Best Canoeing And Kayaking Spots In Cornwall




Updated on

Step into the land of rugged cliffs, secluded creeks, and golden sands. Yes, we’re talking about the stunning coastline of Cornwall.

This county beckons you to embark on a canoeing or kayaking adventure like no other. As such, you can glide through lagoon-like waters and discover hidden sea caves beneath craggy headlands. 

So, whether you’re a seasoned sea kayaker or a novice, this article is your gateway to a scenic sea kayaking experience that will leave you breathless.

Best Places To Go Kayaking In Cornwall

1. Stithians Lake

Stithians Lake, located in the heart of Cornwall at the Stithians Reservoir, is a canoeing and kayaking haven that offers exceptional experiences amidst outstanding natural beauty. Adventurers can embark on thrilling expeditions, exploring hidden caves and beaches along the spectacular Cornish coastline.

Additionally, you can opt for sea safety sessions and kayak rentals, allowing individuals to enjoy a safe and unforgettable sea kayaking experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, Stithians Lake is the ultimate destination for a kayak adventure in Cornwall’s unspoiled and picturesque surroundings.

2. Percuil River

Percuil River, located in Cornwall on the stunning Roseland Peninsula, is an exceptional destination for canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts.

The peaceful Percuil River flows through Cornwall’s designated areas of outstanding natural beauty, providing a tranquil setting for a canoeing and kayaking trip. This quaint waterway stretches through unspoiled scenery, combines green rolling hills with a craggy coastline and offers spectacular views. 

With its secluded beaches and blue waters, Percuil River offers an unforgettable experience for those seeking a Cornwall adventure.

3. Fowey Estuary

The Fowey Estuary is a prime destination for canoeing and kayaking lovers on the stunning Cornish coast. This spot, with the Fowey and Lerryn rivers, offers a wealth of opportunities for both river kayaking and sea kayaking adventures.

Paddlers can embark on their own kayak or join daily kayak tours to explore caves and discover remote beaches along the estuary. With its peaceful beaches, pretty fishing villages, and breathtaking scenery, Fowey Estuary is a must-visit for those seeking unforgettable kayak adventures in South Cornwall.

4. River Fal

The stunning Fal River, located in Cornwall on the South Coast, is a remarkable destination for enthusiasts of canoeing and kayaking in Cornwall. Known for its tranquil waters and charming surroundings, this spot holds great significance for outdoor water sports.

The Roseland Peninsula is divided from the rest of Cornwall by the River Fal, offering opportunities for discovering hidden sea caves and the captivating coastline. Paddlers can also witness the beauty of nature up close, as the river is home to Atlantic Grey Seals. With its calm and secluded ambience, the River Fal provides an ideal setting for a memorable and safe sea kayaking experience.

5. Helford River

Helford River, situated on the Lizard Peninsula in West Cornwall, is an exceptional destination for canoeing and kayaking in Cornwall. Its location along the South West Coast Path and its status as a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) make it a significant spot for outdoor water activities.

Visitors can embark on their paddling journey from various starting points along the river, such as Frenchman’s Creek, Helford Passage, Durgan, or Gweek. The Helford River’s remarkable features include its gentle currents, sheltered coves, and idyllic creeks, providing a conducive environment for beginners and experienced paddlers alike.

The Helford River also offers opportunities for enlivening Lizard Adventure and is renowned for its peaceful and secluded atmosphere, offering a perfect setting for exploration.

6. Mullion Cove

Located on the West coast of the Lizard Peninsula, Mullion Cove is a renowned destination for canoeing and kayaking in Cornwall. This spot is significant due to its stunning natural beauty and strategic location. Canoeing and kayaking activities can be initiated from either Mullion Harbour or Towan Beach, providing easy access to the waterways stretching along the coastline.

One notable feature of Mullion Cove is its collection of caves waiting to be explored, making it an exciting and adventurous destination for sea kayakers. Additionally, the presence of quiet beaches adds more charm to this spot.

