With its Atlantic swells, mellow sets and monster tubes, the South West surf scene is as vibrant as ever. Whether you’re finding your feet or hanging ten, a surfing holiday with Toad Hall Cottages could be your perfect staycation.
Why not take advantage of some of the best surf destinations in Europe and book up some surf lessons for both yourself, your friends and family. Our holiday cottages are scattered up and down this breathtaking peninsula and we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to locations for surf dudes.
Here’s Mr Toad’s quick fire run-down of some of the region’s top surf spots…
Watergate Bay, North Cornwall
The ebbing tide reveals a two mile stretch of sandy shoreline that has a consistent year-round beach break with powerful (but not painful) waves which offer up the occasional barrel. Watergate Bay is home to the Extreme Academy surf school which offers lessons and equipment hire on the north Cornwall coast and also includes kite surfing, stand up paddle surfing (SUP), hand plane and body boarding.
Fistral Beach, North Cornwall
Cornwall’s best-known surf spot and touted as being one of the best breaks in Europe offering ‘challenging’ waves throughout the year and plenty of ‘big’ days. Fistral has played host to the Boardmasters international professional surf contest since 1981 and for many it’s considered to be the home of surfing in the UK. Fistral Beach Surf School offer lessons for all abilities; families, groups and individuals.
Whitsand, South Cornwall
Whitsand Bay runs for three golden miles from Rame Head to Portwrinkle and is often referred to as one of Cornwall’s ‘hidden gems’. Southwest to west swells offer the most powerful breaks with larger (sometimes monster) sets on the east side of the bay. Adventure Bay is Whitsand Bay’s premier surf school and offers exciting experiences for all wannabe wave riders.
Porthleven, South Cornwall
Considered one of the best breaks in the UK and also one of the most notorious, Porthleven is an extremely challenging wave and certainly not for the inexperienced. On a clean day it offers up gleaming tubes, breaking powerfully over the barnacle encrusted reef, offering a stern test for only the bravest and proficient boardmasters. If you’re a surfing novice, your best bet is to watch and learn from the harbour wall.
Saunton, North Devon
Saunton is the place to go for all you ‘start out’ surfers. Known for its ‘mellow’ waves and inviting peaks, Saunton’s swell is popular amongst those who savour the smoother wave ride. At the northern end of the beach is a legendary spot known as ‘The Cave’ which plays host to some of the world’s best longboarders – so if you find yourself in the line-up remember your manners and wait your turn. If you’re keen to get into surfing and staying in the Saunton area, check out Walking on Waves Surf School and book a lesson with top surf coach, Sarah Whiteley.
Croyde, North Devon
Described as a ‘surfing mecca’, on the outward tide Croyde offers up thumping barrels and gnarly peaks with good surf all year round. The only slight downside is that it’s an extremely popular summertime surf destination so you can expect a few ‘bottlenecks’ on the water. Locals surfers say the best time to enjoy Croyde is during the off-peak winter months, and there’s a word of caution for beginners who are best off surfing on the higher tide with the promise of a ‘friendlier’ wave. Croyde Surf Academy is on hand to offer you expert tuition and a wide range of courses.
North Sands, Salcombe, South Devon
North Sands is a sandy beach on the mouth of the Salcombe Estuary which offers a safe wave for beginners and is also very sheltered. There are two peaks on opposite sides of the beach, and the surf is said to be best at mid-tide. North Sands has been known to hold a ‘big wave’ and is a popular surf spot during a storm. If you’re heading down to North Sands in search of some watersports, you might also want to check out Sea Kayak Salcombe the adventure paddling company.
Bantham/Bigbury, South Devon
Home of the long ride, Bantham and Bigbury has been described as a ‘mellow’ surfing scene with a variety of peaks and a swell that changes with the tide. Bigbury Bay provides a stunning backdrop, along with the iconic Burgh Island. If you’re staying in South Devon and have an itch for surfing, check out Discovery Surf School which offers lessons for all ages and abilities and can provide the expert tuition you’ll need to get started.
Lyme Regis, Dorset
Despite having a reputation for unpredictable waves, Lyme Regis Harbour Wall sometimes conjures up some more than decent surf conditions. The safe sand bottomed waves closer to the harbour are great for beginners, while the reef wedge can make for some consistent swells. Whilst ‘The Wall’ isn’t ever going to be a top surf destination, it is one of the region’s quieter, if not quirkier, surf spots. If you’re looking for watersports in Lyme Regis try Boylos Stand Up Paddle Boarding.
Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset
‘One of the best waves in the UK’ is the word on the legendary south coast surf spot that is Kimmeridge Bay. Popular with surfers and windsurfers alike, ‘K-Bay’ is well-known for its long ‘mellow’ breaks and monster winter swells, peaking best on the offshore northern winds. Not only will you be pitting your wits against one of the region’s best waves, you’ll also be able to take in the impressive Jurassic coastline views. As well as surfing, Kimmeridge Bay is also very popular amongst windsurfers.