American wanting to know what UK beaches are like - can you swim, surf, etc?

  1. The UK has pretty much every type of coastline you can think of. From busy manmade (or man helped out) beaches in places like Bournemouth to deserted natural sands in places like Pembrokeshire. The only constant is the temperature of the water being way too cold to swim in for all but the hottest days. This doesn't stop people though, but most wear a wetsuit.

  2. We have a very varied coastline and plenty of beaches to suit all preferences. A small sample of our sandy beaches include Woolacombe, Bantham, Watergate Bay, Bournemouth, Bamburgh, Holkham, West Witttering.

  3. There's something of a surfing culture in Cornwall and parts of the South West, as far as I know there's not much in the rest of the country as there aren't the waves for it in many places (I'm sure others can correct me on that, there probably are some spots).

  4. Surfing’s very popular in certain parts of the north east, particularly Tynemouth - I know of around five different surf schools in the area.

  5. Acknowledges that they use a different measurement for temperature but doesn't bother to do the conversion, expects the reader to do that and then read the rest of that post and help them with a response. Nahhh

  6. Pathetic, indeed. It’s not like it’s difficult to type “68F to C” into Google. And the answer is…. 20C.

  7. You’ll see surfers all year round in Cornwall. I was there last week and I, and many others, were swimming in bathing suit only. It was lovely. Diving off the rocks into crystal clear water.

  8. We probably have similar map and water quality issues - but maybe just longer surfable beaches with less development and more favorable temps.

  9. As others have said you can surf in Cornwall, surfing is also popular on a smaller scale in Pembrokeshire, North Devon, Northumberland and the western isles. Kitesurfing is popular in some areas like Camber, Greatstone, Weymouth and the Solent. People will wear wetsuits all year round.

  10. You might have seen Bamburgh beach (Northumberland - east coast) as it’s often used as a filming location. Pretty castle, very wide and shallow sloping beach, beautiful sand. Locals always take a wind-break if they go to that beach, even on the hottest days of summer, and the water temperature ranges from 6-15 degrees (45-60f). You can swim without a wetsuit if a) you’re having a competition with your mates to see who can stay in longest before hypothermia kicks in and b) you don’t mind jellyfish. Lots of other sandy beaches down the east coast, interspersed with cliffs rich in fossils. You’ll find a small number of (super keen, slightly deluded) surfers at Tynemouth, Scarborough and a few other locations.

  11. The sea in Scotland is generally pretty cold, but it's tolerable if there's a long warmish spell, particularly into August and September. Inland waters, are usually freezing due to snowmelt and being very deep and cold - people die every year from jumping into cold lochs. The exception would be broad shallow lochs that can absorb a lot of solar energy, e.g. Loch Morlich which has a nice sandy beach and the southern bit of Loch Lomond.

  12. | I've seen where the Thames can actually have a wave on it as the tide goes and people have surfed that)

  13. I'll need to look up what "bore" means here - what I've seen is I think the tide goes out in the ocean, which drops a significant amount, but the water upstream in the river is "backed up" up there, and is flowing out at a rapid enough pace that it produces an actual wavefront.

  14. People surf where there's surf. One of the more famous breaks is called 'The Shit Pipe' located at Thurso in the very North of Scotland. Also in the very North of Scotland is Sandwood Bay, which is possibly the best beach in the UK, but the water is cold, and it's a good hike to get to. Surfing is mostly done in Cornwall, Devon and South Wales, as those are the beaches facing the Alantic, and the weather is somewhat warmer.

  15. Google “Tenby Pembrokeshire beach”. That’s one of my favourite beach towns. Two sections of beach, a little offshore island you can walk to at low tide and multi coloured Georgian houses above the beaches.

  16. Apparently they’ve shut 24 beaches today as all the sewage processing plants have been overcome with torrential rain and opened the floodgates into the sea.

  17. As the leading UK "ask" subreddit, we welcome questions from all users and countries; sometimes people who ask questions might not appreciate or understand the nuance of British life or culture, and as a result some questions can come across in a different way than intended.

  18. I'm a certified wimp but even I swim without a wetsuit - Just don't except to stay in the sea for prolonged lengths of time.


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