the best places in the uk to get surf lessons in 2020

The beginning of a new decade is a great time to start something new and learn to ride the waves. Surf lessons in the UK are just as good as those in more far-flung locations, and here’s a pick of the best ones.

If you’ve been Googling ‘Surf Lessons UK’ and are still unsure where to go, the best place is indeed the west. Nestled on the coasts of Devon and Cornwall is where you’ll find some of the best surf schools around. Plus, Wales has a few good options, too.


Plenty of coastlines, sandy beaches, rolling hills and fossil cliffs, Devon is a surfer’s paradise right here in the UK.

Surfing Croyde Bay

On the North Devon coast, the village of Croyde is a quaint, picturesque area, with beautiful golden sands, rolling green hills, and inviting blue waters.

Surfing Croyde Bay is a highly-recommended, award-winning Croyde surf school offering professional yet affordable coaching from some of the best in the business. They also have stand-up paddleboarding and coasteering on their books.

Offering private and group surf sessions, they’re run by the same instructors who coach elite British surfers, so you know you’re onto a good thing here. So, whether you’re just starting out or more down the professional end of the spectrum, everyone is welcome.

Croyde Surf Academy

Overlooking the beautiful Croyde Bay, this surf academy is run out of a double-decker bus (a blue one at that).

From beginner to intermediate, friendly instructors and an informal teaching style stand out at this school, where prices start at £40 per lesson for adults and £35 for kids. Don’t forget to check out the private lessons too.

Walking on Waves

British and European champion at surfing, Sarah Whiteley, decided she wanted to give something back to the sport when she set up this North Devon surf school.

At Walking on Waves, you can combine any of your group or private surf lessons with a luxury camping stay. Lessons are split into six stages, covering all necessary safety elements, before you can get stuck into the water.


Right down on the rugged southwestern tip, Cornwall is a haven for surfers once the season starts.

The Surf Club Cornwall

Nick Tiscoe owns and manages this surf school, bringing over 20 years of experience.

Overlooking Mawgan Porth beach, this club prides itself on its head instructor, but also offers a host of other coaches who are also fully-qualified beach lifeguards.

The beach is protected by a couple of headlands, so it’s great for those just starting out, and you can choose family, group, or private lessons to suit. There are also packages available, starting at £140, so if you’re staying for a few days you can put your time to good use.

Newquay Activity Centre

This gold award-winning centre is the longest-running in Newquay and offers surfing, kayaking, bodyboarding and other water activities for all ages.

Their talented instructors can accelerate your confidence in just a matter of hours when it comes to surfing, where you can choose from taster sessions, private and group lessons, or even a surfing experience day. Location-wise, Towan Beach is right in the midst of it all, so you can soak up all the atmosphere while enjoying a little more privacy than the likes of Fistral Beach.

Watergate Bay Hotel’s Surf Clinic

The Watergate Bay Hotel doesn’t just have some of the best views around, it also has an Extreme Academy, led by Carl Coombes who is an ex-wave-ski champion.

Open the entire year, you can get expert tuition, and twice a year you get the option to book a two-day surfing course, where you can get really immersed in the action and learn all in one go. Plus, if you’re staying in the hotel then children get a free Croyde surf lesson, so it’s worth booking.

There’s also surfing yoga (yes, a thing), surf fitness and body surfing classes available.

The Surf Sanctuary at The Headland Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

Set on a beautiful clifftop overlooking the famous Fistral Bay, this hotel and its Surf Sanctuary has surf classes, equipment hire and private or group lessons.

All coaches are fully-qualified in surfing and have lifeguard qualifications to boot, priding themselves on striking the ideal balance between fun, safety, and education. Group lessons start at £35, with private sessions coming in at £90.

Head here between autumn and spring next year to see the staggering 4-12ft swells, or for a summer getaway, you’ll experience 1-4ft waves (much easier for a beginner!).

St Ives Surf School

St Ives Surf School runs its lessons from Porthmeor beach, which is a favourite amongst suffers thanks to its beautiful landscape, and location being (sort of) sheltered from strong winds.

For a unique touch, it offers a surf camp in partnership with the Cohort Hostel, where you can select different levels of packages to create a unique surfing getaway. 3 nights and 3 lessons start from around £160, whereas a 5-dayer is £250. If it’s just lessons you want, choose from beginner, improver, advanced and private to suit your needs.


It may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of surfing, but Wales has its fair share of surf schools worth noting.

Outer Reef Surf School

Nestled on the Pembrokeshire coast, professional team GB coach Dean Cough runs this famous surf school (recently names Wales’ surf school of the year!). Take a look at one of their unique packages (stag and hen dos, to name one!), or choose a regular lesson, starting at £35 pp, with all equipment included.

Porthcawl Surf School

Down in South Wales, Rest Bay prides itself on being one of the top places to learn to surf in the UK, boasting pretty rideable waves no matter what month it is (and it’s open all year, apart from Christmas Day). Due to its location, it’s a popular weekend break for keen surfers hailing from London, Bristol and Cardiff, so perfect if you fall into this category. Surf lessons start at £30 and are 2 hours long on average, but their fully-qualified staff will make you feel at ease and confident in no time at all.