Best Watersports To Try In Cornwall




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When talking about coastal holiday destinations in the UK, one of the first places that come to mind is Cornwall. 

This southwestern county in the UK has a relatively long coastline that is dotted with numerous sandy beaches. That is why it has a thriving beach culture that attracts thousands of tourists, not only from England but also from all over the region. 

And where there is a good beach culture, there is bound to be water sports. In fact, Cornwall is the hottest travel destination for every water sports enthusiast in the UK.

But what are the different water sports activities that you can try in Cornwall? Well, that is what we have discussed in this guide. So, if you wish to go on an adrenaline-pumping holiday soon, then read on!

7 Best Water Sports In Cornwall

1. Surfing

Possibly the most popular water sport in the county of Cornwall, surfing is a must-try for every adventurous traveller visiting Cornwall. As a matter of fact, the surfing culture in Cornwall is one of the best in the world, rivalling other popular surfing destinations like Gold Coast (Australia) or California (US). 

Because of its global appeal, it attracts tourists and surfers from all over the world, not just the UK. It even hosts surfing competitions annually, which has further fueled its popularity.

Cornwall’s rich surfing subculture is a product of the county’s excellent beach culture and its geography, which is ideal for surfing. Truth be told – it has something for almost every type of surfer. There’s a reason why Cornwall is known as the UK’s surf capital, after all.

On the one hand, there are places like Fistral Beach on the north coast with high tides that provide an excellent challenge for professional surfers. And on the other hand, there are beaches with gentle tides that are perfect for beginners. In addition to that, there are several reputed surfing schools, like Escape Surf School, where you can learn surfing from the experts. 

Best Places To Go For Surfing In Cornwall

  • Newquay, North Cornwall
  • Watergate Bay, North Cornwall
  • Gunwalloe, North Cornwall
  • Harlyn Bay, North Cornwall

2. Kite Surfing

While it may seem daunting initially, kitesurfing is a lot more approachable and easy to learn than you think. This fun watersport can be considered to be a more glamorous variation of regular surfing, where you ride the waves with the help of a large kite.

Kitesurfing usually requires strong wind flows and a lot of open space for the best experience. Thankfully, Cornwall has plenty of both, which makes it a must-try activity. And if you are not very experienced, you can get some quick and easy lessons before getting on the board. 

You will find several kitesurfing schools in Cornwall, where experts will give you the necessary training to brush up on your skills. And if you are already an experienced kitesurfer, you can kitesurf at some of the most challenging spots to test your mettle.

Best Places To Go For Kitesurfing In Cornwall

  • Marazion, West Cornwall
  • Daymer Bay, North Cornwall
  • Hayle, West Cornwall
  • Perranporth, North Cornwall

3. Kayaking

Another popular water sport activity that you can try out is kayaking. It is the perfect water sport for those who wish to explore the rich coastline of Cornwall, paddling along the beautiful estuaries and winding rivers present throughout the county.

If you ask us, we’d say that it is a great activity for both casual adventurers and hardcore thrillseekers alike. All you need to do is hop onto a kayak, and you can paddle peacefully along the rivers and coast to spot local wildlife or experience the quaint seaside towns.

But if you are feeling a bit adventurous, you can brave the swells of the Atlantic Ocean on your kayaks to get a satisfying adrenaline rush. Alternatively, you can discover hidden coves, watch seals or land on secret islands off the coast that are not accessible by other means.

The best part is that kayaking tours can be done in both small and large groups. Additionally, you can go on guided adventures, which is great if you are a beginner at sea kayaking.

Best Places To Go For Kayaking In Cornwall

  • St. Ives, West Cornwall
  • The Fal River
  • Port Gaverne and Port Isaac
  • The Lizard Peninsula

4. Sailing

Do you want to try your hand at something that is a bit more adventurous than kayaking? Then you should definitely give sailing a go when you visit Cornwall. This watersport activity is one of the top picks for seasoned watersport aficionados.

Sailing is an integral part of Cornwall’s coastal culture. Just take a stroll along any harbour or look out toward the sea from the coast, and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Numerous boats and yachts that dot the coastal waters around the county prove how popular this activity actually is.

