Sailing articles about tropical destinations are a dime a dozen, but rarely about sailing around England. We’ve seen it a million times – a catamaran hovering in crystal clear shallow water near some remote Caribbean island. For a second, our mind starts to wander and it takes us there.
After a short time of escape, our mind is brought back to the shocking reality that this year’s vacation time was used visiting the in-laws and one look outside the office window reveals that you’re not in the Caribbean.
In all seriousness, there is great sailing to be had all over the world, not only in tropical areas.
One may need to pack warmer gear but with the proper precautions, a sailor can have an epic time anywhere that the wind blows over water.
England’s complex coastline offers a multitude of sailing conditions. From the thousands of protected bays and harbors to the swell-exposed coasts, adventure awaits.
Experience is a matter of perspective. While not known for its sunny weather, a special sailing experience awaits one in England. Renowned for its history of sea-borne trade and exploration, England has a long-standing connection to the sea.
After all, it was this great expanse of water that allowed for the worldwide expansion of the English throne.
Let’s have a look at some of the finer sailing areas that England has to offer for your next sailing holidays:
Chew Valley Lake
We’ll start with a curveball. Our first mention is an inland waterway, located about 10 miles south of the Bristol area.
Chew Lake is the largest inland waterway in the southwestern region of England.
Here, many young skippers made their debuts and gained their sea legs. On a breezy summer day, expect to see vessels from every imaginable sailing class taking advantage of this spot.
There are yacht clubs and mooring options for permanent stays and weekend visitors alike. You’ll be sharing the lake with joggers, swimmers, family picnics, avid birdwatchers and fishermen.
This is a great spot for beginners due to the lack of ocean swell.
The town of Brighton is a short one-hour train ride from the bustle of London. This town may be the most lively and artistic in all of England. Located on the coast, there is tons of real estate for a sailing adventure.
The sailing can be intense at times. During stormy weather and solid Atlantic Ocean groundswells, this area can be alive. Though on a relatively calm summer day, one can expect smooth sailing.
There are over 400 eating establishments on shore and a wealth of trendy art shops and shopping options. Rent a car and explore the pleasant Sussex countryside. Or, take the better half for a romantic sunset cruise.
This is one of England’s most famous waterways. Its history extends back over 2000 to times of Roman occupation.
This tidal river system weaves and turns through some of England’s most picturesque towns and villages.
Here, many paddle crafts race through glassy channels. A hoard of boating clubs and marinas dot the river’s edge.
Don’t expect a solitude sail here but it is a must-visit on your next sailing holiday.
This cosmopolitan seaside town acts as the port town for the ferry service to Belgium. Located in the southeastern region of England, Ramsgate has one the largest marinas on the southern coast of England.
The area has some pleasant sandy beaches that are a welcomed weekend escape for nearby Londoners.
This area of the southern coast of England is quickly becoming the home of the nation’s sailing scene. Ocean racing and other major events are focusing their efforts here. The berths here are among the most sought after in the nation and for good reason.
A great bragging right of this harbor is its proximity to the Isle of Wight. After a short sail, you’re free to explore the sparsely populated and beautiful island.
To miss the town’s maritime heritage offerings would be a mistake. Be sure to visit the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the Naval Museum and the other museums on offer. Walk the cobblestone streets and buy fresh fish at the Camber Dock.
Southampton is a city of historical significance. Town border walls dating back to the Roman and Saxon period are still standing and rate amongst the best preserved in all of England.
On another note, Southampton was the departure port of Pilgrims who sailed to America aboard such famous vessels as the Mayflower and The Speedwell.
For a change from your seafaring ways, enjoy a play in one of the areas superb theatres – they’re world class.
The southwestern area of England is an important maritime area for major international open-ocean crossings. Often, this is the start or end point for trans-Atlantic voyages. The area has a great variety of open-ocean, protected harbors and river systems. During high seas, the swell-exposed areas of Cornwall can be hectic sailing.
Strong lows and post-hurricane systems stir the seas around Cornwall and only the most experienced sailors ought to assume the challenge.
If you have time, navigate your vessel down through the Helford River to visit exceptional gardens, fabulous beaches and pastoral countryside.
If you end up here during August, try to partake in the Henri Lloyd Falmouth Regatta Week.
Great sailing holidays are what you make of them. I’ve come to learn that the journey is more about the journey itself, rather than the destination. Get yourself a solid crew of friends and plan out an epic adventure sailing around England.
You’ll find a charm and historical connection that not even the prettiest tropical island can offer. Along the way, take some time to encounter the local people in small towns and fishermen, who have labored these shores for many decades.
In these experiences, you will find great value and a sailing adventure that you will never forget.
For more sailing blogs and guides, check out: The 10 Best Sailing Apps / Sailing Gear: Buying boat shoes / Buying sea sunglasses: What to look for in sailing shades / New Sailing Jackets for 2012 / Sailing Life Vests: What every sailor needs to know
- Sailing Florida: Key to the Keys
- Sailing The Caribbean Islands: 10 Ports to Visit
- The 5 best Greek Islands for sailing holidays
- Adventure Sports & Travel Thoughts
- New Adventure Travel Ideas
- Our Experts
- Top 10s
- Travel Gear
- Adventure Sports Insurance: What Does The EHIC Actually Cover?
- Kayaking Challenges: Paddling 1300km in handmade kayaks
- Child-Free Sports: Time to reclaim the wave?
- New Zealand: Spiritual Home of Adventure Sports
- 5 Things Cyclists Never Do
- Kevlar Swiss Socks that Rock!
- Adventure Race Events: Trying the Toughest Challenges on Earth