You don’t have to travel to Australia, Hawaii or California to catch some serious waves. The UK receives swells on every coastline in the country. This 360 degrees possibility of swells and the fact that at no point in the UK are you more than 80 miles away from the coastline, makes the entire island a Surfers’ Paradise. It’s a relative smorgasbord of options that include Rocky beaches, sandy beaches, the Atlantic ocean and the North sea – so matter which level or what kind of swells you seek, the UK has them.

“If we are talking about the best spots to surf in the UK then you would need to be more specific. Best spot to get barrelled? Best spot to do airs? Best spot for beginners? Best spot for improving your surfing? Each of these would give wildly different answers. Waves which may be considered world class by some may actually be a nightmare for most.” –Taz Knight, British Pro Surfer

To make your choice that little bit easier, we have picked the brains of local British surfers who have shared with us their favourite spots to surf.  Yet there is one thing they all have in common; a need for a ruddy good wetsuit!

1. Whitesand Bay, St.David’s

uk surfing spots

“No one would consider Whitesands to be a world class wave, although it can have its day. However, it’s been my local surf spot for almost thirty years so it kind of has to be my favourite! I’ve surfed Whitesands in rain, snow, hail, sleet, sunshine, howling onshore winds, gentle offshore winds, with friends, on my own, in good moods, in bad moods, at dawn, at dusk and at every other time of day, and located as it is in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, and close to the historic city of St. Davids, it’s rarely anything other than a beautiful place to paddle out. And it’s a break that everyone from beginner to expert can enjoy. What’s not to like?”

With thanks to Alf Alderson – local Whitesands surfer and freelance Journalist –  Alf Alderson

Upcoming Events:

Sea and surf kayak festival

How to get there:

Plan your Journey to Whitesand Bay here

  • Coach: Next to St.David’s is Haverfordwest Coach Station, connecting National Express Coaches with the rest of the UK.
  • Train: Haverfordwest Train station is the biggest main train station next to St.Davids, managed by Arriva Trains Wales.
  • Air: Closest major airport is Cardiff International Airport, its main major airline is Flybe.

2. Croyde Bay, Devon

UK surfing spots

Captured by Tim Barrow : Damon Beveridge

My local beach Croyde offers really good waves, if you are experienced. It is considered one of the best surfing beaches in England, but if you don’t have the knowledge it can be a real pain of a wave to surf. Heavy and powerful, not to mention most of the time it will closeout. I have been surfing at Croyde since I was 4 and in those 15 years I have seen it in every possible mood. So when I paddle out, I don’t need to think, because I know how to get the good waves. Every time I surf Croyde I have fun – that’s why it’s my favourite spot. During low tide, I would recommend good to advanced surfers only. At high tide it’s ideal for all abilities. Although rocks and currents can be an issue. Saunton and Woolacombe are just around the corner, great for all abilities.

Top tip: If you are surfing a spot and struggling, it is always worth considering the weather conditions. You should always match your ability to the spots you go surfing.

With thanks to Taz Knight – British pro surfer and blogger –  Taz Knight

Upcoming events:

  • Friday, 16th June 2017 – Sunday, 18th June 2017

Goldcoast Oceanfest

  • Sunday, 2nd July 2017

Croyde Ocean Triathlon

How to get there:

Plan your journey to Croyde Bay here

  • Coach: Barnstaple & Braunton Coach station are the closest coach stations to Croyde.
  • Train: Closest station is Barnstaple Train station and is managed by Great Western Railway.
  • Air: Exeter International airport is 60 miles from Croyde Bay. Its main operators are Flybe and Thomson airways.

3. Fistral Beach, Newquay

UK surfing spots

Captured by Gareth Davies

“This spot can work on almost all stages of the tide and people surf there all year round. It’s the first place that I got into winter surfing and never looked back. Fistral can handle swell sizes from knee high to double overhead. There are a lot of right hand waves, but a few lefts tend to open up too. There is parking right near the beach at the North end, with some free parking at the South end – though it can get busy during holidays. There are lots of resources around the beach including: Changing rooms with showers, surf schools, surf shops, cafes and a great beach bar. It’s a great spot for beginners and advanced as surf lessons are available. Fistral beach hosts many of the major UK surf competitions between Spring – Autumn time including the Boardmasters festival where surf, BMX and skate competitions are held by the beach. There is literally something for everyone.”

