Dinghy sailing isn’t all about open seas – rivers, lakes and reservoirs are all fantastic places to sail. What’s more, when it comes to inland sailing dinghy locations, the UK rivals anywhere in Europe. Granted, sometimes our weather might not be the best, but the sailing skills you build in British weather are second to none.
With that in mind, we’ve picked the best spots in the UK for inland dinghy sailing. Where will you be setting sail?
1. Lake Windermere, The Lake District
Any list that involves lakes is bound to feature the Lake District. With an area of 14.73 km2, Lake Windermere is not only the largest lake in the Lake District, but it’s also the largest natural lake in England.
You’ll see all kinds of boats making the most of the water, from dinghies and paddle boards to catamarans and rowing boats – but don’t worry there’s plenty of room for everyone. If you want to hone your dinghy sailing skills, there are also several sailing clubs dotted around the lake that offer sailing lessons. Alternatively, you can go it alone and bask in the Lake District’s beauty from your own boat!
2. The Broads National Park, Norfolk
The Norfolk Broads are made up of a series of (mostly) navigable rivers and lakes, spanning 303 kilometres – 200 of which are navigable by boat. All of these kilometres of waterways means there are plenty of places to explore if you’re looking for a sailing adventure!
If wildlife also floats your boat, the Broads are home to more than a quarter of the rarest wildlife in the UK, so you’ll have plenty of company alongside your dinghy.
3. Loch Lomond, Scotland
Scotland is famed for its lochs, but don’t worry about the Loch Ness Monster capsizing your boat! Instead, the next entry on our inland dinghy list is 125 miles south of Loch Ness and is the third largest freshwater lake in the UK: Loch Lomond.
With its breath-taking scenery, consistent sailing conditions and friendly sailing club, it’s easy to see why Loch Lomond is one of Scotland’s most popular sailing lochs. The Loch Lomond Sailing Club specialises in dinghy racing if you want to make your sail a little more competitive.
4. The Yealm, Devon
Tucked away behind a sandbar that guards its entrance, you’d be forgiven for completely passing the entrance to the River Yealm. Once you complete the task of entering the river, you’ll be rewarded with tranquil waters and, since parts of the river aren’t suitable for yachts, plenty of other dinghies to keep you company or race against!
5. Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire
The first reservoir on our list of Inland Dinghy sailing spots is Grafham Water, which is known for its calm waters and consistently fair weather. No matter your level of sailing experience, you’ll be in safe hands with Grafham Water Sailing Club – one of the UK’s most popular sailing clubs - who cater to sailors of all abilities.
6. Bewl Water, Kent
The largest stretch of open water in the South East and set in the beautiful countryside of the Kent and Sussex borders, Bewl Water is certainly worth a trip with your boat. Sailing dinghies of all classes are welcome in all seasons, seven days a week.
If you sail a Laser or a Flying 15, Bewl Sailing Club has fleets you can join if you plan on visiting this reservoir regularly – why not cruise and socialise at the same time?
7. River Thames
If you fancy somewhere less off the beaten track, where better than the Thames? You might think the waters of the Thames wouldn’t be suitable for a sailing dinghy, but the most popular sailing crafts found on the Thames are indeed dinghies.
The Thames is long enough that if you don’t fancy taking on the river in the heart of London you can take it further West towards Reading and enjoy more rural scenes. However, if you do fancy sailing on the London section of the Thames, it’s an extraordinary way to see the city.
Did any of these inland dinghy sailing spots take your fancy? If they did, make sure to take out Specialist Dinghy Insurance so you can enjoy the wind in your sails without any unnecessary worries!