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Surfing in North Wales: The Ultimate Guide
When you think of the best parts of the UK for surfing, most people’s minds will go straight to places such as Cornwall and Devon. However, the North Wales coastline is a lesser-known haven for surfing in Britain with plenty of beaches and bays that create ideal conditions for getting out in the water with your board.
Many of the best surfing beaches in Wales are found on the Llyn Peninsula, but the island of Anglesey is also a prime spot. And whilst some locations only get a good amount of surf in the autumn and winter, when weather and water conditions mean that only experienced surfers tend to be out on the water, there are many beaches that provide great surf all year round.
Whether you’re planning a dedicated surfing holiday or fancy trying a couple of lessons when you’re next on the coast, this is the ultimate guide to surfing in North Wales.
How to Get to North Wales
The North Wales coast is easiest reached by car or train, with several stations dotted along the coastline that connect to other destinations further inland. Having a car gives you the most control over where you’d like to visit, but there are bus services across North Wales that can get you to some of the beaches entirely by public transport.
If you’re travelling to Wales by train from outside the region, you’ll likely have to change at either Chester or Manchester in the north or Birmingham in the south. From there, Aberwstwth, Swansea or Holyhead (for Anglesey) are your best options for large train stations.
You can use Omio to find the best deals and routes for both train and bus journeys around North Wales.
Best Beaches for Surfing in North Wales
Porth Neigwl, Llyn Peninsula
Porth Neigwl, also known as ‘Hell’s Mouth’, is one of the best surfing beaches in Wales. Located on the Llyn Peninsula, Hell’s Mouth is 4 miles long and has plenty of spots where the swell is particularly good for surfing. There are good waves on this beach all year round, although you’ll get the best consistent surfing conditions in the winter.
The eastern side of Porth Neigwl has the biggest waves, and this is where you’ll find more serious surfers most of the time. Conditions here can get dangerous at times, so it is strongly recommended that you only enter the water here if you are a strong and experienced swimmer.
There are two different surf schools found along the coast of Porth Neigwl, so in the summer the beach and the water can get quite busy. It’s known as the best beach in North Wales for good reason though, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
If you’re visiting Porth Neigwl with a large group, Tyn Don is a holiday home that sleeps up to 16 guests and is only a mile away from the beach.
Porth Oer, Aberdaron, Llyn Peninsula
Porth Oer is a small National Trust beach right at the tip of the Llyn Peninsula, providing one of the most popular surf spots in Wales for more experienced surfers. The small bay is an exposed beach break which means that the waves are inconsistent, but on windy days there is a great amount of surf that is best suited to those who have been riding the waves for a while.
Porth Oer is also known as ‘Whistling Sands’ because of the sound that the tiny granules make as you walk over them. It’s one of only two beaches in Europe where this phenomenon occurs, which means that when the weather is good you’ll find a lot of people coming to the area to experience it for themselves.
The best surfing conditions at Porth Oer will occur in the autumn and spring, as in the summer the water tends to be very flat. Conditions here are known to change very quickly, so be aware of any upcoming turns in the weather before you set out.
If you’re seeking a place to stay in the same area, Rhoshirwaun Chalet is a lovely option that can house 6 guests and is only a short drive from the coast and Porth Oer.
Porth Ceiriad, Llyn Peninsula
Porth Ceiriad is found between Porth Oer and Porth Neigwl and is a large stretch of south-facing pebbly and sandy beach. It’s a very sheltered surfing spot that is protected by cliffs around the beach, and is one of the best beaches on the Llyn Peninsula.
The surfing conditions at Porth Ceiriad are best between mid and high tide, with more dramatic waves during the winter months. Some days do bring very big swells to the bay, and whilst this surf is excellent the conditions are not recommended for beginners.
Even during the spring and summer, on breezy days the waves at Porth Ceiriad are good and it can get quite busy with surfers when the sun is shining. It’s a beautiful spot on the North Wales coastline that is well worth a visit at any time of year.
For a beautiful holiday home right on the coast by the beach, this cottage in Abersoch is only a mile away from the beach and sleeps four guests, perfect for a family.
Traeth Llydan, Rhosneigr, Anglesey
On the island of Anglesey is the picturesque seaside village of Rhosneigr, home to Traeth Llyndan beach. This is one of the most consistent spots for surfing in North Wales all year round and is known for its impressive waves.
Traeth Llyndan is not really a beach for beginners who are surfing in Anglesey, and those new to the sport might be better off joining a surfing lesson at the local Gecko Surf School where instructors can choose the safest spots for those who are new to the sport. The beach is also known as ‘Broad Beach’ because of its size, and there is plenty of room for surfers even on busy days.
The south end of the beach is the most dangerous if you’re tackling the Rhosneigr surf, and rip tides here are common. There are also quite a lot of rocks beneath the surface of the water, so surfing at low tide is recommended.
Rhosneigr is a charming place to stay for a surfing holiday in Wales, and Sandy Mount House in the village is modern and comfortable inn with world-class service.
Porth Trecastell, Anglesey
Porth Trecastell is also known as Cable Bay and is a very popular beach for surfing in Anglesey. The bay is small but very beautiful, and is edged by cliffs and dunes that make it a very sheltered place on the North Wales coast.
