A walker posing with his dog.

Where To Canoe In Sussex

With the camping season just getting started, there are plenty of locals and holidaymakers looking for an exciting day out on the water. Canoeing offers a family friendly way to explore our waterways, with many rivers and estuaries encouraging canoe and kayak enthusiasts to enjoy the sights. Canoeing is a low impact sport making it a suitable day out for families and friends of a range of ages and fitness levels, depending on where you are canoeing. Depending on how experienced you are on the water and whether you are bringing young children to head out with you, going on the water with an instructor or guide can be very helpful. If you are going out canoeing, remember that staying safe is paramount. Having a lifejacket and companions are a must, even on very slow moving water.  

Sussex is a beautiful part of the country with plenty of wild spaces to explore. This article will discuss some of the best places to head out to if you are interested in spending some time canoeing, whether you have your own canoes to bring or are going on a canoe tour with an instructor to help you find your way.  


Bewl Water is the largest reservoir in the south east, offering a wide variety of options for those looking to enjoy a day out, including sailing, paddleboarding, fishing, cycling, and of course canoeing. Our canoe club welcomes people of a variety of ages and abilities, and our incredible club has a variety of options. The reservoir straddles the border between Kent and Sussex and is home to a rich variety of wildlife. The lack of any strong currents or waves makes the reservoir the perfect place for newcomers to the sport to start out.  

If you are interested in a day out canoeing but maybe won’t want to sign up as a member, book one of our taster sessions. If you join on a more permanent basis there will be a range of opportunities to explore not just Bewl Water, but to go river canoeing as well. As a club member you will have access to our equipment and our group training sessions if you want to invest more time into the sport. 

River Ouse

This beautiful river is a fantastic place to visit, whether it is for a walk along the length of the river or to explore by canoe. The Sussex River Ouse is a network of streams, brooks and tributaries that run for 750 miles. Between 1790 and 1814 the river was dug deeper and wider in places to allow for easy transport of goods on the river, making it a perfect spot for beginners to canoe. 

There are some truly stunning landscapes to pass through on a trip down the River Ouse, rising in Lower Beeding and meandering through Lewes before passing into the sea at Newhaven. Depending on whether you are an experienced navigator and have been canoeing before, booking a guided tour to explore the River Ouse can help ensure you are never out of your depth while exploring the banks of this historic location.  

Hastings Beach

Hastings is home to a canoe club and the largest beach launched fishing fleet in Europe. The profession of fishing and the various sea food options that can be found in the water around Hastings are crucial to the local identity of the people living there. The pebble beach offers the perfect launch point for a day spent canoeing in the sea with your family. While you are in Hastings, taking the time to peruse the local fishmongers or to buy fish and chips to eat by the sea is a perfect way to end a hard day canoeing in Hastings.  

In Hastings there are many attractions to enjoy, such as the fishing museum located near the beach as well as a gallery, perfect for exploring. The sea around Hastings can be difficult to navigate in rough weather, so going with a group or an instructor is important for newcomers to the sport, to ensure you stay safe.  


Bodiam Castle lies close to the River Rother which feeds into the moat around Bodiam Castle. The River Rother passes from Bodiam down to Rye Harbour, and the river itself would historically have been a busy throughway, with boats taking goods and travellers up and down. While Sussex and Kent are largely considered rural and quiet places to come and canoe, historically the landscape would be filled with workers for the farms, mills and wild spaces along the river’s banks.  

Bodiam Castle is surrounded by a moat, making it one of the best historical landmarks to explore by canoe. There are a number of launch sites around Rye that can take you to the castle, and booking a tour can be a great way to explore the area and can help you progress along the river at good pace.  


Brighton is a popular tourist destination, with many coming to Sussex to visit the city each year. The city is renowned for the beautiful beachfront and the thriving alternative culture and incredible architecture. With the beach a popular getaway for locals across Sussex, there is a range of watersports available for visitors, including canoeing.  

With the area around the pier to explore as well as the Brighton Cliffs, there is plenty to explore along the coast. If you are canoeing in Brighton for the first time, going with an instructor is important as the sea can be dangerous in certain weather conditions.  

If you are planning a day out canoeing or considering getting a canoe club membership, then please contact us here. Our staff at the canoe club will be delighted to talk to you about what we do and what we offer our members. If you are interested in another one of the watersports that we have here at Bewl, then follow the link here for more information about watersports at Bewl Water reservoir.