I’ve (Lizzie) been lucky enough to SUP some incredible places around the UK, so you’ll have to believe me when I say narrowing the list down to just 5 spots was incredibly tough!
In at number 5:
5) St Michael's Mount
A small tidal island off the coast of Marazion, in Cornwall. Linked to the mainland by a causeway of granite setts which are only visible during mid – low tide. This is a beautiful place to paddle and - as with many of the locations I’ve picked for my top 5 – a truly iconic location for Photographers and Paddleboarders alike.
On a calm day you can circumnavigate the island, just be mindful of what the tide is doing so as you avoid hitting your fin on the causeway beneath that connects the mainland to the island.
Parking – Depending on the length of your stay you can either park in the Short Stay Marazion Car Park or Folleyfield Long Stay Car Park, both of which offer great access to the water.
In at number 4:
4) Lake Windermere
Nestled right in the heart of The Lake District you’ll find Lake Windermere. At an impressive 10.5 miles long, this is England’s largest lake. It ticks off a fair few things you’d want from a paddle location. It’s easily accessible with local amenities close by, yet when you hit the water, you get this overwhelming sense of tranquillity and calm usually only associated with the most remote locations.
As you can imagine, the lake is incredibly popular with a variety of different crafts, such as power boats, sail boats, kayaks and of course paddleboards and so during the warmer months you may find it’s quite busy. There are also regular ferry services and the cable ferry to keep an eye out for!
Parking – There’s a variety of parking spots to choose from but if you’re looking to launch at either end of the Lake then I’d highly recommend the Lakeside Car Park in Ambleside at the Northern end or Fell Foot National Trust Car Park at the Southern end.
Up next at number 3:
3) Old Harry Rocks
The name given to three chalk formations, including a stack and a stump, located at Handfast Point at the Southern end of Studland Bay in Dorset. This is probably one of the most famous landmarks along the South Coast of England and it’s as impressive to see from the water as it is from the coast path along the cliffs.
A brilliant paddle to do regardless of the height of the tide. At low tide you can get off the board and explore the caves, coves and archways that become exposed and at high tide you can have some fun paddling through the archways instead! Just be mindful that Studland Bay itself can get quite busy with other watercraft including jet skis, so it’s good to keep your wits about you.
Parking – There are a variety of National Trust Car Parks to choose from along the length of Studland Bay but if you’re looking for the shortest, most accessible route to the water then the Knoll Beach Car Park is best.
Coming in at number 2:
2) Loch Awe
Not for the fait of heart, stretching for 25 miles, Loch Awe is the longest freshwater Loch in Scotland. Surrounded by the truly stunning rugged, mountainous landscape of the west coast, you won’t be disappointed by the views.
With numerous small islands to be found as you paddle be sure to keep an eye out for the ruins of Innes Chonnel Castlewhich can be spotted through the trees on Innis Chonnell Island as you paddle past.
Parking – Depending on which end of the Loch you’re looking at launching from you can either park at the Railway Bridge near Kilchurn Castle at the Northern end or Torran Bay Hostel at the Southern end.
Drum roll please for my number 1 spot to paddle in the UK:
1) Lulworth Cove
Not sure if it’s just because it’s the local or because of its impressive rocky landscape but Lulworth Cove is all kinds of magic to paddle. Although a popular tourist spot, especially in the summer months, this secluded pebbled cove is certainly worth the visit. Situated near the village of West Lulworth along the Jurassic Coast you’ll be greeted by clear blue waters so be sure to pack your snorkel in with your SUP gear too!
On a calm day you can paddle out of the sheltered cove and head West where you’ll come across Stair Hole, an incredible looking compact cove with archways and caves for you to explore – be careful to watch the tide though so as you don’t catch your fins on any of the rocks!
Parking – There is a large car park by the visitor’s centre for Lulworth Cove which is perfect to park in and pump your board up. From there it’s just a short walk downhill to the cove.
So, there you go! My top 5 paddle spots in the UK. I’ve kept this quite concise so if you are looking to paddle in any of these locations then please feel free to use this purely as a reference to where best to park as everyone’s abilities and confidence levels will vary so it’s important that you do your own research into the areas you’re looking to paddle and not use this as your only guide.