Surfing has long been associated with campervans, BBQs on the beach, and flip-flops. The split-screen camper with a surfboard on the roof is an iconic image for so many of us!
However, surfing has only really taken off as an activity in the UK in the past 20 years. With access to a decent wet suit and a board, a sunny day on a beach in Dorset, Cornwall, or Wales is a smile-fest.
Why is it good to do in the UK?
The UK has some of the most beautiful beaches and coves in the world. I have very fond memories of family holidays spent on a beach in a small cove in Devon called Llanacombe. People often talk about the long sandy beaches of Portugal and Spain, but how many of them have been to Rhossilli Bay near Swansea that which was voted 10th Best Beach in the World? We went back to Rhossilli earlier this year and had a great time. Several of the photos in this post were from that trip.
Ok, you might wear a jumper on the beach, and it does rain more in Wales than Spain. But you can’t get to Spain via the M4 on a Friday afternoon with your surfboard on the roof!
Where to go
If you ask most people in the UK where to go surfing they would say Newquay. In the summer it becomes a surfing mecca with beach bars, surf shops lots of people. If you want to avoid the crowds, try Watergate Bay which is a couple of miles away. It has two miles of beach at low tide surf shops, board hire, and surf school.
Devon is a very popular choice for those looking for a UK based beach holiday. We have heard some great things about Bantham Beach as they claim long rides on some of the waves. There is also a “surf tractor” to transport you to Burgh Island for a drink in the Pilchard Inn.
If you fancy going surfing in Wales, Porth Neigwl (Hell’s Mouth) in north Wales is a renowned spot when the swell is good. It has a stunning four-mile-long beach on the south coast of the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales. It was called Hells Mouth by local sailor’s may years ago because of the beach produced great big waves, which is what you are after for surfing.
Places to stay
If you are heading for Newquay in the summer, make sure you book early to get a camping spot because it gets busy. When we last went we stayed at Porth Beach Campsite, however, it would be worth visiting the Visit Newquay website to check out the full list of sites available.
For camping near Bournemouth, I would recommend staying just out of town. There are a few campsites close to town, but they are mainly static caravan parks, so they won’t have that Campervan/camping vibe. The New Forest is about 30 min drive from Bournemouth, and sites such as Holmsley or Setthorns should be much more welcoming.
For camping in Wales, we have camped at the Three Cliffs Bay, which has stunning views and good facilities. However, the clue is in the title, Cliffs! It’s on a hill, so flat spaces for campervans are at a premium. This year we stayed at Pitton Cross campsite which is a 300-year-old family that has been converted to camping. The facilities are good and it’s not far from Rhossili Bay so ideal for surfing.