Written By Chris Young
This post was most recently updated on June 27th, 2018
There 10 England rivers you should definitely visit when you have the chance as each of them has something special to offer. The rivers and canals of England play an important role in England’s history as a means of transport, and are an important part of many people’s recreation.
The Top 10 Rivers of England
Table Of Contents
1. The Classic: Thames in London
While the public of the UK once voted the Thames their least favorite river, it is a river you just have to visit. The Thames is more than just the part that flows through London, but London is the most convenient access point for this river of historical and cultural value. You can use one of the transport links for a short ride to take you from one tourist attraction to the other and see the various bridges. Alternately, you could take one of the excellent dinner cruises for a more relaxed and atmospheric time on the river.
2. East Lyn River
The East Lyn River, Exmoor in the West Country is one of the top 10 rivers in England and ideal for people who like outdoor activities. The beautiful hiking path, the Two Moors Way, follows the river for a while and offers you a great day out. If you are a bit more adventurous, you could go on a white water kayaking tour as the river has some challenging rapids. There is also salmon and trout fishing along the river during certain times of the year.
3. River Wye
There are only four rivers in the whole of the UK that are longer than the River Wye, which flows close to the border to Wales and even forms part of that border as a natural obstacle. The valley of the river is an area of outstanding natural beauty and ideal for visitors who want to spend some time away from the noise of the cities. The River Wye is also important for conservation and you will be able to watch a lot of birds there.
4. River Trent
This river is the third longest river in the UK, and one of the top rivers in England because it empties into the North Sea and is a good place for people who can’t decide whether they want a beach or a river holiday. This river is known to be quite temperamental and in the past even changed its course due to flooding. Rowing, sailing, white water rafting and other watersports are very popular on this river.
5. River Itchen
The River Itchen in Hampshire enchants visitors with its lovely landscape. The reflection of the green trees on the water invites you to relax and leave your everyday troubles behind. The water of this river could be crystal clear if it was not for the pollution from farms. Yet, you will find this a very beautiful area with a wide variety of wildlife and a good selection of outdoor activities to keep you busy.
6. River Severn
This is one of the top 10 rivers of England because it is the longest river in the UK. Everyone can find something to do somewhere along the river. It’s perfect if you want to go on a cruise, a kayaking adventure, a long or short hike, or just learn something about the culture and history of the surrounding region in one of the excellent museums. You could also visit Shrewsbury Castle which is next to the river, or you could try to visit the most famous of the bridges that enable people to cross the river without getting wet.
7. River Tyne
The North Tyne and South Tyne meet to form the River Tyne at a place called “The Meeting of the Waters” near Hexham. The River Tyne flows through Newcastle, in the North East, which is a great city to use as your base for exploring the river. The river is of great cultural and historical importance as it connects some big cities and towns. You can learn a lot about its history in the museums in Newcastle (or other towns and cities along the way). Watersports are very popular on this river, but you can also embark on a relaxing cruise.
8. River Dart
This river flows through Dartmoor in Devon (again, in the west Country). The area around the river has been named an area of great natural beauty. The valleys are a great place to explore, and the banks of the river are covered in ancient oaks which are fascinating to see. There are plenty of interesting places to visit along this river, and people who enjoy walking will easily understand why this is one of the top 10 rivers in England. You can see many little, charming waterfalls along the way, and you can also see how fish make their way up the fish ladders along the river during the spawning season.
9. River Wharfe
This river flows through Yorkshire and the valley surrounding it is known as Wharfedale. If you would like to visit the source of the river, you need to visit the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park. The park offers a variety of hiking options for walkers of all abilities. This river stands out because its different sections have very different characteristics. You might not believe that the river in the national park is the same river you meet further downstream.
10. River Stour
The East Anglian River made it into the list of the top 10 rivers in England for a couple major reasons. It flows through a variety of interesting villages and towns, and also lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is the ideal combination of getting away from it all without ever being far away from civilization and culture. Historically speaking, the river is interesting, too, because it was one of the first improved rivers in England. The Stour valley sees a lot of smaller boats passing through. Between April and October, you can also go on a trip on one of the local boats. Many visitors also choose to go for walks or drives along the river to explore everything in their own time.