Oxfordshire’s waterways include the River Thames, the Cherwell, and the Windrush, providing a variety of scenic routes suitable for both beginners and seasoned paddle boarders.
The challenge many face is finding those perfect spots that not only offer breathtaking views but also have convenient parking, somewhere to buy food and drink, and easy access to the water.
With so many options, how do you decide where to start?
Summary of Where to Paddleboard in Oxfordshire
We’re going to guide you through some of Oxfordshire’s most loved paddle boarding locations, providing a comprehensive guide for 6 different locations throughout Oxfordshire.
Check the location before you decide to paddle!
Although these locations were deemed to be safe at the time of writing of this post, it is essential that you carry out your own safety assessment of the area before your go near the water.
Please read our Guide to SUP Safety for more information.
After reading the insights from this post, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to make the most out of your Oxfordshire paddle boarding adventures, safely experiencing the county’s mesmerising waterways and countryside views.
The River Thames – Medley Bridge
Christ Church Meadow is a prime location for paddle boarding in Oxfordshire, offering paddlers easy access to the River Thames as well as stunning views of the surrounding historic architecture.
1. Walton Well Road Car Park – 0.2 mile walk.
2. Port Meadow South Parking – 0.23 mile walk.
Small, gently sloping beach area beside the main path from the car park.
Access to the River Thames and Castle Mill Stream.
Food and Drink
The Medley Pub is located on the opposite bank of the river, accessible via the bridge. They serve a selection of drinks and food, including pizza from their wood fired oven.
Christ Church College
As you paddle along the River Thames, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of Christ Church College, one of Oxford’s oldest and most iconic buildings.
The college’s stunning architecture, including Tom Tower and the Great Quadrangle, serves as a beautiful backdrop for your SUP journey.
Alice in Wonderland inspiration
While paddling through Christ Church Meadow, you’ll also be immersed in the world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The meadow and its surroundings are said to have inspired the famous author as he was a mathematics lecturer at Christ Church College.
Keep an eye out for features such as the whispering willows and enchanting gardens that may have sparked the imaginative world of Alice.
The River Thames – Port Meadow
Port Meadow, a vast and ancient common land in Oxfordshire, is another fantastic destination for paddle boarders looking to explore the natural beauty of the region.
Godstow Car Park – 2.1m height restriction. Public toilets available.
Various access points along the river side of the Port Meadow. Check access points before you launch.
Food and Drink
The Trout Inn, accessible via the Godstow Road. It is recommended that you don’t try to access the pub from the river. This is an excellent and very popular pub, booking is recommended.
Wild horses and cows
As you glide through Port Meadow, you’ll be accompanied by the sight of wild horses and cows grazing on the lush grass. These animals have roamed freely in the meadow for centuries, adding to the area’s charm and tranquility.
Historic ruins of Godstow Abbey
You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the historic ruins of Godstow Abbey. Founded in the 12th century, the abbey was once home to an order of Benedictine nuns and is now a picturesque landmark for paddlers to enjoy.
The River Thames – Nag’s Head Island and Abingdon Lock
The Abingdon to Culham stretch of the River Thames offers paddle boarders a delightful journey through picturesque countryside and historic landmarks in Oxfordshire.
1. Rye Farm Long Stay Car Park – max 2m height.2. Hales Meadow Car Park.
Easy access to the River Thames.
Various access points along the Thames Path beside the Rye Farm Meadow. Check access points before you launch.
Food and Drink
The Nag’s Head, on Nag’s Head Island and walkable from both car parks. This is a very popular pub, booking is recommended. Serves a traditional pub menu and wood fired pizzas.
As you paddle along the river, you’ll pass under the striking Abingdon Bridge, a beautiful 15th-century structure that spans the Thames. Its elegant arches provide a picturesque backdrop for your SUP experience.
Further along your journey, you’ll come across Swift Ditch, an ancient, meandering watercourse that once served as the main navigation channel of the River Thames. This peaceful and secluded spot offers a serene escape from the main river, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.
