Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP boarding) is a watersport that’s growing fast and furiously all around the world, including here in the UK.
Perfect for an adventure weekend for couples, singles, families, and groups, it’s easy to learn, affordable, and you don’t have to travel to the coast to try it. In fact, thanks to the UK’s vast number of lakes, rivers and canals there’s bound to be a SUP adventure near you.
Ready to join us for a SUP adventure?
1. A paddleboarding UK weekend for SUP beginners
Paddleboarding in Wales – with Inspire2Adventure
The magnificent River Wye in Gloucestershire is a great spot for SUP beginners. The river itself runs 15 kilometres from its source on Plynlimon in mid Wales to the Severn estuary. Along the way there are plenty of good launch spots for paddleboarding adventures, as well as pubs for supping a G&T after you’ve paddled.
I was lucky enough to enjoy a paddle adventure with Inspire2Adventure a few weekends back. They’re a fabulous, friendly husband and wife team specialising in outdoor activities for adults, families, stag and hen parties, as well as youth groups and corporates. Along with a group of local bloggers, I headed to Monmouth where Inspire2Adventure met us by the river.
Boards pumped, kit on, briefed and ready, we floated out onto the River Wye – four of us on solo sups, six of us on the McConk Mega SUP (called Monty). Our session lasted 2 enjoyable hours, and saw us wobble our way up and down the river, learning what to do with a few simple team-building games thrown in to build our confidence.
All in all, it was mammoth fun, with brilliant instruction, and I heard a couple of bloggers say, ‘how much does a SUP board cost?’. So I thinking SUPing really did float their boat.
Includes: Intro to SUP skills, safety briefing, buoyancy aid, paddle and board
Costs: 2-hour sessions costs from £25pp
Discover more: Inspire2Adventure
2. A paddleboarding UK weekend for wildlife lovers
Paddleboarding around Lundy Island – with SUPsouthwest
If it’s a bigger SUP adventure weekend you’re after, this 2-day trip to Lundy Island fits the bill. Lundy, for those who haven’t heard of it, is a 400-foot craggy granite outcrop jutting out of the Bristol Channel, 12 miles off the coast of Devon.
With more sunshine and less rain than the mainland, Lundy is host to a variety of plant and animal life. In fact, the waters around the island were the first marine conservation zone in the UK – so a paddle around Lundy is great for wildlife adventurers who like getting up-close and personal with flora and fauna.
Take a trip with SUPSouthWest and you’ll see Lundy from a different perspective. After sailing across to Lundy, you’ll enjoy a packed lunch before boarding your SUP to explore the east side of the Island, including Gull Rock, Gannets’ Bay and Seal Rock. Camp overnight on the island then awake to another day of paddling around the west and north west of the island, exploring Surf Point, Black Rock and all the bays around the North West Point.
Includes: Boat crossing to Lundy, SUP boards, tuition, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Costs: £350 pp for 2 days
More details: SUPsouthwest
3. A paddleboarding UK weekend for night owls
Paddleboarding during the day is one thing, doing it at night under the stars with the light of the moon reflecting off the water is another thing entirely! If you fancy this kind of adventure, then book in with Psyched Paddleboarding who host all manner of SUP experience in North Wales.
Their 2-hour Night SUP takes place on a sheltered lake in the beautiful Snowdonia National Park, which is classified as a Dark Skies Reserve (1 of only 11 that exist in the world) so you’re sure to have an incredible experience.
All equipment and instruction is provided – along with a hot chocolate and biscuit to warm your cockles after the trip! Although you get expert tuition from a qualified SUP guide, this is not an adventure for beginners; some prior SUP experience is necessary.
Includes: Paddleboard, safety equipment, guided tour, and post-SUP hot chocolate.
Costs: £50 pp for 2 hours.
