Best Snorkeling Sites in South West England


The United Kingdom has thousands of miles of coastline, most of which is easily accessible from the major population centers. But most travelers to the U.K. don’t take advantage of this. They say that the water is cold and muddy, that there are few attractive shorelines, and that the prime spots near London get overcrowded and unappealing come summertime. While we won’t deny that the U.K. isn’t the ideal place for a Beach vacation – you’re going to have a hard time finding the fine sands and warm waters of the Caribbean, for example – the country is severely overlooked when it comes to one water activity where the frequent use of wetsuits renders cold temperatures more of a non-issue: snorkeling.

The U.K.’s coastline is littered with great snorkeling sites, so for this article we’ll just focus on the prime ones in one particular region – South West England. Located about a four hour drive from London, South West England is known as the home of Stonehenge and for having an impressive coastline. It also is a great place to snorkel. Here are some of its top snorkeling locations:

Drawna Rocks, Cornwall

There is no dearth of marine life at Drawna Rocks, which lies to the north of Porthkerris Cove. The spot is marked by a collection of rocks that break the water’s surface, which makes the snorkeling spot an easy one to find. Snorkelers can check out the brightly colored seaweed a range of marine animals, including crabs, starfish, sea urchins, and many fish species.

Prussia Cove, Cornwall

Prussia Cove consists of three small coves that provide much to explore. The diving is easy, the water is shallow, and swarms of fish can usually be spotted swimming among the rocks. The rocky beach is a popular point from which to spot jellyfish, which often swim around the area in large groups. The cove accessible only by foot, but the snorkeling there is well worth the slight extra effort.

Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset

Part of the Jurassic Coast’s Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve, Kimmeridge Bay is a calm snorkeling site with an established trail for snorkelers to follow. Along the trail you can see weeds, kelp, and several fish, including wrasse and blennies. The bay is open only during the summer months.

Stair Hole, Lulworth Cove, Dorset

This snorkeling spot is slightly trickier to access. You’re going to need to snorkel around a cliff or climb down a steep embankment to get there, but Stair Hole, once reached, is a rewarding place to observe a variety of marine life. Dogfish, crabs, and lobsters should be easily spotted along the sides of the lagoon.

This list is just a starting point of great snorkeling sights in South West England – not to mention in the U.K. as a whole. But regardless of where you go, the bottom line is that your next trip should give the U.K. coastline a chance.  You might just be pleasantly surprised.


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