The best places for Sea Kayaking in the UK

The best places for Sea Kayaking in the UK

The wide variety of beautiful coastlines the UK has to offer makes for the perfect setting when planning to embark on an adventurous kayak trip. Whether it’s meandering through little islands, or just gliding through the tranquil waters of a lake! The best places for sea kayaking in the UK represent a fantastic way for you to enjoy this sport and give another perspective to British landscapes!

First of all, make sure you have all the right equipment and accessories and that you know your way around the cockpit. If you are a beginner, we strongly advise you to take a guide along with you. Finally, remember it’s mandatory to have your license from the British Canoe Union (BCU), and any permits the local waterways authorities may require.

We know you’re eager to get started, so without further delay, we present you with a selection of the top places to go sea kayaking in the UK… Paddle on!.


 The Cornish landscape is blessed with many marvellous beaches like the ones in Port Isaac Bay (which can only be reached by sea, and chances are that once there, you’ll have it all to yourself). It also presents us with a unique opportunity to discover many secret coves and sea caves.

Bosahan Cove: with its silver-shale beaches and backed by pretty woods, this is one of the lower level destinations on a kayak, and if you paddle just a mile west on the coast path, you can explore Frenchman’s Creek (made famous by British author Daphne du Maurier).

The Isles of Scilly: the crown jewel of Cornish sea kayaking. This journey is only recommended for the experienced as it demands the kayaker’s navigation skills as well as the appropriate equipment due to the confusing and treacherous tides. The record for this course is held by Cornish sports legend Richard Sims, who completed it in just over 4 hours (when most groups take about 6-7 hours).

The South Coast of Cornwall: with its fishing villages and secluded inlets, this is a popular destination for sea kayaking enthusiasts; among its main attractions are that in early September, the South Coast’s calm, open waters offer favourable chances of spotting seal pups.

Lizard Peninsula: last but not least, this spot includes the southernmost place in mainland Britain; Lizard Point, well regarded as being a kayaker’s dream come true. With its azure blue waters, secluded beaches, and tumbling cliff faces, it will make you think you are paddling somewhere a lot more exotic than the UK.


Home to a varied display of natural beauties, the Welsh Coast provides us with the perfect scenery for a truly marvellous paddle trip.

Pembrokeshire, West Wales: for beginners (or relax-seeking paddlers), Newgale and Porthclais Harbor are ideal spots for long, quiet kayak journeys along the coastline. While the Abereiddy to Abercastle course, as well as exploring the sea around Ramsey Island, counts among the experienced kayaker’s favourites due to its wildlife, intricate coastlines, and tidal flows. So is St Govans Head, a course that, although challenging, is also well regarded for its beauty. Just make sure you visit it alongside your guide and adjust your ride to your skill level!

Anglesey: simply said, one of the best sea kayaking locations in all the UK; with its scenery, varied waters (there are sheltered trips for beginners, as well as tide races and overfalls that challenge even the most experienced paddlers), and ever-present wildlife, the Anglesey coastline sure makes for a trip to remember.

The Witches’ Cauldron: located near Ceibwr Bay, we must make a special mention to this cave –accessible only by sea tunnels-, in which the water inside it appears a bright, emerald green on sunny days.

Yorkshire Coast

 Not all sea paddling is done on calm water. Some kayakers find the joy of the sport by undertaking long, open crossings in challenging conditions or playing in overfalls and tide races. The Yorkshire coastline has long been a place of gathering for experienced sea kayakers from far and wide.

 While on your trip, you will realize there are places only accessible by sea. And even more exciting, along the way, you may be joined by the seabirds, dolphins, and seals that usually enjoy riding Yorkshire Coast’s soft tidal waves.

 Among the expert sea kayakers’ favorite routes in the UK, we have to mention:

The Fame Islands

St Abbs Head

Beadnell to Boulmer

Boulmer to Amble

Runswick Bay

The Isle of Man

Combining a stunning coastline accessible from sandy beaches with short traveling distances from anywhere on the island, the astonishing cliffs, sea stacks, and caves are made even more enjoyable. And even further, a wide variety of sea animals and birdlife such as grey seals, dolphins, peregrine falcons, puffins, and rare sightings of orcas add the final exotic touch!

 All this immense wealth of natural beauty combines to make your kayaking trip around the Isle of Man an unforgettable experience. Some of the most popular routes frequented by paddlers in the Isle of Man include:

White Strand Beach: it has access to coves and many get-out points with areas of short cliffs and rock gardens.

The Calf of Man: surrounded by almost continuous cliffs; the stretch of water between the mainland and the Calf of Man has forceful tidal flows and should never be attempted by the unguided novice.

The Circumnavigation: this can be quite an enjoyable trip spread over four days while camping and exploring the surrounding coves and caves.

Lake District

While the Lake District National Park is not exactly a sea, it provides ample opportunity if you are a newcomer to the kayaking world. While in turn, experienced paddlers may go having their own adventures exploring the many islands and beautiful rivers in its stunning coastline.

 One of the more talked about routes in Lake District is the one that goes from Black Moss Pot to Stonethwaite (through Langstrath Beck). There, water levels can go up and down very quickly, depending on how heavy the rain has fallen. But when the conditions are just right, it makes for a truly fantastic trip!

 Finally, nestled in the Borrowdale Valley, we find Derwent Water, also known as “The Queen of Lakes”. A peaceful spot where you can glide through the waters while admiring the mountainous backdrop of the Lake District.


Shetland’s extensive and accessible coastline may very well be described as the best place for sea kayaking in the UK!

The main feature of the Shetland coastline, aside from the outstanding cliff scenery, and remote uninhabited islands, are the high number of sea caves it houses. These caves are huge and often complex structures with side passages and collapsed roofs that allow shafts of sunlight to shine from above into the crystal blue waters.

North Devon Coast

 Secluded beaches, clear blue waters, and breathtaking scenery are barely a few of the natural beauties in the North Devon Coast.

Backed by the outstanding natural beauty of Exmoor National Park, Combe Martin makes for the perfect starting point. While traveling along the coastline, you might spot some of the dolphins and seals that regularly visit these parts of the British coast!

Scotland’s West Coast

There are plenty of magnificent kayaking spots all over the West Coast of Scotland. They are composed mainly of miles and miles of craggy coast, lots of islands, and sheltered sea lochs. These are ideal for when the weather is too rough, and therefore too dangerous to venture into the sea!

 Among the unrivalled points of interest, it is worth mentioning  the isles of Jura and Islay, home of two of Britain’s most famous whisky distilleries. As well as the islands of Skye and Arisaig, whose remote, deserted white sand beaches make for the perfect lunch stop. Pound for pound, this is the best getaway for sea kayaking in the UK for enthusiasts from the whole world!

 A final piece of safety advice, particularly for the most inexperienced sea kayakers. Before you go on a sea kayak crossing, please make sure to:

Do your research on weather and water conditions over at your destination.

Practice in estuaries and harbors, so you can get a handle on tides behavior, wind conditions, and general kayaking etiquette.

Choose the appropriate outfit (also, wear a hat if it’s hot, and gloves if cold).

Be ready for anything, you should have a first aid kit at all times, as well as a means to call for help if needed.

Enjoy the ride! Kayaking is all about having fun, and if you’ve had the proper tuition and done all the right preparations, you will have a good time.

Now you know the best places for sea kayaking in the UK and some tips to consider for a better ride. It is time for you to pick up your paddle and go on to your next adventure! Where would it be? Let us know in the comment section!

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