London Lounge is a strand where I describe one of my recent strolls round the capital (with plentyof stops at coffee shops and pubs). This quarter I’m not on foot though, I’m in a kayak!
I’ve done a bit of gentle canoeing before (the rivers Wye and Stour) and jumped at the chance of kayaking down the Thames – although when I arrived at Moo Canoes I had misgivings; the trip involved crossing the busy river twice – and it’s pretty wide once it’s reached East London. Katie at Moo reassured me all would be fine and one of the more experienced (and youngest) of our group was allocated to me as my buddy.
First up, we crossed the river (not as scary as it sounds) and started paddling eastwards towards Canary Wharf. Thankfully the journey is planned so that you travel with the tide both ways – however, it was still quite hard work, and I got drenched as my paddling technique involved splashing myself with alarming regularity. We passed the docklands industrial landscape, eventually approaching Greenwich. I’ve been to Greenwich many times, but viewing it from the river is quite a different experience. First of all the Cutty Sark looms into view, then the Royal Naval College, the Queens House, and behind that the Royal Observatory. We continued past the power station, then beached our boats for the bit everyone was looking forward to: the pub lunch.
The Cutty Sark pub is slightly out of the centre of Greenwich but well worth the detour. It’s been refurbished since I last visited but still retains it’s lovely cosy atmosphere. The dining room (pictured) is upstairs with great views of the Thames. Moo Canoes had phoned our food orders through beforehand so there was a very short wait for our enormous lunches. Our 9-strong group sampled the wine, beer and cider on offer and gave it an unreserved thumbs up.
The journey back involved crossing the Thames downstream from Greenwich and retracing our steps on the other side of the river, passing some wonderful buildings.
If you don’t mind getting soaked and aching for a few days afterwards, I’d highly recommend this trip (but don’t forget your waterproof trousers!). You can find out more about Moo Canoes here.