Surfing is booming around the UK.
It’s estimated that 300,000 Brits take to the brisk waters of this island each year with numbers consistently on the rise. This popularity is understandable given the fantastic array of surf beaches throughout the British Isles, from Sennan Cove in Cornwall up to Thurso in north Scotland.
However, not everyone takes to the waves like a duck to water. For most beginner surfers, a lesson or two is required to learn some key techniques under the gaze of an experienced instructor. Surf camps in the UK are one of the best places to do this. It allows you to surf daily, make friends, and enjoy an active experience outdoors.
There are many contenders for the best surf camps in the UK, each offering something different. The best waves aren’t always attributed to the best surf camps, but you can be sure that if you do join a camp, the guides will know where to find them! To kick things off, here are 7 of the best surf camps in the UK.
What makes a good surf camp?
People go to surf camps in the UK for any number of reasons. The main aim is to learn how to surf. However, that isn’t the only driver behind a surf holiday.
Socially, they are great places to meet other surfers and get stuck into the surfing community. Making friends also means social experiences such as nights out, BBQs, yoga, skateboarding, slacklining, playing games, and any number of activities!
Many of the best surf camps in the UK are inclusive and welcoming to surfers of mixed abilities. That means beginners and experienced wave riders are all welcome! Surfing is also good for cardiovascular fitness, mental health, and strength training. Spending a week at a camp can be a good health kick and a lot of these camps try to run an eco-friendly experience.
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UK Based Surf Camps, Schools & Holidays
Surf holidays come in many forms. For some, staying in a caravan park near the beach and renting a board each day is the ideal holiday. Others want an all-inclusive experience with a hands-on surf instructor supporting them. Each of these surf camps in the UK offers something unique and it’s easy to find a holiday that suits your requirements!
Cornish Wave & Adventure
For Surf & Yoga
Location: Newquay, England
Every summer, people flock to the Cornish coast to enjoy some of the most consistent swells on the British coast. Fed by the Gulf stream, the water in Devon and Cornwall is 3-4 degrees warmer than the rest of the UK which makes it great for people who pine for warm water!
About Cornish Wave & Adventure
Surf lessons, yoga, kayaking, SUP, coasteering, and luxury camping are just some of the activities on offer at Cornish Wave. Positioned between the surf havens of Newquay and Fistral Beach, Cornish Wave is ideal for surfers wanting to enjoy a mix of activities in one of the top surf camps in the UK.
Their team of adventure enthusiasts aim to channel their spirit and passion into these unforgettable experiences.
The unique adventure weekends are what sets Cornish Wave apart. On these 2 day excursions, you can combine surfing and wild camping with yoga, coasteering, or paddleboarding – there’s even SUP yoga for anyone wanting an extra challenge!
The Yoga & Surf weekends are a real highlight. You can meet other travellers in small groups of 12 and enjoy camping in the Cornish Wave private woodland. All equipment is included for the weekend as well as 2 surf lessons, 2 yoga sessions (both 2 hours each), and 2 nights camping.
A surf, yoga, and wild camp package is £239 for 2 nights.
Bundoran Surf Co
Fun Irish hospitality
Location: Bundoran, Republic of Ireland
Bundoran is a small coastal town in County Donegal that faces directly into the waves of the North Atlantic. Known as the surf capital of the Republic, there’s an exciting mix of surf spots on offer from 2-foot beginner waves to mid-sized reef breaks, and tow-in beasts further out to sea. Local surf spots include Tullan Strand, Main Beach, The Peak, and Inside Left.
About Bundoran Surf Co
Bundoran Surf Co is all about getting in the waves, making friends, and enjoying the social side of surfing. Since opening in 2005, the Bundoran surf team has grown to 18 dedicated and surf-crazy staff. On their 5-day surf camp, you will get the opportunity to improve your surfing skills while bonding with a group along the way.
Social activities, both in and out of the water, are a key focus at Bundoran. You may go with the sole intention of surfing but come away with friends for life, new activity experiences, and a week of epic memories instead!
This camp includes 5 surf lessons, free breakfast, and accommodation in the surf lodge. Groups are kept together throughout the week which gives you the chance to make tighter bonds with the other surfers.
BBQ evenings, nights out, and afternoons relaxing all help to make this one of the most sociable and best surf camps in the UK.
Bundoran town isn’t just about surfing, there’s also a cinema, bowling alley, fairground, golf course, water park, and pitch ‘n putt to fill your downtime with fun!
Packages start at €325 per person. Private rooms and self-catering accommodation can be booked for a surcharge. Beach transfers for the week can also be booked for an additional €50.
Portrush Surf School
Surf & spa weekend
Location: Portrush, Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, there are 9 popping surf spots along the Causeway Coast. At the resort town of Portrush, you’ll find some of the best surf camps in the UK and some of the most consistent waves along this stretch of the country. Portrush is split into the East and West Strand.
The East Strand is smaller and more sheltered, perfect for beginners. The West Strand is open to the bigger swells of the North Atlantic and produces waves for a mix of abilities.
About Portrush Surf School
Portrush is a Billabong-sponsored surf school set up by the Irish surfing legend Martin “TK” Kelly. He has 30 years of experience under his belt and is a multi-award-winning Irish surf champion – so you know you’re in safe hands! If you want to hit the waves while also experiencing a little luxury, the Surf ‘n’ Spa experience at Portrush will provide everything you need.
Alongside a 2-hour surf lesson, you and a group of friends can indulge in a massage and facial at the Aura Skin Care Centre. During your surf session, you get access to the Portrush Surf Club which has some of the finest beach facilities in town.
Then, after your Surf ‘n’ Spa, you can extend your stay by spending the night at the Beulah Guest House.
