Best British locations for surfing

Seven of the best locations for you to take to the waves.

Many surfers have simple needs: a bacon sarnie, a warm wetsuit, a trusty board and, of course, decent waves. That doesn't mean you'll put up with any old beach though - going to same surf spots all the time can get rather boring, especially if the conditions are disappointing.

There's no doubt you're are always on the look-out for the very best surf spots, so, to make the job easier for you, we've created a list of the greatest surfing locations Great Britain has to offer. Right on.

Saltburn, Cleveland, north-east England

This is one of the places the North-East surf scene originated and it remains popular today. Although the waves get busy at times, the locals are very friendly, so you won't be squabbling for space.

One of the best things about this surf spot, though, is that it's suitable for surfers of all abilities. Beginners and intermediates will likely want to stick to the beach breaks on either side of the old pier, which are particularly good at high tide. Those wanting more powerful breaks should head further south.

If you need lessons, advice or want to hire some equipment, pay a visit to Saltburn Surf Shop just above the beach. Great food and drink can be found Camfield's Coffee Bar or The Ship, depending on whether you fancy just a snack or something more substantial.

Newgale, Pembrokeshire, Wales

The stunning coastline of Pembrokeshire is abundant wit fantastic beaches, but Newgale is arguably the best for surfing. It's huge size means that even when it's busy, there's plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the waves. Naturally, wave quality does vary depending on the state of sandbanks, power and size of the swell, and wind direction. However if the waves really are bad, the two-miles of flat sand are great for sunbathing and since Newgale has a European Blue Flag, you can be sure the waters are always nice and clean.

Newgale is only patrolled by lifeguards during the school holidays, so this spot is ideal for younger and newer surfers. Should you require lessons or equipment, or just want to know today's surf report, New Surf Shop will be able to give you want you need.

Situated between Haverfordwest and St Davids on the main A487 road, this beach should be easy to find. Don't worry about parking either - there's plenty of space and it's completely free, so you can surf for as long as you want.

Newgale Sands (Geograph: Creative Commons by Roger Gittin)

Newgale Sands (Geograph: Creative Commons by Roger Gittin)

Sennen Cove, Cornwall

Newquay may be a good surfing spot, but it gets way too crowded, especially during the summer months. Besides, when it comes to Cornwall you are spoilt for choice for great beaches. One of the best is Sennen Cove, as it has the most consistent breaks in Britain, thanks to its exposed location. Even when other beaches are flat, there's a high chance Sennen Cove is enjoying decent waves.

To enjoy the crystal clear waters and beautiful golden sand, you'll have to trek all the way to Land's End, as the Cove lies less than a mile away from the cliffs. The journey is worth it though, and the beach has some great facilities nearby, including changing rooms, hotels, pubs, a surf school and a beach café.

Thurso East, Scotland

At the complete opposite end of the country is Thurso East, a surfing spot ideal for experts. With its fast reef break over a flat rock shelf, Thurso is known as one of the best places to surf in Europe, let alone Great Britain. It's no wonder that numerous international surfing competitions are hosted here, including O'Neill's Highland Cup competition. If you're heading to the Caithness area in the Spring, it's definitely worth checking out how masters tackle those waves.

The waves at Thurso tend to be between two and eight foot, but they can go even higher. When you want a day off from surfing, the surrounding area is perfect for bird watching, climbing, sailing and fishing too.

Alnmouth Beach, Northumberland

Just a stone's throw from the village of Alnmouth is this beach, which is one of the finest in Northumberland for surfing. The braking waves here can be amazing and there is acres of sand to be enjoyed. If you're looking for somewhere peaceful to surf, Alnmouth beach is your best bet, especially during the winter months. Sometimes the only other people you'll see all day will be a dog walkers.

Beginner and intermediate boarders will get the most enjoyment out of this spot, but if you're a real newbie, 15 miles south is Druridge Bay, where you can receive lessons.

Once you're done surfing for the day, you can head towards the village where you'll find a good selection of cafés and shops. It's only a ten minute walk away, so if you've come by car it's probably best to leave it in the beach's free car park.

Croyde Bay, Devon

This much-loved spot is best suited to intermediates. Although beginners can easily surf here, especially during mid-tide when the waves are pretty mellow, they would do better to head to Saunton Sands, as there's much more room to practice there. Plus, during low-tide the waves come in fast, so you'll need to have a fair bit of experience to be able to ride them.

Nearby pub The Thatch is the ideal place to go for a local cider after a day of surfing and the village of Croyde is nice to explore on rest days - it boasts a good selection of surf shops

Hells Mouth, Gwynedd, Wales

As you may have guessed from the name, HellsMouth is not for the faint hearted - stay away if you're a beginner. Known as the surf capital of Wales, its reputation means this spot can get busy, but it doesn't really matter since the beach is four miles long. The northern reef is the area which gets the most crowded during either side of the high tide, so avoid surfing here if you need your space.

Moreover, take note that there is a lack of lifeguards here, which is why only strong swimmers and surfers should ride here. Hells Mouth is a great swell magnet though, and can handle waves of up to 8ft tall.

The nearby town of Abersoch has plenty of places to stay, eat and shop; you certainly won't be stuck for things to do should the waves fail to impress one day.

Great Britain is full of spectacular places to surf - it's impossible to list them all. Whether you consider yourself a newbie or so experienced you may as well be half dolphin, there's something for everyone in our list.