Best places to surf in the UK to escape the summer crowds

Surfing on Crowded Beach

Hot sunny weather, sandy beaches and long summer days sound idyllic but they aren’t usually a surfer’s best friend. Ok so we get to shed the thick neoprene and surf in (slightly) warmer seas, but we have to share the waves with thousands of holidaymakers on the UK’s crowded beaches. This can be annoying and at times, dangerous with all the foamies flying around!

If you think outside the box there are places to surf to escape the maddening crowds. So get organised, pack the van and check out these alternative options for crowd free waves:

North East coast

When all the holidaymakers hit the usual Devon and Cornwall spots, head in the opposite direction and check out the quieter North East coast. It may not be as pretty, and the sea may be a little colder, but it’s less crowded.

And when it’s flat in the south west, you can guarantee that this stretch of coast will pick up some waves from the Arctic swells which make their way down the North Sea.

Outer Hebrides

Picking up the full force of the Atlantic, the Outer Hebrides lie 30 miles off the North West coast of Scotland. Sounds chilly and may not be the first place you think of for a holiday, but that’s the point! The rewards for the committed surfer prepared to travel the distance include guaranteed quiet line-ups, loads of swell and surprisingly warm waters.

Play by the rules and you’ll also get a warm welcome from the locals!


Instead of heading for the Gower, keep going west to Pembrokeshire for a reliable and consistent all-year round surf destination. Picks up swell yet there are plenty of sheltered spots when the main beaches get wild and woolly.

Freshwater West is the main beach in the area so expect crowds. Think Abereiddy, Newgale and Whitesands instead.

Whitsand Bay

If you’re keen for some Cornish waves but want to escape the mayhem of Newquay, head to Cornwall’s ‘forgotten corner’. Whitsand Bay on the south coast is home to 5 miles of unspoilt golden sand.

It doesn’t pick up as much swell as the North coast but it on it’s day it’s epic and it helps to keep the crowds away!

Northern Ireland

Renowned these days as home to some big wave surf spots (which we’ll leave to the pro’s!), Northern Ireland picks up big swells from the Atlantic. Cold waters, uncrowded reefs and beach breaks make Northern Ireland a quieter summer surf escape.
But if you’re prepared to avoid the summer completely, September to May is the best time to surf here!

Secret spot

This one is for locals only. You may be fortunate enough to know of a secret spot or two nearby. They will undoubtedly be a bugger to get to and involve a trek through a farmer’s field, down a cliff face or a 2 mile hike with your board (or all three!).

Line up to yourself? Yes please!

A dawnie at your favourite surf spot

If all else fails, the easiest option (if you can be arsed to get out of bed) is a dawnie at your nearest break. Most people (except you and the surfers in the line-up) will still be in bed while you get the pick of the waves all to yourself!

Photo Credit DPReview

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