- Head to the Phoenix Outdoor Centre to get to grips with sailing, paddleboarding, windsurfing and more.
- Kids will have a fantastic time taking on the challenge at a Camp Phoenix Youth course.
- Head to rivers around the UK and abroad, to test your skills with Phoenix Canoe Club.
- Book in for a 'Paddle Party', where you can have a fun day on the water with family and friends.
Located between Wembley and West Hendon, London, the Phoenix Outdoor Centre & Canoe Club is a fantastic day out for both kids and grown-ups. With classes, courses and plenty of waterfront activities to get involved in, this unique venue by the Welsh Harp reservoir has got to be one of our favourite picks for things to do in Hendon as a family.
Whether you've got kids who are keen to get involved in outdoor activities, or you are just interested in trying something a little different, there is something for everyone at both the outdoor centre and canoe club. If you head to the Welsh Harp Reservoir, specifically the north bank, you'll find the Phoenix Outdoor Centre. Having been open for almost ten years, there are a variety of brilliant activities to get involved in, both on and off the water. With canoeing, sailing, windsurfing and much more, there is a way for everyone to learn something new, or improve their skills.
Some of the most popular activities for kids, especially during the school holidays, are the Camp Phoenix Youth Courses. Open for kids between the ages of 9 and 16, these courses are available from the Easter holidays, all the way through to half term in October. One of the great things about Phoenix Outdoor Centre and its relationship with young people is that there is no pressure to be an expert in anything, creating a healthy environment for learning. So, whether you have kids who have never tried water sports before, or mini windsurfing experts in the family, there is something for everyone. Some of the activities on offer at Camp Phoenix include sailing and windsurfing at different levels, as well as kayak courses, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding classes. Alternatively, you can book in for a full activity week, filled with taster sessions of all different sports, or simply a 'Fun on the Water' day, which is a day-long session packed with paddlesport activities. There are also lots of opportunities for schools and other organisations to visit the centre, with educational and team-building activities.
However, the activities on offer at Phoenix Outdoor Centre aren't just for the kids! As well as being able to enjoy your own supervised sessions, there are also specific adult courses for all the sports on offer, where the grown-ups can enjoy a little fun on the water too. One of the most popular options for families, however, is the 'Paddle Party' option. With this experience, you can book for up to ten young people or adults (or a combination of both) to spend a session on the water, with activities, races, and lots of different things to try depending on what you feel like.
For those who have a specific interest in canoeing, or feel like taking on a challenge, head to the Phoenix Canoe Club, which is dedicated to the sport. Adventure seekers will be pleased to know that the Canoe Club offers a fantastic opportunity to head to a variety of rivers around England, Wales, and sometimes even places abroad such as Slovenia and the French Alps, to take on the currents of the rivers in the area. There are also surf trips to Devon, where you can canoe in the surf, and 'Big Day Out' trips that suit all ages and abilities. Or, if you'd prefer to stay in the London area on some slightly less turbulent waters, there are plenty of great courses, activities, and even pool sessions available at the centre in West Hendon.
With so many activities to get involved in, it's likely that you might feel like something to eat on your day at Phoenix Outdoor Centre. While there isn't anywhere to buy food at the centre itself, you are welcome to bring a packed lunch if you are spending the day there. If you've booked in for a Paddle Party, you can bring your own food or alternatively order some local takeaway to get delivered to the venue. Alternatively, the nearby area of West Hendon has lots of places to grab a bite to eat. Close to the centre itself, you'll find plenty of places to eat as you exit on Cool Oak Lane and go onto Edgware Road, where there are takeaway options, as well as restaurants. On the other end of the Brent Reservoir, towards the A4088, you'll find cafes, as well as familiar chain restaurants such as McDonald's. From Hendon Central Station, you're only a half-hour journey from central London as well, if you'd prefer to check out somewhere in the city.
Once you've changed into some dry clothes after your session at the Phoenix Outdoor Centre, if you feel like exploring the surrounding area of north London there are plenty of places to check out. From a spot of shopping at the Brent Cross Shopping Centre, to a leisurely stroll at Golders Hill Park in Golders Green, there are lots of great things to discover as a family in this neck of the woods.
What to know before you go
- Phoenix Outdoor Centre & Canoe Club opening times are from 9.30am - 9pm every day except on Sundays, where the times are from 1pm - 4pm.
- Most of the activities on offer at the club involve getting wet, so it is advised that you bring a change of clothes, and if you have appropriate clothing such as boat shoes, to bring them along.
- Wet suits, buoyancy aids and other equipment such as helmets are available to borrow from the Club House.
- Unfortunately there are no specific facilities for those with disabilities, and due to the physical nature of a lot of the activities on offer, they may not be suitable for those with mobility issues.
- Phoenix Outdoor Centre & Canoe Club offers activities for older children and adults, so there are not facilities for younger children.
- There are toilets and changing rooms available on site.
- If travelling by car, head to Woodfield Park via Cool Oak Lane, and walk down the path towards the reservoir, where you'll find the Club House. The Centre is accessible via the A504 and A5, then a turn off down Cool Oak Lane. There is car parking available by the entrance.
- The nearest train station is Hendon station, which is a 15-minute walk away and sits on the Midland Main Line.
- Hendon Central is the closest Tube station, which is just under half an hour's walk away, and is on the Northern line.
- There are multiple bus services that pass by the entrance, and you can catch the number 83 from Hendon Central station to West Hendon Broadway. It is then a 10 minute walk to reach the centre.
- If you are travelling by bike, there is a bike rack outside the Phoenix Outdoor Centre building.