Go on a surfing safari in Britain

These isles are home to some of the world’s great spots for catching a wave. Chris Carter reports

Adventure Parc Snowdonia
The Headland: a luxury Victorian clifftop hotel near Newquay
(Image credit: ©The Headland)

Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan will host the inaugural surfing event at the Olympics next month, more than a century after legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku first asked the Olympic Committee to include the sport, says The Daily Telegraph. Located around 40 miles east of Tokyo, in the town of Ichinomiya, Chiba Prefecture, the scenic beach is a training ground for Japan’s professional surfers, known for its consistency in surf conditions. But surfing fans don’t have to head to Asia to hit the waves. Britain, too, is home to some great surf spots.

Strictly for professionals

The Cribbar

(Image credit: The Cribbar)

One of the most famous is at The Cribbar, says Jonathan Morris for BBC News. Top surfers come from miles around to ride the 40ft waves near Fistral Beach in Newquay, Cornwall, which are created by the water moving over a scattering of reefs off Towan Head. Only the right combination of wind and swell brings them to life a few times a year. So strong are the currents that surfers have to paddle constantly lest they find themselves in a dangerous zone where waves are breaking off the rocks. “The Cribbar is definitely not for the inexperienced,” bodyboarder Rob Barber tells Morris. “There are a few different reefs there, so the waves can sort of stand up on some reefs and then sort of mutate and gurgle into these evil beasts.” The Headland, a luxury Victorian clifftop hotel, costs from around £295 a night in September, see headlandhotel.co.uk.

The surf capital of Wales

Adventure Parc Snowdonia

(Image credit: © Adventure Parc Snowdonia)

Surf Snowdonia is a lake nestled in the Welsh hills where man-made 3ft-high waves roll in every 90 seconds, says Rachel Mills in The Daily Telegraph. Learners can choose a zone according to ability, with the biggest waves closest to the central pier, or simply book a lesson to hone their skills. The fun continues on land with on-site glamping and a cosy bar overlooking the lagoon (adventureparcsnowdonia.com). Alternatively, on the south coast, Rhossili Bay, with its low-key atmosphere on the Gower Peninsula,is the “surf capital of Wales”. The waves here are “eminently rideable”, peaking all along the three-mile beach. “Be sure to stick around to watch the sunset blazing across the iconic Worm’s Head.” For lodges at Hillend campsite, see hillendcamping.com; for lessons, see surfschool.wsf.wales.

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Sleep in a wave

Carnish Cabins, Lewis

(Image credit: Carnish Cabins, Lewis)

Cliff Bay and Mangersta Bay, on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, offer excellent breaks for experienced surfers, says Jade Bremner in The Independent. Just watch out for rip currents. Nearby, at “the wild and pristine Uig Bay”, the “white sand is offset by deep green hills and piercing blue water”. “Fall asleep to the sound of the surf inside a cosy Carnish Cabin, designed in the shape of a wave.” Keep an eye out for sea otters, dolphins and harmless basking sharks in the waters, and for wild deer roaming the coastline. Cabins for two cost from £595 for seven nights, carnishcabins.co.uk.

Glamping in Bristol

The Wave, Bristol

(Image credit: The Wave, Bristol)

“While I don’t recall the Beach Boys ever singing about the north-west suburbs of Bristol… here we are… watching swarms of wetsuit-clad men and women carve their way along a seemingly endless succession of perfect turquoise waves,” says Guy Adams in the Daily Mail. “The Wave is a giant pool shaped like a pizza slice, where a reverberating machine can churn out a thousand... rideable waves every single hour.” There’s now even a “posh” glamping facility, called The Camp, which is close enough to the lake “to hear the never-ending whoops and hollers”. Tents for up to eight from £105 a night, thewave.com.

Surfing for warriors

Surfers at Cayton Bay

(Image credit: © Pixel Youth movement / Alamy)

Storms cartwheeling across Scotland in the autumn and winter months send swells southwards to Cayton Bay in Yorkshire, creating waves as good as any of the “celebrated waves of Cornwall”, says James Stewart in The Sunday Times. “It’s as sketchy as it sounds [and] best left to a band of jovial local warriors who laugh in the face of freezing seas and limb-threatening shallows.” However, the horseshoe bay is beautiful, boasting a “soul-uplifting beach”. There are also a couple of safer places to surf and the “nice folk” at Scarborough Surf School provide lessons. See scarboroughsurfschool.co.uk.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.