London: why not try paddling through the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park?

Explore the Lee Navigation and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park by kayak

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park


Have you ever taken to the water in a black-and-white cow patterned canoe before? No? Not to worry. Luckily you can tick this one off your bucket list with Moo Canoes in East London, where you can hire a bovine-themed canoe or kayak and paddle one of the company’s fun itineraries.

The 12 routes vary in difficulty and duration, taking in the Regent’s Canal, Lee Navigation and newly-opened waterways in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. There’s an enticing sounding four-hour route that passes through Hackney Marshes, where you can hopefully spot a variety of waterbirds, from coots and moorhens to tufted ducks and mute swans. Home port is either their base in Limehouse Basin or their café The Milk Float in Hackney Wick, which dishes up a mean knickerbockerglory.

Boat hire includes a buoyancy aid and paddle, and an instructor will take you through the basics before you set of including the rules for paddling the canal, which can get pretty busy along these stretches. An open canoe seats up to three adults, while the tandem kayaks fit two. They also rent out stand-up paddle boards and organise bespoke kayak trips along the Thames, where you can see London’s most famous riverside landmarks from a new perspective.

As well as hosting a quirky fleet of pleasure boats, Moos Canoes also runs monthly clean-ups on the canals in partnership with Friends of the Cut. So, if you find you’re a natural with a paddle and you live in the area, try joining in one of their clean-up sessions? If you don’t fancy paddling, you can litter pick along the towpath. It’s a great way of meeting people, keeping fit, and lending a helping hand to the local community.

Moo Canoes kayak hire starts from £13 per person and canoe hire starts from £12 per person. To get involved with litter picking with the Canal & River Trust, head to our volunteering page on the website.