Sileby, Leicestershire, UK

Review: Paddle to the Pub with Let's Get Lost #AD


There's no better place to spend a sunny weekend than down by the river. Leicestershire has some truly beautiful waterways to choose from, in particular the picturesque River Soar. Recently, I was invited along to explore the Soar and its surrounding backwaters on a four-hour kayaking trip with outdoor adventure company Let's Get Lost. My husband and I joined one of their four-hour Paddle to the Pub experiences. The premise of these trips is simple: enjoy a paddle downstream, stop for refreshments at a local pub, and hop back into your kayak to head home. We had an absolutely fantastic time on our riverside adventure and today's post is all about why I would highly recommend it!

Getting started

Our kayaking adventure began at the Waterside Inn on Sileby Road. Happily, the venue was really easy to find using my sat nav and there was lots of parking available on the grass. The Let's Get Lost team, Bruce and Sophie, had set up big signs in the car park so we knew exactly where to go to find our group. There were twelve of us on the Paddle to the Pub adventure, and when we were ready to begin, we were kitted out with buoyancy aids, kayaks, and paddles. Single and double kayaks were available for us to use, according to our preference.

Before we set off, we were given a full safety briefing, which included going over river etiquette to ensure that we wouldn't get in the way of any narrowboats or other canal users. We also had the chance to go for a test paddle to check that we were happy with how to wield our paddles and work together to get our kayak going in the right direction. Paddling the kayak was quite straightforward once we got the hang of it. We just had to remember the trick for steering, which can seem a bit counterintuitive at first. To turn left, paddle at the right hand side of your kayak and to turn right, paddle at the left hand side! 

Leicester kayaking Paddle to the Pub
Let's Get Lost kayaking review Leicester

Our Paddle to the Pub

Bruce and Sophie gave each group of kayakers a map of the river so that we knew exactly where we were headed. They didn't paddle alongside us, but we had their contact numbers in case we got lost or needed assistance. The map had plenty of options: we could visit The Navigation in Barrow upon Soar, which was around 1 hour and 15 minutes from the start, The Moorings which was a further 25 minutes up river, or we had the option for paddling around for the full four hours and returning to the Waterside Inn to enjoy a meal at the end of the trip. The great thing about the Paddle to the Pub experience is that you can choose your destination and take it entirely at your own pace. There was no pressure to keep up with the rest of our fellow paddlers. You can put your foot on the gas and zoom along if you like, but we took it at a very leisurely pace, taking in the beautiful Leicestershire countryside. 

Leicester kayaking Paddle to the Pub
Let's Get Lost kayaking review Leicester

The Navigation Pub

The pub that we chose to stop at was The Navigation. Our trip took place on a Sunday when they were serving the typical British roast dinners, but if you are interested in indulging in one of these, I would recommend booking a table as they were very busy in the sunshine! We didn't feel like a full roast dinner, but we did share a portion of fries to keep us going on the journey home. They went down a treat alongside a bottle of fruity Rekorderlig cider! The pub had a really charming outdoor deck overlooking the river and plenty of indoor seating too, so it would make the ideal stop in any weather.

Why we loved it

1) A different view of the countryside

Since international holidays are likely to be tricky this summer, there is no better option for those with itchy feet than looking at your local area through fresh eyes. Getting down into the river was a real pleasure as it gave us such a different take of the familiar river and canal landscape that's usually only viewed from the bank! 

3) So much nature!

Mother Nature definitely came to say hello during our trip. We spotted some beautiful blue dragonflies flitting among the reeds, a pair of preening swans who luckily didn't mind too much as we glided past them, and a couple of noisy ducks who were also enjoying a paddle!

2) The peace and quiet

Although our river route took us very close to a main road in some places (we actually paddled under the A6 a couple of times!), most of the route was really tranquil and you escaped any road noise entirely. It was a really relaxing experience despite the workout!

4) A highly memorable day out

In a few short weeks, I'll saying goodbye to Leicester for good. To be able to explore the surrounding county in such an amazing way before I leave has given me some memories to treasure. I've got a major relocation coming very soon, but I'll definitely miss this lovely part of the world!

Leicester kayaking Paddle to the Pub
Let's Get Lost kayaking review Leicester

An unexpected end...

One of the highlights of our kayaking excursion came right at the very end. When the Waterside Inn came into view once more, our guides met us at the lock adjacent to the pub. But instead of climbing out of our kayaks and walking around the lock to the car park, we actually got to travel inside the lock itself! It was such a cool experience: one of our guides opened the big wooden gates of the lock and we paddled inside. We then positioned ourselves right at the back of the lock while the gates were shut behind us and the water allowed to flood inside. We waited for the water level inside the lock to rise to the level of the canal ahead of us, before the gates at the front of the lock were opened and we gilded out. It sounds really complicated but it couldn't have been easier - Bruce and Sophie gave us clear instructions and we felt really safe. This was a truly unforgettable part of the trip!

My tips for a successful kayaking experience:

1) Purchase a dry bag for your belongings

Any waterborne activity is guaranteed to result in you getting a little damp, so buying a dry bag to store your phone, keys, and camera safely in your kayak is essential. I purchased a very inexpensive dry-bag from Decathlon and it served us very well.    You can, of course, simply opt for a carrier bag or other plastic alternative, but nothing beats the security of a dry bag.

3) Wear sport appropriate clothing and shoes

Kayaking is quite the upper-body workout! You'll definitely be most comfortable on your Paddle to the Pub if you come dressed for exercise. Trainers are the most suitable form of footwear too as you do have to clamber in and out of the kayak - flip flops are too likely come off your feet if you slip!

2) Don't forget your SPF!

As you can probably tell from the beautiful sunshine in the pictures, our kayaking trip took place on a very warm day. I completely blanked on packing sun cream and thankfully I wasn't too burned, but I'd definitely encourage others not to make the same mistake, just in case. Nobody wants to end their fun afternoon on the water looking like a freshly boiled lobster!

4) Take a change of clothes for afterwards

Unless you really fancy driving home in sodden clothes, I'd highly recommend taking some comfy clothing to change into once you've finished your kayaking adventure. I was very grateful to past Abbey for even remembering to pack a spare set of underwear - I was soaked to the skin!

Let's Get Lost kayaking Leicestershire

Cost and how to book

A four-hour Paddle to the Pub with Let's Get Lost will set you back £50 per person. To make the experience even more special, you can also add on a bottle of bubbly or your own personal tour guide when making your booking. I had such a wonderful time on the river - it's a really different way to spend a weekend and well worth a go!

Let’s Get Lost kayaking adventures are not just about having a great time. They are also about giving back and supporting those people in Leicestershire who need it the most through their charity partnerships. When you book an adventure, make sure you use one of the charity codes below. Let's Get Lost will then donate 10% of your trip booking cost to that charity! You'll get 10% off the price of your booking too.

Brightsparks: BS10         Something To Look Forward To: STLFT10

Have you ever been kayaking? Let me know in the comments!