Autumn is the New Summer Surfing Season: The UK’s 10 Best Surf Spots

From obvious favourites such as Croyde in North Devon to Bristol’s Wavegarden to hidden coves in Yorkshire and beyond, we’ve traipsed all over the country to pull together a list of the best surf spots in the UK. Boards at the ready.

Okay, Hawaii might have a certain glamour and you can almost guarantee sun-kissed shores in Portugal, but you needn't hop on a plane or cross oceans to catch a good surf. The UK is blessed with rugged but beautiful coastlines and more than enough curling tides to satisfy surf-hunters. Traipsing across the UK, from obvious favourites such as Croyde in North Devon to Bristol's Wavegarden to hidden coves in Yorkshire and beyond, we've pulled together a list of must-visit surf spots. Boards at the ready.

Our 10 favourite surfing beaches (and a Wavegarden) in the UK



Surfers flock to North Devon for its agreeable climate. The darling town of Croyde is not only blessed with strangely temperate weather conditions but a year-long swell with stretches that suit all levels from beginners to experts, as well as left- and right-handed waves. Not feeling the surf? Grab a SUP (stand-up paddleboard) and head into the surrounding coves to get up close with nature. If you're a complete beginner - and averse to the taste of seaweed mulch - we suggest booking in a couple of lessons at Croyde Surf Academy.

Thurso East

Caithness, Scotland

This place is not for the faint of heart. It has a right-hand reef break (so lefties might want to give this one a miss) and, on a good day, six-foot, Hollywood-style barrel waves which look like something out of The Endless Summer, minus the sun. Yes, this is Scotland, so don't expect verdant coastlines dusted with golden sands. Between October and April, an icy stream flows down the River Thurso from the Flow Country. Despite the temperatures, it's regularly ranked among the 20 best surfing spots in the world. Thurso East is gritty and chilly but good: consider this your official warning.

The Wave


The UK's surf community went cock-a-hoop when this place opened back in 2019. This artificial lagoon - which was nine years in the making and cost £25million to build - is the only one of its kind in the UK and the second of its kind in the world, after Melbourne. Simply rock up and The Wave will kit you out with everything you need - a board, wetsuit, boots, the lot - though, of course, experienced surfers can bring their own. Surf sessions with an instructor range from beginner to advanced, though you can head out on the lake solo too. Check its website for more details.


County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Portrush is known as the surf capital of Northern Ireland. Sitting pretty on the famously dramatic Causeway Coast, this cove offers opportunities for both left- and right-handed surfers to perfect their skills. It's a fickle spot which requires a decent north-westerly wind to churn up some serious waves. When there's a decent swell, surfers score the foam with wild abandon so be prepared to wait your turn.


North Yorkshire

You might be surprised to learn that Yorkshire - home to countless doily-clad tearooms and more rickety old pubs than you can shake a surfboard at - is also home to one of the UK's most revered surf spots. Ask one of the local surfers and they'll tell you the cold North Sea isn't kind to those who run hot. In January, the sun slips behind the horizon as early as 4pm so you'll want to be fairly confident if heading here in winter, but beginner waves can be found on either side of Saltburn's 200m pier. Grab an espresso from Camfields Espresso Bar before diving in, and refill with a salty fresh seafood platter from The Seaview Restaurant after.

Sennen Cove


Sandwiched between Land's End and Cape Cornwall, this 2.5km stretch of golden sand is popular among surfers of all abilities. Visit on a blue-sky day and you'll catch huge, hollow rollers spinning into the coast. If you're one of the vertically challenged surfers among us, take time to pootle about Sennen Cove's harbour which is speckled with art galleries and pocket-sized cafés. From April to September there is a full RNLI Lifeguard service.

Pease Bay

Berwickshire, Scotland

Windsurfers, kayakers, divers, you name it: you'll find all types of watersports enthusiasts at Pease Bay, just an hour's drive east of Edinburgh. Let it be known that this portion of coastline is wild in winter. On some days you can expect to find 60mph winds and 40ft waves, so beginners should pick their time wisely. Alternatively, the less intimidating Belhaven Beach is just a scooch along the coast and perfect for those still getting to grips with the board.


Gower Peninsula, Wales

Most people hit up Hillend near Llangennith, but we're more interested in catching the surf at Rhossili where there are fewer people and the surf is delightfully consistent year-round. The waves might be a foot or so smaller than those in Hillend (no bad thing, necessarily) but they generally hold up for longer. Rhossili village is nice enough but it's the surrounding countryside - the UK's first-ever Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, don't you know - that will really make you fall hook, line and sinker.

Llŷn Peninsula

Gwynedd, Wales

The first port of call for surfers heading out to the Llŷn Peninsula should be the deceptively named Hell's Mouth. With consistently friendly waves year-round which attract everyone from kayakers to bodyboarders, it's not nearly as scary as it sounds. For a change of scene try Porthor, Trefor or Porth Ceiriad - the latter is known for churning out Llŷn's best barrel in the right conditions.

Rest Bay

Bridgend, Wales

If you're new to surfing, head out on low-tide and stick to the right-hand side of this Porthcawl beach which is less rocky and generally has smaller, less-challenging waves. Experts will have a field day battling the rip at high-tide when barrel waves chase surfers across the shoreline. It's home to the Welsh Coast Surf Club, one of the oldest surf clubs in Britain, but don't be put off by the experts that call this place home. Rest Bay is known for hosting spectacular contests - plan your visit in time to soak up the atmosphere.

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