The Thames is a London icon, but do you make the most of it? Embrace summer and discover the plethora of ways to mess about on the water, whether you’re looking to relax, get fit or generate a serious adrenaline buzz…
Although you may look upon friends jetting off and away from the big smoke with a pang of envy this month, don’t discount the outdoor adventures to be had right here under the city skyline.
Residents of Greenwich and the surrounding areas are blessed with close proximity to London’s Royal Docks, just across the Thames, where throughout the summer you can have a go at all sorts of watersports, like wakeboarding with WakeUp Docklands, London’s very own inner city water sports oasis.
If you’re a bit of a daredevil, you can also try your hand at fly boarding and skim across the water with the help of some rather high-powered jets. But it’s not just adrenaline junkies who can find nirvana on the Thames: for those looking to float their way to inner Zen (and improve their core strength), stand up paddleboard yoga is the way to go.
It’s a British Stand Up Paddleboard Association (BSUPA) registered school, so all lessons are delivered by professionally certified instructors. If you’re a novice, fear not – you can either buy or hire a wetsuit when you get there. There’s also a fully licensed bar, The Shack, where you can simply relax and watch the action from the waterfront.
Other paddle sports and sailing activities on offer from Royal Docks Adventure include rowing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, bell boating and raft building. Boasting a 2,000m rowing course with seven racing lanes and towpath access, it’s a place where people of all ages and abilities can get involved.
And that’s not all. Those of you who are either casual or even competitive swimmers can also embrace the joys of open water swimming. London Royal Docks Open Swimmers run four sessions a week, as well as group training and separate courses for complete beginners.
To really make a day of your excursions, by far the best way to arrive at the docks is by cable car with the Emirates Air Line, which takes off from North Greenwich. Otherwise, it’s easy enough to get the DLR to the nearest station, Royal Victoria, from Woolwich, Deptford, Lewisham or Greenwich.
Oh – and did we mention there’s a beach? From July to August, the beach comes to town with Urban London Beach, where you can laze in a deckchair, build a sandcastle, relax with the Sunday papers and eat the obligatory ice cream.