9 awesome SUP adventure weekends in the UK
From foraging on Scottish lochs, to starlit paddling, get your paddleboard fix with these top UK escapes.
One of the world’s fastest growing watersports, stand-up paddleboarding – or ‘SUPing’ – is easy to learn and more accessible than ever before. If you fancy doing more than a day trip, it’s time to get involved in the latest wave of SUP weekends. Whether you want to perfect your skills, learn to SUP-surf, or combine paddling with cycling, swimming and gin-making, we’ve picked out ten of the UK’s best escapes.
1. Gin, forage and paddleboard, Cairngorms National Park
Spend a weekend sipping and SUPing at Strathmashie House, home to a boutique gin brand, which invites you to stay in a self-catering cottage and gives guided paddleboard tours to forage for botanicals that you'll later us to make your own gin at the distillery. Get on-board at Strathmashie.co.uk.
2. Girls only SUP and surf, Northern Ireland
Ladies: get ready for a long weekend of surfing and SUP touring in Northern Ireland. "I'm super excited about this retreat,” Gutsy Girls founder Natalie Bannister told us. “It’s in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that was used in Game of Thrones.” On the SUP tour, you’ll go mussel picking before heading back to the cottage for Irish music, whisky and yarns. Visit Gutsygirls.co.uk for more info.
3. River Ouse micro-adventure, Bedfordshire
It’s only 40-minutes from London by train to the start of this rural escape. Push off down the River Great Ouse and paddle past drooping willows to a hideaway campsite in Matchstick Wood. Wild swimming, bushcraft and campfires are part of the fun and, according to SUP Leader Richard Harpenham, “it’s the perfect opportunity to unwind, cook on an open fire and escape everyday stress.” Canoetrail.co.uk
4. Yacht and paddleboard retreat, Poole
Discover some south coast secrets on a two-day paddle and sail adventure. Glide past Brownsea Island, Studland Bay and Old Harry Rocks; venture down tiny creeks, go night SUPing, and find inner zen with SUP yoga. “You feel like you could be anywhere in the world,” Sam Ross of The Watersports Academy told us. “It’s a great way to build up paddling skills, as you’re always on the water.” You also get to spend time aboard a beautiful yacht. Get involved at Thewatersportsacademy.com
5. Island expedition, Lundy
SUP around Lundy Island and discover the beaches, caves and sea life of this rich marine conservation area. Sail to Lundy, then paddleboard down the east coast past Gull Rock, Gannets Bay and Seal Rock. Camp on the island before SUPing along the west coast to Surf Point and Black Rock. Look forward to breakfast, lunch and dinner at Lundy’s famous Marisco Tavern – the pub that never shuts. Book with Supsouthwest.com
6. Lizard Peninsula paddling, Cornwall
Spend three days paddleboarding, fishing and foraging around the Lizard Peninsula. Along the way, discover some of Cornwall’s best beaches, and spend two nights wild camping in a woodland. Seaweed-tasting, marshmallow-toasting and campfire cookery are also on the agenda, as is snorkelling, coasteering and hiking. Contact Verticalblue.co.uk if it sounds like your bag.
7. SUP Snowdonia and Anglesey, North Wales
Escape daily life on this two-day tour of Snowdonia and Anglesey. “My favourite part is the safari along Anglesey’s coastline with porpoise and seals. The night paddle is another highlight – watch stars fill the sky as you paddle across a lake, listening to owls, and guided by a full moon. I’ve seen shootings stars whilst lying on my board – a totally magical experience," Sian Sykes, founder of Psychedpaddleboarding.com told us.
8. National Watersports Festival, Rutland Water
This June, immerse yourself in all things SUP, sail, scuba and windsurf at the NWF, Rutland Water. Demo the latest kit, join the Red Dragon fleet, play SUP polo, and experience clinics and races with the GB National Series. “The NWF has grown to become one of the largest SUP events in the UK,” Director Allan Cross told us. Camp on-site and expect Saturday night celebrations. 2018's edition runs from 8-10 June. Find out more at Nationalwatersportsfestival.com.
9. SUP, surf and cycle, North Cornwall
Three surf, SUP and cycle specialists have joined forces with The Olde House farmstay to create this very Cornish weekend. Spend Saturday exploring cycle routes like the Camel Trail and indulging in cream teas. On Sunday, head off for SUP and surf sessions at Polzeath beach and go SUP-surfing for the first time, or learn how to tackle bigger waves. Sailing and coasteering are also on offer. Book with The Olde House.