As spring is here and the sun is out, we thought it was the right time to ask musician and part-time surfer Mark Thompson to share his favourite spots to swap the city for the sea.
1. Rest Bay, Porthcawl, South Wales
(3hrs 40mins from London)
South Wales may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of surfing or in fact the beach. However, Porthcawl offers a great surfing escape from London. Rest Bay hosts to the most consistent break, providing well-formed peaks. If you want a bit more shelter, head to Coney beach in front of the esplanade.
Perfect conditions: south to west swell, north-east (Coney) or east (Rest Bay) wind, all tides.
For more info and the surf report, check out: https://magicseaweed.com/Porthcawl-Rest-Bay-Surf-Report/1449/
Porthcawl surf rental company are on the beach all year round: http://www.porthcawlsurf.co.uk/
Getting there: We would recommend driving this one, as you can knock it off in under 4 hours. If that’s not an option then you can get the train to Newport, then onto Pyle before getting a short bus to Forge.
2. Croyde, Devon
(4hrs 30mins from London)
Thought after as one of the top surfing beaches in the UK, right up there in competition with Cornish waves. The waves are good on all tides, but especially at low tide. Croyde is perhaps a place for beginners to avoid in peak summer due to how busy it can be, but, if you have the confidence, you will love it!
For more info and the surf report, check out: https://magicseaweed.com/Croyde-Beach-Surf-Report/7/
For rentals check out: https://www.croyde-surf-hire.co.uk/
Getting there: Again, we would recommend driving this one, it’s about 4 1/2 hours to north Devon. If that’s not an option then catch the GWR to Barnstaple then catch the 21 bus to Downend.
3. Bournemouth, Dorset
(2hrs 30mins from London)
This may be the least consistent spot for waves but there are loads of water sports in Poole Harbour (windsurfing, kiteboarding, kayaking) if the surf isn’t on. Well worth a trip.
Surf Report/Spot Guide/Pictures etc – https://magicseaweed.com/Bournemouth-Surf-Report/12/
Local Surf Hire company – https://www.sortedsurfshop.co.uk/
Poole Harbour water sports – https://pooleharbourwatersportsschool.co.uk/
Getting there: Direct from Waterloo (under 2 hours)