Best water sports and water activities in the UK: Kayaking, sailing and scuba diving in 2023
Now, we don't want to be stern, but we'll harbour some ill feeling towards you if you don't read this list of the top UK water sports and water activities.
Disclaimer: Readers might notice an overwhelming number of nautical puns in this article, please forgive the RadioTimes.com writers for their overexcitement.
Let's be honest, this summer hasn't been perfect so far. From patchy sunshine to gale-force winds, you'd be forgiven if you've made it to August not feeling particularly buoyant.
But before you bow out, and give up on summer activities entirely, why not try something new? You can keep those bad feelings at bay and channel your energy into something positive by taking on a new hobby or activity over the next few months.
So we're springing on you this list of the best UK water sports and water activities. Try not to keel over when you see all the amazing days out we have in this guide.
From paddleboarding on Scottish lochs to speedboating along the Thames, we've got a ton of memorable experiences that are sure to get you beaming. Whether it's on sea, river, or lake, you'll have a damn good time, and might even encounter a few friends along the way, as we've got activities with fish, seals and even sharks included.
Now, it's time for you to go below deck and see what we have in store.
Best UK water sport activities at a glance:
- Thames Rockets High Speed Boat Ride, £110
- Isle of Wight Hovercraft Adventure, £56
- Half Day Sailing, £125
- Seven Sisters Jet Ski Safari, £270
- Self-Drive Motorboat Hire on Loch Lomond, £150
- White Water Rafting Experience at Lee Valley, £120
- Kayaking with Seals in Oban, £140
- Canoe along the highest aqueduct in the world, £119
- Stand Up Paddleboarding on The Thames, £189
- Freediving Course, £375
- Bubblemaker Kids Scuba Experience, £49
- Buy Bear Grylls Adventure, from £49
Best water sports and water activities in the UK
We've got three types of water activities for you to enjoy: boat and sailing experiences, kayaking and canoeing experiences and scuba experiences. Each of them promises to be an exciting and unique day out, so let's dive right in!
Boat and sailing experiences in the UK
Thames Rockets High Speed Boat Ride
With their 880 horsepower engines, Thames Rockets go at a speed of 30knots (or 35mph), so we’d recommend this for the adrenaline junkies out there. Whizz past the O2, Canary Wharf, Greenwich and the Thames Barrier (although we can’t guarantee you’ll see too much) on this whistle-stop tour of London.
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Isle of Wight Hovercraft Adventure
Travel to the Isle of Wight in style with this high speed hovercraft adventure. Journey from Southsea to Ryde in just 10 minutes on the world's longest-running commercial hovercraft service. You can journey back anytime, which means you can have all day to explore the beauty of the Isle of Wight.
Half Day Sailing
If you've ever wanted to sail a boat then don't get yourself tied up in knots, because it's not too late. With this half day sailing experience you can finally feel what it's like to be your own sea captain. On this trip, experts will show you the fundamentals of controlling a luxury skippered sailing yacht. Depending on the conditions, you might be able to sail out onto the English channel or just take a tour around the Sussex coast.
Seven Sisters Jet Ski Safari
Not technically a boat but who cares? Head to the south coast and experience the beauty of the Seven Sisters cliffs on this Jet Ski Safari. Your day will start with a 30-minute safety briefing before you zoom off across the waves, lets just hope the water's not too cold!
Self-Drive Motorboat Hire on Loch Lomond
You'd be hard pressed to find a more scenic experience than this. In Scotland's Loch Lomond, you can hire your very own speed boat and take a tour around this incredible location. Suitable for up to four people, you can enjoy the incredible views and head to the different beaches that sit around the loch – we'd recommend taking a picnic basket with you too.
White Water Rafting Experience at Lee Valley
River Lee Country Park was the host for all the canoeing events at the 2012 Olympics. Now, it's a high-adrenaline white water rafting centre where you can experience the thrills of rapids and fast-flowing water while staying in a safe and controlled environment.
Kayaking and canoeing experiences in the UK
Kayaking with Seals in Oban
Did you know that the largest seals weigh more than four tonnes? Well you won't be seeing any of those bad boys on this tour, but you'll still be able to see plenty of common grey seals. Set off from Oban in your kayak and take in the majesty of the Scottish coast. Passing the coastal village of Tobermory and swimming through the clear waters of the Hebridean lagoon, you'll encounter a vast array of wildlife, from whales, dolphins and basking sharks to the white-tailed eagles.
Canoe along the highest aqueduct in the world
Somehow this experiences manages to be both extreme and tranquil at the same time. In Dee Valley, North Wales, you can take a canoe trip along the highest aqueduct in the world, getting stunning views, good exercise, and hilarious games all at once. Plus, if you're brave enough, you can take a peek over the 126ft drop.
Stand Up Paddleboarding and a Pint or Prosecco on The Thames
Take a slower trip along the Thames with this paddleboarding session for two. Over two and a half hours you'll be able to make your way along one of the most beautiful parts of the river – Richmond – getting idyllic views of the scenery. Then, you'll have the chance to stop and enjoy a pint or a glass of prosecco and feel all your troubles simply float away.
Scuba diving experiences in the UK
Plunge into the unknown with this incredible freediving course near Bath. Over two days you'll be taught the fundamentals of free diving, starting off in the pool and the classroom before moving on to Vobster Quay. On the dives you'll have the opportunity to swim through submerged boats, trucks, cars and planes and through shoals of fish. By the end of it, you could have dived up to 20 metres.
Bubblemaker Kids Scuba Experience
Get your little ones accustomed to their sea legs with this kids scuba experience. Available at four locations across the country, you and your children can enjoy up to two hours training with a professional PADI instructor in both a pool and open water.
Bear Grylls Adventure
At the Birmingham NEC you'll find the frights and thrills of the Bear Grylls adventure. This snorkel and scuba experience includes diving in a tropical tank, heading on a snorkelling adventure, and getting up close to Cownose Rays and Blacktip Reef Sharks. Plus, you can also try your hand at axe throwing, shooting, and a Royal Marines inspired assault course.