Are you looking for a fun-packed surfing holiday in the UK?
Look no further, our complete guide to UK surfing holidays is packed with all the tips and advice you’ll need to go from land dweller to a full-blown surfer.
The best places for surfing holidays in the UK
One of our favourite things about surfing in the British isles is its varied coastline and surfing breaks, from the golden sand of Cornwall to the challenging reef breaks of Ireland, there’s something for every level of surfer.
Let’s look at the UK’s surfing hot spots for a great idea of where to plan your next surfing holiday.
Probably the first place people think of when it comes to surfing here and for a good reason too. Cornwall’s location at the end of a peninsula means it’s blessed with waves on both coasts.
There are a huge variety of waves from beachies to reef breaks and points better yet the many sheltered bays and two coasts mean you can normally find offshore surf.
It’s worth noting that the high season in Cornwall comes with lots of holiday makers at the main surf breaks but you can find some quieter waves if you travel further afield.
South Cornwall doesn’t get quite as much swell but it’s a great way of escaping onshore winds and it’s home to one of the UK’s most famous reef breaks, Porthhleven.
Devon doesn’t get quite as much swell as Cornwall but what it loses in waves it more than makes up for in beauty and culture.
Wales sits just above Devon and Cornwall so it’s a bit more sheltered from the North Atlantic swells. You’ll find some great beach breaks, picturesque towns and thriving surf culture.
You can struggle to find consistent waves here in the summer months so Wales is a better option for an Autumn or Winter surf holiday.
But when the right swell arrives alongside favourable wind, Wales has some of the best surfing beaches in the UK.
Ireland gets the best waves in the UK making it a great place for intermediate to advanced surfers. It offers some world-class reef breaks including the terrifying Mullagmore, which gets regular features in surf media all over the world.
Its spot further north makes for cold temperatures so you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a winter wetsuit (5mm/3mm) for any time of year but mid-summer.
Despite its somewhat scary reputation for waves of consequence, you can easily find breaks for a variety of surfing skills and abilities across Ireland’s coastline.
What are the best months for surfing in the UK?
Whether you’re a beginner looking for small summer waves or a shredder looking to cut your teeth in the bigger stuff, it’s essential to know when to plan your surf holiday.
Spring can be a mixed bag in the UK, swells can be intermittent and you can often be met with a northwest devil wind that destroys the surf quality at most spots.
While swells can be few and far between recent years have seen some very hot summers making for great longboarding sessions.
Autumn offers the best months for surfing in the UK. The sea is still warm and the days are still fairly long with the highest chance of a good ground swell and favourable offshore winds.
If you don’t mind the cold you can hunt down some great waves in the UK over winter. Lots of sheltered bays come to life as large storms roll through.
Carefully selected UK Surf Holidays
From epic surf camps to wild camping and coasteering, we’ve got some amazing trips for you to check out.
Hosted by local organizers and qualified surf instructors, you can submerge yourself in the local surf scene and have a bunch of fun along the way.
Explore by region:
What to think about before you book your surf holiday
Here are some important things to consider before you decide where and when to book your surf trip.
Surfers just starting out are going to benefit from some group or private surf lessons to get them on the right track.
Where you go on your holiday will also affect the water temperature, further north and it quickly drops meaning you’re going to need wetsuit boots and potentially gloves/hood.
If you do plan on heading further north you can use the autumn months to maximise your chance of good weather, swell and offshore winds.
The ability of you and the other surfers on your trip will make a massive difference to where you go.
There’s no point taking beginners to Ireland in the depths of winter (trust me it won’t be fun). Try to pick somewhere that’s going to have waves for everyone.
Time of year
Heading for a surf holiday in February can make for some epic waves but you’ll need to be made of sturdy stuff to handle the sometimes freezing temperatures.
Make sure to check the water temperatures wherever you’re heading. there’s nothing worse than being underequipped and cold while you’re surfing.
Frequently asked questions
We answer some of your most pressing questions about your next surf holiday.
Where are the best surfing waves in the UK?
Ireland offers some of the best waves in the world on its day. From the gigantic peaks of Mullagmore or Aileens to the slabbing barrels of Rileys.
What’s the best time of year to surf the UK?
Autumn is easily the best time of year to surf in the UK with the consistent swell, offshore winds and relatively mild temperatures in and out of the water.
Where should a beginner learn to surf in the UK?
Newquay is a perfect spot to learn to surf, places like Towan beach are sheltered from the majority of swell and wind making for perfect waves to learn to surf.