Great Britain has one of the most interesting and varied coastlines in the world, and there’s no better way to explore than up close, from a kayak. Whether you prefer wide, open beaches, surf, dramatic cliffs and secret coves, or watching the abundant wildlife, there’s somewhere for everyone to enjoy on your doorstep. Here are a few of our favourite places to hop on, or in a kayak.
Best for white sand and blue water
Coral beaches outside the tropics? – Photo Erin Bastian
If you think of white sand and crystal clear blue water, you might not immediately think of Scotland, however, some of Europe’s most pristine, untouched beaches lie hidden away in the rugged western Isles. White sand from ancient corals forms picture perfect beaches, whilst sea otters and abundant wildlife swim in the clear blue waters. Our ambassador Erin recommends the tiny town of Arisaig to launch from – it’s sheltered from the elements yet remote and untouched – perfect for getting your first flavour of sea paddling.
Flamborough Head North Landing
Best for a day’s exploration
Caves, puffins, seabirds galore – Photo Martyn Gorman
Flamborough head has long been a family favourite for the abundant rockpools and caves accessible from the beach. Take a kayak however, and you’ll soon find just how much more there is to explore. Rock arches, bird life, underground tunnels and beaches abound, and a kayak is the only way to reach many of them.
Best for a jump or a swim
Just around the corner from the beach – Photo Phil Dolby
In the far west of Pembroke lies a gem of a beach. whether you fancy a surf, a lovely hike, or a swim. A short walk or paddle around the corner from the beach itself takes you to the famous Blue Lagoon, a historic flooded slate quarry offering sheltered water to paddle or swim. Home to the Red Bull Cliff diving competition in 2012, you won’t find the twenty-seven metre high platform there on an average day, but the two, five, and ten metre options await the brave jumper …
Saunton Sands, Devon
Best for surfing your sit-on-top
All the space in the world, and lovely waves too – Photo GDelhey
Sit-on-top surfing is great fun, and there’s no better place to give it a go than Saunton Sands in North Devon. It’s over four kilometres wide, meaning there’s always plenty of space, and the slow breaking waves are a little gentler than other surf breaks, making it ideal for learning the art of wave riding. There’s plenty of parking, a good cafe and facilities to top things off!
Oxwich bay, the Gower
Best for fishing
For those with an angling inclination, there’s no better spot to catch your dinner than Oxwich bay in South Wales. Home to the annual Oxwich yak fishing match, the bay is known to have yielded fifty species of fish in a single day. Located on south Wales’ beautiful Gower Peninsula, the surrounding area is a banquet for the eyes as well.
Durdle Door, Dorset
Best for scenery
There’s a big hole, but no actual door – Photo Saffron Blaze
A classic image of the UK’s south coast, Durdle Door is a part of the Jurassic Coast Unesco World Heritage site. Although privately owned, there is public access to the beach, and there’s no better way to see this spectacular rock formation than to paddle right through it. For the more adventurous there are plenty more stacks and other rock formations to explore, so why not launch from Lulworth cove and paddle there? …
Best for history
Paddle ashore, and take the castle! – Photo Alfie Tait
First mentioned in writing in 547 CE, attacked, Bamburg Castle has been ruined, rebuilt and modified countless times through its long and violent history – whether you plan to visit, or just to enjoy from the outside, it makes a stunning backdrop to this wide open beach. The perfect place to mount your sit on top, and pretend you’re a viking invader!
Sennen Cove, Cornwall
Palm’s special mention
Palm Equipment has its roots in our MD Andy’s love of kayak surfing
To be honest, we could have picked almost any beach in Cornwall. Whether you prefer the world class surf breaks of the north coast, or the smugglers’ inlets, ruined castles and beautiful fishing villages on the south, Cornwall’s coast is like nowhere in the world. absolute. Sennen cove is particularly special to us though. Palm bosses Bob and Andy spent many a summer’s day here some fourty years ago, and it’s probably after a trip to this westernmost outpost of our island that Andy decided to set up his own company. So for us at Palm, Sennen will always have that special draw …
About as far west as our little island allows – Photo Nilfanion