Top Surf Spot Locations: Northern England

 

A surfer catching a wave in a wetsuits and hood

 

The North of England may not be the first place you think of when looking for excellent surf spots, but this is one of the UK's many incredible spots to explore!

 

We focus on England's northeast coast, particularly the little surf mecca existing in Scarborough, Whitby, and the surrounding areas!

 

When to Visit

 

The north coast is at its best during the colder months, mainly October to March! Around this time, waves shape up at their cleanest, appealing to intermediate and advanced surfers.

 

A decent winter suit is a must when in the north as the waters are notoriously cold!

 

There is a tiny window after June when the water becomes warmer but, even then, it might still be too cold for your women’s or men’s shorty wetsuits, if you aren’t a fan of the cold!

 

Scarborough coast

 

Scarborough - North Bay

 

This popular and exposed beach break is a favourite of the North Yorkshire coast! A host during the UK Surf Pro Tour event in October, it is one of the most reliable surf breaks in the north.

 

Conditions and Ability

 

North Bay is favoured a couple of hours either side of low tide. There are many peaks across the beach, providing peaks for both goofy and regular footers.

 

To Be Aware Of

 

The biggest dangers at Scarborough, North Bay, are mainly rocks and rips and crowds. The beach is lifeguarded in the summer months, between July and September.

 

A paddleboarder catching a wave in the Scarborough sea

 

Scarborough - South Bay

 

On the southern side of the Scarborough coastline is another favoured spot in the area.

 

Conditions and Ability

 

Quite often, South Bay provides the perfect conditions for those at a beginner level.

 

The bay is more sheltered than other beaches, and the waves tend to be slower, so it’s the ideal place to practice and get familiar with surfing if you are just starting.

 

However, when huge swells hit the area, South Bay provides the perfect playground for more experienced surfers to practise their skills when other surf spots are not safely surfable.

 

It is ideal in northern swells, and for a faster but rare wave, the break is best under south-easterly swells. Surfing is best at high tide only. The best wind direction is westerly.

 

To Be Aware Of

 

Again, the most significant hazard here is the general crowds that swarm this spot in the tourist months. The family-friendly beach is lifeguarded from May to September, but it is always essential to be aware of any rocks and rips.

 

Scarborough - Cayton Bay

 

Cayton can be located further south, below South Bay.

 

Conditions and Ability

 

Cayton provides multiple conditions throughout the year, which excites surfers of all levels!

 

During a low tide, the sandbar creates waves whereas high tide provides a mellow wave, sourced from a reef break. This can be located in between the Point and Bunkers, just in front of the pumphouse.

 

South-easterly swells will provide the best conditions for the reef break during high tide.

 

To surf the beach break Bunkers, you want to be hitting the surf one hour before or after high tide - it’s a concise time slot, so be quick!

 

The Point at Cayton Bay tends to attract those surfers searching for a challenge! It comes into its own during ferocious winter swells, with waves reaching heights of 4 to 10ft and more at its most fierce! It’s not for the faint-hearted, and you need plenty of experience to attempt it.

 

To Be Aware Of

 

Cayton is lifeguarded in the summer but always be wary of rips and rocky cliffs!

 

Whitby village

 

Whitby

 

Whitby is a stunning sandy beach put on the map as the home of Captain James Cook!

 

Conditions and Ability

 

Whitby is a fun little beach break that especially appeals to beginners or those who just simply enjoy gentle and small waves with most swells at 1 to 4 ft. 

In recent times, wooden groins once scattered on the beach have been removed, improving the spot even further.

Goofy footers love the beach as during northern swells, the waves tend to veer left. For regular footers, the west side of the pier provides a hollow ride in easterly swells.

A destination that appeals to families, the beach is complete with a car park and other essential amenities.

 

To Be Aware Of

 

Whitby is lifeguarded in the summer season but tends to be crowded. Always be aware of rips.

 

Sandsend

 

Close to Whitby, you will find Sandsend, which is an idyllic beach that attracts people from all walks of life including surfers, walkers, fishing fanatics, artists and fossil collectors!

 

Conditions and Ability

 

Despite its picturesque aesthetic, on the right day, this beach is a fantastic location for surf!

 

It tends to be quieter than the surrounding beaches in Scarborough, and it attracts surfers of all abilities to its shores!

 

It’s vast in size so there is plenty of room for surfers of all ages. It is renowned for its deceptive appearance; while it may look large from the road, the waves tend to be smaller than when you first perceive them.

 

The best time to enter the water for a surf is from mid to low tide. On larger days, high tide is also suitable.

 

To Be Aware Of

 

Sandsend is a lifeguarded beach in the peak summer season. Just be cautious of rip currents in the area.

 

Tynemouth Longsands

 

Tynemouth Longsands

 

Tynemouth Longsands is a tourist hotspot thanks to its beautiful mile-long beach, close to the buzz of Newcastle.

 

Conditions and Ability

 

This fun beach break attracts the crowd's thanks to its blue flag status!

 

With many surf schools in the area and as the home of national championship competitions, it is the ideal location to learn to surf amongst experts! However, it appeals to surfers of all experience, with waves ranging from 2 to 10 ft and more!

 

The spot works at any tide, but it provides the best conditions on a high tide.  Swell direction is at its peak when northerly or south-easterly, and wind direction works well when westerly.

 

The beach has a car park as well as a café and shop!

 

To Be Aware Of

 

Tynemouth Longsands is lifeguarded from May to September. Attracting many visitors, the sea tends to be crowded, so be careful of others. Keep an eye on any rip currents too.

 

There are many other beaches to explore surrounding Tynemouth Longsands, including King Edward’s Bay!

 

The north eastern coast

 

Which of our featured beaches are you excited to explore? If you are from the north of England, which have we missed? We would love to know; why not share your thoughts with our surf community on our social media channels!

 

If you’re curious about the top spots in the South West, check out our blog!

CTA button to Wetsuit Centre blog