My husband and I are both avid walkers / hikers but for a long time have been wanting to get into kayaking. Both of us have kayaked in the past. Separately we did it on school trips - many years ago - at adventure/team building week locations (for Americans, think of a summer camp that lasts a week and you do a bit of everything once or twice). I've kayaked on both a lake and the sea, he has just kayaked on the sea. Both of us did capsizing as well. Together we've probably totalled a weeks worth of experience kayaking, enough to know we both enjoy it.
We're in the UK, and likely our options for locations are either the local canal (Bucks grand union arm), local rivers (the Thame/Thames), travelling to the Lakes (Lake District) or travelling to the coast and kayaking on the sea. It is unlikely we will do any rapids or white water currently. We will be more likely to be on lakes/canals than the sea but the sea is an option for weeks/weekends away.
We know we will need licenses in the UK to kayak on any body of water, life jackets, paddles, etc. Just to note we'd also prefer two singles rather than a tandem.
A few things I would like to know before getting started:
After a few hours scouring the internet and getting overloaded with information, could someone provide a reliable UK book / website with kayaking information?
If we got a sea touring kayak, would that be acceptable on canals/lakes or would it be better to have a light touring kayak instead (or as well as)?
What would be the minimum requirements for a repair kit?
Does anyone know of a location in the UK where you don't need a license?
Due to licenses we'd obviously like to keep equipment costs down, but is it possible to go too cheap - and if so could someone give me a reasonable minimum spend on a kayak? (for the UK so in pound sterling, if in dollars can you take into account most things in the UK are more expensive than the US?)
Update: We ended up talking to a nice guy over at Canoe England who confirmed their licences for us. We've purchased our kayaks - after much discussion with the kayak company we went for sit-on-tops - from a Cornish company and are now waiting for them to arrive. Thanks to Rory and Vclaw for your help.