Kayaking Cornwall: A Guide to the BEST of Cornish Kayaking

Exploring The Best of Kayaking in Cornwall

As competent kayakers, avid bloggers, and water sport enthusiasts, the team here at Kayak Mad can confidently say that Kayaking Cornwall offers some of the most incredible kayaking experiences to be found anywhere in the UK.

Whether you’re into Sea Kayaking, River Kayaking, Beach kayaking or simply exploring serene lakes, harbours and canals, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful part of the country.

It’s obviously impossible to have kayaked everywhere in Cornwall so this guide is a bit of a “Best Of Kayaking in Cornwall” based on our own experiences in the county.

We hope you enjoy the read and will consider Kayaking Cornwall yourself at some point.

Let’s get into it!

Kayaking Cornwall featuring a spectacular Cornish headland

Sea Kayaking Cornwall

Honestly the majority of the time we ever spend in Cornwall involves Sea Kayaking and the following, thus far, have been the most inspiring places that we’ve kayaked on the seas that surround this wonderful county.

Kayaking The Lizard Peninsula: A Sea Kayakers Paradise

When it comes to sea kayaking in Cornwall, the Lizard Peninsula is a must-visit destination.

With its rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and crystal-clear waters, it’s easy to see why we’ve fallen in love with kayaking around this stunning coastline.

Exploring the Lizard Peninsula by Kayak

The Lizard Peninsula offers a variety of kayaking routes suitable for all skill levels.

Experienced kayakers can tackle the challenging waters around the peninsula’s tip, while beginners can enjoy a more leisurely paddle along the coastline, taking in sights like Kynance Cove and the picturesque village of Cadgwith.

Kayaking Porthoustock

Situated on the eastern side of the Lizard Peninsula, offers kayakers a unique experience with its rugged coastline, crystal-clear waters, and numerous islands.

This quaint village is an ideal starting point for exploring the captivating Cornish coastline, with hidden coves, fascinating marine life, and the intriguing islands off Lowland Point waiting to be discovered.

As you paddle through this mesmerising coastal landscape, you’ll have the chance to explore the islands, each with its own distinct charm and beauty. Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or just starting out, Porthoustock provides a memorable adventure surrounded by the stunning beauty of Cornwall.

Kayaking Cadgwith

This is a charming fishing village in the south of the Lizard Peninsula, is another fantastic destination for kayaking enthusiasts looking to experience the beauty of Cornwall’s coastline.

With its picturesque thatched cottages, sheltered cove, and dramatic cliffs, Cadgwith provides a magical setting for a kayaking adventure.

As you paddle through the waters surrounding this delightful village, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and the opportunity to explore hidden caves and secluded beaches.

Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or a beginner, Cadgwith promises a memorable and exciting experience that showcases the very best of Cornwall’s coastal charm.

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Kayaking Cornwall around St Ives Harbour and Bay

St Ives: A Beach Kayaking Haven

St Ives is a beautiful coastal town on the north coast of Cornwall, known for its golden sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and thriving arts scene.

With its stunning coastline and crystal-clear waters, St Ives is a fantastic destination for Sea Kayaking in Cornwall.

Kayaking Routes Around St Ives Bay

The coastline around St Ives Bay offers a variety of kayaking routes for all levels of experience. 

You can paddle around the beautiful beaches of Porthminster, Porthmeor, and Carbis Bay, or venture further afield to explore the rugged cliffs and hidden coves of Godrevy Point, Mans Head or Clodgy Point.

Falmouth: A Cornish Kayaking Hub

Falmouth, located on the south coast of Cornwall, is a vibrant town with a strong maritime heritage. With its bustling harbour, sandy beaches, and sheltered estuaries, Falmouth is a fantastic destination for sea kayaking in Cornwall.

