Canoe Hire

Canoe Trail offers high-quality canoes, equipment, and simple bank-based tuition at great paddling locations. Hire 2 person to family of 5 canoes for your very own river adventure.


Our canoe rental fleet includes a range of different boats with different seating configurations. We have temporary seats for children and young people as well as kids-sized paddlers.

Group in Hire Kayaks on the River Great Ouse

What is a Canoe?

Canoes are the traditional (Canadian) open boats originally used for load carrying and exploring Canada’s remote wilderness. We have different canoes allowing 2, 3, or 4 paddlers to take to the water. Your paddle has a blade on one end and a T piece of grip on the other with paddlers facing forwards. Our canoes vary in design from traditional prospector designs in 16ft and 17ft canoes as well as shorter more stable 14.5ft designs which are more stable, wider, and slower. We also have canoes for sale from time to time.

We can provide the necessary equipment that you will need for your trip including:

  • Suitable canoe
  • Paddles (we have some junior paddles)
  • A basic map
  • Waterproof dry bags
  • Buoyancy Aids
  • Trolleys (if needed)
  • Waterproof tops (if needed)
  • We also have some back support for those with back problems.

Couple hiring yellow canoe on the river ouse

Day Hire

A large proportion of our canoe hire is based on the River Great Ouse in Bedford. The best way to rent canoes is to book one of our river journeys. Pick your route and craft for a self-guided hire (there and back). If you want to try something a little longer and possibly a bit more challenging then you can opt for a multiday trip with canoe camping options staying in our woodland campsite. Depending on whether you hire a canoe, kayak, double kayak, or stand-up paddleboard you will also find that you can travel at slightly different speeds. 

Hire & River Journeys for Large Groups (over 16 people)

We can offer a river journey to larger groups (minimum of 16 people). They offer a perfect mix of stunning rural countryside and Bedford’s Victorian Embankment. There are a number of different options for paddling and hire on the River Great Ouse. We can advise you on duration and route depending on what the group is looking for, length of time paddling, pace, and of course what you would like to see. These include:

  • Bromham to Bedford (6 miles): This starts below the 14th century stone bridge and small rapids in Bromham and flows gently down to Kempston Weir which you need to portage (carry around) and then continues down into Bedford and its historic Victorian Embankment. Paddlers usually stop by the Longholme Boating Lake and café.
  • Bedford to Great Barford (7 ½ miles): This part of the trail starts near the Butterfly Bridge on Bedford’s Embankment opposite Russell Park on the lower river. Paddlers then paddle down to Cardington and postage past Cardington Lock, onto Castle Mill with another portage (carry around) before arriving at the final Lock at Willington. This part of the trail passes through the Bedford River Valley Park and also the Danish Camp, Riverside Café. This section of the trail ends at Great Barford next to the Anchor pub and the bridge above Great Barford Weir
  • Great Barford to St Neots (8miles): Great Barford to St Neots is another particularly rural and scenic stretch of the river. The water here is crystal clear with a few reeds rippling in the lazy current. The trail passes the back of Wyboston Lakes, the old Mill at Eaton Soccon, and heads into St Neots riverside town. The trail either ends at the Ambiance Café next to the town bridge or further downstream at the River Side Campsite where many of our paddlers chose to camp over.

 Longer river journeys include:

  • Bromham to Great Barford (13 ½ miles typically about 6-7 hours)
  • Bedford to St Neots (14 miles typically 7 hours)

Popular Hire

From £39
Available All Week 4.5 Hours
From £49
Available Set Days 5 Hours
From £19
Available Weekends 1 Hour
From £29
Available Weekends 2 Hours