for those who love the outdoors

24 April, 2024


Top Spots in England for Camping and Paddle Boarding Adventures

Camping and paddle boarding in England offers a great outdoor adventure combination and a ticket to explore more of the natural beauty of Britain. With England's diverse blue spaces, paddle boarders can explore a variety of amazing waters—gentle rivers, mountain lakes, peaceful canals and stunning coastline.

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Ideal for everyone from beginners to seasoned paddlers, for a full immersion in blue space there is nothing better than camping by the water’s edge. Here are some of our favourite camping sites with water access in England – we’ll be covering Wales and Scotland in upcoming blogs.

1. Ullswater, Lake District, Cumbria

The Paddle A lovely lake surrounded by stunning mountain scenery to its south, and gentle hills to the north. The lake is the second largest in England at 12km long, but is less than 1.5km wide. Launching from the Glenriding-end it is possible to explore tiny Norfolk Island on a short journey, or take the Ullswater Steamer to Pooley Bridge at the north end of the lake and paddle back.

Camping Side Farm Campsite sits on the lake shores, near Glenriding, with direct access for paddle boards. A small simple site but with all the basic’s you’ll need for tents and small campervans (no groups). 

Access requirements: No

Picture of Ullswater Lake in the Lake District
Picture of Ullswater Lake in the Lake District

2. Prussia Cove, Marazion, Cornwall

The Paddle Coastguard cottages and ramshackle buildings overlook this tiny rock-hewn harbour that is great for paddling and snorkelling or head west along to coast to the stunning sand beach and huge sea cave of Piskies Cove.

Camping Port-en-Alls 10 minute walk above Prussia Cove has 12 generous pitches and great sea views. Simple facilities, but with a large brick built pizza oven for anyone to use. Suitable for tents, caravans and campervans. 

Access requirements: no

Picture of Prussia Cove in Cornwall
Picture of Prussia Cove in Cornwall

3. Hayling Island, Hampshire

The Paddle Explore the salt marshes on the east coast of Hayling Island, or paddle up the creek to Emsworth village to enjoy the incredible bird life and occasional seal.

Camping Fishery Creek Touring Park is connected to the stunning Chichester Harbour, and hires paddle boards/offers lesson on site; plus there is easy launching from its tidal slipway. Suitable for tents, camping cans, caravans and motorhomes. 

Access requirements: pay Harbour Dues to patrol staff on the water, or call the Harbour Office on 01243 512301 or visit the Harbour Offices in Itchenor or Emsworth.

Picture of Hayling Island in Hampshire
Picture of Hayling Island in Hampshire

4. Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk

The Paddle Launch from Burnham Overy Staithe to explore the generally sheltered waters and wildlife-filled salt marshes and creeks around the harbour or explore the southern coast and samphire beds of Scolt Head Island

Camp Burnham Deepdale Camping quiet and located close to the sea suitable for tents, campervans, motorhomes & trailer tents with good facilities (short drive/bus to Burnham Overy Staithe). 

Access requirements: no permit

Picture of Burnham Overy Staithe in Norfolk
Picture of Burnham Overy Staithe in Norfolk

5. Kennet and Avon Canal, Wiltshire

The Paddle Launch from Honeystreet and head east 6.5km along the canal to Pewsey Wharf past the Vale of Pewsey’s rolling countryside. Either return the same way or use local bus.

Camping The canal-side Barge Inn Campsite, Honeystreet, sits in the shadow of one of Wiltshire’s chalk white horses. The inn is renowned for its connection to aliens and crop-circles. Tents, caravans, and motorhomes, with all camping facilities, and the fabulous Honeystreet café just over the canal. 

Access requirements: permit required (PaddleUK Membership)

Picture of Kennet and Avol Canal in Wiltshire
Picture of Kennet and Avol Canal in Wiltshire

6. Edgerley, River Severn, Shropshire

The Paddle A lovely 12km meander (one way) along the River Severn, England’s longest river, leaving from the campsite at Edgerley to Montford Bridge, the site of the first bridge designed by Thomas Telford.

Camping Royal Hill Caravan Park And Campsite (adults only) adjoins the excellent Royal Hill Inn on river. Full facilities and suitable for tents, caravans, motorhomes. 

Access requirements: no permit required

Picture of the River Severn in Edgerley
Picture of the River Severn in Edgerley

7. Peak Forest Canal, Derbyshire

The paddle Often described as one of the most scenic canals in the country, its 24km length passes lovely woodland, meadows and historic mills. Close to the Peak District National Park, it’s a great place for paddling, walking and camping. Launch from Bugsworth Basin and paddle towards Marple Locks fleet of locks, or park at Whaley bridge and paddle to Bugsworth Basin, then head up towards New Mills near the Swizzels sweet factory.

Camping A very short drive away from the canal, but close to the River Goyt, is Whitecroft Farm (for Caravan and Motorhome members only). 

Access requirements: permit required (PaddleUK Membership)

Picture of the Peak Forest Canal in Derbyshire
Picture of the Peak Forest Canal in Derbyshire

Final thoughts....

These are just a handful of favourites blue spaces with camping and paddleboarding England and we’ll be sharing more in upcoming blogs. There are also plenty more ideas in our books “Paddle Boarding South West England’ and ‘Paddle Boarding Wales’.

Lisa Drewe

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A best-selling and award-winning author of four guidebooks on paddle boarding and exploring the islands of Britain, Lisa is deeply immersed in the adventure of Britain's wild blue spaces. Her work as an Ordnance Survey Champion, coupled with her role as a regular contributor to The Times and Sunday Times (Scotland), reflects her commitment to outdoor exploration.

Lisa’s articles have also featured in Red Bull, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Scotsman, and Condé Nast Traveller, sharing adventures that inspire a connection with nature. Lisa’s journey is about more than just the activity; it's about advocating for the beauty and preservation of our natural world, she is the Chair of Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

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