Kayaking Routes Around Falmouth

From the tranquil waters of the Helford River to the more challenging open sea, Falmouth offers a variety of kayaking routes to suit all levels of experience. Paddle around the beautiful beaches of Gyllyngvase, Swanpool, and Maenporth, or explore the stunning coastline of the Roseland Peninsula and the Lizard Peninsula.

Sea Kayaking in Cornwall at Polzeath Beach

Padstow: A Cornish Kayaking Hotspot

Padstow is a charming fishing port located on the north coast of Cornwall. With its picturesque harbour, colourful fishing boats, and stunning beaches, it’s no wonder Padstow is a favourite destination for sea kayaking in Cornwall.

Kayaking Routes Around Padstow

From Padstow, you can kayak along the tranquil yet sometimes dangerous waters of the Camel Estuary, taking in sights like the famous Doom Bar sandbank and the charming village of Rock.

Alternatively, head out to sea and explore the beautiful beaches of Harlyn Bay and Trevone Bay.

Padstow offers a range of kayaking routes that cater to all levels of experience. From the tranquil waters of the Camel Estuary to the more challenging open sea, there is something for everyone.

You can explore hidden coves, secluded beaches, and even venture out to nearby headlands, such as Stepper Point, Trevose Head and Pentire Point.

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Kayaking Cornwall featuring St Michaels Mount and surrounds of Mount Bay

Kayaking Penzance: The Gateway to Mount's Bay

Penzance, situated on the south coast of Cornwall, is a bustling harbour town with a rich maritime history.

It’s also the perfect base for kayaking adventures in Mount’s Bay, a stunning stretch of coastline that encompasses St Michael’s Mount, Marazion, and Mousehole.

Exploring Mount’s Bay by Kayak

The calm waters of Mount’s Bay are ideal for sea kayaking, with a range of routes to suit all abilities. 

Paddle along the picturesque coastline, taking in the breathtaking views of St Michael’s Mount, or explore the historic fishing villages of Newlyn and Mousehole.

You can also venture further afield, paddling around the rugged cliffs and secluded coves of the Land’s End Peninsula where the Sea Kayaking is quite a bit more suited to very experienced kayakers.

River Kayaking in Cornwall: The Fowey, Lynher and Fal Rivers

Cornwall’s rivers are just as captivating as its coastline, offering a completely different kayaking experience. The River Fowey and River Fal are two of the most popular rivers for kayaking in Cornwall, providing tranquil settings and fantastic wildlife-spotting opportunities.

The River Fowey: A Scenic Paddling Adventure

River kayaking in Cornwall doesn’t get much better than the River Fowey. This picturesque waterway winds its way through beautiful countryside, quaint villages, and lush woodlands.

Kayaking Routes on the River Fowey

One of our favourite routes on the River Fowey starts at the charming village of Golant, taking you upstream through peaceful woodland and past the historic town of Lostwithiel. Alternatively, you can paddle downstream towards Fowey, where you’ll be greeted by fabulous views of the estuary.

The River Fal: A Cornish Kayaking Gem

The River Fal is another fantastic destination for river kayaking in Cornwall. This beautiful waterway meanders through picturesque landscapes, offering a serene paddling experience.

Kayaking Routes on the River Fal

One popular route on the River Fal starts at the village of Trelissick, taking you upstream past ancient woodlands and historic landmarks like Tregothnan House. Alternatively, you can paddle downstream towards the bustling town of Falmouth, where the river meets the sea.

The River Lynher: Gateway To Devon and Plymouth

The River Lynher is an ideal spot for river kayaking, with calm waters and picturesque surroundings. As you paddle along this tranquil river, you’ll be immersed in the beauty of the Cornish countryside, with an abundance of wildlife to spot along the way.

Keep your eyes peeled for herons, kingfishers, and even the occasional elusive otter, yes we’ve seen them here – or at least we think we have!

Kayaking Routes on the River Lynher

The River Lynher offers a range of kayaking routes suitable for all levels of experience. 

