There are hundreds of fantastic places to surf in the United Kingdom and choosing one of them is all down to your personal tastes.
The UK is made up of four different countries (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) that all share the same monarchy. Made up of islands, peninsulas, headlands, and bays, it has one of the longest coastlines in the world.
According to official figures, the main Island of Great Britain has a coastline that’s more than 17,800 km (about 11,000 miles) long.
UK Surfing – A coastline for everyone
The best thing about being in the UK is that you will never be more than 80 miles from a beach. If you are heading to the south, the Cornwall and Devon areas (with 35 and 11 surf spots respectively), are your best options.
Bundoran and Rossnowlagh in Ireland, Pembrokeshire in Wales, and the Isle of Lewis in Scotland are also lovely and popular surfing spots.
UK surfing has grown immensely as a professional sport, as a passion for enthusiasts, as an economic activity and as a touristic attraction for visitors. But where and when will you be happiest when surfing in the UK?
Surfing seasons in the UK depend on the climatic conditions in the area
The high season is during autumn and spring. At this time, surfers can enjoy exciting surfs ranging from 4 to 14 feet. Occasionally, there could be waves as high as 30 feet. In this season there are huge tides that can make the sea fluctuate up and down by about 15 feet, making every surfing experience unpredictable, dynamic, and thrilling. Accommodation is more expensive at this time and prior booking is necessary.
The low season is in the summer. During this time, surfing spots are less crowded. The swells are much smaller too. Additionally, accommodation is less expensive.
Whether you prefer the short or long board, knee board or stand-up paddle board, body surf or body board, you need to taste the UK waters to actually feel the thrill.
UK surfing requires a wetsuit and not board shorts during the winter. To enjoy 360-degree swell angles, pack your board and wetsuit for an amazing and awe-inspiring UK surfing holiday!
Surfing in Newquay, Cornwall
Known also for its crystal-clear Atlantic waters and magnificent beaches, Newquay is one of the most popular surfing destinations in the UK. The town holds world-famous surfing competitions with the best surfers flocking here to take part. If you are looking for a surfing destination that connects you with the history of surfing in the UK, Newquay is the place to be for your next surfing holiday.
Surfing here is dependent on the tide and the weather. However, professional surfers are always excited at the thought of riding a fantastic wave called the Cribber, which challenges even the best of the best.
For learners, this place is full of surf schools, camps, private instructors and lifeguards. There are also surf rentals and shops where you can buy or hire surfboards, wetsuits and body boards.
Featuring beach-breaking right and left waves, Fistral beach is one of the most famous surf spots in Newquay. Other similar surfing spots in Newquay include Lusty Glaze, Watergate Bay, Tolcarne, Whipsiderry (reef break), Newquay Harbour Wall (left wave), Polzeath and Crantock.
Surfing in Croyde, Devon – North
Located in Devon North, Croyde is a pretty exposed beach break that offers solid surfing to both learners and experienced surfers throughout the year. This surfing spot provides both groundswells and windswells with the best and perfect swell direction being from the west-southwest.
The perfect winds here are from the east. Surfers here are treated to both right and left-hand waves that ensure their surfing experiences are always memorable. With all the amenities for great surfing such as surf shops and rentals, surfing schools, academies and camps, Croyde is always a fairly crowded surfing destination throughout the year.
Things to Do in Devon North
There are many exciting ways you can spend your night in Devon North after a day of surfing. There are cocktail bars, pubs, and restaurants where you can enjoy cider, wines, folk nights, live music, big screens, dancing and all manner of fun. Some of the best joints to sample here include Rising Sun and Welcombe. Others include the Thatch, Blue Groove and The Rock Inn.
While you are out surfing in Croyde, you can enjoy great food, music, movies and more. The best joints to sample here include The Jube, Marisco Disco, Red Barn, Billy Budds, and the Kings Arms among many others.
Surfing in Crantock, Newquay
Just 3km southwest of Newquay, Crantock is a coastal area and township in Cornwall that offers a unique surfing experience. The river Gannel is a physical feature that defines life in this village and occasionally provides ferry transport to Crantock beach. If you are looking for a less congested surfing spot, Crantock is the place you should be heading to for your memorable UK surfing escape.
Suitable for surfers of all levels, Crantock has both right and left beach-break waves with north, northwest, and west swell directions and good southeast winds. Surfers here can enjoy themselves to the maximum because the spots are not congested. There are surf shops, surf school, and private instructors as well as friendly locals and visitors to interact with.
With plenty of car parks at the West Pentire and the beach, the spot has all that a traveler and surfer enthusiast would be looking for. The dunes are a perfect element that will entice and evoke nostalgia in travelers for a long time after leaving. On a low tide, and looking to the left side of the beach, surfers will get a view of a woman’s face and a poem carved onto a rock.
The most popular surfing spots here include River mouth sandbar, the south corner, Polly Joke and Holywell.
Things to Do in Crantock
This beautiful beach provides just about the level of tranquility you and your companions need in Crantock. After enjoying the surf, you can head to the picnic area for a barbeque at Crantock Beach Holiday Park.