The River Cherwell – Victoria Arms
The Cherwell between Victoria Arms and King’s Lock offers a picturesque and tranquil paddle boarding experience, perfect for those seeking a relaxing escape from the city.
Parking is available at the Victoria Arms pub in Old Marston, located on the bank of the River Cherwell.
You can access the River Cherwell from the Pub’s landing stage at the end of the garden. We would advise that you order food and drinks at the pub in return for using their facilities.
Food and Drink
The Victoria Arms pub is located close to Marston on the River Cherwell, Mill Ln, Oxford OX3 0QA. The pub has good reviews and offers a variety of pub food and drinks. The main attraction of this pub is it’s spectacular location, with access to the River Cherwell.
Victoria Arms Pub
Begin your journey at the Victoria Arms Pub, a charming riverside establishment with easy access to the Cherwell. With its beautiful outdoor seating area, the pub is an ideal spot to launch your SUP and enjoy a meal or refreshments before or after your paddle.
Marston Ferry is a quiet stretch of the river is nestled between the residential area of Marston and the University of Oxford’s sports grounds, providing a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
As you glide along the river, you’ll be treated to views of lush greenery, local wildlife, and glimpses of Oxford’s historic architecture in the distance.
Farmoor Reservoir – Oxford SUP Club
The best way to gain access to Farmoor Reservoir is by visiting the Oxford SUP Club.
Visit the Oxford SUP Club website for more details of SUP Lessons. They are also running social drop in paddle sessions between 10am and 6pm on Saturdays from April to October.
I would suggest contacting the club before turning up, just to make sure they are running the sessions.
As you paddle across the reservoir, you’ll have the opportunity to spot a variety of wildlife, including numerous species of waterfowl and birds of prey. The reservoir is also home to a thriving fish population, which attracts anglers from far and wide.
Beautiful open water views
Farmoor Reservoir offers stunning open water views, with the vast expanse of the water contrasting beautifully with the surrounding countryside.
The Oxford Canal – Thrupp to Kidlington
The Oxford Canal, stretching from Thrupp to Kidlington, offers a tranquil and picturesque paddle boarding experience, perfect for those seeking a peaceful escape amidst the English countryside.
Short Stay parking is available behind Annie’s Tea Rooms.
Paddle Boards can be launched at the edge of the canal, which is a short walk from the car park.
Food and Drink
Annie’s Tea Rooms is the best place to stop for refreshment during your paddle on the Oxford Canal.
Annie’s Tea Room, Thrupp
Begin your journey at Annie’s Tea Room in Thrupp, a delightful riverside establishment that provides easy access to the Oxford Canal. With its charming atmosphere, delicious homemade treats, and outdoor seating area, the tea room is an ideal spot to launch your SUP and enjoy a meal or refreshments before or after your paddle.
Kidlington Green Lock
Another convenient access point is Kidlington Green Lock, a well-maintained lock located just south of Kidlington. This quiet spot offers ample space to launch your paddle board and start your exploration of the scenic Oxford Canal.
As you paddle along the Oxford Canal, you’ll be immersed in the lush greenery and serene atmosphere of the surrounding countryside. The tranquil waters and idyllic rural scenery provide the perfect backdrop for a relaxing SUP adventure.
Narrowboats and wildlife
The canal is home to an array of narrowboats, adding charm and character to your paddle boarding experience. As you navigate the calm waters, you’ll also have the opportunity to spot a variety of wildlife, including birds, fish, and other aquatic creatures.
Recommendations for equipment rental and SUP lessons
Check out our page about the best places to paddle board near me, it’s got a great interactive map with loads of SUP locations.
If you’re new to paddle boarding or need to rent equipment, research local rental facilities and SUP schools in the area. Opt for reputable providers with positive reviews and ensure that they offer the necessary gear and instruction for a safe and enjoyable experience.
More Paddling Locations
If you’re looking for more paddling routes, a great place to look is on the Go Paddle website. Members of the public can add their favourite paddling locations and add tips and comments to help others.