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The UK's best surf spots

UK surf spots
(Image credit: Unknown)

Summer has come and gone, but with the warm Gulf Stream ocean current keeping British waters comparatively warm deep into winter you've got the perfect excuse to book yourself an autumnal UK surf trip. 

What's more, because most punters think surfing is a summer sport, you're unlikely to have to share the waves with anyone other than your crew and a few locals. Simon Jayham, editor of gowersurfing.com (opens in new tab) gives you the inside track on six of the best British spots.

 View Surf Locations in a larger map

Beginner and intermediate –

Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wales (green pointer)

You’ll find safe, soft waves here, making it the perfect place to learn how to stand up or perfect your turns. What’s more, the beach is three miles long so it never gets packed. See the action live on the Llangennith Webcam (opens in new tab).

Woolacombe Bay, Devon, England (blue pointer)

One of Devon’s most famous surfing spots, Woolacombe is another long, safe bay ideal for first-timers or those looking to improve their skills. It also has good surf hire shops, cafés, toilets and loads of parking spaces.

Perranporth, Cornwall, England (pink pointer)

Perranporth is an expansive Cornish beach that – unlike some of the smaller beaches in the county – has plenty of room for everyone. The RNLI lifeguard service operates here in the summer months, so stay within between their flags and they’ll be able to spot you if you get into trouble.

Advanced –

Langland Beach, Gower Peninsula, Wales (turquoise pointer)

Gower surfing at its gnarliest. When the waves are up to 2m high it’s enjoyed by surfers of all levels – but any bigger and the heavy waves you get here mean it’s old hands only. With a tricky take-off spot, you need judge the waves correctly when you jump in or you’ll get smashed against the rocks. See the action live on the Langland Webcam (opens in new tab).

The Cribbar, Newquay, Cornwall , England (orange pointer)

In a deep-water spot near Fistral Beach lies the Cribbar, a razor-sharp reef surrounded by strong currents and lurking objects such as fishing nets. Conditions that make the waves here surfable are rare, and it’s hard to get to without a jet ski. But when it’s big, it’s massive – 10m plus.

Thurso, Highlands, Scotland (yellow pointer)

This town on Scotland’s north coast is home to one of the UK’s only international surf events, the O’Neill Coldwater Classic. With good reason too – at their best, the waves here are big, consistent, clean and powerful. Thurso is fast becoming one of the must-hit spots for elite-level surfers.

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