The now defunct Bournemouth surf reef project was supposed to turn this south coast resort town into a hotspot for surfers from around the country and the rest of Europe. However, just because this project didn’t get off the ground doesn’t mean that there aren’t quality waves to ride nearby. The South West of England, including Bournemouth’s county of Dorset, has some of the most spectacular coastlines anywhere in the world.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make for great surf, but these three spots definitely have that quality in abundance – and they’re all less than 50 miles away from Bournemouth beach. Easy!
A popular spot just down the road from all the attractions of Bournemouth, Boscombe may not have the biggest waves the South but it does have a great range of smaller waves for beginners and intermediate surfers. Wave riders can enjoy an audience of locals and tourists while catching left and right sided surf aided by their completed surf reef – although conditions can be quite temperamental with a good wind required for any kind of decent height.
Lusty Glaze, Newquay, Cornwall
Newquay’s Famous Fistral Beach may attract the most surfers, including an international surf school and regular competitive events, but the fantastically named Lusty Glaze offers similar conditions without being as ridiculously busy during the Summer months.
The waves here pack a lot of power, especially at high tide, where swells can reach 9 metres or more. Add to that several miles of sheltered beach cove and the infamous Newquay nightlife just a mile or so away, and you have a great spot for catching some Summer surf away from the biggest crowds.
Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset
Kimmeridge Bay, often called K-Beach by the local surfers, offers not one or two but three different surfing conditions along several miles of coastline. The Ledges, a series of hardened clay platforms that stretch out from the cliff bottom into the sea, offer slow and rolling waves that make great conditions for longboarders. Although waves here break infrequently, when they do, they often curl 50 metres or more back into the bay – which makes for some great rides.
A mile or so up the coast, The Bench offers some of the biggest waves in Dorset with 10 foot or more monsters occurring fairly regularly. However, those looking for some onshore relaxing after hitting the surf will need to return back down the coast a bit, as much of the beach here is part of The Ministry of Defence’s Lulworth Firing Range – which is wisely closed to the public for much of the year.
Aside from surfing, this area is part of Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast and is widely regarded as one of the best fossil hunting spots in the UK. The famous Etches Collection of prehistoric fossils is housed in a local museum in Kimmeridge town. It was recently revamped in 2016 at a cost of £5 million and is one of the foremost such collections in Europe.