London probably isn’t the first kayaking destination that comes to mind when you fancy a paddle, but luckily those of us who live or work in the city, can still find outdoor adventure, even in the midst of skyscrapers.
Last year for Steve’s birthday, I booked a surprise kayak adventure in London with Secret Adventures, which would end with pizza on a boat at the Crate Brewery. I met Steve at Limehouse station where he was completely unaware of what awaited him when he got there (proof that you can rock up and kayak straight from work – no excuses!).
After a quick briefing, we walked down to the water, jumped into our two person kayaks and began our 6km paddle along London’s oldest canal. Along the journey we craned our necks to take in the city scraper skyline and the lights of the city began to twinkle to life. It was lovely to experience a rare viewpoint of the city and glimpses of its seemingly nonexistent wildlife. Swans, ducks, moorhens a plenty swam tranquilly along the canal.
Occasionally we found ourselves almost alone as people paddled at their own speed along the canal and found peace on the water, re-grouping at points along the way. The most fun part was piling into a lock together and rising as it filled with water. We held on to each others kayaks for stability as the water swished around us before we were released to continue on our way. We reached Crate Brewery as the sun was setting and jumped out of kayaks to an audience of people drinking beer at wooden tables by the water. How’s that for arrival in style?
The adventure ended with us all boarding a small boat next to the brewery where we were served freshly baked pizzas (with amazing flavour combinations – mango chutney and daal on pizza? SO GOOD) and drank beer and cider as the night drew in. I had lugged a large homemade chocolate chip birthday cake all the way from Kent with me which arrived safely thanks to the Secret Adventures/Moo Canoes team, which we shared with our fellow adventurers after a cheerful round of ‘Happy Birthday’, complete with backing music thanks to the Crate Brewery bar staff.
Afterwards we took the long ride home by train to Kent, feeling full and fulfilled after a weekday evening well spent. Adventure isn’t just for the weekend!
Read about other adventures with Secret Adventures here.