Lee Valley White Water Centre
Lee Valley White Water Centre, set within the picturesque 1,000 acre River Lee Country Park, is a world-class visitor attraction offering adrenalin charged experiences, such as white water rafting, alongside programmes for schools, clubs and communities as well as being a permanent base for British Canoeing’s slalom team.
During London 2012
Lee Valley White Water Centre hosted five days of intense Canoe Slalom Event during the London 2012 Olympic Games, watched by a combined total of 55,000 people.
Team GB took Gold 🥇 and Silver 🥈 in the canoe slalom in a sensational final day of competition. For Shaun Dawson, Chief Executive at Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, this incredible success was “a wonderful sense of conclusion” for the team to win on home soil at this stunning new venue which is widely consider the best in the world.
The venue made history when it re-opened to the public just six weeks after the Games.
After London 2012
From day one Lee Valley White Water Centre was a community focused centre, offering opportunities for everyone from paddling on the still waters of the crystal clear lake to building confidence on the 160m legacy loop.
As a stellar visitor attraction it offers a programme of adrenalin fuelled sports for thrill seeks looking for an unforgettable experience. White water rafting is the most popular activity running at least five days a week, alongside canoeing and kayaking, Hydrospeeding, Hot Dogs, Paddleboarding and Water Wipeout courses.
White water rafting is an unforgettable, unbeatable experience and perfect for corporate events. This has attracted hundreds of companies and organisations to Lee Valley White Water Centre to use the centre for team building, reward days, and for entertaining customers and clients, such as Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. Earlier this year the centre featured on The Apprentice. This commercial activity helps to ensure that the venue is economically sustainable, facilitates discounted community access and drives down prices with introductory kayaking and paddleboarding sessions starting from just £15 and sessions for more experienced paddlers starting from just £5, helping attract new audiences to paddlesports and lead to ongoing sustained usage of the venue.
The venue is home to British Canoeing’s canoe slalom squad providing daily water time for the slalom team and a hub for talent development. The centre hosts major events throughout the national and international calendar, such as the forthcoming 2023 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships.
Following a visit to Sydney’s successful white water centre in Penrith, which regretted not building a second, gentler course to expand their market, the Authority decided, in conjunction with British Canoeing and a group of funding partners, to pay for the creation of a second white water course to complement the rapids of the Olympic Standard Competition Course. This became the Legacy Loop, a 160m course which could act as a training ground for canoeists and kayakers while they developed the skills and experience to tackle the more demanding 300m Olympic Standard Competition Course. For the Authority this second course was key to broadening audiences, reducing barriers to participation, and developing new talent in the sport.
The costs required for this second course, however, were above the budget allocation. Undeterred and driven by its commitment to a long term sustainability the Authority led the way to raise the £11 million needed for this and other facilities which would enhance its post Games potential as a sporting and community asset. The Authority provided £6 with the East of England Development Agency giving £4 million and Sport England Contributing £1 million.
What you'll find at this venue
Two courses: 300m Olympic Standard Competition Course used for rafting and other adrenalin charged activities as well as competitions and daily training for the British Canoeing team and a 160m Legacy Loop designed to improve the skills of canoeists and kayakers so that they can eventually graduate to performing at a higher level and navigate the more demanding Olympic Course
10,000 sq. m lake which feeds water to the two pumped courses and is where events and training sessions take place, particularly those aimed at novice paddlers
Conference and meeting facilities plus a large café and bar
Key usage of the venue
500,000 taken part in paddlesports
5,600 participated in funded programmes
188 free tickets given away to major events