Price is provided upon application with rates varying depending on group size and add-ons.
Coast to Coast Surf School
All action sports in Scotland
Location: Dunbar, Scotland
Dunbar is a small surf community on the east coast of Scotland. Alongside the clean and consistent waves in Belhaven Bay, Dunbar also acts as a good springboard for other surfing locations around Scotland.
Coast to Coast is one of the best surf camps in the UK. Making use of the North Sea and North Atlantic coastline, they have conducted adventure surf camps around Scotland for the last decade.
On their mobile surf tours, you will venture on a road trip around the country in pursuit of the best waves. Coast to Coast also offers adventure tours to the Hebridean Islands and along the remote North Coast. This is a surf camp for someone who likes flexibility and adventures. With Coast to Coast, you’ll get a healthy dose of both!
On a Coast to Coast road trip, 7 people will join 2 instructors over a weekend. Starting from Edinburgh (the best transport hub in Scotland), the instructors will pick up the group and drive in search of the best waves available. In total, the trip is 4 days long and includes 7 surf lessons, surf equipment, and transport to explore the Scottish coastline.
Prices start from £275 per person. However, accommodation and food are not included. Depending on the trip, accommodation prices fluctuate from £20-50 per night with campgrounds, hostels, hotels, and self-catering on offer.
Women only surf weekends
Location: Various, England
Surf Sistas is a community that promotes health, wellness, and female independence in the surfing community. Most of their surf camps in the UK take place in Cornwall. They also offer global surf retreats with longer camps in Costa Rica, France, Spain, Morocco, and Indonesia.
About Surf Sistas
Surfing is often thought of as a macho hobby. Images of muscled guys riding waves in Hawaii or cool surf dudes cruising on longboards in California are commonplace in pop culture. However, Surf Sistas are aiming to shake up that stereotype by offering female-only surf camps. An exciting and inclusive way for women to enjoy the waves with a group of like-minded female surfers.
The surf & swim or surf & yoga weekend packages are particularly popular as these camps offer transport from London for any landlocked surfers!
Packages include 3 surf lessons, equipment rental, yoga/swim classes, 2 nights’ accommodation in a 4* hotel (pool & sauna access), breakfast, and welcome drinks. They also offer 4/5 day intensive surf camps at Fistral beach for ladies who want to hone their technique and skills.
A surf & yoga package costs £424 with accommodation or £175 without. Transport to and from London is £89 per person on the surf bus.
Base Surf Lodge
Location: Newquay, England
There seems to be a bit of a theme developing here; another one of the best surf camps in the UK that’s located in Cornwall!
It’s understandable given that Cornwall has some of the best waves in the country and arguably the most thriving surfing community.
About Base Surf Lodge
Base Surf Lodge aims to provide a homely and relaxing surf camp. Their motto is “Eat Well, Move Well, Surf Better”.
This is reflected in their healthy breakfasts, evening social BBQs, and surf lessons for up to 12 guests at a time. Owners Lou and Rob want surfers to feel comfortable and at home on their camp and according to their raving reviews, they deliver!
Base offers 3 or 5-day camps with a focus on flexibility and relaxation.
Accommodation is included each night in their cosy surfer’s home.
Breakfast and dinner are offered each day along with a daily 2-hour surf lesson on Fistral or Towan Beach. Full access to a movement/yoga room and rental equipment are also part of the package.
The 5-night surf camp costs £485 per person while the 3-night package costs £295.
Outer Reef Surf School
Fun for the whole family
Location: Pembrokeshire, Wales
Pembrokeshire is known for its extraordinary coastline. There’s no better way to experience the wondrous coastal habitats of this National Park than by surfing, paddleboarding, coasteering, or kayaking throughout its coves, sea stacks, and beaches.
About Outer Reef Surf School
With the head offices located in the town of Pembroke, just outside of Pembrokeshire National Park, Outer Reef offers a multi-discipline surf school on the doorstep of the perfect waterworld. Running for over 20 years, Outer Reef has designated watersports centres at Saundersfoot Harbour, Tenby North Beach, and Freshwater West, to allow their clients easy access to watersport hotspots.
Outer Reef offers 3-day adventure camps with 2 surf lessons (2 hours each), a 2-hour paddleboarding adventure, and a 2-hour coasteering experience. All equipment is included for the duration of the camp.
Unfortunately, accommodation and transport are not included in this camp as the main focus is on the activities. However, Outer Reef can provide recommendations for the best places to stay in the area too.
Camps cost £150 per person
For guaranteed waves!
Location: Bristol, England
About The Wave
Ever get sick of waiting for the perfect swell? Or booking a holiday many months in advance only to find the ocean flat as a pancake. Well, the owners of The Wave in Bristol sure did. In response, they created their own wave pool to ensure surfers can access perfectly formed waves whenever they want them! That gives The Wave bragging rights for being one of the best surf camps in the UK for wave consistency!
At The Wave, it’s possible to book surf lessons for a range of abilities or to simply order a separate surf session. Group lessons include all equipment and last for 90 minutes. All you have to do is pick the wave difficulty you require, and they will make the surf happen!
There is also a campsite next to The Wave where friends, families, and groups can spend the night in bespoke glamping cabins or safari tents.
Beginner lessons cost £50, making it very affordable and could be a great gift idea for a budding surfer. Waikiki and intermediate surf lessons cost £66 with advanced lessons priced at £140. Surf and bodyboard sessions cost £39-60 depending on the wave difficulty.
About the author
Watersports Pro is managed by Ollie, who has been in the industry since 2007. A paddleboard and advanced windsurfing instructor, Ollie has travelled the world teaching these sports.
Now based on the South Coast of England, he shares his experience and knowledge on watersportspro.co.uk.