The Best Places to Spot Seals in England

Seal swimming
Seal swimming | © Rod Long / Unsplash
Emma Lavelle

You don’t have to travel far to watch seals in England; the cute little creatures can be seen up and down the country’s coastline and can also be seen in abundance in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Both grey seals and common seals can be spotted in England’s waters all year round, but if you’d like to see seal pups, common seals raise their pups in summer and grey seals in autumn. Here are six of the very best places in England to watch them swimming in the sea or lounging on the beach.

Blakeney National Nature Reserve, Norfolk

Blakeney is one of the largest seal colonies in the UK, with over 2,000 pups born each year. The four-mile-long strip of sand at Blakeney Point is accessed via a tourist boat from the Quay that brings curious visitors up close and personal to the seals as they bask on the shore and sometimes even pop their heads out of the water right beside your boat. You’ll have the opportunity to spot both grey and common seals here, meaning lots of opportunity to admire small pups.

Blakeney National Nature Reserve, Blakeney, Holt +44 1263 740241

Seals on the beach

This small, protected cove close to Godrevy Point is home to a colony of grey seals that can be viewed from the cliffs above. The seals stay here all year long, but their numbers increase during the autumn months, when it’s not uncommon to spot around 100 on the beach below. Bring your binoculars for a better view.

Mutton Cove, Hayle, Cornwall

Seal diving in the sea

Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

Thousands of grey seals call Donna Nook’s picturesque sand dunes home every winter, heading inland from sandbanks further out at sea to birth their pups. The viewing area is open from October to December, allowing visitors to watch the pups play on the sand while the older seals laze nearby. This is one of the best places in England to watch seals on the shore, rather than taking to a boat.

Donna Nook, Louth, Lincolnshire +44 1507 526667

Farne Islands, Northumberland

Boat trips to the Farne Islands get incredibly close to the large colony of grey seals that bask on the rocky coastlines. The newborn pups can be seen every autumn, their rumps marked with vegetable dye so the local rangers can keep track of their numbers and check the mortality rate, as they are so susceptible to storms.

Farne Islands National Nature Reserve, Northumberland

Seals sleeping

Falmouth, Cornwall

Falmouth is one of the best places in England to see not only seals but a wide array of marine life with dolphins, porpoises and even basking sharks and minke whales sometimes spotted in the waters. Small colonies of seals are often spotted lounging on the rocks around Black Rock, although binoculars are recommended to get a closer view.

Falmouth, Cornwall

Seal on the rocks

Isles of Scilly

If you want to get up close and personal with seals, head to the Scilly Isles for a once-in-a-lifetime experience snorkelling with these inquisitive creatures. The guided trips allow visitors to swim below the surface and watch the seals at play – they might even come close enough to nibble at your wetsuit! If you don’t fancy getting wet, you can also take boat trips out to see the seals on the Western Rocks.

Isles of Scilly

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