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White Water Rafting Experiences in the UK
Get drenched rafting on the finest white waters of the UK! Climb aboard a rugged inflatable raft and ride those fast-flowing rapids. No previous rafting experience is necessary, as you’ll have an on-shore safety briefing and training. We’ve got white water rafting sessions on natural river rapids and at man-made watersports centres around the country for you to choose from. White water rafting FAQs
• White water rafting at Lee Valley White Water Centre • Venue hosted the London 2012 Olympic Canoe Slalom • Gallons of fun on the grade four water course • Enjoy the views & a drink in the Terrace Bar & Cafe
• White water rafting sessions on the River Tryweryn • Paddle this popular spot on the edge of Snowdonia • Rafts take up to six, plus your guide onboard too • Raft a 5km stretch of this dam-release river
• Try the extreme version of stand up paddleboarding • This is paddleboarding, but on white water rapids • Half day or full day courses available in Wales • All the safety gear plus board & paddle included
White water rafting is one of the biggest adrenaline rushes you can have on water. You can raft out on the river tackling the natural obstacles, or do circuits of a man-made white water rafting course. It’s great fun for those who love the mix of swirling waters and tidal thrills, with the possibility of some spills at any moment!
Who it’s not for
Although the strength of the rapids varies at every location, if you’re really scared of water (particularly fast-flowing water), white water rafting might not be for you. You’ll need to work as a team to paddle together and you WILL get wet. We do have other more tranquil ways of getting out on the water though, including Stand Up Paddleboarding and Canoeing.
Rafts hold up to eight or nine rafters, as well as the instructor.
Do I have to get a whole group together to white water raft?
Not necessarily. If you book individual experiences you will be part of a group to make up a raft. Some venues do require a minimum number of people, so please see each individual rafting venue page for more details.
How are white water rapids graded?
White water rapids are given a grade between 1 and 6. One is gently flowing water, whilst level six is deemed ‘un-runnable’. The lower the number, the less gnarly the waters are!
What’s the difference between man-made and natural white water rapids?
When you go white water rafting on rivers you are riding the naturally occurring rapids in often stunning scenery. At man-made white water rafting centres the facilities are excellent and you will be riding a course where the flow of water can be controlled to make it as extreme or gentle as you like.
How many runs do I get on manmade courses?
It depends if you just want to ride straight up and down the course, or if you play in the stoppers and waves on the way down. Your experience is usually counted on a time basis, so within that time you might get multiple runs in.
Do I need to be able to swim to go white water rafting?
Each venue has its own policy on whether you need to be able to swim to white water raft. Some of the more extreme rapids will require you to be a good swimmer. In other cases, just confidence in the water is sufficient. For all experiences, an on-shore briefing will show you what to do if you fall out of the raft.
Will I need to be fit to go rafting?
Yes, a reasonable level of fitness if required for going white water rafting - and you’ll need to paddle whilst you’re in the raft too!
What should I wear for white water rafting?
Venues supply free of charge or payable locally wetsuits, helmet, buoyancy aid and sometimes wet boots too. You need to bring swimmers to wear under the wetsuit. If it’s cold a rash vest of thermal top can be a good idea.
What shoes should I wear?
You should wear trainers (preferably lace up ones) that you don’t mind getting wet. Some locations include wet boots with their provided kit.
What do I need to bring with me?
Don’t forget to bring a towel and a change of clothes. All our venues have toilet, changing and shower facilities.
Can I go rafting if I wear glasses or contact lenses?
This can vary between white water centres, but in general glasses with glass lenses are a no no, but contact lenses, glasses with plastic lenses, or prescription goggles are all OK.
Is rafting an activity for families?
It can be, yes! We have white water rafting centres that offer beginner sessions that are suitable from ages as young as 10 years old. Check each page for full details of their age policies.
Are there any height/weight/age restrictions?
Height is not such an issue as weight and chest size. For example, there may be an upper weight limit of around 18 stone and chest size needs to be less than 48”. Don’t forget to double check restrictions on each supplier page before you book.
Is white water rafting dangerous?
White water rafting is an extreme sport. You will definitely get wet and you might fall in the water, but you will have all the necessary safety equipment and your instructor will be onboard the raft with you at all times. Certain man-made centres also have staff stationed on the banks of the run. And of course, before you launch, you will have a full safety briefing.
Will I fall in the water whilst rafting?
If you want to fall in, that can definitely be arranged! For many it’s all part of the fun. For those who are not so keen, it’s worth noting that instructors will tailor the rafting to ride less aggressive waters.
Can I take a camera or GoPro on the raft with me?
No. Even if you have head or chest mounts, GoPros/cameras are not allowed in the raft with you for safety reasons. Get your on-shore supporters to do the filming for you!
Where can I go white water rafting in the UK?
We have got some of the best white water rafting locations in the country for you. There are superb rivers in Scotland and Wales offering varied rapids in wonderful settings. And we have some of the best-equipped man-made white water rafting centres in the UK for you too. Here’s where you can go white water rafting: