If you have a passion for sailing or love the peaceful atmosphere of sailing towns, the UK has many diverse and captivating destinations that are well worth a visit. Whatever your level of sailing experience or budget, you’ll certainly find a port or coastal town that’s bound to impress.
So, where are the UK’s best sailing spots? In no particular order of preference, here are five of our favourites.
Cowes, Isle of Wight
In professional sailing circles, the waters of Cowes are world-famous. During the summer months, sailing fans from across the globe travel to the town of Cowes to watch or compete in yacht racing events.
Since 1826, the Cowes Week Regatta — held every August — has been one of the most popular sporting events in the UK. Nowadays, nearly 1,000 boats compete in various competitions. Close to 100,000 spectators swarm upon the town to witness the events and enjoy the local atmosphere (and, of course, the celebrations).
If the crowds and noise of a massive sailing event like the Cowes Week Regatta don’t sound so appealing, Lymington may be more ideal for you.
Surrounded by green fields, Lymington in Hampshire is a Georgian town that’s home to beautiful architecture and two marinas. Quaint as it may be, Lymington is one of the major yachting stops on the south coast of England, located just three miles from the Needles Channel.
Lake Windermere and the Lake District
Recently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Lake District is famous for its natural beauty — a setting that has inspired both artists and writers alike, such as English poet William Wordsworth and author Beatrix Potter.
While at the Lake District, we highly recommend a visit to Lake Windermere. At over 18 km long, Lake Windermere is the largest lake in England. There are boats for hire and various cruises available, which you can use to visit multiple picturesque towns that surround the lake.
Nearby towns such as Kendal, Ambleside and Keswick make excellent starting points for exploring the area. Wherever you choose, you can expect to find plenty of traditional inns, art galleries and shops.
Only two hours from London, The Broads — or the Norfolk Broads — is Britain’s largest protected wetland. The Broads contain about 200 km of navigable waters and have been a boating holiday destination since the late 19th century.
Formed from flooded peat bogs, the Broads contain rare wildlife and fauna. If you’re there in the summer months, keep an eye out for Britain’s largest butterfly, the Swallowtail butterfly — which can only be found in the Broads.
You can hire a skipper to charter a yacht or bring your own boat.
Falmouth, on the coast of Cornwall in southwest England, is the third-largest natural deep water harbour in the world. Thanks to its sheltered harbour and the calm waters of the River Fal, Falmouth is an excellent sailing spot for beginners.
If you have free time, visit the National Maritime Museum of Cornwall, which is home to interactive galleries and a flotilla of model boats. Falmouth also has a great mix of independent retailers, speciality shops, professional services, galleries, and marine businesses.