8 of the Best Surfing Beaches in the UK
While many surfers may dream of surfing tours in faraway lands where the sun is beaming, the waves are pumping, and the post-session drinks are flowing, alas, it’s just not feasible for everyone. However, fear not, as with the weather improving, waves getting cleaner and water temperatures that can only get warmer, the surfing scene in the UK is heading into peak season, where wave riders of all abilities can enjoy a fantastic session. Despite the slightly chillier climate, the UK is home to some fantastic surf spots in western Europe and beyond, and the entire coastline offers the opportunity to shred. We’ve come up with a list of just eight of our favourite surfing beaches in the UK for you to check out near you or for your next surfing staycation!
In the heart of Newquay, Fistral Beach is arguably the capital of the UK surf community, attracting riders from far and wide for its impressive conditions. Home to the British Surfing Association, the Newquay Boardrider Club and Newquay Surf Life Saving Club, you can imagine just how much surfing goes on here and the many national and international competitions that are held here throughout the summer. A fun, safe swell that can be perfect for both beginners and professionals alike. The glorious golden sandy beach is the ideal spot for spectators to relax on, as is the UK’s only beachside bar.
Pease Bay, Scotland
Pease Bay in Dunbar, Scotland, offers fantastic waves for beginners, although we must advise a full wetsuit, boots and hood is advised pretty much all year round thanks to those unforgiving Scottish waters. That said, the cold waters are not always a disadvantage, and you can read all about the advantages of spending time in cold water with our recent blog post, 7 Benefits of Spending Time in Cold Water. There is a large caravan park right by the beach, meaning you can roll out of the tent and into the swell for as many dawnies as you like!
Located in North Yorkshire, Saltburn is the original home of surfing in the North East where friendly locals demonstrating that desirable northern charm will be more than happy to advise you on the best breaks. Beginners are well accounted for and can find a playful wave that’s perfect for learning either side of the pier. There are plenty of amenities close to these sands, with rental shops, surf schools, fantastic coffee shops and warm and welcoming pubs with a pint waiting to warm you up after a particularly chilly session.
Croyde, North Devon
North Devon is home to a handful of havens for keen surfers, with one of these being Croyde Bay. The sheltered bay benefits from conditions that are often clean thanks to the extending headlands, yet big enough for there to be room for everyone. The beach sits in between Saunton and Woolacombe which are also fantastic surfing hot spots, meaning you can visit wherever the waves are working best for your ability during your time there. Croyde has a great overall vibe, with a beach volleyball club running regularly throughout the summer and the popular surf and music festival, Oceanfest, continuing to delight both visitors and locals every June.
Gower Peninsula Beaches, Wales
The Gower is home to what is some of the best coastal scenery in Wales, the UK and beyond, with dramatic headlands, gorgeous sandy beaches and awe-inspiring cliffs. The waves in the Gower are just as impressive and usually provide a small, safe wave that’s ridable for every level of surfer. The cold water and air can be testing, particularly during the winter months, but it’s nothing a post-session, hearty pub meal can’t fix!
Portrush East Strand, Ireland
There is an array of decent surf spots in Portrush to choose from, but East Strand tends to provide a sheltered spot that can be ridden in all conditions, regardless of any Irish storms that are battering the coast. More lively conditions are likely to bring left and right barrels to keep the more experienced surfers coming back for more. Winter storms make it difficult for the professionals to paddle out, so don’t be surprised if you see some running around the Arcadia and leaping from the rocks in order to reach out back.
Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset
Set amidst the renowned Jurassic Coast and affectionately nick-named ‘K-Bay’ by locals, Kimmeridge Bay is up there with the best breaks on the south coast with long, smooth reef breaks. The beach is unique in that it has three main spots that surfers can choose from depending on their wants and needs: The Ledges for longboarding, The Bay for shelter on big swell days and The Bench for the hardcore wave-chasers who want to surf in excess of 12-foot waves. Surfers are advised to watch out for the rocks while they are there and are advised to check the surf conditions online before they make the trip out there to avoid disappointment.
One of the lesser-known hubs for professional surfers, Lynmouth is often labelled as the best surfing beach in the country, when conditions are exactly right, as proud locals will be more than happy to tell you. The rocky beach doesn’t strike you as a surfing haven upon first sight, but on big wave days, this brings a swell like no other that surfers from far and wide will flock to experience. Beginners be warned, even the most experienced of boarders can snap boards on the rocks, and it is not recommended unless you consider yourself a highly capable surfer.
That concludes our guide to some of the best surfing spots in the UK. Have you been to any of these or have a favourite local you’d like to add to our list? Let us know via the comments on our social media channels. Whether you’re looking for a new wetsuit or to buy a stand-up paddleboard, don’t forget to check out our extensive range of water sports equipment online today!