Recommended canoeing and kayaking activities in Cornwall

Two adults and their dog posing by a range of kayaks next to a river in Cornwall.

Cornwall is a brilliant place to try out watersports such as canoeing and kayaking – getting out on the water in this way gives you a whole new perspective and can make for some of the most memorable holiday experiences. Here are some of our tried and tested favourites:

Canoe Cornwall, based at the National Trust’s Trelissick Gardens offer not only canoe trips but also Bear Grylls survival training, archery and even bow- and spear-fishing (for the over 18s). Jay, Johan and Nikki provide full-day and half-day Canadian canoe trips, the most popular of which is a half-day journey on the River Fal (£25 per person) launching from Trelissick’s pontoon. Full day guided trips can also be arranged at £35.00 per person.

On Saturday mornings Canoe Cornwall also run a ‘Life Skills Academy for Kids’ which can include canoeing, experiencing the thrill of shooting a target at over 20 metres, making fire with just two sticks of wood or even self defence classes. Details of all Canoe Cornwall’s activities and dates at Trelissick can be found on their website.

Kayaking in Cornwall

Another lovely team are Karen and David of Encounter Cornwall who run guided canoe trips and kayak hire from their base at Golant. Their activities on the sheltered tidal waters of the River Fowey are suitable for both families and those new to kayaking. The Creeks & Backwaters trip explores the backwaters on the high tide – or on the low tide you can venture down to Fowey’s historic Harbours & Beaches.

On both trips you will be paddling through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Marine Conservation Area teeming with wildlife that includes kingfishers, herons, egrets, cormorants, various waders, and if you’re lucky, a seal or dolphin. Encounter Cornwall’s departure times vary from day to day as they are dependent on the tide – just check details of times on their website. If you have previous kayaking experience and would prefer to just hire a kayak, Canadian canoe or stand-up paddle board and explore at your own pace then that is also possible with Encounter Cornwall’s hire service.

If it’s sea kayaking you would like to try then Koru Kayaking offer two hour and full day tours with an experienced guide using sit on kayaks. Their coastal trips run from Trevaunance Cove near St Agnes on the North Coast where you can see colourful cliffs and spacious caverns carved out during the mining era, secluded beaches, bird colonies and even seals. In addition, Koru run river kayaking trips from the private beach of the Budock Vean Hotel near Falmouth to explore the Helford River, including Frenchman’s Creek, the inspiration for Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name. Either trip costs £35 per person with an additional £7 for wetsuit hire if required.

Paddleboarding Cornwall

Whichever way you choose to get our on the water we are sure you will have great fun – please just be aware of tides and take appropriate clothing and safety gear. If you’re a beginner we recommend joining a reputable guided excursion such as those above. More information and safety tips can be found on Canoe England’s Go Canoeing website.

Have you been kayaking or canoeing in Cornwall? Why not share your stories below, tweet @Bosinver or post a message on our Facebook page?

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Action Nan and the rest of the team are always busy writing posts that we think you’ll like – from top tips on where to take the kids, to what’s likely to be going on in the local area when you stay – we’ve got it all in our blog!