Canoe Hire

Our canoe hire offers exciting and adventurous experiences on the beautiful waterways of Kempston and Central Bedford. Our company is dedicated to providing you with the best possible canoeing experience, whether you are a seasoned paddler or a first-time explorer. With our two convenient launch locations, we make it easy for you to embark on your canoeing journey and explore the stunning scenery that our local waterways have to offer.

What is a Canoe?

Canoes are the traditional (Canadian) open boats originally used for load-carrying and exploring Canada’s remote wilderness. We have a large collection of canoes allowing 2, 3, or 4 paddlers to take to the water.

A canoe 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. The larger canoes are more stable, wider, and slower. We also have canoes for sale from time to time.

Read the difference between a kayak and canoe

Popular Canoe Hire

We offer canoes with various seating configurations, including 2-person canoes and temporary seats available for children and young people. We will provide all the necessary equipment for the day, including suitable canoes, paddles, basic map, waterproof dry bags, buoyancy aids, trolleys and waterproof tops.

Kempston Hire
From £17
Hire available all week 1 Hour

You start at Kempston and paddle downstream through picturesque river meadows with lots of...

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Kempston Hire
From £45
Hire available Saturdays during season 4.45 Hours
Bedford Hire
From £49
Only available for large groups 5 Hours
Bedford Hire
From £30
Hire available weekends 2.5 Hours

Hire a Canoe for a Full Day

Our premier canoe hire company is located in Bedford on the stunning River Great Ouse. We offer a wide range of watercraft, including canoes, kayaks, double kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards, ensuring you can explore the river in a style that suits you best.

Our most popular trip is a full-day canoe hire. We recommend that you book one of our river journeys, where you can choose your craft and route for a self-guided hire, allowing you to explore at your own pace. Our knowledgeable staff are always on hand to provide expert advice on the best routes to take and the equipment you need to have a memorable adventure.

For those looking for a longer and more challenging experience, our multiday trips with canoe camping options offer an unforgettable adventure. You can stay at our woodland campsite and explore the river at your leisure, with the added benefit of experiencing the beautiful nature of the area.

Hire for Large Groups

You can hire for a large group via our online booking as we have many canoes available. We can offer a special longer river journey to larger groups (minimum of 16 people) and you will need to contact us. 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.

Bromham to Bedford (6 miles)
Bedford to Great Barford (7 ½ miles)
Great Barford to St Neots (8miles)
Bromham to Great Barford (13 ½ miles typically about 6-7 hours)
Bedford to St Neots (14 miles typically 7 hours)

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you kneel or sit in canoe?

For our canoe hire, it is recommended to sit in a canoe rather than kneeling. Sitting can be more comfortable and less strenuous on the knees and back over longer periods of time.

However, kneeling can be useful in certain situations, such as when navigating rapids or when trying to increase the power and efficiency of your paddling strokes. You would only experience these river conditions on our courses or expeditions.

What is it called when you walk with a canoe?

Note, for our hire you only ever need to carry your canoe on full day hire and this is for a small distance.

When you walk with a canoe, it is typically referred to as "portaging." Portaging is the act of carrying a canoe over land between bodies of water. This is often necessary when encountering obstacles such as dams, rapids, or shallow areas that cannot be navigated by boat.

Do you need 2 people to canoe?

You do not necessarily need two people to canoe but should only solo if you are experienced. Canoes can be paddled solo or with a group of people. Our hire canoes are designed to accommodate multiple paddlers, with two or more people paddling together to navigate the boat. The number of paddlers needed for a canoe depends on the size of the boat, the intended use, and personal preference.

You cannot book a solo canoe for our hire but can take a lesson or canoe trip in one

Is it easier to kayak or canoe?

Kayaks are generally faster and more manoeuvrable than canoes due to their streamlined shape and lower profile in the water, but they can also be more tippy and difficult to balance.

Canoes offer a more stable platform for paddling and can carry more gear and people, but may require more effort to paddle and steer due to their larger size and bulkier shape. Ultimately, both activities offer unique benefits and challenges, and the choice comes down to personal preference and circumstances. Read the difference between the two.

Related Canoe Articles

Are you looking to explore the UK waterways by canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard? Here's some information to help you plan your adventure.

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