Medway Family Canoe Expedition

Running from Tonbridge to Maidstone and then on to the sea, the Medway is a fascinating river that has been used for centuries both as a commercial waterway and, more recently, as a navigation for pleasure-boats, canoes and kayaks. It has an amazing mix of old industrial sites and more modern facilities and there are a number of locks to negotiate on route via canoe slides. It is also home to a huge variety of wildlife including kingfishers, barn owls and perhaps, for the very quiet, otters and water voles!

Book a place here!


Day 1: Travel down by train to Tonbridge, drop luggage in our kit vehicle and walk the short distance to the river.  Leisurely paddle downstream out of Tonbridge to the Hop Farm Campsite. Our Glamping Bell tents will already be set up allowing you to grab a shower and rest before dinner. The Hop Farm also has a great children’s zoo and adventure play area.

Day 2: After breakfast continue downstream past the steepest and highest canoe pass on the journey (a great opportunity for some brilliant videos and pictures!), a disused lock and the world famous teapot museum. Arrive at Barming Bridge campsite during the afternoon which allows campfires and has lots of space for games for those who still have the energy.

Day 3:  The trip will finish with a shorter journey into Maidstone where families can have lunch and ice cream, visit the castle and make their way to the train station and back to London.


Accommodation and Food

Families will stay in our luxurious (for camping) bell tents complete with carpets and inflatable sleeping mats. Single beds are available for a small extra charge. Toilets and showers are available at the campsites and food will be cooked centrally by Exploration Society leaders. Breakfast will be a choice of cereal, porridge and hot sandwiches, lunch will be packed ready to have out on the river and dinner will be a carbohydrate rich feast.

Hop Farm

Kit list

Kit should be split between a small day pack and an overnight bag which will be transported for you between campsites. The day pack will contain waterproofs, suncream/hat/glasses, lunch, water, camera etc. We will supply a waterproof canoe bag for this bag to be stored in to prevent it getting wet.


  • Shoes for paddling in (closed toes recommended)
  • Shoes for camp (walking boots/trainers)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Head Torch and Spare Batteries
  • Water bottle (Sig or Nalgene recommended, not reused drink bottle)
  • Socks and underwear
  • Pyjamas
  • T-shirts
  • Trousers (lightweight cotton/tracksuit bottoms. NOT jeans which, once wet, are heavy, uncomfortable, and impossible to dry!)
  • Shorts
  • Warm Jumpers
  • Full set of Waterproofs (trousers AND jacket)
  • Sunglasses / Sunscreen (SPF 30)
  • General Toiletries
  • Towel
  • Eye Care material (if applicable)
  • Insect Repellent


  • Camera (NB A waterproof case would be a good idea!)
  • Reading book
  • Sailing Gloves (to prevent blisters while paddling)

ESOC will supply

  • Bowl, knife, fork, mug and spoon
  • Sleeping Mats
  • Tents
  • Cooking Equipment
  • Food
  • Single beds (£30 supplement)

Safety and Leadership

The camp will be led by a number of experienced and BCU qualified Exploration Society Instructors.

All activities are risk-assessed and the appropriate safety equipment will be used where necessary. We are accredited by the Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority and have a Learning Outside the Classroom award – see the bottom of this page for more information.

Should younger children not wish to use the canoe slides, they can walk round if required.

Our Staff


This trip will cost £450 for 1 canoe, £900 for 2 canoes and £1050 for 3 canoes. A canoe can fit either:

  1. 1 Adult + 1 child (yr 6+)
  2. 2 Adults + 1 child (of any age)
  3. 2 Adults + 2 children (yr 6 and below)
  4. 1 Adult + 1 child (yr 6 and above) + 2 children (yr 6 and below)

Please get in touch if you’re unsure.

Families are welcome to book together to get the best rates.

This cost includes:

  • Canoes, paddlles, buoyancy aids (for those children 30kg or heavier), canoe bags
  • Event planning and leadership
  • Meals from Saturday dinner to Monday lunch
  • Campsite Fees
  • Canoe licenses
  • 1 Bell tent, complete with carpet and sleeping mats
  • Luggage transfer between campsites

It does not include:

  • Travel to Tonbridge/From Maidstone *
  • Lunch on Saturday
  • Sleeping bags + other personal kit
  • Entry fees to Hop farm Zoo
  • Single bed hire (£30/bed)
  • Buoyancy aid for those lighter than 30Kg

A deposit of 20% of the full fees will be taken at time of booking. The balance will be invoiced at the beginning of August.

*It is your choice but we strongly recommend travelling by train rather than car as parking for three days and then returning to the car at the end of the trip will much less convenient.

Book a place here!