If you’re looking to get out and about in London a bit more now that summer is finally here (am I the only one who thinks it’s a bit too hot?) I have a great secret adventure you can go on with your friends that TOTALLY counts as one of your weekly exercise routines – a kayaking trip through East London’s canals, conveniently ending right by Crate Brewery where you can immediately undo all the good work!
Secret Adventures bring you unusual and off grid adventures in London and beyond. These adventures are designed to generate a sense of exploration and wonder. We like water, we like fire and we like to explore. Adventures so far have included swimming over to a secret island to wild camp around a fire, kayaking at night under Tower Bridge and Husky sledding in the arctic circle.
Our Secret Adventure was once again arranged by the Love Pop Ups London team and the eight of us met up at the Canoe Shed just underneath Limehouse DLR station, along with the other participants – once everyone was assembled we threw our belongings into the back of the van that would meet us at the finishing point, donned our safety jackets and were given a quick tutorial on how best to hold our oars by our Moo Canoes guides who would be leading us – no experience is necessary to take part but you do need to be over 18.
Off we set, two people to a kayak, and we couldn’t have asked for a better evening. The sun was setting throughout the trip which thankfully meant that the air was a little cooler and the random unexpected splashes from our oars were a godsend. (make sure you take a bottle of water with you too though!) If it isn’t so pleasant, the company will also provide you with waterproofs so you can still take part whatever the weather.
It felt a little bit like dodgems on water as we navigated our way out of the mooring point but once onto the canal straits itself it was super peaceful – we saw baby ducklings, were grossed out by the amount of rubbish in the water, giggled childishly at some interesting graffiti and almost got attacked by a protective mummy swan. But for me, the most interesting/fun part was near the end of our journey where we all heaped in to a lock and watched as the gates closed behind us and we were rapidly floated upwards so we could continue our journey on a totally different level. I’ve always found locks to be a fascinating piece of engineering and being right in the middle of one was a nerdy dream come true – I can only describe it as the worlds largest bath!
You spend about an hour and a half total kayaking and you’ll definitely feel it if you’re not one for regular exercise like me but the best part is that you disembark at Hackney Wick, just minutes from the famous Crate Brewery who as well as brewing their own beer (obvs) also make the most delicious sourdough pizzas – the perfect reward for an evening well spent.
The Crate Brewery kayaking experience can exclusively be booked through Secret Adventures and costs £45 per person, including a two person kayak, paddles, buoyancy aids, instructors, waterproof barrels for valuables and a van to transport your belongings to the end point if you did not want to take on the kayak with you.
Any pizza/drink you indulge in at the end is at your own expense. I think this would be a super cool activity to do either with a large group of friends or as a really fun date idea. Honestly, who wants to spend another entire evening in the pub getting drunk?