7. St. Ives Bay

Located on the North West coast of Cornwall, St. Ives Bay is a marvellous destination for people who want to go canoeing or kayaking in Cornwall.

With St. Anthony’s Head to the east and St. Ives to the west, this enticing bay presents numerous excellent starting points for thrilling canoeing and kayaking activities. Its significance lies in the diverse opportunities it offers for water sports. Adventurers can explore magnificent caves and coves, immersing themselves in the natural beauty of the surroundings.

The Ocean Sports Centre and the St. Ives Surf School- are two water-sport institutions that run sea safety sessions. Moreover, the bay is equipped with essential features to support these water sports, including easy access to sea kayaks. Embarking on a canoeing or kayaking journey at St. Ives Bay promises a safe and unforgettable experience for those seeking to delve into the wonders of Cornwall’s coastal charm.

8. Looe River

Looe River stands as an incredible destination for indulging in water sports like canoeing and kayaking in Cornwall. Its prime location on the Southern coast of Cornwall offers stunning natural vistas and a rich marine ecosystem.

The river provides various starting points for canoeing and kayaking activities, including the charming town of Looe and the nearby village of Polperro. With calm waters, gentle currents, and ample facilities for launching and docking, Looe River provides a safe and enjoyable experience for paddlers of all skill levels.

Additionally, the spot boasts delightful landscapes, abundant wildlife, and opportunities for exploration, making it a fantastic choice for canoeing and kayaking activities in Cornwall.

9. Cadgwith Cove

Located on the Lizard Peninsula, Cadgwith Cove stands as an outstanding destination for canoeing and kayaking in Cornwall. Its historical charm and beautiful surroundings make it an unparalleled spot for water sports. Adventurers can commence their thrilling journeys from the sandy beaches, where clear turquoise water beckons.

This spot boasts a sheltered inlet and calm seas, providing ideal conditions for beginners and experienced paddlers alike. Moreover, the natural beauty of the cove, encompassed by rugged cliffs and dotted with traditional fishing boats, offers a captivating backdrop to explore while engaging in these invigorating water activities.

10. River Camel

Nestled amidst the astounding landscapes of Cornwall, River Camel emerges as an unparalleled haven for canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts. Its meandering course and diverse waterways make it a magnet for adventurers seeking exhilarating experiences on the water. Launching from the charming town of Wadebridge or the idyllic village of Padstow, visitors can embark on unforgettable journeys along the serene currents.

River Camel generously unveils a tapestry of stunning vistas, lush wildlife, and fascinating landmarks, including the iconic Camel Trail, which offers a seamless route for exploration. With its blend of natural beauty and accessible starting points, this river stands as a quintessential destination for the ultimate canoeing and kayaking escapade in Cornwall.

11. Golitha Falls

Prepare to paddle into paradise at Golitha Falls, a captivating gem for canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts in Cornwall. This enchanted spot within the wondrous Bodmin Moor holds a significant place in the hearts of water-sport adventurers and nature lovers alike.

Start your aquatic adventure from the designated starting points along the river, immersing yourself in the peaceful ambience and the lush surroundings. Golitha Falls boasts gentle currents, idyllic pools, and an abundance of wildlife, making it the perfect destination for novice and experienced paddlers seeking a memorable journey through Cornwall’s pristine beauty.

12. Siblyback Lake

Searching for an unforgettable experience of Cornwall canoes or kayaks? Look no further. Located near Bodmin Moor, the Siblyback Lake is the paddling haven, offering awe-inspiring scenery and a tranquil atmosphere. Launch your watercraft from the convenient starting points strategically placed around the lake, allowing easy access to its pristine waters.

With ample parking, equipment rentals, and knowledgeable staff, Siblyback Lake ensures a seamless adventure for all skill levels. Soak in the stunning views, embrace the serenity, and paddle your way to pure bliss at this remarkable Cornwall gem.

