Surfing is an irrefutably great holiday pastime. Take up surfing and you’ll get tanned, get fit, and get pumped full of adrenalin and endorphins at the same time.
And one of the best places for surfing is the UK, with swell suitable for both salty-haired pros and little kids learning to stand up on the waves during their summer holidays.
Here are the top five places for the best surf in Britain, as rated by British travellers.*
Newquay's Atlantic swells are ideal for surfing
The Cornish seaside resort of Newquay is a surf town through and through. Every other shop sells surf gear, the choice of surf schools is gigantic, and the town’s Fistral beach is the venue for major international surfing competitions. Facing west, the beach is exposed to Atlantic swells that constantly bring in great waves for surfing.
The on-trend, mid-century interiors of The Blue Door make it an attractive base for the beach, only a four minute walk away.
Woolacombe is regularly voted the best beach in Britain
The UK’s number one surf spot, a three-mile sandy beach at Woolacombe in Devon, has consistently won awards as the best beach in Britain, thanks to its gently-sloping, spotless sand sheltered from Atlantic winds by rolling dunes and English countryside. The water is monitored by lifeguards and the seaside town has a strong surfing community, thanks to its world-class surf breaks and impressive swell.
The immaculate lawns of the stately Woolacombe Bay Hotel lead right down to the beach.
St Ives offers the choice of several beaches
St Ives, Cornwall
The Cornish harbour town of St Ives has several beaches all a short walk away. Porthmeor is the perfect beach for learning to surf, as it is slightly sheltered from massive swells and powerful winds, meaning neater and softer waves. Porthmeor is also overlooked by Tate Gallery St Ives, one of only four renowned Tate Galleries in the UK and a lovely place to have a jam and clotted cream-laden scone. Trying a Cornish pasty before you go is also absolutely essential.
Located in between Harbour Beach and Porthminster Beach (2-minutes’ walk from both), the blue-and-white bedrooms of Trevose Harbour House are perfect for resting up before a big day on the waves.
South Bay, Scarborough's main beach
Scarborough, North Yorkshire
What Yorkshire may lack in Cornwall’s temperate, oceanic climate, it makes up for in physical beauty. The wild North Sea crashes into the steep, almost eerie cliffs on the edge of South Bay, the town’s main beach. Seafront cottages are stacked on the slope leading down to the beach, the crumbling ruins of the medieval Scarborough Castle cover the cliffs and the mellow breaks in the bay’s pristine water make it a fantastic surfing spot.
Stay at the Victorian guest house, The Cordelia, situated near the South Cliff and only 6-minutes’ walk from the beach.
Enrol in surf school in Bournemouth
Though the swell isn’t quite as impressive as some of Cornwall and Wales’ beaches, you can catch many a surf break in Bournemouth. The most popular surf spot is the East side of the main beach, where left-handers can coast right along to the historic seaside pier. And there are lots of surf schools, making it a great place for beginners. After you’ve hit the waves, this popular beachside town has plenty to entertain you – including amusement arcades, cafes, shops, and an IMAX cinema.
The Alexander Lodge Guest House is a highly-rated property in a quiet, tree-lined residential road only a few minutes from the beach.
**Booking.com’s data analysts looked at destinations in the UK that were most endorsed for ‘surfing’ by British Booking.com customers.