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Britain is home to an array of exhilarating water sports. For those yearning for adventure, here are a few lesser-known coastal towns offering a wide variety of water sports to choose from. Dip your toes in water sports under the guidance of experts, or rent equipment and explore the coastlines on your own.
- Marvel at the picturesque beach town Whitstable from the water, Kent
How to get there: 1h15 mins from London St Pancras or 1h 20mins from London Victoria by train
Whitstable is known for the freshest of seafood, its working harbour and the bustling market with an immense variety of independent shops and galleries. However, not many people are aware of Whitstable’s water sports offerings. The surprisingly warm water creates the ideal playground for water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can engage in windsurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming in the small beach town. The perfect evening activity is the picturesque sunset paddle board tour offered by Whitstable Paddle Board.
- Indulge in adventure sports in Eastbourne, Sussex
How to get there: 1h 23mins from London Victoria or 42mins from Brighton by train
Eastbourne is a great spot to give a new type of water sport a go. The open sea with prevailing south westerly winds makes it a must go coastal adventure destination. From windsurfing and stand-up paddle boarding to canoeing and sailing along the coast, Eastbourne offers a range of exciting adventures. The shallow lake in Princes Park is the perfect playground for beginners and bad weather days.
- Catch waves at Compton Bay, Isle of Wight
How to get there: 30 mins from Newport Isle of Wight by bus
Compton Bay on the west coast of the Isle of Wight is a beach not to miss for outdoor adventurers. The beach is highly ranked by regular surfers, kayak surfers, wave sailors and body boarders due to the excellent waves. This hidden gem is a natural do-it-yourself beach - all kit and refreshments have to be carried down the steps to the beach. Lessons can be booked with isurf, the only mobile surf school on the island.
- Jet ski at the famous Jurassic Coastline on Weymouth Beach, Dorset
How to get there: 2h from Bristol by car or 2h 45mins from London by train
Located in the heart of the Jurassic Coastline, Weymouth Beach is famous for its idyllic sands and clear waters. The sheltered bay makes it a safe beach for families and beginner paddle boarders. The eastern end of the beach is quieter and popular with water sports enthusiasts. All kinds of water sports are offered such as kayaking, raft building, sailing and jet skiing.
- Jump in the crystal- clear waters at Lulworth Cove, Dorset
How to get there: 2h 15 mins from Bristol by car or 3h from London by train
The unique geology and landforms such as Lulworth Crumple and Stair Hole make Lulworth a must-visit destination. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views and crystal-clear water at the UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Dorset coast. The rocky habitat hides a wide variety of marine life which can be explored while snorkelling. Different views of the Jurassic coast can be enjoyed from a paddle board, a kayak or by coasteering in the area.
- Join a coasteering adventure along the rocky shoreline at Croyde Bay, Devon
How to get there: 1h 30mins from Exeter by car
Visitors to Devon should stop at the vibrant village of Croyde with its beautiful scenery. The sandy beach Croyde Bay is the surfing capital of North Devon – the perfect place for endless costal adventures. There are plenty of shops hiring out surfing equipment or arranging lessons. From coasteering to paddle boarding and rock climbing on the coast, there is a wide variety of activities offered in the laid-back coastal town. Less confident swimmers can find rock pools to paddle in at either end of the beach.
- Explore a sunken shipwreck during a diving trip at South Shields, Tyne and Wear
How to get there: 30 mins from Newcastle by metro
South Shields is the mecca of water sports in the north. The wide sandy beaches attract visitors from far and wide for surfing and windsurfing due to its superb wind and wave conditions. The calmer waters around Tyne Harbour are the perfect setting for first time sailors while more experienced ones can set off along the scenic coastline. Scuba divers can explore a number of sunken shipwrecks close to the coast. For anyone preferring to stay above water, the sheltered coves nestled into the cliffs can be toured on a canoeing trip.
- Visit the all year-round water sports destination Bamburgh, Northumberland
How to get there: 1h 15 mins from Newcastle upon Tyne or 1h 45mins from Edinburgh by car
What makes Bamburgh beach outstanding is the idyllic views of Bamburgh castle situated behind the beach on a small surfers as they find great waves through most stages of the tide all year round. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer, Bamburgh cater for all levels. Aurora hunters travel to Bamburgh during the winter months due to low levels of light at the beach.
- Learn to kitesurf in North Berwick, Scotland
How to get there: 30 mins by train from Edinburgh
North Berwick West Beach has a long stretch of golden sand with fantastic views to the island of Craigleith and the Bass Rock. The beach is popular with divers. Shipwrecks and caves can be explored on a coasteering.
- Kayak along the Pembrokeshire coast at Freshwater West, Wales
How to get there: 2h from Cardiff and 1h 30 mins from Swansea by car
A surfer’s paradise can be found on Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire. Some claim that the beach has the best waves in the whole country for experienced and strong swimming surfers. Other adventure activities offered at the beach are kayaking, paddle boarding and coasteering along the cliffs and coastline of Pembrokeshire. The beach was featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as the backdrop for Dobby’s Shell Cottage. Visitors can walk in the footsteps of Harry, Hermione and Ron.
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.org