Best time to visit London

Paddling on the Thames in London

Observe London's historical buildings while drifting along the River Thames

Best time: March–October

Paddling on the Thames

The River Thames is not as safe as it might seem at first. Many paddlers do not realize that it is, in fact, a tidal river. In addition to changing water levels, the waves produced by passing boats can make it even more challenging. The stretch that flows in central London appears to be the most precarious. However, the excitement from paddling and the nice urban landscapes are worth it.

You can go canoeing and kayaking, preferably with a group. There are still some great options for less skilled paddlers. The Brentford Lock is renowned for its much calmer waters. In addition to regular sessions, there are overnight trips and also whitewater playspots available to the most daring sportsmen. The season runs from Ma​rch to October.

Practical info

When is the best time to paddle on the Thames in London?

If you prefer to paddle on the Thames in London when the weather is warmer and the water is calmer, March to October is the best time. However, it's crucial to check the tide schedules to avoid potentially hazardous conditions from tidal changes and waves produced by passing boats. Show more

What is the season for paddling on the river?

The paddling season on the Thames starts in March and ends in October. During this period, the water is generally calm, and the weather is optimal for water-based activities. People should keep in mind the extreme cold weather and violent waves outside this season if they choose to paddle. Show more

Where is the Brentford Lock located?

In West London, about seven miles from central London, paddlers can find the Brentford Lock, which is suitable for novices due to its calmer waters. It has overnight trips and whitewater playspots for more experienced canoeists and kayakers. Show more

How do the tidal changes affect paddling on the Thames?

Paddling on the Thames can become considerably difficult due to tidal changes. Fighting the tide can be challenging and even lead to taking breaks. High tide can be unsafe for paddlers, primarily novices, with increased water flow. By checking tide schedules and being aware of potential hazards, paddlers can enjoy safe and enjoyable experiences. Show more

Are there any whitewater spots for experienced paddlers?

The Brentford lock is an ideal location for experienced kayakers and canoeists since there are whitewater playspots available. When the river's flow is at its most rapid, the playspot provides a challenging and exciting experience. However, less experienced paddlers should be mindful of the high degree of risk and are recommended to master advanced paddling skills and learn their kayak/canoe's limits. Show more

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