More details: Psyched Paddleboarding
4. An paddleboarding UK weekend for gin lovers
Paddleboarding in the Cairngorms – with Daffy’s Gin
As you may know, gin is my favourite three letter word. The other is SUP, so a gin paddle-boarding adventure has me pretty damn giddy. The beautiful wilds of the Cairngorms in Scotland is where to head for this adventure weekend, which has been conceived and hosted by Daffy’s, a small-batch award-winning Scottish gin distiller based in the Highlands.
You take to the waters of the local lochs for two glorious highland hours on RED Paddle Boards, foraging for the perfect gin botanicals with the help of a resident botanist. After filling your wicket baskets with flowers and herbs, you paddle back to Daffy’s recently launched gin-making school where you get to play at gin alchemy in a copper-pot filled lab.
Luckily there’s accommodation nearby, courtesy of the Distillery Cottages, so you can leave your gin to macerate and either head to bed (as if) or enjoy a cheeky and well-earned gin cocktail in the Distillery bar. Next day, you decant your gin and leave with a gold-framed certificate and a cork-topped bottle of your very own gin. To SUP on the way home.
Includes: Paddleboard, safety equipment, tuition, breakfast, gin-making.
Costs: Gin-making and foraging start from £120pp, with £40 supplement for paddle-boarding. Self-catering accommodation from £145 per night in Distillery Cottage
More details: Daffy’s Gin
5. A paddleboarding UK weekend for city dwellers
See London in a unique new way with this unmissable SUP trip. This paddle adventure is bought to you by Secret Adventures, who guide you up the River Thames on a high tide when the conditions are right and the sun sets. En route you’ll pass some of London’s most iconic sites, including Kew Gardens, Syon House, Isleworth Island and Richmond Lock.
After a pit-stop at a riverside pub (there are many outstanding ones to choose from as you’ll discover) it’ll be time to turn tail and head back down river for a gentle paddle back to your starting spot where hot showers await.
Includes: Paddleboard, safety equipment, tuition, lights, showers and lockers.
Costs: 2 hour SUP from £50pp.
More details: Secret Adventures
6. An paddleboarding weekend for history lovers
Paddleboarding in Bath – with Original Wild
Bath is great to explore on foot all year round. But when you want a little bit more adrenaline to your time in this beautiful Georgian city, slip on your wetsuit and hook up with Original Wild.
Self-confessed adventure experts, Original Wild host paddle boarding sessions and private tours that take you through the heart of Bath. You’ll see the city from the tranquillity of the River Avon and be given local tips and facts during your tour from experience guides with tonnes of local knowledge.
The session takes you from the famous Pulteney Bridge and back again – approx. 1 hour – and along the way you’re offered ‘pub stops’ if you fancy a SUP of a different kind.
Includes: Paddleboard, safety equipment, tuition, photos taken during the trip.
Costs: Private tours from £35pp, SUP Safari from £30pp.
More details: Original Wild
7. A paddleboarding weekend for castle junkies
Paddleboarding in Northumberland – with KA Kitesurfing
With more castles than any other part of the UK, Northumberland is exactly the place for a unique weekend adventure. Many of its castles and ruins sit on the county’s rugged coastline – visible from the sea and even more alluring because of it.
To see some of Northumberland’s finest castles by SUP, team up with KA Kitesurfing. Based in the Northumberland village of Beadnell, this professional crew of adventurers were one of the first schools to bring stand up paddle boarding to the North East.
They’re well-placed to teach you the skills of sea SUPing and guide you safely from the shelter of Beadnell ‘s golden sands to Bamburgh, with its sweeping beach and magnificent castle overlooking the beach.
Includes: Paddleboard, safety equipment, wet suit, tuition.
Costs: 1 hour SUP Safari £45.00
More details: KA Kitesurfing
Stand up paddle boarding: the basics
Stand up paddle boarding looks easier than it actually is, believe me!
Here are a couple of my favourite SUP beginner videos to help you master the basics before you take to the water. Enjoy!