Once you’ve exhausted wild swimming in London, swot up on the surfer’s code and take to some of the UK’s best spots.
Remember: check conditions, never surf alone, ensure your gear is in tip-top condition and respect the right of way for the surfer closest to the peak. Surf’s up!
North Devon’s Croyde Bay is a popular spot, about four hours from London. Being the surfing capital of the area, by no means is this bay a hidden spot – but, indeed, it is a great place to catch a wave. Before heading out on the water, book a lesson at the Croyde Surf Academy, which offers lessons for both total beginners and advanced surfers who want to sharpen up. Meanwhile, there are a number of places where you can hire all the equipment you need.
Another North Devon favourite, Saunton Sands is particularly good for beginners with its promise of regular waves. It’s also a big hit with longboard surfing, for which you can hire the gear from Saunton Surf Hire, after taking a lesson or two with the Walking on Waves Surf School.
Rest Bay in Porthcawl, Wales, is favoured by the surf community for its all-year-round reliable waves. Before heading out, advanced surfers should check out the bay’s surf report and forecast if you’re serious about getting a day of quality surfing in. Beginners should look out for waves in the range of 1.5ft to 2ft (0.4m to 0.6m) and plan to visit the Porthcawl Surf School.
Polzeath Beach, north of Wadebridge in Cornwall, is a tourist-friendly surf spot. It’s not the first port of call for seasoned surfers, as its waves are known for being relatively weak, but it does make for a great spot for learners. You can book private surf lessons or immersive courses with George’s Surf School.
In Dorset, Bournemouth Beach has the best rep for surfing; the east side of its pier is where you’ll find those in the know. Take a cue from the pros and check the surf report and forecast before heading out. As for surf lessons, Surf Steps, about 500m (1/3mi) from Boscombe Pier, has got you covered.
Driving 30 minutes from Norfolk city centre will take you to the seaside town of Cromer. Here, you’ll get the best surf in East Anglia, with the surf breaks around its Victorian pier worth catching. Glide Surf School is your one-stop shop for renting all the gear you’ll need and getting a lesson under your belt.