With thanks to Gareth Davies – Surf blogger and photographerNewquay Surfer

Upcoming events:

  • Friday, 16th June 2017 – Saturday, 17th June 2017
Electric Beach Festival on Newquay’s Fistral Beach 2017
  • Wednesday, 9th August 2017 – Sunday, 13th August 2017
Boardmasters 

How to get there:

Plan your Journey to Newquay here

  • Coach: Newquay Coach station is located just off the coastline, National Express coaches from London operate daily.
  • Train: Newquay Railway Station is located in the City Centre. Served by Virgin, Great Western Wales and West Trains, it is directly accessible from Scotland, England and Wales.
  • Air: Cornwall Airport Newquay is located North-east from the city. Daily domestic flights are available and weekly flights from Frankfurt and Alicante.

4. Godrevy/Gwithian Beach, Hayle

UK surfing spots

Captured by Callum Morse

The beach where I grew up beside and where I first stood up on a wave, is still one of my favourite spots in the world. With 3 Miles of Golden Sands and the iconic Godrevy Lighthouse looking over the North end of the stretch, Godrevy beach is an idyllic scene in itself. The North end of the bay picks up the most swell and the further you head south down the beach, the wave size begins to drop making it perfect for beginners and intermediates alike. With a variety of peaks along the beach you can often paddle out and find a spot to yourself. Long rides and open faces offer up lots opportunities for cutbacks and turns. Now I’m travelling the world shooting pictures and surf coaching most of the year there is still nothing that compares to coming home and paddling out at Godrevy on a pumping day with my friends and scoring fun waves.Tip: After a good day surfing, pop into the godrevy cafe is a must!

 With thanks to Callum Morse – Photographer, Surfer and Cornwall local – Salt Shots

How to get there

Plan your Journey to Hayle here

  • Coach: Hayle coach station is located in the centre of town and serves National Express buses from across the country.
  • Train: Hayle railway station is located in the city centre and managed by Great Western Railway.
  • Air: Closest major airport is Cornwall Airport Newquay. Daily domestic flights are available and weekly flights from Frankfurt and Alicante.

5. Saunton, Devon

uk surfing spots

Captured by Charlotte Howells

“Saunton in North Devon is the beach I’ve surfed more than any other. If you’re lucky enough to visit when it’s 3ft and clean, you could get one of the longest waves of your life. A favourite with longboarders, the slow, rolling waves are also perfect for beginners, and the beach is long enough that you can normally find a spot to yourself. Afterwards, I like to stop off in Braunton for a healthy brunch at the Wild Thyme cafe.” 

With thanks to Charlotte Howells, Surfer, travel and adventure blogger –  Float Stories

You can also book a room in Saunton Beach Villas. The Villas are located on the edge of the beach beside Braunton Burrows UNESCO Biosphere reserve. They are an ideal destination for surfers, walkers, families, and dog owners. The Villas are dog-friendly all year round, and, unlike many other beaches across the UK, the beach allows dogs all year round too.

How to get there:

Plan your journey to Saunton here

  • Coach: Barnstaple & Braunton Coach station are the closest coach stations to Staunton.
  • Train: Closest station is Barnstaple Train station and is managed by Great Western Railway.
  • Air: Exeter International airport is 60 miles from Saunton beach. It’s main operators are Flybe and Thomson airways.

 

6. Watergate Bay, Newquay

UK surfing spots

Captured by Dom Moore

Barely two miles outside of Newquay lies the vast beach of Watergate Bay. Facing west, and backed by huge cliffs with peregrine falcons soaring high above, this is an atmospheric beach with a real ‘open ocean’ feel to it. It catches just about any swell going. As the tide drops out, Watergate opens up to a two mile stretch of golden sand with various peaks along it; even in summer it’s quite easy to find a spot to yourself. The waves are better around mid-tide with a mix of cruisey walls right out the front and barrel potential further to the north though these waves can be hotly contested. Watergate has some of the finest facilities of any beach in the UK thanks to the Watergate Bay Hotel complex. Four restaurants, a take-away, boutique surf shop and a highly-spec’d surf school make for a very comfortable visit regardless of your intentions or the weather.

With thanks to Dom Moore – Surfer, surf instructor and ocean training centre owner – Surf Sanctuary

Upcoming events:

  • Saturday, 19th August 2017 – Sunday, 20th August 2017

Rip Curl Grom Search

How to get there:

Plan your Journey to Newquay here

  • Coach: Newquay Coach station is located beside the golf course and serves daily national express coaches from London.
  • Train: Newquay Railway Station is located in the City Centre. Served by Virgin, Great Western, Wales and West Trains, it is directly accessible from Scotland, England and Wales.
  • Air: Cornwall Airport Newquay is located North-east from the city. Daily domestic flights are available and weekly flights from Frankfurt and Alicante.

