You don’t have to fly to California to truly understand the Beach Boys. You don’t have to adopt a twangy, hippy accent to understand surfing. You don’t have to leave the country. Britain is more than able to provide eager wave riders with some fantastic activities and opportunities. You may very well scoff but it’s true. Just get yourself down to Cornwall and find out.

For those in the know – Cornwall is a surfing mecca. Its positioning in the Atlantic Ocean provides it with some of the finest surfing conditions in Europe, say the experts at It’s got golden beaches, hundreds of miles of staggeringly beautiful coastal paths and a superbly diverse natural environment. What more could a budding surfer ask for?

Here’s a guide to the best surfing hotspots in Cornwall.


Whitsand is a great all rounder. It’s got easy bits, intermediate bits and bits that only the most experienced surfers should try. The beach itself is four miles long – it’s one of the longest in the region. At low tide the beach is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon. At high tide, it turns one of the most sought after surfing spots in Cornwall and it can get a little busy. Venture east for the biggest swells.

Lusty Glaze

Lusty Glaze is one of the safest surfing spots in Cornwall. If you’re not as confident in your skills as you’d like to be – try this beach. It’s privately owned and home to the Adventure Centre which offers a range of outdoor skills and lifeguard courses. For this reason, it can get very busy during summer. It’s a stunning piece of land though, being as it is located 200ft below a bank of dramatic Newquay cliffs, says


This beach is one of the lesser known surfing gems. It’s not as busy as Whitsand or Lusty Glaze, but it’s every bit as impressive. It is, again, one of the longest beaches in Cornwall – there’s never any worry about running out of surf at Gwithian beach. It’s generally quite a mild spot but it has been known to get turbulent. Inexperienced surfers are advised to talk to lifeguards before they dive in. Gwithian biggest swells are from the north and south.


Experts call Sennen beach a ‘surf indicator.’ There’s a well known phrase attached to it too – ‘if it’s flat at Sennen, it’s flat everywhere else.’ This is because Sennen seems to be one of the most accurate natural surf forecasters in Europe, say the experts at the Sennen Surf Centre. Waves are generally very manageable but can quickly become large and punchy.


If you’ve tried every other swell in Cornwall and have started to find things a little too easy – take a trip to Portheleven. This is the expert’s beach of choice. It is notoriously challenging and should only ever be undertaken by extremely experienced and skilled surfers. It is difficult and it is pulse pounding.

Where Can I Stay? 

There are hundreds of high quality holiday cottages available for rent in Cornwall. Due to its intense popularity with tourists, many of the central cornwall cottages are quite expensive to rent – especially in the height of summer. Choose a cottage that’s 15 or 20 minutes out of a town, however, and you’re likely to get a nice surprise. Most are luxuriously furnished and have their own private gardens. If you want to get a true taste of Cornwall, stay in a holiday cottage. You’ll be free to drip your sopping wet towels and your wetsuit across the bathroom floor without an angry hotel maid peering through the keyhole.