If you feel like you need something a little more busy in terms of your evening/night experience, Newquay is just four miles away.
Surfing in St. Agnes, Cornwall West
St. Agnes boasts a wide variety of surfing beaches and is in the vicinity of Cornwall’s capital, Truro.
For both learners and advanced surfers, the town offers exciting surf spots that include Penhale Sands Beach, Porthtowan Beach, Trevellas-Porth Beach, Perranporth Beach, Chapel Porth Beach and of course the famous Trevaunance Cove. These surfing spots feature high cliffs as well as pebble and sand beaches. Surfers can enjoy the swells throughout the year. There are also surf schools, camps, shops and rentals for every surfer to enjoy.
Thing to Do in St. Agnes
To enjoy your time after a great surfing day, St. Agnes offers a variety of restaurants, pubs, hotels, cocktail bars and beach cafes for all to enjoy. Among the most popular of these joints is the Schooners, the Miners Arms, Dune Restaurant, the Taphouse, and Chapel Porth Café, among many others.
Surfing in St. Mary, the Channel Islands - UK
For excellent breaks and the best West Atlantic swells, the Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey are great surfing destinations.
There are huge tides here that increase and reduce the swell size depending on their direction. There are huge crowds of surfers throughout the year and it is suitable for all levels.
Among the most famous surf spots in the Channel Islands are Fort Le Marchant, Vazon Bay Beach, Portinfer and Perelle Bay in Guernsey.
Those in Jersey include La Rocco, Les Brayes, Petite Port, Stinky Bay, Secrets among several exciting others. There are surf schools, camps and private instructors for learners as well as surf shops and rentals where you can get your board and wetsuit.
Surfing in St. Mary’s Well Bay, the Channel Islands
If you are looking for a never-congested surf spot, St. Mary’s Well Bay provides just that. Located near Penarth in Glamorgan and with a rough tidal beach, this is an exciting surf spot for advanced surfers. However, some daredevils have tried to reach Sully Island from here only to end up needing rescue The East and North East winds bring the best surfing conditions to this spot.
There is also a strong rip tide that surfers must be careful of.
To get here, you should go from Barry and go in Lavernock’s direction and follow the beach signs provided.
Things to Do in St. Mary’s after Surfing
St. Mary’s Well Bay has a parking lot at the Captains Wife pub. Here you can enjoy delicious drinks as you relax to music. For food and accommodation, bed and breakfasts, there are quality hotels in Penarth.
The Bay Café and Yongs Chinese Takeaway are some of the best places to eat in the area.
After a day surfing in the Channel Islands, spending an eventful night out is always tempting. There are cocktail bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels and beach cafes to party and drink your night away.
In Guernsey, you can sample the Red, the Leopard Bar and Laska. In Jersey, you can enjoy what Tiki Hut, Planet Pool & Snooker and the Up & Down Cafe Bar have to offer.
UK Surfing - Durham & Northumberland
Surfers in Durham & Northumberland have two types of experiences; the immaculate less-crowded Northumbria or the urban surfing of Middlesbrough and Tyneside. The Arctic North swells turn the beaches, the reefs and points in this area into fantastic surf spots for both learners and experienced surfers throughout the year. There are also the occasional South East swells from the North Sea that excite the surfers.
The surf spots in this area include Bamburgh, Marske To Tees, Beadnell Bay, Red Car, Seaton To Blyth, Sunderland, Saltburn Beach, South Shields, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay.
Surfing in Whitley Bay, Durham & Northumberland
If you are looking for a somewhat exposed beach break, Whitley Bay is the place for you. Located in North East England, this surfing spot has a mix of both windswells and groundswells with the best swell angle from the north-northeast. You are sure to get both right and left waves in Whitley Bay with a crowd competing for space, especially during winter when the surfing conditions are optimal. There are car parks at the north end of the beach as well as in town. Surf shops, rentals, surf school and camps are available for surfers.
Things to Do in Whitley Bay
From Fitzies to Fat Ox, Banana Joe’s to Havana, Zynk to Aruba, it is hard to settle on one of more than 30 pubs, restaurants, and hotels in Whitely Bay. Whether you are looking for a beachside or sea-view joint, you have your pick. Here you can enjoy great foods, shake it on the dance floor or just cool off in front of the big screens.
The larger Durham & Northumberland has a lot to choose from, depending on your preferences, once you are through with surfing. There are cocktail bars, pubs, and restaurants for all tastes. Additionally, there are unique attractions that one can sample such as the Durham Cathedral, High Force Waterfall, museums and many others.
In conclusion, there are many towns and cities in the UK where you can surf and enjoy the waters throughout the year. The choice depends on your own preferences, your budget, and the current weather conditions in the UK. In addition to the already mentioned surf cities, towns and villages in the UK, a simple look around will reveal other great surfing spots where you can enjoy the greatest surfing experiences the UK has to offer. There is no excuse to turn down a UK surfing opportunity.