Holywell bay is a sandy, rugged beach on the North coast of Cornwall. Located a few miles south of Newquay, this beach is the perfect way to escape the crowds of the UK’s busting surf hub.
The beach is tended by the National Trust which keeps it in pristine condition considering the number of visitors and surfers. A small estuary flows from the car park down to the beach via Holywell Cave which sits at the south end of the beach, word has it you can find small calcium deposits at low tide.
Popular with beachgoers and tourists alike it can still get busy over the summer months. Thankfully the large beach offers plenty of room to spread out. Two large rock islands sit just offshore at the far southern end of the bay making for quite the landscape.
Are you thinking of surfing Holywell bay or surfing in Cornwall anytime soon? We’ve got all the tips and advice you need before you head for your surf.
Can you surf at Holywell Bay?
Yes, Holywell Bay is open to swells coming in from the Atlantic Ocean and gets consistent surfable waves all year round.
Offshore winds are from the East and the best swell direction is from the West. Best surfed in the 2 – 4ft range, anything bigger and Holywell Bay has a habit of closing out (the waves break in one spot along the whole face without peeling making them unsurfable).
Is Holywell Bay good for surfing?
When it all comes together Holywell Bay can produce really good waves but the rest of the time it’s normally just average here. Banks here can be quite fickle, and a quick moving tide means that surfing here requires a bit of luck as well as skill.
Best surfed from low to mid tide the waves here back off a little bit at high making them harder to surf and inconsistent.
Large cliffs at either end of the beach offer some protection from cross-shore winds so Holywell Bay is it great place to check if other places are looking a bit onshore messy.
The two large rock islands at the far south of the beach offer some great protection from south-westerly winds but the swell does get considerably smaller down at that end of the beach. If the main beaches around the area are looking too big to surf you can always head here to escape some of the size.
Heading up to the north end of the beach the waves get considerably larger getting hit by the full force of swells coming in from the Atlantic.
Learning to surf at Holywell Bay
If you’re looking to get your first taste of surfing Holywell Bay is a stunning location to start. There are two quality surf schools to choose from in the area.
Holywell Bay School of Surf
As its name suggests Holywell Bay Surf School is an integral part of the surfing community here. Offering a range of group and private lessons with ISA-qualified instructors you’re all set to start riding waves.
If you’re more of a DIY approach they also provide surfboard and wetsuit hire so you can take to the waves yourself.
Cornwall Surf Academy
Cornwall Surf Academy was established in 2003 and since then they’ve grown from strength to strength offering lessons at Holywell and Fistral Beach.
Catering to hen and stag does and offering a range of fun activities alongside their surf lessons these guys are the perfect option if you’re looking to let off some steam as a group.
Other surf spots around Holywell Bay
If you’re looking for other waves around Holywell you’re in luck, the area is littered with high-quality breaks.
If you haven’t tried surfing around Newquay it’s only a short drive up the road and offers a range of beach breaks facing slightly different directions and offering shelter from south westerly winds.
Further up the coast, you can find the quality surf at Mawgan Porth which can deliver solid waves much more consistently than Holywell.
Can you surf Holywell at high tide?
Yes, but the waves really aren’t great. The best conditions for surfing Holywell Bay are from low to mid tide with a small ground swell in the waist to head high range.
What else is there to do at Holywell Bay?
If you’re feeling like an adventure after your surf you can take the coast path up either side of Holywell, why not head north until you find the picturesque Polly Joke Beach?