London’s Royal Docks have been the destination for all kinds of floating craft over their colourful history, but few can match the exotic origins of the Dragon Boating teams that are based at Royal Docks Adventure.
The dragon is an ancient symbol of worship in China, thought to control the sea, rivers and rainfall. Two thousand years ago, villagers in China would race boats decorated with carvings of dragons in order to encourage rain to fall on their crops.
The 40ft long Dragon boats require a crew of around 20 people, with a drummer at the helm beating out a rhythm for the paddlers. There are four teams based at Royal Docks Adventure, including Raging Dragons, Thames Dragons and Typhoon Dragon Boats. Our personal favourite, however, are the magnificently-named Windy Pandas, who boldly describe themselves as the best-looking Dragon Boating team around. If you’d like to try this highly social sport, bringing people of all ages and abilities together, visit Royal Docks Adventure.