While the United Kingdom might not be the first place you think of when planning a beach holiday, you may be pleasantly surprised. The UK’s coastline is almost 18,000km long – increasing to over 31,000km when you include all of its islands. It’s safe to stay that among that coastline, there are plenty of wonderful beaches. And several of them are suited to a range of different water sports.
In this post, we’ll take a look at ten of the most iconic beaches in the UK and which water sports you can do at them. It’ll help you to plan your next staycation or British beach holiday. Let’s go!
Hove Lagoon, Brighton
Now, it’s not Hove Lagoon that’s iconic, rather it’s Brighton Beach. The pier on this beach is the most popular tourist attraction in the UK outside of London! However, heading to Brighton isn’t all about sunbathing and enjoying ice-creams and fish and chips on the pier. Brighton Marina and Hove Lagoon is one of the best places for water sports in the country. There’s lots on offer, including stand up paddle-boarding, kayaking, windsurfing, and wakeboarding. You can rent equipment and get lessons here too!
Camber Sands, East Sussex
A four-mile long sandy beach spanning from the village of Camber in East Sussex to the Kent border, there’s room for several different water sports at this famous beach. You can take beginner’s courses in windsurfing, kitesurfing, and even sailing! No matter what water sport you’re doing at Camber Sands, be aware of the fast rising tides at the beach. They can drag even the most experienced swimmers out into deep waters!
Brancaster Beach, Norfolk
The golden sands of Brancaster Beach are a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to go on long walks and even take their pet dogs with them. Thanks to consistent winds throughout the year, it’s also known as a premier kite sports destination. There is a launch and landing area for kite surfing, while landboards are also permitted. The beach boasts several kite flying areas too, but be sure not to stray out of them so you don’t harm birds’ nesting areas.
Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear
Just twenty minutes on the metro from the northeastern city of Newcastle upon Tyne, you can plan a day trip to Tynemouth into your city break in a place famed for its nightlife. After a night on the ‘toon, say goodbye to your hangover with a surf session or stand up paddle boarding lesson (or you can learn how to SUP online at GILI Sports). There are a couple of surf shack here and even a surf clothing brand named after the town’s most famous beach – Longsands.
Poole Harbour, Dorset
Poole Harbour used to be the second-largest natural harbour in the world, but it is now the largest, ahead of Sydney, Australia! Despite being 14 square miles in size, much of the harbour is less than 1 metre in depth, making it a perfect spot for beginners to have a go at stand up paddle boarding. There are four main spots in the harbour and it’s popular with sailors too – of all levels.
Fistral Beach, Cornwall
Cornwall’s Newquay is synonymous with surfing, and no beach is better known for it than Fistral. The long and sandy beach faces the west and is against the backdrop of rocks and cliffs. It’s also where you’ll find many of Newquay’s famous surf schools, a great place to start if you’ve never picked up a board before. Despite the prevalence of surf schools, it’s also a top destination for experts.
Rhossili Beach, South Wales
Right out on the Gower Peninsula, Rhossili Beach is one of the most remote beaches in Europe. However, that doesn’t stop a good amount of surfers hitting this place up – which has been listed as not only one of the best beaches in Wales, but the entire world! There are a few surf schools here and the waters are perfect for beginners. Be sure to look up when paddling out to sea – on a clear day you can see the North Devon coast!
Hayling Island, Hampshire
Home to the National Watersports Festival each year, it makes sense that Hayling Island is one of the best water sports beaches in the UK! Located in the Solent between the mainland and Isle of Wight, Hayling Island is easily accessible from both London and Southampton. You should head there if you want to try kitesurfing, jet skiing, windsurfing, dinghy sailing, and even power boating!
Ganavan Sands, Argyll and Bute
Ganavan Sands is the gateway to the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail. So, while it is a beautiful beach in itself, this picturesque stretch of sand north of Oban is just the first of many that you’ll hit up on this 150km trail. The trail offers you the opportunity to navigate some of Scotland’s most scenic stretches of coast, including ‘Britain’s most beautiful shortcut’, the Crinan Canal. You don’t have to do the whole trail on a kayak, but any stretch of the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail is sure to take your breath away.
West Sands Beach, St Andrews, Fife
West Sands are on Scotland’s east coast and offer a wide range of water sports. Thanks to its calm waters, it’s a great place to try stand up paddle boarding – the tranquil board sport that’s really en-vogue right now. Even Kim Kardashian does it! The waters are also good for swimming and kayaking. But if you’re looking for a really unique experience, try land yachting. It involves driving a kart with a sail along the sands!