Where To Sail In The UK
The UK has always been a global hotspot for sailing. The country’s athletes regularly win medals for their sailing prowess during international competitions, and local sailing clubs dot its lakes and coastline. There are so many great sailing spots in the UK – sailors are almost spoilt for choice.
Once an important Tudor port, Aldeburgh and its surrounding area offer a huge range of sailing experiences. Several sailing clubs based on the river Alde provide lots of opportunities for energetic sailing in dinghies, catamarans or yachts. While you sail, look out for the herons, avocets, egrets and oystercatchers. If you’d prefer something more relaxed, there’s a boating lake with rowing boats of various sizes available for hire.
Cowes, Isle of Wight
Cowes is famed for its professional sailing, particularly during the summer months when people from across the globe visit the town to watch and compete in racing events. A major event is Cowes Week Regatta, one of the longest running and most successful sporting events in the UK. The regatta has been running almost continuously since 1826, and today, between 800 and 1,000 boats complete in forty different handicaps. Cowes also hosts six main small keelboat fleets that regularly race during the season. Companies offer boat-hire services if you can’t bring yours with you.
Brighton, East Sussex
Only an hour from London, Brighton’s sailing options emphasise learning; courses are designed for a variety of skill and experience levels. Brighton Marina is a safe place to learn before hitting the sea unsupervised. You can hire simple dinghies or full yachts to take out on the water. If you want a regular sailing community, join one of the local sailing clubs. For a guided experience, several companies offer boat-based sightseeing trips along the coastline.
Dartmouth’s unique location at the point where the River Dart reaches the sea has gained it a reputation as a sailing paradise. Exploring the river by boat is an amazing opportunity to see the scenery from a view-point like no other, and the option to pick between river and open sea sailing means some exciting days out. Dartmouth is one of the West Country’s best sailing ports, and features a huge list of sailing activities. In particular the Dartmouth Royal Regatta Sailing Week; a weeklong regatta celebrating Dartmouth’s maritime links.
Cornwall is already considered a hotspot for surfing in the UK, but it also has plenty of sailing options. Falmouth boasts its own School of Sailing and a rich maritime history, including a strong working boat fleet that still operates today. For more personal experiences, the sheltered waters of the river Fal and its tributaries provide ideal waters for sailing. If you want to explore the open sea, Falmouth has the third largest natural deep water harbour in the world.
A beautiful Georgian market town, Lymington sits on the southern edge of the New Forest. A world renowned sailing resort, there are two large marinas and two prominent sailing clubs. The sailing clubs offer everything from yacht and dinghy racing to junior sailing days – and even a remote control yacht race. Lymington is ideally placed to offer a number of destinations for a day’s sailing, including the Isle of Wight and Southampton.
Yorkshire is a rich and varied county, and has a big variety of sailing clubs across its coastline. The best thing about sailing in Yorkshire is the fantastic countryside as your backdrop; the views can be absolutely stunning. Many of the sailing opportunities in Yorkshire can be found in managed lakes high in the hills, meaning plenty of windy days and plenty of time for sailing. The Yorkshire coastline also has some fantastic opportunities for sailing, and some destinations subject to literary legend such as Whitby, the site of Count Dracula’s landing in England.