Paddleboarding on the River Arun

The Arun is a river in the county of West Sussex.  It is one of the faster flowing rivers in England, and is tidal as far inland as Pallingham Quay, 25.5 miles ( upstream from the sea at Littlehampton.

Our journey starts in Littlehampton at a car park right on the rivers edge by the Look and Sea Visitors Centre.

The car park here is purpose made for people looking to gain access to the slip ramp directly into the river and or out to sea.  Cost for us was £6.50 for the entire day, but it fills up quickly so plan your timing carefully if the weather is good and you are there in the holidays.

Postcode for the car park is BN17 5AW and road name is Surrey Street.

Warning about the Arun

The river has currents running between 4-6 knots but that is the least of your worries.   It is quite a volatile water with plenty of places to get into trouble with turbulent swirling water as well as having boat traffic to deal with.  Whilst it is a fun and scenic place it isn’t a place I would consider taking beginners and would definitely recommend buoyancy aids and leashes.

Planning the route

Not too many options as far as route goes, you simply follow the river inland, but timing is critical.  With such a strong tidal flow affecting the river over 20 miles upstream it makes sense to leave Littlehampton with the right amount of time to aid your travel upstream but that is something you need to calculate depending on how far up you wanted to go.

Littlehampton to the Black Rabbit pub – this route sees you travel approximately 7 miles upstream to a cracking pub with river side tie ups for your boards.  This is the first pub you have direct water access to after passing Arundel village and castle.

Time taken to cover this distance was approximately 1 1/2 hours at a very leisurely pace.   We left Littlehampton approximately 2 1/2 hours before high tide so we had time to relax at the pub and grab something to eat. Whilst the flow takes a while to change direction it quickly kicks in on your route back down river and the water becomes quite turbulent at the river mouth.


Just past Arundel Castle.  The river is meandering nicely here and not long til we get to the Black Rabbit pub for lunch.


Heading through Arundel Village on a sunny day by standup paddleboard with Sussex SUP Club.


Launching on an incoming tide.  Plenty of flow to get you moving with no effort.