07.02.24

Best Surfing Destinations in England

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Surfing in England? This might come as a surprise to many, but from beautiful cliffs to golden sandy beaches, England offers an array of surf spots suitable for beginners and seasoned wave riders alike. 

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, load up your camper and head to some of the best surfing spots this summer! 

1. Newquay, Cornwall: The Surfing Capital

Often dubbed the surfing capital of England, Newquay is a must-visit for any surf enthusiast. Its consistent waves, vibrant surf scene, and beautiful beaches make it a top choice.

Top Beaches:

  • Fistral Beach: Known for its powerful waves and home to major surfing competitions, Fistral Beach is perfect for experienced surfers.
  • Watergate Bay: A two-mile stretch of golden sand with more manageable waves, ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers.

Local Tips:

  • Surf Schools: Consider booking a lesson with the many surf schools in Newquay, like the Newquay Activity Centre or Escape Surf School.
  • Après Surf: Check out the beachside bars and restaurants like The Stable for a post-surf pizza with a view.

2. Croyde Bay, North Devon: The Classic Surf Spot

Croyde Bay is renowned for its reliable swells and stunning scenery. With its punchy waves, it’s a favourite among experienced surfers.

Top Beaches:

  • Croyde Beach: Offers powerful, hollow waves perfect for advanced surfers, especially at low tide.
  • Saunton Sands: A few miles south, this beach provides gentle, rolling waves suitable for beginners and longboarders.

Local Tips:

  • Accommodation: Stay at Croyde Bay Holiday Resort for easy access to the beach.
  • Surf Shops: Pop into Gulf Stream Surfboards for custom boards and local surf knowledge.

3. Perranporth, Cornwall: Long Rides and Scenic Views

Perranporth’s long sandy beach and consistent surf make it a great spot for surfers of all levels. The beach’s expansive size means there’s plenty of room to find your own wave.

Top Beaches:

  • Perranporth Beach: Offers long, mellow waves, perfect for beginners and those looking for a more relaxed surf.

Local Tips:

  • Dunes Café: Enjoy a coffee or light meal with panoramic views of the beach.
  • Perran Surf School: Provides lessons for all levels and rentals if you need gear.

4. Woolacombe, North Devon: The Family-Friendly Wave

Voted one of the best beaches in the UK, Woolacombe offers gentle waves and a wide beach, making it ideal for families and beginner surfers.

Top Beaches:

  • Woolacombe Beach: Known for its soft, forgiving waves, it’s a great place for beginners to learn and families to enjoy.

Local Tips:

  • Picnic Spots: Take advantage of the grassy dunes for a family picnic.
  • Parking: Arrive early to secure parking close to the beach, especially during peak summer months.

5. Bournemouth, Dorset: Surfing in the South Coast

Bournemouth may not be the first place that comes to mind for surfing, but its south coast location offers some excellent waves and a lively beachfront.

Top Beaches:

  • Bournemouth Pier: Provides decent swells and is popular among local surfers. The artificial surf reef enhances wave quality.
  • Boscombe Beach: Just east of Bournemouth Pier, this beach is great for beginners and intermediate surfers.

Local Tips:

  • Beach Facilities: Both beaches have good facilities, including surf schools, rental shops, and beachfront cafes.
  • Surfing Lessons: Try Sorted Surf Shop at Boscombe for lessons and gear.

6. Scarborough, North Yorkshire: Surfing on the East Coast

Scarborough is the gem of the East Coast surf scene. With its reliable waves and charming seaside town vibe, it’s an excellent spot for all skill levels.

Top Beaches:

  • North Bay: Offers consistent waves suitable for all levels, with a scenic backdrop of Scarborough Castle.
  • South Bay: More sheltered, making it ideal for beginners or on windy days.

Local Tips:

  • Fish and Chips: Treat yourself to classic fish and chips at North Bay Fisheries after a surf session.
  • Surf Shops: Visit Secret Spot Surf Shop for equipment and advice.

7. Porthleven, Cornwall: The Big Wave Challenge

Known for its powerful and sometimes intimidating waves, Porthleven is a destination for experienced surfers looking for a challenge.

Top Beaches:

  • Porthleven Beach: Offers strong, hollow waves that are best tackled by advanced surfers.

Local Tips:

  • Tide Awareness: Be mindful of the tides; Porthleven can get quite dangerous during high tide.
  • Local Insight: Chat with locals at Porthleven Surf School for advice on tackling these waves.

8. Whitsand Bay, Cornwall: The Secluded Surf Spot

For those seeking a quieter surf experience, Whitsand Bay offers seclusion and stunning views. It’s perfect for those looking to escape the crowds.

Top Beaches:

  • Whitsand Bay: Stretching over three miles, this beach provides various breaks suitable for different skill levels.

Local Tips:

  • Access: The beach is accessible via steep paths, so be prepared for a bit of a hike.
  • Local Facilities: Limited facilities mean it’s wise to bring your own refreshments and supplies.

9. Bantham, South Devon: The Versatile Wave

Bantham is known for its versatile waves that cater to all surfing levels. Its picturesque setting in the South Hams adds to its charm.

Top Beaches:

  • Bantham Beach: Offers both gentle waves for beginners and more challenging swells for advanced surfers.

Local Tips:

  • Parking Fees: Be aware of parking charges and limited spots, especially during the summer.
  • River Conditions: Check the conditions of the River Avon, which can impact surf quality and safety.

10. Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire: The Historic Surf Spot

Saltburn is steeped in surf history, being one of the earliest spots in England to embrace the sport. Its reliable waves and charming pier make it a favourite.

Top Beaches:

  • Saltburn Beach: Known for consistent, clean waves that suit all levels, with a beautiful Victorian pier as a backdrop.

Local Tips:

  • Surf Competitions: Keep an eye out for local surf competitions and events that often take place here.
  • Surf Schools: Try Saltburn Surf School for lessons and equipment hire.

Additional Tips for Surfing in England:

  • Wetsuits: Even in summer, the waters can be chilly, so a good wetsuit is essential.
  • Local Weather: English weather can be unpredictable, so check local forecasts regularly.
  • Respect the Environment: Follow local guidelines to keep beaches clean and safe for everyone.

Pack your surfboard, wax up, and hit the road to discover the best waves England has to offer this summer. Happy surfing!

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