13. River Tamar

The River Tamar is a thrilling and idyllic haven for canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts along the enchanting coast of Cornwall. This beautiful spot holds immense significance due to its diverse landscapes, encompassing serene estuaries, enchanting creeks, and vibrant wildlife sanctuaries.

Embark on your aquatic adventure from the renowned starting points of Cotehele Quay and Weir Quay, where the calm waters welcome eager paddlers. The Tamar River’s allure lies not only in its breathtaking surroundings but also in its favourable tides and currents, ensuring a thrilling yet safe paddling experience for all.

14. Port Quin

Belonging to the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Port Quin emerges as a mind-blowing haven for canoeing and kayaking lovers. This hidden gem, perched on the North coast of Cornwall, boasts unrivalled natural beauty and rich maritime history.

Choose your starting point from either Port Quin Bay or Port Isaac, two picturesque starting points offering easy access to the surrounding azure waters. With its sheltered coves, towering cliffs, and abundant marine life, Port Quin provides a thrilling playground for paddlers seeking memorable experiences within Cornwall’s coastal splendour.

15. River Lynher

Nestled on the East coast of Cornwall lies the magnificent River Lynher, a meandering waterway that beckons canoeists and kayakers alike. Starting from the charming villages of St. Germans or Cotehele Quay, this scenic spot offers an array of delights for water sports enthusiasts.

The calm currents, coupled with its spectacular natural surroundings and abundant wildlife, make it a haven for paddlers seeking both serenity and excitement. With its rich historical significance and stunning vistas, River Lynher is an irresistible destination for unforgettable canoeing and kayaking experiences in Cornwall.

16. Mylor Harbour

Mylor Harbour, located on the western side of the Falmouth Estuary, also known as Carrick Roads, emerges as a refreshing haven for people who love canoeing and kayaking. With its visually stunning vistas and gentle waters, this spot offers an unrivalled experience for water sports enthusiasts.

Launching from Mylor Yacht Harbour or Mylor Bridge, adventurers can embark on thrilling expeditions along the Fal Estuary, exploring hidden coves and encountering diverse wildlife. Boasting cal tides and easy access to the open sea, Mylor Harbour provides an ideal playground for paddlers of all skill levels. This makes it a premier destination for canoeing and kayaking in Cornwall.

17. St. Austell Bay

Situated on the Southern coast of Cornwall, St. Austell Bay emerges as a captivating haven for canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts. With its incredible natural beauty and diverse aquatic ecosystem, this spot offers an unforgettable adventure.

The ideal starting points for these intoxicating water activities are the charming coastal towns of Charlestown and Pentewan, which provide easy access to the azure waters of the bay. Moreover, the sheltered coves, calm tides, and wondrous cliffs of the bay create a perfect setting for enjoyable and safe canoeing and kayaking experiences.

18. River Gannel

River Gannel lies along the captivating coast of Cornwall and is a prime destination for canoeing and kayaking adventures. Its unique location in North Cornwall offers astounding vistas and abundant natural beauty. Launching from either Penpol Creek or Crantock Beach, avid paddlers can navigate through the tranquil waters and immerse themselves in the enchanting ambience.

River Gannel boasts a tidal estuary, providing a dynamic and ever-changing environment catering to both novice and experienced water sports enthusiasts. With its stunning scenery and diverse wildlife, this spot truly captivates the hearts of all who embark on its incredible waterways.


Cornwall is home to some of the most intoxicating kayaking and canoeing spots in the universe.

Glide like a seagull along the dramatic coastline of Fowey, where secret coves and caves await your intrepid exploration. Or, embark on a river escapade through the heart of Bodmin Moor, where the water whispers secrets of a bygone era. Lastly, explore the ethereal beauty of the Helford River, a peaceful paradise adorned with emerald-green foliage.

Overall, Cornwall is a place where dreams come alive in a sea of paddles. So, grab your vessel, immerse yourself in nature’s embrace, and let your heart dance upon the waves.

About The Author


Reviewed by