Top Ten UK Surf Breaks
Bude, North Cornwall
The lesser known area surrounding Bude offers hollow and fast waves which work best at the north end during low tide off the perfectly formed peaks. There are a variety of surf schools within the area and the different breaks means there’s something for everyone. Just down the road you’ll find Widemouth Bay with its popular reef break that works any time of year. Further south again is the secret surf haven of Millook, home to one of the country’s best left-hand reef breaks. Beware though, it only works on a big swell and when it does, there are not usually many waves going spare!
Where to stay? Waterstone, The Beach Hut, Seapink Cottage
Fistral, Newquay, Cornwall
King of the UK’s surf scene, Newquay has a variety of surf beaches within walking distance of the town centre. The most popular of these being Fistral, divided into North and South, where there is almost always waves for every ability. North Fistral works best on all tides when big swells are coming in, however, on low tide, you can sometimes find yourself weaving through barrels to rival Malibu! Over at South Fistral there are usually left breaks which work best from mid to high tide and are more beginner-friendly.
Where to stay? Libertine, Ellenglaze, The Old Flour Mill, Sundance
This mellow, open beach break offers peaks which work well through the moving tide. Woolacombe is a popular spot with long boarders and beginners which gives it a friendly atmosphere all year round. It offers pretty consistent surf and can work at any time of the year.
Where to stay? Tamarisk Beach House
Watergate Bay, Cornwall
The beach break at Watergate Bay makes surfing consistent all year round and means it’s popular with all levels of surfers. When the breaks in Newquay get too overcrowded, Watergate offers a quieter and gentler option. There are also great facilities right on the beach including Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, so post-surf hot chocolates are incredibly tempting!
Where to stay? Firefly, The Raven, Butterfield House
Bantham is a consistent, classy beach break with sandbars sculpted by the River Avon. It is situated right on the river mouth and has a peak on the main beach. As it’s one of South Devon’s best beaches it is always busy. There are strong rips when the swell has size so beginners should take care.
Where to stay? Beauport Cottage, Puddleduck, Stargazer
Sennen Cove, Cornwall
This beautiful bay is one of the most consistent surf breaks in Britain; it can hold good-sized waves and can even have surf when everywhere else is flat. It’s a great spot for a mellow session during a smaller swell and popular with many of the local legendary longboarders. There are also facilities including a beach café, surf school, changing rooms, pubs and restaurants all within easy reach of the beach.
Where to stay? North Rock Beach House, Seasalt, The Sea Compass
Surf Snowdonia, Conwy Valley, Wales
A little different from your average surf break, this perfect lozenge-shaped fresh-water lagoon is a prime spot located in the middle of the lush Welsh countryside. Roughly the size of six football pitches and set in the Snowdonia National Park, the wave garden offers a ride of a lifetime for all ages and abilities.
Where to stay? Eirianfa
Porthmeor, St Ives, Cornwall
This unique seaside town comes alive during the summer months and is famous for its artistic history, abundance of award-winning eateries and, more importantly, its first-class beach break at Porthmeor. Overlooked by the Tate gallery, Porthmeor offers hollow and punchy waves similar to the south-west of France, yet more gentle surf during a smaller swell, making it an ideal spot for all abilities.
Where to stay? Lofty, The Viewing Gallery
St Agnes, Cornwall
Dubbed as a ‘locals only’ spot, St Agnes is one of North Cornwall’s best kept surf secrets. This fairly exposed beach break has consistent surf throughout the winter but often stays small to flat during the summer months. It works best around mid-tide which often means you have to avoid the craggy rocks.
Where to stay? The Fable, Two Bare Feet, Mackerel Skies
Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire
Freshwater is a huge beach break with peaks dotted along its length, which means you can usually find a wave all to yourself. The main beach produces some powerful and often quite large peaks which is perfect for the more intermediate surfer.
Where to stay? The Cable Hut
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