You can start your journey by launching at Wacker Quay and paddle upstream through the idyllic countryside towards the tidal limit at Berriow Bridge, but that’s a long way! 

A paddle as far as Notter taking in the Lynher Aqueduct along the way is more than challenging enough.

Alternatively, you can head downstream towards the confluence with the River Tamar, where the Lynher meets the larger river at WIlcove, creating a stunning estuarine environment to explore.

No matter which route you choose, kayaking the River Lynher is sure to provide a memorable and serene paddling experience, surrounded by the beauty and tranquillity of the Cornish countryside.

Kayaking Cornwall on Siblyback Lake on Bodmin Moor

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Kayaking Cornwall Lakes and Canals

If you’re looking for a more sheltered kayaking experience, Cornwall’s lakes and canals provide the perfect setting.

Siblyback Lake and Bude Canal are two fantastic destinations that offer calm waters and beautiful surroundings.

Siblyback Lake: A Tranquil Kayaking Escape

Siblyback Lake, nestled on Bodmin Moor, is a serene body of water surrounded by rolling hills and abundant wildlife.

It’s an idyllic spot for a relaxing paddle without being overly stimulating so is great for younger paddlers.

As you glide across the tranquil waters, you’ll be able to take in the wonderfully diverse scenery of the surrounding moorland and appreciate the varied birdlife that calls this area home. 

The lake is also a popular spot for other water-based activities, such as sailing, paddle boarding (SUP) and windsurfing, making it a great destination for the entire family. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a peaceful and rejuvenating kayaking experience at Siblyback Lake, a true gem in the heart of Cornwall.

Bude Canal: A Unique Cornish Kayaking Experience

The Bude Canal, located in North Cornwall, offers a unique kayaking experience as you paddle along its peaceful waterways. The canal is flanked by picturesque countryside and an array of wildlife, making it a fantastic destination for nature lovers.

Kayaking Routes on the Bude Canal

Embark on an enchanting kayaking journey as you set off from the historic town of Bude and paddle along the serene waters of the canal towards the charming villages of Helebridge and Marhamchurch. 

As you glide effortlessly through the calm, reflective waters, you’ll be captivated by the verdant scenery, the gentle rustle of leaves, and the delicate call of birdsong echoing in the air. 

This picturesque canal kayaking route offers an immersive experience, allowing you to connect with nature as you encounter an array of wildlife thriving in their natural habitat.

From playful otters to graceful herons, every moment is a magical encounter. This is a more serene and tranquil kayaking experience a world apart from what the demanding Sea Kayaking destinations in Cornwall offer. 

This is a kayaking adventure that’s not only about the journey but also the stories and memories that you’ll treasure long after your paddle has touched the shore.

Kayaking Cornwall showing Kayak Hire and Rental in St Ives

The Great Cornish Outdoors: Essential Tips for Kayaking in Cornwall

When embarking on your Cornish kayaking adventure, it’s essential to keep safety in mind. 

Always wear a lifejacket, check the weather forecast and tidal conditions before setting off, and be aware of local hazards such as strong currents, submerged rocks, and changing weather conditions.

And, of course, always respect the environment by leaving no trace and keeping a safe distance from wildlife.

With its dramatic coastline, tranquil rivers, and picturesque lakes and canals, Cornwall offers a wealth of kayaking opportunities for all abilities.

Kayak Mad Discovers the Best of Cornwall Kayaking

Cornwall truly has something for every kayaker, from rugged sea kayaking adventures to peaceful river paddles.

We’ve explored some of the most iconic and beautiful kayaking spots in Cornwall, but there are countless more to discover.

So, grab your paddle, hop in your kayak, and start exploring the amazing waterways that Cornwall has to offer.

Just remember to always stay safe, respect the environment, and above all, enjoy the incredible experience of Kayaking in Cornwall!

We loved writing this piece about Kayaking Coornwall and we sincerely hope you enjoyed reading it!

Take care and happy paddling to one and all!

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