Are you looking for the best places to paddleboard in the North West? Whether you’re new to SUP or a seasoned paddle boarder, check out our guide to the best coastal paddles, rivers, lakes and canals in the North West.
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Read on for our tips on where to launch your SUP, local facilities, and if you’ll need a permit or license to paddle. By the way – if you think I’ve missed your own personal best places to paddleboard in the North West, let me know in the comments!
Before you get started
Check out our guide to buying a plus-size wetsuit, or hiring a wetsuit and iSUP for your next adventure. And you might also want to check out our 20 coolest SUP accessories to make your trips more fun!
Don’t Paddle without these Essentials!
Before you go on the water, remember that your first priority is to stay safe, comply with relevant regulations and have appropriate licenses and insurance. Closely followed by: try not to fall off, and look cool.
- If it’s cold water, I recommend neoprene gloves and shoes – these from Amazon are a great option, at £15 with next-day delivery and 5* reviews.
- Want to stop for coffee or lunch? These SUP locks are amazing (we use them for kayaks too) and really simple to use. Perfect if you need to leave your paddleboard unsupervised for a short time.
- Flotation devices aren’t optional. Always, always have a flotation device on your board, and ideally on your person. When riding a SUP it’s really important that your PFD fits well and doesn’t ride up in the water. Try these for size. Don’t fancy wearing a lifejacket? Try a waist-belt that inflates into a lifejacket when you’re in the water.
- If you plan to paddle rivers and canoes you’ll need a Waterways License. This is included with a British Canoeing membership.
10 Best Places to Paddle Board in the North West
Southport Marine Lake
Postcode: PR9 0EA
If you’re looking for a calm, safe place to take your SUP then Southport Marine Lake could be perfect. To paddle or kayak on the marina, you’ll need a day pass, which costs £8 per board/boat (not per person).
You can buy a day pass online from Southport Watersports. Click here to apply for a permit. The company also offers SUP lessons on the marina, which is great if you’re a beginner looking to cover essential paddling and safety tips. Or join the weekly Paddle and a Pint sessions!
Fleetwood/Fairhaven Boating Lake
Postcode: FY7 7JL and FY8 1YD
The Fylde Coast SUP group meet up at at Fleetwood Boating Lake and Fairhaven (Lytham) on alternate weeks. You can hire boards for £8 or use your own, and lessons are available. Check the Fylde Coast SUP group on Facebook for more details. This is one of the best places to paddleboard in the North West for novices as these are small, shallow boating lakes – meaning kids can stand up, and nobody will be too nervous.
River Lune, Halton Rapids
Postcode: LA2 6ND
If you’re a member of British Canoeing, you can access the River Lune at Halton Rapids. Situated just off Junction 34 of the M6, this riverside access point has parking spaces, changing facilities and steps down to the river. This is one of the Best Places to Paddleboard in the North West if you’re a more experienced paddler – the tide and flow are variable and not always ideal for beginners.
To use this part of the river, contact the British Canoeing NW regional team to pay a one-off fee for access to the facilities. You can park in the British Canoeing spaces or (if you haven’t paid for a parking pass) park on the road outside. To apply for access to the site, complete this form and you can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Glasson Dock, Lancashire
Postcode: LA2 0NB
There is easy pay and display parking beside Glasson Dock and you don’t need a permit to paddle on the dock itself. From here you can paddle up the Lancaster canal, up to the lock, which is a really easy flat paddle. Remember you’ll need a Waterways license if you take your SUP on the canal.
River Lune, Denny Beck
Postcode: LA2 9HQ
A little further down the River Lune, you can launch your SUP from Denny Beck, near Lancaster. From here you can paddle down to Skerton Weir, just North of the city. Head to Denny Beck Lane and there’s parking at the Old Station car park. From here it’s an easy launch and paddle up to the weir, and back.
Fell Foot, Windermere
Postcode: LA12 8NN
Fell Foot is a National Trust property so you’ll pay for access and parking here – £5 for non-members. Parking is open between 9am and 5pm. If you want to paddle your SUP, head for the farthest car park area, and it’s a short walk downhill to the waterside. You can either paddle into Windermere, or head left into the peaceful River Leven. Booking recommended during summer weekends. it’s one of the best places to paddleboard in the North West but can also be one of the busiest during the summer.
If you want to SUP before 10am, you can either park on the road outside Fell Foot (there’s space for one or two cars) or you can head to Newby Bridge. If you park at the hotel, you can launch your SUP from a small area of the bank just past the bridge on the same side as the hotel.
Postcode: CA11 0NQ
For my money, Ullswater is the most beautiful part of the Lakes to paddle on a kayak or SUP and there are lots of launch points. My favourite for SUP riders is at Glencoyne – there’s Pay & Display parking that’s open 24 hours directly opposite a small shingle beach that makes a perfect launch point. There’s an island to paddle around, which adds extra interest for teens and older kids. There are no facilities, but toilets up the road at Aira Force, which also makes a good spot for a post-paddle lunch.
Manley Mere, Cheshire
Postcode: WA6 0PE
This watersports centre offers self-launch for SUP paddlers in the North West, along with a giant aqua park and adventure trail, making it a perfect family day out. Self-launch costs £15 per day for each craft, so I’d encourage the kids to share a board to keep costs down! You’ll receive a wrist band that gives you access to the water from 11am to 5pm.
The park requires an adult to accompany any kids under 12, and they also request that you have third party liability insurance for your craft (this will be included in British Canoeing membership).
Anderton Centre, Rivington
Postcode: PR6 9HG
The Anderton Centre is an outdoor activity centre just outside Chorley and is definitely one of the best places to paddleboard in the North West. They offer Pay & Play sessions every Saturday at £12 per person, where you can hire wetsuits, SUPs and kayaks – or bring your own. You can also bring your own wetsuit, or swimwear during the summer months. If you bring your own SUP you’ll need to follow the centre’s guidelines to make sure your kit is clean. You can check availability and book sessions online here.
The centre also offers British Canoeing certified training so you have a safe place to learn the basics of paddleboarding and other paddle sports.
Wirral Sailing Centre, West Kirby
Postcode: CH48 0QG
The Wirral Sailing Centre at West Kirby is now open after lockdown and you can book a launch session for your own paddleboard OR hire one from the centre. The cost is £10 per day, and you book a launch slot of 10 minutes – so it’s important to choose your time carefully!
Book online here.
There you have it – ten of our favourite, best places to paddleboard in the North West of England. Let me know in the comments if we’ve missed your favourite spot to SUP.