Where is the best place to go sailing in the UK? From Scottish lochs to the south coast of England, there are hundreds of great places to sail in Great Britain - whether you are a beginner sailor or an expert yachtsman.
A good sailing destination needs a few key ingredients: nice scenery, consistent winds plus a couple of decent pubs wouldn’t go amiss, right?
We’ve picked some of the best places in the UK to sail. Take a look at our top choices below...
ISLES OF SCILLY
You know those beaches that look like the Caribbean but turn out to be in the UK? They are often found on the Isles of Scilly.
The Isles of Scilly are a collection of islands, 25 miles off the coast of Cornwall with white sandy beaches, turquoise water and fresh winds. It is also one of the warmest, sunniest places in the UK.
The rugged coastline is perfect for dinghy sailing or taking a yacht trip between the five major islands. Keep your eyes peeled for puffins, seals and dolphins. You can also go scuba diving while you are there.
LOCH LOMOND, SCOTLAND
Loch Lomond is the largest stretch of inland water in Great Britain, offering a huge sailing area. Milarrochy Bay is a great place to launch - there’s hundreds of inlets to explore.
The Loch Lomond Sailing Club is tucked away at the north end of the bay. They run courses and hold regular races if you are into that kind of thing.
COWES, ISLE OF WIGHT
Cowes on the Isle of Wight in one of the world’s major epicentres for yacht racing.
Every August the coastal town comes alive for Cowes Week, the famous regatta. 8,500 competitors take part and nearly 100,000 spectators invade the town to watch the events take place (and join in the parties).
During the rest of the year, it’s still an excellent place to come and sail - UKSA are one of the best sailing schools in the country.
If you are a looking for a peaceful sailing holiday, head to Lymington in Hampshire. It’s a Georgian town with nice old buildings and two marinas to set sail from.
It might be quaint and surrounded by green fields, but it’s one of the major yachting stops on the south coast. The Needles Channel is just three miles from Lymington and it’s right on the edge of the New Forest.
LAKE WINDERMERE, LAKE DISTRICT
At ten miles long, it is the largest lake in England. Lake Windermere is a must-visit if you are heading up to the Lake District.
Arthur Ransome based his famous book, Swallows and Amazons, partly on Windermere and partly on Coniston Water nearby. There are three sailing clubs: Lake District Boat Club, Royal Windermere Yacht Club and South Windermere Sailing Club.
If you are a looking for quaint seaside town with narrow cobbled alleys and more pasty shops than you can possibly imagine, then Fowey in Cornwall is the place for you.
Pronounced ‘foy’ not ‘fow-ey’, it is a great place to moor up and spend the night touring the pubs and admiring the pretty estuary. Make sure you try some Fowey River mussels while you are there.
The Norfolk Broads are made of up 200 square kilometres of navigable waterways. This means there are a lot places to explore if you’re looking for an adventure.
It’s been a popular holiday destination since the growth of railways brought people up from London and the south in the 1870s. Hire a skipper to charter a yacht or take your own boat up there.
During the summer months, Dartmouth in south Devon a real hub for yachting types as one of the major stopping points for boats along the south coast.
Dartmouth Royal Regatta Week is at the end of August, which is when all the festivities kick off. Get fish and chips and sit on the dock, watching the crowds go by.
Pwllheli and the Llyn Peninsula in north-west Wales is a protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s said to be the best sailing venue in Wales, one of just four in the UK that are suitable for hosting international Olympic and youth and junior class competitions.
In the past eight years, six world championships and over 30 UK national championships events have been held at Pwllheli. It’s a great place for dinghy sailing and exploring the coastline by yacht.
Weymouth was home to the Olympic sailing events back at London 2012 - and the boating centre there is truly one of the best in the UK.
With dozens of world championships and national regattas held here, it’s a fantastic place to learn to sail - and venture further afield once you’ve become a more competent sailor.