Of course, there’s also the fact that the county plays host to several annual regattas for sailors. During these events, boating enthusiasts from all over flock to Cornwall to celebrate its rich sailing background. You can easily hop onto a boat to explore the surrounding waters and get a glimpse of the rich Cornish marine life.

With that being said, sailing is a relatively pricey watersport activity. However, we strongly suggest that you try it out at least once, if possible. Take our word for it – you will not regret it one bit!

Best Places To Go For Sailing In Cornwall

  • Falmouth, South Cornwall
  • Padstow, North Cornwall
  • Helford River
  • Polridmouth Cove

5. Stand-Up Paddleboarding

In recent years, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has become a pretty popular watersport in the county of Cornwall. That is because this water sport activity is incredibly easy to learn for everyone. Here, the person literally “stands up” on a surfboard and propels it with the help of a paddle. 

Therefore, it can be considered to be an amalgamation of kayaking and surfing. Once you get the hang of it, it will feel as if you are walking on water, which is great fun! As such, it is an excellent way to explore the calm coastal waters around Cornwall peacefully.

Although, if you want more of a challenge, then you can try doing this activity where the swells are a bit bigger. That way, it will be a great test of your balancing skills. And if you are feeling a bit courageous, you can go paddle boarding on the more exposed waters to explore the many hidden coves and islands near the coast.

Stand-up paddleboarding is a great watersport activity for all the family members, but you can also go solo if you wish. However, if you are totally inexperienced, you can get in touch with any of the local activity providers for some quick courses.

Best Places To Go For Stand-Up Paddleboarding In Cornwall

  • Porthleven
  • Porthcurno, South Cornwall
  • The Camel Estuary
  • St. Michael’s Mount

6. Coasteering

Do you really want to get your heart racing and your adrenaline pumping? Then you should definitely try out the activity of coasteering. This watersport provides the ultimate thrill to the adventure-hungry traveller, for it involves exploring the rugged cliffs, remote coves and rocky shores. When you go coasteering, you’ll be required to walk, run, swim, climb and jump, which implies that fitness is key for this activity.

Obviously, this adventurous watersport is not meant for everyone. But if you are fit enough, then we strongly recommend trying it once, for it will help you experience the Cornish coast from a different perspective.

You can go coasteering solo to push your limits, but we do not recommend doing that unless you are extremely skilled. Instead, we suggest you take some companions with you for safety. Or better yet; you can go with a reputable coasteering agency that will provide you with trainers and guides wherever necessary.

Best Places To Go For Coasteering In Cornwall

  • Bude, North Cornwall
  • Port Quin, North Cornwall
  • The Lizard Peninsula
  • St. Austell Bay

7. Diving

If you wish to experience the rich marine life of Cornwall more closely, then you need to try out diving. In this water sport activity, you can get up close and personal with the wide variety of aquatic flora and fauna and explore fascinating shipwrecks from the past. Therefore, if you choose to go diving, you will have a really exciting adventure.

Cornwall has many diving schools where you can learn about this activity and get hands-on training from expert scuba divers. And once you are ready, you can take a deep dive into the rich marine habitats in the waters around Cornwall.

It is always a good idea to follow your dive instructor closely, especially if you are a first-timer. But if you have considerable diving experience, you can embark on this activity by yourself.

Best Places To Go For Diving In Cornwall

  • Land’s End
  • Falmouth Bay, South Cornwall
  • The Manacles, West Cornwall
  • Harlyn Bay


So, those are some of the best water sports that you can try when you visit Cornwall next time. 

Of course, there are many more of these activities to choose from, such as snorkelling, cliff jumping, wild swimming, windsurfing and bodyboarding, to name a few. But the ones we have discussed above are possibly some of the most popular choices in Cornwall.

As you can see from the above discussion, it does not matter if you are a beginner or a veteran – these activities can be enjoyed by almost everyone. You will be good to go as long as you get the necessary training and guidance. And there are many places where you can get that in Cornwall.

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