Wednesday February 12, 2020
When you think of great surfing destinations, places like Hawaii, Bali and Australia might spring to mind. But you don’t actually have to travel that far to catch great waves.
The UK is home to some amazing surfing beaches. You might not be guaranteed sunshine when you get there, but you will find great waves and stunning coastal scenery.
Autumn – not summer – is the best time of year to surf in the UK. From September to November you will find the best conditions of the year – relatively mild air, clement water temperatures, regular swells and less crowded beaches. What’s not to like?
Whatever your surfing ability, there is a beach to suit you.
Whether you are looking for the perfect surfers’ paradise with rad waves or want somewhere to test the surfing waters for the first time, you’ll want to know where to find the UK’s best surfing hotspots.
Before you strap the surf boards to the roof and jump into your trusty campervan, check out our top UK locations where you can find some serious surf action.
Surfing beaches that are good for beginners
Saltburn, Cleveland, North Yorkshire
If you’re looking for a down-to-earth, easy-going vibe with your waves, then Saltburn is a good bet. A great option for those just starting out on a surfboard, this is one of the original centres of the north-east surf scene and a truly inclusive place to surf. Surfers of all abilities wait either side of the Victorian pier, while the headland of Huntcliff keeps you protected from the wind. The other benefit is that if you’re with friends looking for more of a challenge, there are some pretty daring reef breaks not far away.
Watergate Bay, Newquay, Cornwall
Watergate Bay is a great surfing beach for beginners – even if it does get rather crowded come high tide. With two miles of beach at low tide, there are lots of surf schools and hire centres to choose from. It’s friendly atmosphere means that learners don’t feel intimidated. Plus, because Watergate Bay picks up good swell from the Atlantic, you’ll find surfers of all abilities hanging out here – perfect for learners looking for tips and motivation.
Surfing beaches that are good for intermediates
Sennen Cove, Cornwall
Sennen Cove is a great spot for intermediate surfers and offers very reliable waves thanks to its exposed location. Even when other surfing beaches are flat, you will often find waves at Sennen Cove Beach. With good sized waves even on a quiet day, there’s always a hive of activity at Sennen – you’ll find a surf school, surf shop, and beach restaurant. And if you are with a group of friends of mixed abilities, the smaller waves at the south end of the beach are more user-friendly and perfect for beginners.
Porth Neigwl, Gwynedd, Wales
One of the best-known surf spots in north Wales, Porth Neigwl is a four-mile bay located on the Llŷn Peninsula and is great for intermediate to advanced surfers. Intermediates may find the best waves at the south-east end of the bay beneath the cliffs, but this area can get crowded when the swell is good. Luckily, there are beach breaks along the length of the bay so you don’t have to stick with the masses. Plus, there is also a small reef at the north-west end – popular with more experienced surfers. Porth Neigwl translates to mean Hell’s Mouth in English, but don’t let that put you off…
Surfing beaches that are good for more advanced surfers
Thurso East, Scotland
The fact that Thurso East is a right-hand reef break over a flat, kelp-covered rock shelf has earned it the reputation of being one of the best surfing spots in Europe. That also means it is on many a serious surfer’s bucket list. Located on one of the northernmost points on the Scottish mainland it offers world-class barrels. When there’s a big north-west swell, waves can be as big as triple overhead. But remember: such is its reputation, it’s always going to be busy on a good swell.
Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire
Freshwater West is such a huge beach you can often find a wave all to yourself. With large, powerful peaks along the length of the beach, this is a popular spot with more experienced surfers. And there are good options in the surrounding area too. You’ll find good breaks in the small bays to the south of Freshwater West and arguably one of the heaviest, scariest reef breaks in Wales not too far away as well. See where the mood takes you.
Alternative surfing spots that are good for all abilities
Surf Snowdonia, Conwy, Wales
If you are looking for artificial wave technology, Surf Snowdonia will keep the most experienced surfers happy – and has lots of options for total beginners too. But that’s the beauty of artificial waves – they can be controlled with complete precision to meet the needs of the individual. Surf Snowdonia was the UK’s first artificial wave centre and remains one of the most popular. It’s not quite the same as being in the sea, but it’s a darn good second-best.
The Wave, Easter Compton, Bristol
Another inland surfing destination is The Wave near Bristol. After nearly a decade in the planning, it offers safe, consistent waves every day of the year. Just one hour surfing at The Wave gives you as many rideable waves as eight hours in the sea. The lake covers 75 acres and is 180 metres long by 200 metres wide. As well as providing 1,000 waves per hour, The Wave also aims to raise awareness of environmental issues such as plastic pollution and carbon emissions.
Surfing is all about the lifestyle; that laid-back, easy-going approach to life. The last thing any surfer wants is stress. Take the stress out of your next surfing holiday by having comprehensive campervan insurance.
At Lancaster Insurance, we arrange campervan insurance to suit you. To find out more or get a quote, speak to the team today.