Guide to Great British surfing

Coastal, Watersports, The Great British Outdoors

Posted by Ruth on 4th September 2020

Surfing guide

As an island nation, we are surrounded by sea which forms the county’s largest adventure playground. Surfing allows you to immerse yourself in this natural landscape, where you can harness the raw power of Mother Nature and be at one with the elements – it’s no wonder the sport grows in popularity year upon year.


“Waves are fascinating; the way they are created by wind far out at sea and groomed by different winds as they come closer to shore. We surfers ride the very last part of the wave’s life before it crashes and disappears, never to be seen again.” 
– Stephanie Gilmore, seven-time world surfing champion.


Surfing, in Great Britain at least, began in Cornwall in 1929 when Lewis Rosenberg carved an 8ft board out of balsa wood after being inspired by seeing surfers in Australia on a film, and took to the waves in Newquay – now one of the best surfing spots in the UK. Since its humble beginnings, the sport has become widespread throughout the UK – with surfers of all abilities found from Thurso in Scotland, to its home in Cornwall – and it’s even been introduced as a sport for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

surfing

The popularity of surfing might have something to do with how easy it is to begin; there’s no fancy equipment involved – just grab a board and off you go! And while Cornwall is best known as the home of surfing, there are plenty of surfing beaches in the UK where you can take to the water, whether you’re a complete beginner or eyeing up a spot on the Olympic team!

There’s no feeling quite like riding the waves, so if you’ve been inspired to give surfing a go, take a look at our guides to the best surfing locations in the UK.


Surfing Cornwall

Surfing in Cornwall

If you’re planning a surf trip, why not start where it all began? Cornwall boasts some of the best surf beaches in the UK, whether you’re looking for somewhere to learn or want to take your skills to the next level. 

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Surfing in Devon

Surfing in Devon

With two distinct coastlines to choose from, Devon offers a smorgasbord of top breaks. Visit the famous surfing beaches of the wild north coast or head to the more laidback south coast – the choice is yours. 

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Surfing in Scotland

Surfing in Scotland

Grab your winter wetsuit and let’s go! Scotland is blessed with some of the UK’s most beautiful – and least crowded – beaches, from the idyllic coves of the islands to the country’s most famous spot: Thurso. 

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Surfing in Wales

Surfing in Wales

Sharing a similar coastline to Devon and Cornwall, which picks up any swell from the tempestuous Atlantic, Wales has some of the best surfing beaches in the UK – a little secret it keeps close to its chest!

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Surfing in Yorkshire

Surfing in Yorkshire

It might seem an unlikely destination for a holiday in the waves, but Yorkshire has some of the best surfing in England alongside some of the most picturesque coves to explore while you’re there. Where will you choose to visit?

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Surfing in the Uk

Surfing in Great Britain

Can’t decide where to visit for your next surfing holiday? Read our guide to the best UK beaches for surfing – spanning England, Wales and Scotland – and see if we can help you narrow it down. 

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.