The best places to go surfing in Yorkshire

Coastal, Activity, The Great British Outdoors

Posted by Ruth on 26th August 2022

Surfing in YorkshirePhoto credit: Chris Kendall

Uncrowded waves, a friendly welcome and delicious food and drink for a post-surf feast – no, we’re not talking about a secret tropical island but God’s Own Country itself: Yorkshire! Surfing on the North Yorkshire coast was a well-kept secret until  people started to cotton on to the quality of the waves and began to head north for surfing holidays rather than south. 

Whether you’re a beginner looking for a surf school in Yorkshire, or you want to tackle some of the North East’s most notorious breaks, you’ll have plenty of choice on a surfing holiday to Yorkshire. And afterwards, you have some of the country’s best food and drink to refuel with too.

So, grab your thickest wetsuit, wax up your board and take a look at our beach safety tips; it's time for a Yorkshire surfing holiday. And if you’re looking for a cosy coastal cottage to thaw out in afterwards, we have a wide range of Yorkshire accommodation a stone’s throw from the sea.

Yorkshire coastal cottages

Saltburn surfingPhoto credit: Chris Whites Photography


While it’s not as famous as some other Yorkshire surfing beaches, Saltburn is one of the original towns on the North Sea surf scene and is that much more chilled out than other beaches down the coast. You’ll find gentle waves that break either side of the pier here, and on a sunny day, you could fool yourself you’re at California’s Huntington Beach! It’s perfect for a wide range of abilities to practise their surf skills and it’s likely that most north-east surfers will have caught their first wave here.

Surf school nearby: Saltburn Surf School

Stay nearby: 1 The Mews, Saltburn-by-the-Sea | sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Staithes surfingPhoto credit: @yorkshire.coast.fossils


On its best days, you could be forgiven for thinking this break was somewhere far more well-known, such is the quality of wave it produces! This wave at Captain Cook’s stomping ground, breaks over reef and is quite inconsistent, but given a northerly swell and a south-westerly wind, in winter it can produce barrelling lefts which offer some of the best rides in the country. However, due to the rocky bottom and fast wave, this is not a Yorkshire surfing beach for beginners.

Surf school nearby: Flow Surf School (Saltburn)

Stay nearby: Waverley House, Staithes | sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Sandsend surfPhoto credit: @yorkshire.coast.fossils


To the north of Whitby is Sandsend, a great beach break that’s pretty reliable all year round. You can surf here at all stages of the tide and there are both left and rights on offer – however, the variety of waves means it can get quite busy in the warmer months. Best to wait and visit in the off season where, as well as having better waves, you’ll also have fewer crowds to contend with!

Surf school nearby: Whitby Surf School (look out for the trailer on Sandsend beach)

Stay nearby: The School House, Sandsend | sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Great British Coast

Whitby surfPhoto credit: John Mannick Photography


Sharing the same stretch of sand as Sandsend, Whitby thrives in similar conditions and also produces fun waves that are perfect for learning; the swell rarely reaches 6ft here so it’s brilliant for beginners. Due to the gentle nature of the waves and the proximity to the town centre facilities, it’s common that you’ll find surfers young and old honing their craft here before graduating to the larger waves down the coast.

Surf school nearby: Whitby Surf School 

Stay nearby: St Marys View, Whitby | sleeps 2

Scarborough surfPhoto credit: @adutchieinny


Scarborough is the main town for surfing in Yorkshire and boasts two beaches to choose from: North and South. Scarborough North has better surf with a main peak that can get quite powerful and rippy, whereas Scarborough South at the other side of the castle headland is a more beginner-friendly wave. You’re spoilt for choice with surfing lessons in Yorkshire here too, with a handful of schools to choose from so this is your best bet if you are new to riding the waves.

Surf school nearby: Fluid Concept Surf School

Stay nearby: The Old Jet Works, Scarborough | sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Cayton Bay surfPhoto credit: Mark Delaney

Cayton Bay

You’ll find Cayton Bay between Scarborough and Filey and it’s well worth a visit as it’s one of the best places to surf in Yorkshire. There are three breaks available: Pumphouse, Bunkers and The Point which suit a range of abilities. The Point is for experienced surfers only while beginners and longboarders favour Pumphouse with its gentle waves that work at all levels of the tide. Whichever of the three you choose, make sure you have some energy left for the walk back uphill from the beach!

Surf school nearby: Scarborough Surf School

Stay nearby: Sea Views Three 37, Scarborough | sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Yorkshire surfing beaches on a map

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Stay with us in Yorkshire

Have you added Yorkshire to your bucket list of beach breaks? If you’re planning a surfing trip to Yorkshire, we have a wide range of coastal cottages where you can soothe aching muscles after a day in the waves. From cute fisherman’s cottages with roaring fires to larger seaside homes perfect for a bucket-and-spade break with the whole family, take a look at our full collection of coastal cottages in Yorkshire below. 

Yorkshire coastal cottages

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.