UK Coast Activities

Coast Activities! Visiting the coast does not have to be about questioning if the weather is good enough for sitting on a beach.

We’ve come up with some activity ideas that are available in the UK.

Surfing & Stand Up Paddle Boarding

surfing photoPhoto by kristymurphy47

In any list of activities, you must have surfing. Although when talking about surfing you think of the West Coasts surf hotspots of Cornwall and the Gower Peninsula, there are options anywhere with areas like Joss Bay in Broadstairs being only a day trip away from London.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)  is becoming very popular and unlike surfing, you stay standing upright on the board and use a paddle to propel yourself.  The experienced can join surfers in the waves but if you are starting out you will need flat sea conditions.

The important part here is to make sure you select an appropriate beach for your abilities as some are not suitable for beginners. We would recommend getting in contact with local surf schools in the area you are visiting.


coasteering photoPhoto by Scott Hamilton Photography

Coasteering is a physical activity that involves traversing along the coastline on foot and swimming, without the aid of boats, surfboards, canoes or other craft. It’s a combination of rock pooling, scrambling and sea swimming. You should always take part in an organised trip as knowledge of the environment and tides is essential, check with the organiser as coasteering can mean different things to different people, with most sessions combining:

  • Swimming: in calm water; rough or white water; and tidal currents. Dressing for swimming in the sea (wetsuits, buoyancy aids etc.) is an integral part of all coasteering; if you are told you will stay dry then it is not coasteering.
  • Climbing, scrambling, sea level traversing: the very nature of the coastline that is needed for coasteering demands aspects of these activities. Any climbing activity usually takes place above deep water and a fall means getting wet.
  • Jumping and Diving: are often seen as the exciting part of coasteering although only take up a small part of a coasteering session.


coast walk photoPhoto by tdlucas5000

Of course one of the great joys of the coast is exploring the beaches, cliff-tops, remote bays and headlands. Whether you’re looking for a clifftop ramble, a gentle stroll on the beach or a serious hike, the UK coastline is spectacularly beautiful, rich in wildlife and full of stories. These stories can be anything from the industrial past, smugglers tales, battles or just the impact of past storms.

A good place to start is the website of the National trails that lists the UK’s major coastal paths.

Boat Trips

uk harbour photoPhoto by KathrynW1

Most harbour towns like Brixham above, have boat trips available. These can be anything from a high-speed rib ride, fishing trip, or a leisurely wildlife trip, options are available for all ages and groups.


boat trip photo

Canoeing/kayaking is a great way for the more confident to see an area of the coast. Many companies offer guided tours and in a lot of cases, this can get you to normally un-reachable on foot bays and coves. The view from such a small craft gives you a different perspective on the beaches, coast and sea in general.

We would recommend this as an option for a day with the calm sea as in a small canoe you will really notice the swell and waves.


conway castle photoPhoto by Richard Szwejkowski

Over the years our coastal regions have been the first point of defence and thus you have lots of choices of places to visit from castles (Conwy Castle above) to museums and gardens to protected coastal areas of interest. We list most National Trust, Lighthouses, Piers and English Heritage sites on our interactive maps.

As well as visiting places of interest you can spend hours fossil hunting or why not take a coastal walk but make sure you spend some time looking out for things of the past, for example, an old tin mine, caves, churches or even burial grounds.

Last but not least a Cream Tea

cream tea photoPhoto by adactio

All these activities make you hungry but one of the activities I look forward to with any visit to the coast is a relaxing afternoon or cream tea, and for me, it has to be jam first. Nothing beats sitting back with a jam cream scone and a pot of English tea. Combine this with a view over the beach.