Great surfing adventures for the family

An approved surf school will pass on the basics to beginners over a half-day lesson; most require participants to be able to swim and ask that under-eights are supervised. In two hours, kids will learn about water safety. They will usually stand before dad, too. 

Board and wetsuit hire is widely available from Easter to October, so all you need to do for a happy surf holiday is choose a location. To help you decide we’ve consulted the experts.

Beginners’ breaks in South Wales

Young child surfing on the Gower

Young child surfing on the Gower, Swansea


Simon Jayham has taught surfing all around the UK. But it had to be Gower Surf Development for his surf school and not just because this was Britain’s first area of outstanding natural beauty. Famous Cornish breaks are a rough-and-tumble of experts and learners, he explains. Tempers flare. The Gower receives the same swell, better shelter from wind and has breaks for all surfers: old and young, beginner and pro. So, everyone is more laidback. Now who’d have thought so close to London and Bristol?

Simon Jayham’s tips:

Caswell Bay is perfect for juniors: the car park is close, there are lifeguards and the water’s clean.

Go south for sheltered dribbly beginners’ waves at Rhossili Bay. Shift towards Llangennith if the surf’s small.

Rest Bay, Porthcawl is great for a really quick session from Bristol or Cardiff.

More surfing operators in Swansea Bay, Mumbles and Gower

Beginners’ breaks in Pembrokeshire

Man surfing at Abereiddy, Pembrokeshire

Abereiddy, Pembrokeshire by Barrie Foster1

It pays dividends to travel that bit further to Pembrokeshire, argues Dean Gough of Outer Reef Surf School. Because Britain’s only coastal national park wraps around the peninsula, it guarantees clean gentle waves whatever the weather. And because it’s an extra hour beyond Swansea, the beautiful beaches are quieter. Ideal for beginners, he points out. Ideal for everyone given that Pembrokeshire tops UK rankings for Blue Flag beaches.

Dean Gough’s tips:

Freshwater West is an unspoilt beach that picks up all the swell, though dangerous for beginners in large waves.

Manobier is amazing! A fantastic castle backdrop and it suits beginners all the way up to advanced surfers.

Newgale is good for children and there's fantastic shelter in St Bride’s Bay.

More surfing operators in Pembrokeshire

Beginners’ breaks in North Wales

Group having surf lesson

Porth Neigwl, Llyn Peninsula, Snowdonia

 by papalamour

Mellow. That’s how Jonathan Waterfield describes North Wales surfing after 30 years of wave-riding on the Llyn Peninsula. Up here, says the owner of West Coast Surf surf school and shop, the Atlantic swells are more forgiving, the beaches quieter than those further south. And with only a dozen local surfers plus whatever visitors arrive from Liverpool and Manchester the vibe is mellow too. Beginners’ heaven.

Jonathan Waterfield’s tips:

Porth Neigwl is consistent, clean, spacious and a sand bottom – all good for learners.

Traeth Penllech (Porth Colmon) is a great sheltered beach when Porth Neigwl is too wild.

More surfing operators in North Wales