Surfing in the UK
Surf's up! There are plenty of advantages to surfing in Britain rather than packing your board and taking it on a plane. First up, there are loads of places you can do it, with even the smallest towns often having surfers visiting regularly in the summer.
You can surf all over the country, from Pease Bay in Scotland to Sennen Cove in Cornwall. It's much cheaper to surf here than going abroad to do it – and you can surf at any time of the year instead of waiting for your annual two week break. And, while the great British weather always has to be taken into account, stormier weather at least equals good waves. Here's our pick of five of the best surfing beaches around the UK (we've written a separate piece for Woolacombe and north Devon):
- If you're a beginner, try Caswell Bay at the Gower Peninsula in Wales, 15 minutes' drive from Swansea. The waves are generally small and safe, and there's a surfing school on the beach, with one to one lessons, courses and equipment all available. If you go in June, you can also check out the Gower Folk Festival.
- Also recommended for beginners is Pease Bay in the Scottish Borders, one of the most popular surfing spots in the country and within easy access of Edinburgh. There are surf schools, surf lessons and surfer-friendly accommodation all nearby. The beach is near Pease Bay Nature Reserve and the area has cycling, fishing and golfing to try after the surf.
- More advanced surfers can try Bantham Beach in South Devon, a Blue Flag beach in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The beach picks up more swell than any other surfing spot in North Devon, so there are plenty of challenges for the non-beginner. Burgh Island is visible from the beach, and well worth a visit on the 'sea tractor'.
- Another beach for intermediate-level surfers is Sennen Cove in Cornwall, a Blue Flag beach which can hold bigger waves because of its exposed location. There are two surfing schools offering tuition for all ages and levels. The cove has plenty of cafés and shops and the UK's only 'Baywatch dog', canine lifeguard Bilbo.
- Expert surfers should find all they need at Thurso East in the Scottish Highlands, said to be one of the best surfing spots in Europe. It's a fast reef break over a flat rock shelf, and the site of several international surfing competitions – with a world record of being the coldest place the ASP World Qualifying Series was held. The surrounding area of Caithness has climbing, birdwatching, fishing and sailing all at hand.
If you want to combine a surfing trip with a camping one, there are loads of places to stay to suit all types of camper and budget. We have campsites and holiday parks all over the country with a surf school nearby: use the search filter to find surfing campsites and parks by theme, amenities, type of accommodation, other leisure nearby and dozens more.
If you're surfing at Caswell Bay, our Carmarthenshire sites include the adults-only Faerie-thyme Camping with the fully-equipped Katie the caravan for hire, camping pods at Dolbryn Caravan and Camping and more including tipis, tent pitches and pitches for tourers and motorhomes.
For Pease Bay, pitch your tent or park your caravan or motorhome at Thurston Manor, a former country estate with fly fishing, heated pool and sauna.
Bantham Beach surfers can book a tent, tourer or motorhome pitxh at Kingsbridge's Parkland Caravan and Camping Site a few miles from the beach, or book a holiday home at Bovisand Lodge Estate at Plymouth a quick drive away, while surfers at Sennen Cove with tents or motorhomes can try the small, green and budget Numphra Downs Farm, with a communal fire pit, trampoline and several walking routes nearby.
Finally, those expert surfers splashing about in the Highlands can hire a caravan at the fably named Grannie's Heilan' Hame Holiday Park slap bang on Embo Beach and with a Jacuzzi, sauna and indoor pool on site; there are loads of landlubbing activities for the kids too, including DJ workshops for the teenagers.