Surfing conditions here are relatively consistent and suitable for all abilities, although beginners are advised not to set out into the water when there are really big swells.
Porth Trecastell is a favoured spot for kayakers and bodyboarders as well as being a brilliant beach for surfing. There isn’t a huge amount of space in the water and the beach can get quite busy during the summer, but more serious surfers will find better conditions and fewer crowds if they come to Cable Bay between November and April.
Llanddulas Breakwater, Conwy
This is a surf spot in Wales that is only frequented by the experts, and is a pretty temperamental location that will either provide you with perfect waves or no swell at all. Llanddulas Breakwater is a long, thin point break location on the coast of Conwy that is best visited in the winter and spring when conditions will be the most suited to surfing.
To make the best of conditions here, you’ll want to visit on a day when northwesterly winds are blowing from offshore, as this leads to the best possible wave conditions. This is not a location for beginner surfers, but it can lead to some incredible surfing if you time your visit right.
If you’re going to stay near Llanddulas Breakwater in Llanddulas, Plas Tirion is a classic bed and breakfast option. For guests wanting to stay somewhere more unique, Hen Wrych Hall Tower is a historic accommodation that is ideal for couples.
Barmouth Beach, Gwynedd
Barmouth Beach in Gwynedd is one of the best surfing beaches in North Wales for consistent, year-round waves that are suitable for surfers of all abilities. This beach is long and quite exposed, but sees a big variety of different surf that makes it a great place to get out in the water and hone your surfing skills.
At low tide, conditions are more suited to beginner surfers who want smaller waves closer to the shore. At high tide, the surf can get a bit more dramatic and there are strong swells out in the water, so this is the time to come to Barmouth Beach for more challenging conditions.
There are plenty of options for where to stay in Barmouth. For a classic hotel experience, the Tal Y Don Hotel is a great option, No6 is a stylish bed and breakfast with sea views, and Penbryn Holidays is s self-catering holiday home.
Best Time of Year for Surfing in North Wales
You can surf North Wales all year round, but the best time of year to enjoy the Welsh beaches and waves are the months in Autumn and Winter.
Between November and April, you will find the best surf of the year in North Wales as high winds cause brilliant waves and swells. However, this is not the time of year to try surfing in Wales if you are a beginner as conditions can be quite brutal and if you are not experienced then you could get into trouble when you’re out in the water.
It’s also worth noting that the water temperature in Wales in the autumn and winter can get as low as 8°C, so you will need a very thick wetsuit, surf shoes and other appropriate equipment to stay warm in the water.
Between May and October, the weather in Wales is much more pleasant, which means that the sea tends to be calmer, flatter and less good for serious surfing. Those who are just starting surfing will find these conditions more favourable, although you should be prepared to face the risk that some days there won’t be any waves at all.
North Wales also gets busier with tourists and holiday makers in the spring and summer months, so surf schools and popular beaches will be more crowded than in the winter.
If you’ve been planning on surfing in Wales and the weather or water conditions just aren’t suitable for riding the waves, there are plenty of other exciting watersports activities to pass the time. Why not try white water rafting, canoeing or even gorge scrambling?
Surfing Schools in North Wales
North Wales has got quite a reputation for being a newly discovered hub for surfing, and consequently, there are now lots of different surf schools along the coast. Here are some of the best places to learn how to surf.
This Abersoch surfing school has been running for over 15 years, and offers surf lessons for all ages and abilities alongside wakeboarding and stand up paddleboarding tuition. Instructors also offer private surf coaching, and you can hire all the equipment and gear you might need for a day out in the water from the school.
Adventure Parc Snowdonia, Snowdonia
One of the most exciting new surf schools in North Wales is found at Adventure Parc Snowdonia, an indoor and outdoor adventure centre. Surf Snowdonia is their inland surf lagoon which uses technology to generate waves in a huge outdoor lagoon, and the centre offers a huge range of different surfing lessons and experiences that range from short beginner classes to full days of tuition.
Gecko Surf and Paddleboard School, Anglesey
Geck surf shop is a family run business in the small village of Rhosneigr in Anglesey which also offers surfing and paddleboarding lessons at the nearby beach. These lessons are some of the best value you will find in all of the surf schools in North Wales, and all equipment and wetsuits are provided.
Surfing is an activity that many people think can’t be properly enjoyed on the Uk’s coast, but that simply isn’t the case. There are plenty of beautiful and exhilarating surfing beaches in North Wales that attract multitudes of surfing fans all year round, and as long as you don’t mind the cold water temperatures, you’ll find plenty of fantastic opportunities to ride the waves.
How much does Surf Snowdonia cost?
If you want to join an open surf session at Surf Snowdonia it will cost you between £35 and £50 depending on your level of ability. Short surf lessons are between £50 and £70 a session, and day-long courses will cost between £80 and £120.
Can you surf in Abersoch?
There are numerous beaches in Abersoch that are suitable for surfing, with the most popular spots being Porth Neigwl and Porth Oer. These beaches can get busy on the weekends or in the summer holidays when weather conditions are good, but even then the water never gets particularly crowded and the surf is excellent.