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While the traffic light system drags on, anyone searching for a surfing holiday in Portugal, Costa Rica or Spain may have to wait a little while yet. So, where are the top surfing destinations in the UK?

Whilst it may not always boast the scorching temperatures of its European mainland or Latin American counterparts, the UK and Ireland still has some world-class surf spots.

When it comes to consistent rolling surf, beautiful beaches and technicolour sunsets, a laid back culture and friendly locals, there’s no need to look any further than some of our top UK surfing destinations in 2021.

1.     Cornwall

people surfing in cornwall uk surf destination

The UK’s surf capital, Cornwall jumps straight in as one of the top surfing destinations in the UK, and it’s no wonder why.

Countless wide, sandy beaches and consistent surf year-round make this magical peninsula at the end of the British Isles not only one of the most compelling surf destinations in Europe, but also in the world.

If you were to pick a surf hub in Cornwall (there are many) it would be hard to overlook Newquay. Here, surfing is more a way of life, almost a religion, than a hobby. By embarking on a surfing experience here, you are actually getting a taste of authentic, local culture, as well as making the most of the natural environment and getting out doing something different.

With many great surfer pubs, bars, hostels and shops, this is a town where you can truly sample the surfer way of life, and come away with unforgettable memories. Trust us, floating on your board out to sea, sweeping beaches and dramatic sea cliffs behind you, the endless ocean reflecting the sunset in front of you, is not a moment you forget in a hurry.

2.     Northumberland

beach and castle in uk surf destination northumberland

Heading as far from Cornwall as is possible in England to the north-east coast of the country, we find Northumberland, an absolute gem of a surfing destination overlooked by so many.

With over one hundred miles of totally unspoilt beach and a smaller tourist market, surfing here is an off the beaten track holiday in the UK that feels truly remote.

Gorgeous white sand beaches and tremendous surf are guaranteed, and with backdrops like the silhouette of the crumbling Bamburgh Castle or the undulating sand dunes of Cresswell Bay, you’re sure to find a little corner of surfer’s paradise with a little help from one of the friendly locals.

Speaking of friendly locals, there aren’t many places you can go and surf and find seal playmates diving in and out of the waves with you. Just one of the magical allures of surfing in Northumberland.

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3.     Abersoch and Anglesey

beach huts in abersoch

Jumping over to the west coast now, we arrive in north-west Wales for our next top UK surfing destination. The Isle of Anglesey and the stretch of coastline around Abersoch is the perfect place for your next surf experience, thanks to wild, windswept beaches and tight-knit local communities ready to show you the ropes.

Pristine beaches surrounded by high cliffs set the scene for great surf, often found in the reasonably chilly winter months, so you’ll definitely need your wetsuit for this trip!

One thing is for sure, there is absolutely no shortage of hospitality in the area, with many great bars, cafes and pubs that maintain that laid back, surfing atmosphere, and allow you to relax and warm up after a bracing day out in the waves.

4.     Thurso and Scotland

blue sea and beach in scotland

What has to be said before anything else when it comes to Scotland as a surfing destination, is that it is one of the most spectacular places on earth to take a board and get out into the waves.

With a coastline of jagged cliffs, deserted bays overlooked by long-abandoned castle ruins, distant mountains and beaches that quite simply take your breath away, there is nowhere else on earth that you can surf in such jaw-dropping and secluded settings.

And the surf capital of this entire unspoilt coastline is – undeniably – Thurso. The most northerly town in the UK, surfers from around the world flock here to ride the “coldwater Nias”, a wave comparable to one found in the tropical waters off Sumatra.

For genuinely world-class surf in the UK and for any experienced surfers looking for a smooth barrel of water to ride down, then Thurso has to be your destination for 2021.


Here at Not In The Guidebooks, we offer a wide range of surf experiences and holidays around the world. Each one is led by a passionate, highly trained local who will both help you get up on your board, keep you safe, and show you the very best of this essential activity in so many parts of the UK.