaintly picturesque, it’s also a hotspot for wildlife including swallowtail butterflies and Norfolk hawker dragonflies.

Norfolk Outdoor Adventures provide professional SUP teachers who even instruct instructors. They offer tailor-made tuition including a beginner’s lesson in how to paddleboard with your dog. Stay nearby at Watersedge, a newly re-thatched cottage sleeping nine with a boathouse and rowing boat.

Price: Seven nights self-catering for nine from £1,100

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Two-hour paddleboarding session, £40

Best for a budget: Signal Rocks Cottages, Glencoe, Scottish Highlands

As well as getting some exercise, at Signal Rock Glencoe, paddleboarding is a great way to take in the views (Signal Rock Glencoe)
As well as getting some exercise, at Signal Rock Glencoe, paddleboarding is a great way to take in the views (Signal Rock Glencoe)

Paddling on a small loch coloured green with the reflection of conifers and reeds, under towering  3,000ft peaks, will be your introductory taster to SUP when staying at Signal Rock Cottages in Glencoe, owned by certified paddleboarding instructors Rob and Keren.

At 250 metres in length, Torren Lochan is just a minute’s walk away from your cottage. Here, you can practise your balance and turns before embarking on a half or full-day’s guided tour of nine-mile-long Loch Leven, five minutes drive away.

Price: Rates from £100

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Two-hour paddleboard rental, £35

Paddleboard experience, £55

Best for family-friendly fun: Taymouth Marina, Loch Tay, Perthshire

Kick back and relax with the whole house to yourself (Taymouth Marina)
Kick back and relax with the whole house to yourself (Taymouth Marina)

The whole family will have fun paddling a giant five-person paddleboard on Loch Tay, against a backdrop of forested hills. While there is no tuition available, intermediate and pro paddleboarders can paddle along in peace. Afterwards, warm up in a wood-fired sauna and hydrotherapy pool in the Hot Box spa at Taymouth Marina, where you can slip down a seven-metre long slide into the chilly loch waters to cool down. Retire for the night and take in the swish loch-view.

Price: Rates from £252

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Paddleboard rental from £25 per hour

Best for boat lovers: Bath’s Boutique Boatel, Bath, Somerset

Learn about Georgian history in Bath where you can stay on a narrowboat ten minutes walk from the abbey. Next door, activity company Wild Swim Bike Run leads two-hour guided SUP excursions. Learn about the cargo that travelled by water as you admire views over the Cotswold city before paddling through a 53-metre dark tunnel under the splendid 19th-century former headquarters of the Kennet & Avon Canal. Longer circular paddling routes take in the River Avon and a seven-mile lock-free stretch of canal between Bath and Bradford on Avon.

Price: Rates from £120

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Two hour guided city SUP £39

Best for night-time adventure: Phyched Paddleboarding, Anglesey, Wales

Paddleboard along the serene waters throughout both the day and night (Psyched Paddleboarding)
Paddleboard along the serene waters throughout both the day and night (Psyched Paddleboarding)

If you’re not lucky enough to see a plankton light-show, you might see a starry sky. At the very least, you’ll definitely enjoy hot chocolate and the eerie calm of a night paddle. Bring your own tent and sleeping bag and a Phyched Paddleboarding guide can take you on an overnight SUP wild-camping trip. If sea conditions are not suitable, night-time trips take place in Snowdonia, a Dark Skies reserve. Experience required.

Seeing the sea glow blue-green with phosphorescence is arguably more magical than witnessing the Northern Lights. Psyched Paddleboarding offer guided night-time trips with all the necessary gear.

Price: Rates for an overnight wild camping expedition from £250pp

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Two-hour guided night-time SUP, £53

Best for spotting marine life: Landmark Trust, Lundy Island, Devon

Cold water corals such as pink sea fans thrive in the clear waters of Lundy, where there are kelp forests and nearly 200 resident Atlantic grey seals. The island, which is located 12 miles off the north Devon coast, has been pioneering marine conservation for over 40 years. A paddleboard experience takes you close to this watery wildlife. Stay in one of 23 Landmark Trust properties and you can arrange a SUP session with multi-award winning lifeguard and surf instructor Nick Thorn (or one of his employees), who’ll travel across to meet you with all the gear.

Price: £44pp for camping, rates from £133

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Group paddleboarding lessons, £45

Two-hour paddleboard rental, £26

Best for a stylish stay: Selina, Brighton, East Sussex

The millennial pink hotel was designed by interior designer, Tola Ojuolape (Selina Brighton)
The millennial pink hotel was designed by interior designer, Tola Ojuolape (Selina Brighton)

For a stylish base where you can give the sport a try, or improve your canal-based beginner’s efforts, head to the waves of Brighton to stay in the funky seafront hotel, Selina, a nascent brand with origins on a Panamanian surf beach, designed by Tola Ojuolape.

After a 90-minute paddleboard session with local company Flow + Paddle, head back to the hotel for a cocktail and vegan sourdough pizza. Your Instagram followers will love you.

Price: Rates from £50

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90-minute paddleboard lesson, £50

Best for an eco-friendly holiday: SUP in a Bag, St Agnes, Cornwall

 (supinabag)
(supinabag)

With paddling and litter picking, wildlife watching, citizen science and sea-view camping five minutes walk from a beach, you couldn’t ask for a more low-impact, eco-friendly holiday that makes a positive difference. SUP in a Bag is accredited as a “wildlife safe operator” and Amanda Leonard, the founder, is a marine life rescue medic.

This part of north Cornwall – Poldark country – is blessed with remote sandy bays, tall cliffs, clear seas and the historic remains of tin mining. It’s all rather wild and romantic, and you’ll be blessed with sights of seals and, possibly, dolphins.

Price: Long weekend stay plus paddleboarding experiences from £245

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