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Lee Valley White Water Centre

Sport and fitness, Stadiums Waltham Cross
4 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
 (© Elisabeth Blanchet / Time Out)
© Elisabeth Blanchet / Time Out
 (© Rob Greig / Time Out)
© Rob Greig / Time Out
 (© Elisabeth Blanchet / Time Out)
© Elisabeth Blanchet / Time Out
 (© Rob Greig/Time Out)
© Rob Greig/Time Out
 (© Elisabeth Blanchet / Time Out)
© Elisabeth Blanchet / Time Out

This London 2012 Olympic Games venue is open to the public for adrenalin-fuelled white-water rafting, canoeing and kayaking sessions – riding the rapids that challenged the world's best makes for an action-packed experience. On the centre's raft adventure, you'll be high-siding, spinning and nose dunking on the Olympic Standard Competition course before you know it. In addition to rafting, the lake, Legacy course and Olympic course are used for a number of kayaking activities catering for everyone from complete beginners to more proficient paddlers.

New activities for the 2014 season include Hydrospeeding, which is similar to bodyboarding, or Hot Dog sessions, which are held on two person inflatables and acts as a good introduction to kayaking. Corporate and team building days out can be booked and, during the summer, the centre hosts canoe polo as well as aquathlons.

Those who prefer to sit back and watch the action should head for the licensed café bar, which has a terrace overlooking the course. All rafters must be aged 14+. For opening times and seasons see the website.


Venue name: Lee Valley White Water Centre
Address: Station Rd
Waltham Cross
Opening hours: Wed 8am-9pm; Thur 8am-10pm; Fri-Sun 8am-6pm
Transport: Rail: Waltham Cross
Price: £49 off peak, £59 peak
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Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
2 people listening

I had earmarked a day our at Lee Valley White Water Centre months ago as one of those must do activities and when the time came to organise an activity for my small team, guess what I did... You got it!

With a team full of sporty dudes and adrenaline junkies, picking this place as a team activity was one of the best ideas ever.

I was especially impressed with the amount of training and security instructions and assessments were done before you actually get on a raft to go down the course for the first time.

One of our colleagues was quite hesitant about the whole thing (having read some alarming reports of white water rafting accidents elsewhere) but was reassured by the very professional guide we had with us throughout the whole process.

Despite the fact that I actually fell into the water and went under the raft (not to worry - we were utterly prepared to handle the situation), it was still one of the most fun things I've done in my life and all the body aches from the strenuous activity were worth it for the big smiles I saw around the table as we toasted with ice cold beers and prosecco.

Go try it out! I dare you!


On a whim, I booked a whole 9-person raft for a surprise birthday celebration at the start of October (near the end of the white water rafting season) and it was the best gamble ever!! Not only did we avoid any torrential downpours, but there was blistering sunshine all day and everything went to plan.

Leaving all the spectators lounging under parasols in the Ibiza-vibe viewing terrace, rafters tugged on their wetsuits, boots, buoyancy aids and helmets (all provided) ready for the activity assessment. The instructor went through all the essential rafting information and we were swiftly in the raft on the warm-up lake. After running through the manoeuvres we were likely to encounter on the course, the last was a swim test - jumping in and swimming down part of the course.

We managed 5 laps of the Olympic course and it was nothing but ADRENALINE-inducing! At points, most of the rafters were in the water having to either furiously swim to stepped exits or be pulled to the course side by a throw line! Such an excellent experience and one that everyone who is able should jump on!!

Though the professional photographers caught some comical/ dramatic shots along the course, our group of spectators managed to collectively capture the best photos for free – so always bring your keen photographer friends to watch the madness!


I had heard so many good things about the Lee Valley White Water Centre and thought it would make a great birthday present for my boyfriend. He really enjoyed it but I would not do it again. When you first arrive, they give you a briefing on what to expect and some safety instructions, then they give everyone wetsuits, helmets and lifejackets to change into. Our raft had 10 people in it and an instructor. The first thing you do in the water is a swimming test to make sure you can swim out of a rapid in case you fall in. I’m not a very strong swimmer and found it quite terrifying going into a rapid and trying to swim out. After this we had just over an hour of taking the raft through rapids and approaching them with various levels of difficulty. I found this all fun up until the point where our last entry into the rapid flipped the whole raft. I ended up under the raft and found it really hard to get out and swim to the side. 

If you’re wanting to give rafting a try, this is definitely a great place to start. There are lifeguards all over the course to help throw you a rope or instruct you how to get out of the rapids. It is a very controlled environment for starting out. I think that if I was a stronger swimmer I would have enjoyed it, but as it is I found it quite scary.  

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