7. Rest Bay, Porthcawl

uk surfing spots

I grew up in swell-free Bristol, so naturally on passing my driving test (many moons ago now) every spare moment was spent at this tidy little spot in South Wales. This beach, although not a purveyor of the UK’s best wave, is quite pretty in its own little way. Situated just 11 mins off of the M4, this place presents itself as being fairly easy to get to, having the occasional decent break and is often bustling with really friendly locals. It is therefore, perfect for beginners like myself in my teens. If you are just starting out be aware of the rocks to the left hand side of the beach that become covered by a rising tide. Also, on big springs, the beach may disappear completely, leaving you with just rocks to land on – always check the reports before jumping in.

Top tip:  Perfect for the post-session blood sugar low  try a ‘warm cookie’ from Malc’s Café in the car park. Great for warming the cockles!

 With thanks to Rosita and Jon – Adventure lovers, outdoor explorers and writers – Bee Outdoors

Upcoming events:

  • Sunday , 25th June 2017

Surfers Against Sewage Beach Clean Up

How to get there:

Plan your Journey to Porthcawl here

  • Coach: Bridgend Coach Station in Sarn is the closest National Express serving coach station next to Porthcawl and only a 10-minute drive away.
  • Train: Bridgend Train Station is a 20-minute drive away from Porthcawl and run by First Great Western.
  • Air: Bristol and Cardiff International Airports are the two closest major airports.

8. Woolacombe, North Devon

WoolacombeFinale

The best waves at Woolacombe beach are at the Northern end by the rocks. You can spot the locals as the ones who appear from a hidden set of stone stairs in the cliff and jump straight off the rocks into the line-up. The next best bet is at the Southern end, but there are peaks up and down the entire beach in 2-4ft swells. More than that, for me, Woolacombe was a stepping stone. As a learner surfer the beach break was the perfect place for progression. You can try to beat the white water and get out to the line-up, but even if it goes wrong (and it will!) you can turn around and ride it in, working on your pop and stance. By the time you’ve worked up the fitness and upper body strength to get out, you’ll be in a much better place to deal with “green” set waves. The beach itself is a cracker. With at least two miles of sand, there’s plenty of room even on busy days. The town, perched on the side of a hillside, is all-time Devonshire. Between pasty shops, greasy spoon cafés and the pitch ‘n putt on the front you’ll find surf shops, plenty of places to hire gear and The Red Barn – a big pub with a timeline of surfboards up in its high ceilings – overlooking the water.

With thanks to Sam – Surfer and blogger – Over the Dune

How to get there:

Plan your journey to Woolacombe here

  • Coach: Barnstaple & Braunton Coach station are the closest coach stations to Woolacombe.
  • Train: Closest station is Barnstaple Train station and is managed by Great Western Railway.
  • Air: Exeter International airport is 60 miles from Woolacombe beach. It’s main operators are Flybe and Thomson airways.

 

9. Surf Snowdonia, Conwy, Wales

 

screen-shot-2017-06-21-at-2-27-24-pm

There’s no denying the inevitable march forward of artificial wave technology, and Wales’ Surf Snowdonia, is one of the leaders of artificial wave technology. Surf Snowdonia is capable of keeping the world’s best surfers happy, as well as offering options for absolute beginners. That’s the beauty of artificial waves that they can simply be turned up and down depending on the surfers’ needs. In addition to that they don’t rely on the often uncooperative United Kingdom swell, weather and wind conditions! Plus it’s really cool to taste the future while sliding on your shred stick.

Top tip: Surf Snowdonia was one of the first, but now there are artificial waves popping up in places like Austin, Texas and even Barcelona. While these robot waves won’t replace the ocean, they do make for a nice alternative and a bit of futuristic fun.

With thanks to Stoke Travel.

  • Coach: Driving, it’s only seven miles from the main A55 North Wales arterial route, 15 minutes from the main expressway. It’s 1.5 hours away from Liverpool and Manchester city centres, and 50 minutes from Chester centre. You can reach the A55 easily from the M53 and M56.
  • Train: There’s a direct 3 hour train from London Euston to Llandudno Junction with Virgin. You can then grab a quick taxi from the station. From Wales, Arriva Trains will get you to Llandudno or Dolgarrog (request stop), which is a 20 minute walk to Surf Snowdonia.
  • Air:  Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham are convenient gateway airports with good transport connections.

 

 

Catriona Megahey

Catriona Megahey

Catriona (known correctly as Ka-tri-na or mistakenly as Ka-tre-o-na, but has given up trying and adheres to both) grew up in Hannover, Germany to Northern Irish parents. Spends her time trying to be active either cycling, playing football, GAA or drums.
Catriona Megahey