The Best Places to Surf This Winter

man in a wetsuit holding a surf board on the beach

Whether you’re a hardcore shredder or just prefer a more quiet lineup, winter surf can be the biggest and best of the year. If you can brave the cold. whether you can brave the cold or not, a great way to keep you insulted, warm, and to enjoy the suf in style is our high-performance wetsuits!

The UK offers a huge range of the best places to surf in the winter, no matter your ability. From Scotland and Northern Ireland, right down to our local waves here in the south-west, our homeland has some incredible swell that works year-round.

So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to make finding the best places to surf this winter a Science, by collecting and ranking the very best of what our homeland has to offer.

We’ve dug deep and analysed data from across the UK to determine the top 20 surf spots in the winter; ranking them on:

  • Wave quality
  • Water temperature
  • Water cleanliness
  • The local surf scene

to discover the ULTIMATE winter surfing spots in the UK.

If you’re looking to catch a few waves this winter, the locations below will not disappoint!

Top Places to Surf in The UK This Winter:

20th - Saunton Sands (North Devon)
19th - Watergate Bay (Newquay, England)
18th - Polzeath Beach (England)
17th - Porthleven (Cornwall)
16th - Porthcrawl (Wales)
15th - Rhossili Bay (Gower Peninsula, Wales)
14th - Fistral Beach (Cornwall)
13th - Balephuil Bay (Isle of Tiree, Inner Hebrides)
12th - Praa Sands Beach (Cornwall) 
11th - Dalmore Bay (Isle of Lewis)
10th - Traigh Mhor Beach (Isle of Lewis)
Joint 8th & 9th - Thurso East (Caithness, Scotland)
Joint 8th & 9th - Towan Beach (Newquay, Cornwall)
7th - Sennen Cove (Cornwall)
6th - Bantham Beach (South Devon, England)
5th - Portrush East Strand (County Antrim, NI)
4th - Croyde (North Devon)
3rd - Kimmeridge Bay (Dorest)
2nd - Pease Bay, Berwickshire (Scotland)
1st - Llangennith Beach (Gower Peninsula)

map of the best places to surf this winter

The Best Place to Surf in The UK This Winter

Fifth Place: Portrush East This Winter

East Strand Beach, centrally located in the coastal resort of Portrush, is a haven for surfers. With its continuous 2.5 km (1.6 miles) stretch of sandy shoreline, this beach is one of Northern Ireland's best spots for catching impressive waves. The data confirmed this, with 52% of all winter waves proving to be clean and surfable. Surfers are drawn to this consistent surf and the unique opportunity to ride the waves at the merging point of Curran Strand and Whiterocks. Portrush East Strand had no discharge of sewage into the sea in the last year and has plenty of shops and surf schools in the area, ranking top 5 for both. All these factors help to create some of the best and cleanest surf adventures in the heart of Northern Ireland's coastal beauty.

Fourth Place: Croyde

Due to its excellent surf, beautiful scenery and vibrant village feel, Croyde Bay is commonly associated with as the surfing capital of North Devon. It provides ample opportunity to try watersports, particularly surfing. It is known as a surfing mecca in the Southwest, with a large number of local surf shops and schools it provides the perfect opportunity for those of any skill level to start riding waves quickly. Our research data also showed that Croyde has a low level of sewage discharge compared to other beaches on the list. Croyde also offers winter surfers warmer water temperatures of 18.1°C, making it a great place to surf on those chilly days.

Third place: Kimmeridge Bay

Kimmeridge Bay, located on the Jurassic World Heritage Coast in Dorset, is renowned for its diverse range of water activities. Visitors often enjoy swimming, canoeing, windsurfing, and notably surfing. The bay is also attractive for snorkellers and divers due to its exceptional water clarity. This water also provides some of the warmest winter waters for people spending time in the sea, which was reflected in the data result with the temperatures recorded at an all-time high of 19.8°C. Additionally, for surfing enthusiasts, Kimmeridge Bay boasts Dorset's premier reef break, known as Broadbench, capable of handling big waves. This, along with the array of other surfable waves which have the lowest level of contamination from sewage discharge into the sea, makes it a highly favoured destination for surfers.

Second place: Pease Bay

Nestled in the idyllic Berwickshire coastal region of Scotland, Pease Bay is a prime surfing location with a stunning oceanfront setting. Pease Bay is surrounded by vivid red sandstone cliffs that create a beautiful area surrounding the beach and set the stage for an unforgettable surfing experience. Surrounded by the tranquillity of the Scottish coast, Pease Bay has the highest percentage of clean waves out of all the locations ranked, scoring a staggering 77% during winter months. Its status as one of the cleanest locations to surf is further supported by a recent survey that found there was no recorded sewage discharge at Pease Bay in the last year.

The Best Winter Surf Spot: Llangennith Beach

Llangennith, on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales, is a renowned surfing destination known for its consistent waves and natural beauty. It offers year-round surf opportunities for all levels. This area is within the UK's first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), highlighting its pristine coastal environment. Its popularity among surfers is due to the consistent surf conditions that cater to all skill levels. The sweeping sandy beach and stunning coastline provide an ideal backdrop for surf enthusiasts all year round. This was clear through the data, which proved Llangennith to rank highly for water cleanliness and warm water temperatures through the winter months (19.2°C). Llangennith is an excellent choice for surfers of all levels to enjoy the waves, surrounded by serene and unspoiled Welsh coastlines.


To determine the best places to surf this winter in the UK, we pulled the following information for each beach chosen in the UK.

Wave Quality: Wave quality is one of the most crucial factors in determining how good a surf spot is. Without good waves, you can't surf at all! To determine the wave quality, we focus on the rate of clean surf swells during the winter months. The clean rate of surf swells is determined by calculating the average number of consistent surfable waves.

Water Temperature: Colder waters can pose a health risk if you're not adequately prepared, which is why it's essential to know the surf locations with warmer water temperatures (on average) for that time of year. To ensure that we take this into account when ranking these locations, we collected information on the warmest surf spots.

Wave Cleanliness: In the year 2023, the ongoing issue of sewerage network discharges affecting UK coastlines frequently makes headlines. We factored this statistic into our calculations by identifying the amount of sewage discharges in one year within a 2.5km radius of each location. This measure was crucial to include for the safety of surfers and the protection of our coastlines.

Local Surf Culture: The local surf culture is an essential aspect of the sport. It’s crucial for beginners and enthusiasts to have access to surf schools and surf shops for lessons, equipment, and support from the wider surf community.

With a data pool of 20 beach locations, we scored each location based on the four data points listed above to determine an average score. This enabled us to identify the top 5 scoring locations for winter surfing, as listed in this study.

To verify the accuracy of each data set, time was spent manually analysing various data sources and online reports. We gathered data from reputable sources to ensure factual accuracy, which was particularly important for factors such as the sewerage network discharges, the water temperature and clean surf swell data.

Data sources: