Charlie do surf - winter watersports
Just as you can go caravanning and glamping in winter, so too can you go surfing and sailing. You might need a better wetsuit or several fishermen’s jumpers, but it’s very doable – and think of the rosy glow of virtue you’ll have afterwards in the pub.
Here are our top tips and parks for winter watersports:
First up, go to our open now or open all year sites, where you’ll find camping, caravanning and holiday parks for winter – you can also filter according to area, price, type of accommodation and dozens more. Then filter for watery options using the ‘Nearby Leisure’ tab on the left:
We've several sites open now that have a surf school nearby if you’re contemplating winter surfing but haven’t quite plucked up the courage to dip your toe in:
- Have a three-bedroom holiday home sleeping up to six at Little Trethvas Touring and Camping Site at Helston on Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula from £50 a night; there are electric and non-electric pitches also available for tents, tourers and motorhomes from £15.50 a night and the site is dog-friendly.
- You can sleep up to eight tired surfers at Purbeck Yurts in Dorset from £150 for two nights, with the yurt set in its own private garden. It comes with an equipped kitchen area and has a barbecue area and picnic benches outside.
- Or try a Tardis-like shepherd’s hut from £70 a night at Westland Farm in Devon, snugly insulated and with king-size bed, china crockery and outdoor firepit and barbecue area. Cooked farmhouse breakfasts are also available for an extra charge, although you might want to wait until after your surf…
For tips and accommodation info on UK surfing from beginner to expert, have a look at our guides and info pages: here’s our guide to the best places for surfing in the UK, covering Cornwall, the Scottish Highlands and Borders, south Devon and more. We also have a guide on surfing in Woolacombe, with info on surfing at the well-known Woolacombe Beach as well as the hidden Gruntna Beach and winter surfing at Ilfracombe.
If your idea of watery wonders involves standing firmly on a dry deck – and bossing everyone around – browse through our campsites and caravan parks open now and with sailing nearby:
- Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park, Isle of Wight: There are several saily spots around the country, and the Isle of Wight with its world-famous Cowes Week is a must in our book. Whitecliff Bay is open from March to January and has luxury two and three-bedroom lodges and chalets for hire from £295 for four nights, sleeping up to eight sailors; there are also tent, tourer and motorhome pitches from a very bargainous £4 per night. And there’s also an outdoor pool and an indoor one with toddler pool, Jacuzzi and flume for on-site watery antics.
- To save pennies, pitch up your tent, tourer or motorhome at Tall Trees Leisure Park in Cambridgeshire, which is offering 34% off standard electric grass pitches until 28 March 2013 at just £9.57 a night with parking for one car included. There’s a cracker farm shop at this site, with fresh cream cakes dished up in the coffee shop every morning – ideal for packing on that warm winter layer.
- For Scottish sailing, hire a wigwam at Braidhaugh Holiday Park in Perthshire: the heated wigwams at this open-all-year park start from £36 a night and there are serviced hardstanding pitches too from £20. Or go for an insulated camping pod at Ecocamp Glenshee, also in Perthshire and open all year, from £40 a night; there’s a traditional stone bothy too for cooking and sofa lounging.
We’re tentatively looking at kayaking trips for the New Year, reasoning that plummeting along the foamy rapids at an unfathomable pace must have something going for it, otherwise our friends wouldn’t witter on about it so much. Here are just a couple of sites with canoeing and kayaking nearby:
- West Wales Camping Pods, Carmarthenshire: Carmarthenshire’s the spot for kayaking and sea kayaking, although we recommend not including ‘going over Cenarth Waterfall in a barrel’ if you’re staying at nearby West Wales Camping Pods. The camping pods at this very popular Welsh farm site start from £90 for two nights, sleeping up to two adults and three children – but you can bag a 20% off bargain from now until the end of January at £72 for both nights.
- Or combine your canoeing with some surfing at Woolacombe with a stay at Europa Park, an open all year holiday park which welcomes large groups and which has a free pool and sauna. A three-berth Cocoon camping pod here with Freeview TV starts from £123 for two weekend nights until the end of the year, and from £65 for two nights all week from January. There’s also 50% off single night weekday non-electric pitches booking now for 2013, and electric grass pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes from £14.50 a night.
Sometimes you want to go white water rafting, windsurfing, motorboating or kite surfing too – here are a couple of options for winter watersports camping and caravanning:
Woodview Campsite, Cornwall: The brainy owners here know all there is to do activity-wise in Bude and the surrounding area, including watersports at Tamar Lake and surfing at the nearby beaches. The park is open all year and has a four-berth caravan from £200 for seven nights with cooker and Freeview. There’s also 15% off hardstanding and grass pitches with optional electric until 30 November, from £10.20 a night.
The Quiet Site, Cumbria: A Lake District site in the fells above Ullswater will natch have tons of watery things to do, from steam boating to rowing. There’s also canoeing, kayaking and sailing near this Penrith site, which is open all year and which has camping pods for up to two adults and two children from £35 a night and electric or non-electric pitches from £16. There’s a pub on site too in a seventeenth century barn, a games room and an upstairs playhouse. We like.