The Best Surfing Beaches in the UK
Surf's up at these UK beaches.
While the UK may not have the white sand beaches and balmy temperatures of other surfing paradises, when it comes to waves, it’s one of the best. From wetsuits to good waves, surf wax to post-ocean drinks, here’s our guide to the best surfing beaches in the UK. And of course, they’re all near enough to Plum Guide's gorgeous properties so you can practically crawl home before falling into your gloriously comfortable bed.
Sennen Cove, Cornwall
We couldn't write a list of the best surfing beaches in the UK without mentioning Cornwall. The sand here might be a pale gold rather than white, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less striking. The sea at Sennen Cove is crystal clear, and the beach has the most consistent breaks in Cornwall. The waves are of all sizes, which means that this is a great beach for beginner surfers as well as those who are more advanced. Head to the south end of the beach if you're a newbie, as the waves are smaller there.
If you’d rather sip a beverage on the beach than try to stand up on the board and fall off for the millionth time, Sennen Cove has plenty to do - there’s a surf shop, surf school and restaurant between the cliffs and the sea. A word of advice: the car park here can get busy, so plan to arrive on the early side if you’re visiting on a summer weekend.
Pease Bay, Berwickshire
Surfing in Scotland? Who would have thought. Surfers have been flocking to Pease Bay since the 1960s thanks to its incredibly close positioning to Edinburgh (the drive takes under an hour). The surf here is mellow and relaxed, although the water can be quite shallow at low tide and breaks over a sand and cobble bottom, so be aware of that when you’re paddling out and riding the waves back in.
Of course, the temperatures in Scotland mean you can't pretend you're surfing in Hawaii even when you have your eyes closed. If you’re squeamish about the cold (and we don’t blame you), head to Pease Bay in the autumn, when the water temperature reaches a positively balmy 14 degrees.
Once you’ve peeled your wetsuit off, the whole of Edinburgh is at your feet to explore. Check out the city’s many shops, art galleries, adorable cafes and upscale restaurants before retiring, pleasurably exhausted, to your city bolthole.
Saltburn, North Yorkshire
The surfing at Saltburn beach is the equivalent of a broad Yorkshire accent – welcoming, warm (in mood if not temperature) and you want to experience it again as soon as possible.
Surfers of all ages try their hand at popping up (and falling off) here. It’s a picturesque place to hang out in the water waiting for the next wave, as the best breaks are directly either side of the Victorian pier. The waves themselves are, incredibly, some of the best and most challenging in England, so bring your A game. For a post-surf refuel, head to one of the many cute cafes lining the beach.
For a quick and easy trip back to your luxurious Plum Guide property once you’re dying for a hot shower, one of the world’s oldest water-powered funicular railway leads to the tidy streets of Saltburn-by-the-Sea by way of the sea cliffs. Just be careful not to drop your goggles out the window as you peer out at the view.
Newquay is famous for surfing for a reason. World-class competitions are held at Fistral beach every year, including the British National Surf Championships, and you can’t really say that you’ve been to the best surfing beach in the UK if you haven’t experienced the magic that can be found here.
The best part is that the surf in Newquay is suitable for everyone, from longboarding beginners in summer to powerful shortboarders learning impressive tricks in the winter. There’s even a famous big wave spot, called The Cribbar, that attracts surfers full of bravado from all over the world.
When you’re finished in the water, you can head to the restaurants and bars lining the beach to discuss your technique - and to plan tomorrow’s surf session - before heading back to your nearby Plum Guide property to collapse in happy exhaustion.
Croyde, North Devon
Croyde is the home of Devon’s best surfing. That fact is well known, however, so don’t let the many young whippersnappers hanging out on their boards behind the waves put you off – age means you have more experience, not less talent. Regardless, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for other surfers in the water.
The landscape here is worth the visit alone, as Croyde Bay is located between two headlands and backed by gently rolling sand dunes. Make sure to leave some time to explore the verdant countryside before you head back to your desk job.