Here’s a brief and bilateral guide to some of the best surfing locations scattered around the UK. All are great places to learn to surf, and all are situated near surf schools where you’ll be able to rent surfboard and wetsuit or take a few surf lessons.
Surfing in the UK: Newquay, Cornwall
Obviously, there’s Cornwall. It’s the part of the country most commonly associated with surfing and for good reason; the Duchy has more waves, more often, than anywhere else in the UK. It also has beautiful beaches, winter water temperatures that aren’t too horrifically frigid, and, in the pasty, arguably the ultimate post-surf snack. Newquay is a fine example of a Great British seaside town and is also the nation’s surfing capital, rife with surfers, surf shops, surf schools, sometimes even waves — not to mention stag and hen parties, arcades, classy drinking establishments, fornication opportunities, etc. All along Cornwall’s north coast, however, and on parts of its south coast too, lie appealing options for the prospective shredder.
Surfing In the UK: North Devon
North Devon picks up only marginally less swell than Cornwall, and boasts several great surfing beaches within a fairly short stretch of coastline, between them catering for all abilities of surfer. Saunton Sands is a very gently sloping beach perfect for beginners and longboarders; next is powerful, high quality beachie Croyde Bay, where beginners should stick to the white water; round the corner you’ll find Putsborough and Woolacombe, which together form one long, continuous (and slightly more user-friendly) beach, the southern end (Putsborough) enjoying slightly more shelter from adverse winds. Pro surfer Lyndon Wake’s eponymous surf school offers a great all-round experience for beginners, intermediates, and advanced surfers alike.