The family trip to the beach is a British institution but let’s face it, in a world where children are constantly using phones, tablets, and games consoles, it can be a struggle to get them enthused about sitting on a beach with none of these things.
To combat the declarations of “I’m bored”, why not make the British seaside exciting again by ditching the bucket and spade and putting on some flippers. Seahorses, seals, basking sharks, starfish and all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures can be found just off the British coastline if you know where to look.
What equipment do you need?
You can head off snorkelling in its most basic form with nothing but a swimming costume and a pair of goggles, but given that England isn’t known for it’s warm seas, a wetsuit is a wise investment. Snorkels, flippers, face masks and other accessories such as underwater cameras can also be hired or purchased to enhance your snorkelling experience.
Take a look at Simply Scuba at www.simplyscuba.com for a wide range of snorkelling gear to fit any budget.
5 of the best snorkelling destinations in the UK
Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset
If you’re a little nervous about donning a snorkel and heading out into the unknown, Kimmeridge bay is the site for you. Just 12 miles from Bournemouth, Kimmeridge has the distinction of being the safest place to snorkel in Dorset. Its calm clear shallow waters are suitable for snorkelers of all ages, making it the perfect family snorkelling experience.
For a better idea of the Kimmeridge snorkelling experience check out this article from The Financial Times.
Studland Bay, Dorset
Studland Bay is considered one of the top 10 places to snorkel in the UK and is one of the few places in the UK where you can see seahorses living in the wild. Located a stones throw from Pool and Bournemouth, Studland is a more advanced snorkelling site that its neighbour Kimmerage Bay, but local snorkelling groups do offer guided tours that will keep both you and the wildlife safe.
Stackpole Quay, Pembrokeshire
Stackpole Quay on the Pembrokeshire coast is a fantastic destination between May and June, just so long as you’re not scared of gigantic spider crabs! These massive crustaceans can grow to a whopping one and a half meters wide and come to the area in their thousands this time of year.
In addition to snorkelling, Stackpole is also popular for kayaking and coasting, making it a brilliant location for an adventure holiday.
Porthkerris Cove, Cornwall
Porthkerris has exceptionally clear water which makes it ideal for snorkelling. With a dive centre just off the beach to offer advice and tours if needed, it’s a fantastic location for snorkelers of all abilities. If you’re feeling adventurous, the dive centre also offers scuba diving lessons.
Swanage Pier, Dorset
Swanage pier provides a unique snorkelling location with unusual underwater growths thanks to the shade under the pier and there’s lots of wildlife to be seen. For families snorkelling with younger children, there are steps down to the water and a safe diving zone. However, if you’re feeling a little more adventurous you can literally take a long walk off a short pier and enter the water by jumping off the pier itself!
With all of these locations I would recommend you contact the local snorkelling club or school before heading out on the water. Snorkelling is great fun and very accessible, but make sure you choose a location which suits your families abilities, and follow all the local safety guidelines. Check out the BSAC website for a list of accredited snorkel clubs.
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