Surf’s up! If there’s one thing the UK is NOT famous for, it’s beaches. Cold weather, rain, fish and chips and black cabs, for sure. But not beaches, surely!
One of the most difficult parts of planning a surf-getaway is finding the perfect surfing destinations. People travel far and wide and spend thousands just so they can spend a few days the perfect location. But what if I told you that you don’t have to travel far and wide across the globe to find the best waves for a good surf? What if I told you that you could have a perfect surfing beach holiday right here in the UK?
These 10 surfing destinations are all within the UK, are all known for their choice waves and atmosphere and might even cost you mere pennies to be there. If you’re planning a surfing holiday any time soon, give one of these a try.
1. Westward Ho!, Devon
Come down to Westward Ho! And yes. The exclamation point is part of the name. It happens to be the only place in the UK that uses punctuation in its name.
Westward Ho! is a constant go-to for so many surfers in England for it’s good location, large beach and happening beach town. It’s a fairly simple to reach location since it’s just off the M4. If you’re living in London it’s a pants easy road trip.
The beach itself boasts a fantastic environment for surfers of all levels, beginners and otherwise, with great surf schools and instructors and minimal drift in the ocean. There are also camping locations near the beach if you’re wanting to get a true outdoors experience from your surf.
2. Saltburn, North Yorkshire
Saltburn remains as one of North Yorkshire’s most popular surfing destinations for being one of the original surfing town of the English northeast. If what you’re looking for in a surfing holiday is a bit of heritage, then this is the place to go.
The atmosphere here is friendly and approachable for beginners. And the headland of Huntcliff provides much needed protection from the wind to stop the waves getting too out of control. If what you need is the perfect my-first-surf kit, then keep Saltburn in mind.
3. Watergate Bay, Cornwall
Cornwall’s best surf spot by far is Watergate Bay. Newquay comes close but loses on it sometimes begin too populous during the summer.
Another beginner’s surfing location, it picks up the Atlantic current and winds well, making it fantastically easy to get a good long surf. Don’t forget to check out the surfing school that’ll give you a bright Cornish welcome and make you feel right at home in your wetsuit.
The shops and cafes of the town are close to the beach itself making it easy to catch a few waves then head straight for a snack or drink at one of the surf-friendly shops.
4. Llangennith, Gower Peninsula
The Gower Peninsula in Wales has more than a few fantastic surfing destinations that’ll have surfing veterans giddy at the sight of them. Gower is famous for its surfing vibe and draws in masses of beach goers every year for that very reason.
Arguably Llangennith is the most popular location in Gower, which means it can get crowded when the waves get going. But it’s all part of the Llangennith experience. The beach itself is situated slap bang in the middle of nowhere, with the nearest town being a short drive away. You’ll learn to love the outdoors by staying on their camping site.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the amazing surfing school they have which is great for all ages. The teachers are experiences and love their jobs, and that’s really saying something.
5. Croyde Bay, Devon
Just a short drive from Northam, Croyde Bay is ye ole reliable of surfing destinations. Experts tend to flock to this beach for the steep peaks that happen at low tide. But the varied surf can be found all up and down the beach with much gentler waves and surf spots being available some ways down the coast. This is also the area where long boarders should head.
The beach itself get huge when the tide is out, with massive sand dunes and rock pools being revealed under the surfer’s paradise. If you were thinking of taking a break from the waves then this is also a great beach for some R&R.
6. Porth Neigwl (Hell’s Mouth), Wales
Maybe you know Porth Neigwl better as the ‘Hell’s Mouth’. It’s a nearly 4 mile long surfing beach made up of crashing waves and coarse sand located at the southern end of the Llyn peninsula. Hell’s Mouth was dubbed as such for the danger it posed for sailors through history during storms. There’s a lack of shelter covering the entire area, rocky reefs and lots of big waves. Terrible for sailors, terrific for surfers.
Hell’s Mouth is a desolate beach in the middle of nowhere, but get quite crowded during peak seasons. If you’re up for walking a bit, you should be able to find a nice clear spot for yourself.
7. Thurso East, Thurso
Experts gather, this is the beach for the bold and daring. Thurso East is a Scottish gem for surfers with a reputation that spans much bigger than its half mile stretch. It’s built on a rock reef and kelp rocks meaning it can produce everything from choppy waves to staggering waves. Thurso East isn’t really a beach that stands still.
You could also call the beach a ‘local delicacy’ of sorts. The Scottish locals there add as much charm to the beach as the surf does, making the atmosphere there feel all the more authentic and homegrown.
8. Belhaven Bay, Dunbar
Belhaven Bay marks the second Scottish beach to make this list with wide expanses of sand, consistent weather and great waves.
Overall, Belhaven Bay is a beginner friendly surfing destination with a gentle reef break making for fairly tame swells. But don’t be fooled, there’s still much surfing to be had here. Belhaven itself is an outdoorsy getaway with a caravan and camping park and lots of activities for nature lovers. Make sure to check out the nature reserve while you’re there.
9. Longsands, Tynemouth
Longsands is the place for family getaways, young kids that are wanting to have a chill surf with some mates. As it says on their website, everyone from 6-60 are welcome. And I’m sure the rest are welcome too.
The surf school offers a very hands-on, friendly and patient way of teaching with a kids surf club and separate surfing lessons for adults.
10. Sennen Cove, Cornwall
Sennen Cove is one of the surfing destinations that is especially tucked away for the keenest of keen surfers. It’s probably as local as local can get, with a tiny beach in a tiny town far away from the troubles of big city life.
This is the perfect surfer’s getaway location to spend with close friends. You can cut yourselves off from the world and catch the high swells with your longboards.