Central London probably is not the first place that comes to mind when you are looking for adventure sports- and that’s probably fair.
It’s a city of culture, history, architecture and entertainment; it’s not really the place you go to get an adrenaline fix. Or is it?
As people living in the city, and indeed visiting it, look for new experiences; a new breed of adventure tourism has appeared.
One of the things that makes London so unique, and is the reason it’s been so successful for so long, is the River Thames. And thanks to this river that was previously much larger, there is a lot of water in London- ponds, streams, canals and lakes cover the city.
So maybe it would make sense for the centre of the city to be a hotbed for water sports. Why not find out for yourself and book a room in the stunning Park Grand London Lancaster Gate for a long weekend; it’s one of the best hotels near Lancaster Gate Station London which means you’ll be able to get anywhere in the city with relative ease.
Let’s take a look at the very best of watersports in London.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
As previously mentioned London has many ponds and lakes dotted all over the city- so why not head out and explore them?
There are several of London’s most famous parks that have their own waterways and you can normally hire a row boat, or even a pedalo.
Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens share a border that includes the shores of the famous Serpentine Lake, and it’s one of the best places in the city to spend a relaxing hour on the water. Hire a row boat and explore this gorgeous lake in the heart of the city.
SUP in Style
For those who don’t know, SUP stands for Stand Up Paddleboard and it’s a craze that does not seem to be going away.
There are several places in London where you can learn to SUP, or if you’re already in the game then there are plenty of places you can explore the city’s waterways.
You can choose to explore the Regent’s and Grand Union Canals, the River itself or get some lessons in the Paddington Lock.
Paddling from Paddington to Camden is one of the most popular routes, and often ends in a beer garden… That sounds pretty good to me.
Whilst cold water therapy is sweeping the nation, there has been a solid community of wild swimmers in London for a long time- and no, they’re not swimming in the Thames.
The gorgeous Hampstead Heath offers a series of swim ponds that are open for use all year, you can even choose between male, female and mixed ponds.
The waters are cold pretty much all year- it’s England, of course they are. But only the brave will swim over the winter period. It may not seem like an extreme sport at first glance, but you may think differently in January when you have to break through the ice to get in!
Kayak the River
There are many options out there to allow you to kayak on the Thames, and it really is one of the absolute best activities on offer in London.
A sunset tour starting at St. Mary’s Church in Battersea and ending outside the Greenwich Naval College is one of the most beautiful and relaxing ways to see the city. From the water London somehow seems more impressive than ever, especially when the lights come on.
Wakeboard at the Wharf
You may scoff at the idea of being able to try something so cool and adventurous in the city centre- but you really can wakeboard here.
East London’s Royal Victoria Dock is home to a wakeboarding experience that offers two tow cables, and even some jumps and grind rails for the more advanced riders.
If you’re a beginner you can hire all the gear, and get a 1 hour lesson on the land before taking your new found skills to the water.
It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, and offers an adrenaline fuelled experience like no other in the heart of the city.
Now this may not necessarily be a sport, but you can’t really talk about water based activities in London without mentioning Rocket Boating.
It’s a relatively new addition to the city and it’s immediately a fan favourite. Tour the city centre, see some of the best landmarks like St. Paul’s and the Tate Modern, all whilst doing high speed donuts, spins and jumps in this insanely fast boat.
Your captain will be your tour guide and splash manager during this thrilling, high speed slash around the city centre!
Back to something a bit more sedate now.
You may have heard of Wimbledon thanks to the major tennis tournament that takes place there every year- but there is much more to the area than just the tennis courts.
More specifically, you’ll find Wimbledon Park Lake where you can hire a sailboat and ride the winds. There is plenty on offer for all ages, including lessons, boat hire, beaches and swimming- it really is a great day out.
There is even the rumour that several of Great Britain’s Olympic hopefuls have sailed here as part of their training!
Canary Wharf Grill & Chill
This one probably isn’t considered a sport either- but it’s pretty darn cool.
Head to Canary Wharf and climb aboard what can be best described as a giant floating donut- yes, really.
Although there is a slight difference. This one comes equipped with a motor and an actual BBQ. You can bring ten friends along for the ride, but make sure you bring your own burgers and bevvies.
You’ll be able to make the serene trip around the docklands of Canary Wharf whilst enjoying the sights, ice cold beer and delicious burgers. Sounds like a pretty good way to enjoy the historic waterways.
So there you have it, some of the very best water sports on offer in central London.
Make sure you make the most of your next visit to the city and spend some time on the water. You’ll be able to head back to the best accommodation Lancaster UK has to offer at the Park Grand Lancaster Gate Hotel to kick back in style. It’s one of the finest hotels in Lancaster England, and is the best place to relax.
Now get out on the water!