surfers on the beach at Newquay

The Best Surf Schools In The UK

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Thinking of learning to surf? You don’t have to go long-haul to learn some serious skills

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If you’re planning a UK coastal staycation this year, how about making it a learning trip? The UK has plenty to offer when it comes to surfing. So, if you’re looking for the best surf schools in the UK, the search ends here. From Newquay to Porthcawl, these surf spots have all the makings of the perfect beach break. 

The Best Surf Schools in the UK

When it comes to learning to surf in the UK, you should head west. The best surf schools and surf hotel breaks in the country are grouped in large part in Devon and Cornwall, with a few options in Wales to boot.

Cornwall

The Surf Club Cornwall

Owned and managed by Nick Tiscoe, an ISA Level 2 surf coach who has been surfing for over 20 years. Overlooking Mawgan Porth beach, a beach break surf spot, with right and left-hander waves, The Surf Club has a host of fully qualified surf coaches, all of whom are qualified beach lifeguards too.

Mawgan Porth

Perfect for beginners, the sandy beach is fairly protected by two headlands, and you can opt for private, family or group lessons. Wetsuits, boots, gloves and surfboards are all included in the lesson price.

Price from £75 for a one-to-one lesson, £80 for two people, £30pp for a group of three or more. thesurfclubcornwall.co.uk

Newquay Activity Centre

Newquay Activity Centre

Get yourself down to the Newquay Activity Centre and book in with one of their friendly and talented instructors (our lesson with Jack was exhausting but a lot of fun), who can take you from complete beginner to confident surfer in just a couple of hours. Towan Beach is right in the centre of town, and is ever so slightly less busy than Fistral Beach, so you should find your own slice of surf to practice in. newquayactivitycentre.co.uk

Extreme Academy at Watergate Bay Hotel

If you’re looking for a Cornish getaway with a little extra wave-power, check in to the Extreme Academy at Watergate Bay. Lead by ex wave-ski champion Carl Coombes and open all year round, the Academy offers fully trained experts available for tuition.

Watergate Bay Hotel

Get in touch with the hotel to find out about special surf clinic events and offers for guests. watergatebay.co.uk 

The Surf Sanctuary at The Headland Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

The Headland Hotel is set on a clifftop overlooking Fistral Bay and its Surf Sanctuary offers introductory surf classes, equipment hire, improver and private lessons (starting from £50 per person), as well as coasteering, kite surfing and stand-up paddle boarding.

The Headland Hotel & Spa

Visit from autumn to spring to experience the impressive 4-12ft swells, or for a more gentle introduction, visit during a summer holiday and get to grips with the 1-4ft waves. headlandhotel.co.uk

St Ives Surf School

Backed by the Tate Gallery with a wide sandy expanse, Porthmeor is the favoured surfing location in St Ives, semi-sheltered from the south westerly winds. St Ives Surf School runs surfing lessons from Porthmeor beach for most of the year. stivessurfschool.co.uk

Cornwall for Kids: Family-Friendly Travel

Best Surf Schools In Devon

Croyde Bay

Croyde Bay

Croyde Surf Academy

Run out of a blue double-decker bus overlooking Croyde Bay, not only does the Surf Academy teach you to hang 10 (or, at least one or two), but you can also book in for SUP lessons and tours and coasteering. Expect really friendly instructors and an informal style at this excellent surf school. Lessons start at £40 for adult lessons. croydesurfacademy.com

Listen to our podcast on surfing in North Devon, here

Walking on Waves

Fancy learning to surf with one of Britain’s most successful female surfers? Check in to Sarah Whiteley’s North Devon surf school Walking on Waves. You can combine your lessons with a luxury camping stay to really get stuck in, too. walking-on-waves.com

Wales Surf Schools

Porthcawl Beach, Wales

Porthcawl Beach, Wales

Outer Reef Surf School

On the gorgeous Pembrokeshire coastline in West Wales, this surf school is run by professional surf coach Dean Gough, who has experience in coaching the GB team. They also run women’s surf and stand-up paddleboard weekends. From £35 for a half day lesson. outerreefsurfschool.com

Porthcawl Surf School

Rest Bay in South Wales is one of the best spots to learn to surf in the UK, with rideable waves all year round. It’s also the closest surf beach to Cardiff, Bristol and London, making it a popular weekend retreat for city-dwelling surfer-types. As well as surf lessons, the surf school also rents boards in the car park opposite the beach. Watch out for rip currents that pull towards the rocks; opting for a lesson for your first few tries is a good idea. Lessons from £35. porthcawlsurf.co.uk

Top photo by Louis Reed 

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