When the best surf spots in the UK are mentioned, most people probably think of the Cornwall area first. Newquay’s two-mile-long Watergate Bay is ideal for beginners, while Sennen Cove, with its more consistent breaks due to the cove’s exposure, will suit those with more experience. And while the strong winds of St Ives’ Porthmeor Beach is a match for the best, the more settled summer waves turn it mostly into a haven for families and novices.
With its thirty-feet-high sea wall,
the surfing legend that is Porthleven is also a magnet for intermediate to expert surfers, but whatever your level, holiday insurance is a must.
Rest of the West Country
In south Devon’s more relaxed environment, Bantham, part of Bigbury, picks up more swell than other nearby locations, meanwhile:
- North Devon offers the gentle waves of Saunton Sands.
- Croyde Bay, its neighbor, offers a more challenging surf.
- Bournemouth offers beginner to intermediate surf.
- Boscombe now boasts Europe’s first artificial surf reef.
If you’re not proficient enough yet, sign up at the Bournemouth Surf School, or go west for Broadbench’s excellent reef break at Kimmeridge Bay (but take note of any local Ministry of Defence restrictions).
Llangennith in Gower has beach breaks right along its three mile-length and is ideal for the inexperienced, while the four miles of North Wales’ best-known spots, Hell’s Mouth and Porth Neigwl, favors intermediate surfers.
North Yorkshire is home to one of the original hotspots of the surf scene in the north-east. Saltburn-on-Sea provides mellow waves on either side of its pier, while the more experienced can follow the length of the coast to Scarborough for better reef and point breaks.
Tynemouth’s well-established scene has produced internationally respected names. It centers on Longsands Bay, with good surf available at all tidal stages, and for all abilities.
Pease Bay near the border has solid breaks, with a more challenging reef, but for one of the best spots in Europe, head to Thurso East. With its long, walling right-hander, it holds one of the best of the north-west swells where you can encounter triple overhead waves.
The town hosts the annual O’Neill Highland Open, the hardcore cold-water signature competition, attracting professionals from around the world.
As you might expect, this area is best left to expert surfers.
The best surf spots in the UK can rival some of the world’s best
and not many even consider surfing there, but many a traveler would tell you that missing such scenic places is a shame. Whatever the purpose of your travels, obtaining travel insurance is a must, especially if you are into heavy outdoor sports.