Looking for the best breaks to go surfing near London?
Want to go surfing near London? While the surf is more consistent in Devon and Cornwall, you don’t necessarily always have the time to make the three to five hour journey down to the south-west of England.
How far from Central London? 64 miles (1hr 45 minutes driving)
Littlehampton has a small beach break, just to the east of the harbour entrance. If there’s a good east/southwesterly swell, then you’ll find a left breaking off the wooden groyne at high tide. But watch out, it’ll be busy with locals if it’s working.
BRIGHTON WEST PIER, EAST SUSSEX
How far from Central London? 54 miles (1hr 28 minutes driving)
Brighton’s West Pier is a popular slow longboarding wave but unfortunately it’s not quite as good as it used to be since the pier burnt down and the sandbanks have shifted. The West Pier works best at low tide with the sandy bottom making it a friendly beginner break.
EASTBOURNE, EAST SUSSEX
How far from Central London? 73 miles (1hr 50 minutes driving)
When a big storm is rolling across the south coast, Eastbourne can provide a sheltered haven for surfers. It works best at mid-tide when the swell is big.
CAMBER SANDS, EAST SUSSEX
How far from Central London? 80 miles (2hr 5 minutes driving)
Camber Sands has a lot of surf history to it, thanks to its ability to pick any good swell coming through the English Channel. It works best two to three hours before high tide and same after high tide. It’s also popular with kitesurfing enthusiasts.
If it’s windy, head down to the west end of the beach near the harbour wall. If it is blowing off-shore, make your way to Jury’s Gap beach on the east end of Camber Sands.
HASTINGS, EAST SUSSEX
How far from Central London? 66 miles (1hr 44 minutes driving)
Hastings is a beachbreak that works best in the winter when there’s south-westerley swell. There’s a fair bit of localism around here, so be respectful of other surfers.
EAST & WEST WITTERING, WEST SUSSEX
How far from Central London? 87 miles (1hr 47 minutes driving)
When it’s good, the Witterings can produce some great surf – you just have to be patient and catch it on a south-westerley groundswell with north-easterly winds.
West Wittering works best September through to April – get there one to three hours before high tide for the best conditions. East Witterings is a great longboarders wave with long rides when the swell is just right.
JOSS BAY, KENT
How far from Central London? 80 miles (1hr 48 minutes driving)
Joss Bay has been Kent’s main surf spot since the 1960s with left and right-handers breaking over sandbars and chalk reef. It works best when there is a strong northerly swell. Watch out for rips and shallow reef at low tide. Head down to Joss Bay Surf School for more information.
VIKING BAY, KENT
How far from Central London? 81 miles (1hr 42 minutes driving)
Viking Bay is the main beach for the pretty coastal town of Broadstairs. It’s a great second choice when Joss Bay is crammed with people. Head to the end of the harbour pier at low tide for a clean, mellow, longboarding friendly wave.
HAYLING ISLAND, HAMPSHIRE
How far from Central London? 74 miles (1hr 34 minutes driving)
Hayling Island is a very sheltered sand island with a long stretch of beachbreaks and a right-hand point in the Chichester harbour entrance. It only really works when there’s a huge south-west swell coming up the English Channel – but worth keeping an eye on.
LOWESTOFT, EAST ANGLIA
How far from Central London? 132 miles (2hr 50 minutes driving)
Lowestoft, the UK’s most easterly break, might be a bit further away from London than the south coast but the surf is often a little more consistent.
This popular beach break is usually pretty small but can pick up when a north-westerly swell is coming through. At high tide, it’s a hollow shorebreak and at low tide, it’s peels nicely off the pier.
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