Show search form

Explore more with the new London Paddling Trails

Carl Wenczek

Every year around 30 million tourists visit London to experience its bustling culture, fascinating history and unique attractions. But few of them get to see the very different perspective gained from the waterways on which the great city was built.

With the launch of the new British Canoeing London Paddling Trails you too can view a rarely seen side of the capital city. 

What’s so special about paddling in London?

Some 2000 years ago the Romans built the first bridge in the capital over the River Thames, almost exactly where London Bridge sits today. Londinium, as the Romans called it, came into existence because of this great river and the city thrived and grew around it.

From the 1700’s the canals of London were built to allow the vast quantities of goods arriving in its port to be distributed around the country. 

The canals are now mainly used for leisure but the Thames is still one of Britain’s busiest ports. Travelling these waterways truly is a journey into the very heart of London’s history.

Camden Market  Credit Frank Am Main

Credit: Frank AM Main

The London Paddling Trails

The trails take in a mixture of calm canal waterways and the bigger, busier and technical River Thames. Move from pockets of peace and quiet, before bursting back into the bustling atmosphere London is better known for. These routes take you on a journey through London’s fascinating history, showcasing some of the city’s best and lesser known attractions. 

It is important to choose trails which sit within your paddling ability and that you do appropriate research before choosing to paddle one. If you are considering paddling on the Thames visit first for the latest safety advice and waterway rules and regulations. 

  • Limehouse Loop - Starting on the Hertford Union Canal, this urban loop takes you onto the Regent’s Canal and the Lee Navigation. Exploring waterways essential to the industrial growth of Victorian London. 
  • Regent’s Canal: King’s Cross to Camden Market - Travel from the hub of thousands of daily journeys through the UK and Europe, on a fascinating and historic paddle, to vibrant Camden Market and back. 
  • Regent’s Canal: Little Venice to Camden Market - A fully regal journey! Leaving the regency buildings of Little Venice behind, spot the animals of London Zoo in Regent’s Park, before arriving at vibrant Camden Market.
  • Grand Union Canal: Horsenden Hill to Little Venice - Starting by a leafy park this paddle, on the Grand Union Canal, soon gives you a taste of true urban London. Passing familiar landmarks as it travels to quaint Little Venice and back.
  • River Thames: Putney to Old Isleworth - The trail covers the Upper Tideway in south west London, with sweeping aspects of the river. The course of the annual University Boat Race forms part of the trail.
  • River Thames: Putney to Shadwell Basin - Take in the landmarks of London on the very river from which the city sprang.

For over 160 other paddling trails all around the country visit

Little Venice  Credit Richardjo53

Credit: Richardjo53

Take the trails with you on your adventure

You can download the trails individually for free by clicking the links above. If you want all six trails to take with you on your adventures why not purchase our water resistant London Trails map from the British Canoeing online store? 


In the store you can also find an awesome range of recreational paddling and #ClearAccessClearWaters clothing - perfect for sharing your love of paddling both on and off the water.

Happy paddling!