The UK might not be known for its warm climate during the winter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still take to the water. From the beautiful shorelines of Dorset through to the rippling waves of Pembrokeshire, layer up and discover some of Stoneways Marine’s top recommended places to cruise in the winter along the UK coast.
A strait between the Isle of Wight and mainland Great Britain, The Solent is the country’s busiest cruising ground all year round, although you’ll find the variety of boats differ widely as the seasons change.
About 20 miles long, varying in width between 2.5 and 5 miles, expect to see plenty of winter racing and fellow cruisers here during an outing.
Berths are far less coveted than during summer, and there’s a strong chance of securing one at Lymington, Yarmouth, Cowes and Bembridge without pre-booking in advance. Plus, with a number of excellent shoreside pubs and naturally gorgeous scenery, the Solent makes a fantastic location for winter boating adventures.
Carrick Roads, Cornwall
Head south for Carrick Roads in Cornwall, nestled in the lee of the Lizard, Falmouth and the estuary it borders. This location is prime for easier journeys as it’s very well sheltered from the prevailing southwesterly winds.
The creeks and tributaries that branch off the main Fal River can be explored to your heart’s content, whilst beyond this, the Helford River offers a glimpse of what Cornwall was like a century ago. The Lizard offers some shelter from the Atlantic swell for boats heading east towards Fowey and Plymouth, adding to the excitement of this winter passage.
Dotted with sailing clubs along its coastline, Yorkshire provides unique scenery with every cruising journey. Most of this county’s sailing options are found in maintained lakes high up in the hills, but Yorkshire’s coastline also offers some wonderful sailing opportunities. There’s also some must-see literary legends, such as the picturesque town of Whitby, which was the landing location of Count Dracula in England.
Milford Haven, Wales
Head to Wales for a cruising expedition at Milford Haven, a town in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Milford Haven’s estuary position and beautiful natural harbor are what make it so captivating for any sailor.
What’s more, Milford Haven Waterway is noted for its diversity; there’s plenty of protected water for beginners, but the waterway’s mouth offers more demanding conditions and is ideal for those seeking a challenge.
Wrap up warm and enjoy an incredibly scenic cruise along the spectacular Pembrokeshire cliffs, which are waiting for you after leaving the constraints of the waterway and estuary.
Dorset’s beautiful Jurassic coast makes an excellent day out, regardless of the weather forecast. A truly English spectacle of chalk cliffs and rolling green hills, the most impressive way to see this magnificent shore is by boat.
The Isle of Portland is the jewel in this seascape, jutting four miles out like a giant lizard to stir the Channel tides into a notorious race of rough water – we advise only approaching if you’re an experienced and knowledgeable sailor.
In winter conditions, safety is paramount. For those heading off directly from Poole Harbour, the joy of this location is its size and shelter. At 36km2, it provides plenty of quiet anchorages tucked in behind Brownsea and Furzey Islands, and along the Purbeck shore.
Leaving the harbour, there’s good shelter from prevailing southwesterlies in Studland Bay, nestled at the bottom of chalk cliffs. Swanage, round Harry’s Rocks to the south, is slightly more exposed but still offers boat worthy protection from the southwest. And if you happen to visit Poole on a weekday, do feel free to pop into our office and say hello!
Blackwater Estuary, Essex
An estuary of the River Blackwater between Maldon and West Mersea in Essex, Blackwater Estuary is a 5,538 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest with several notable landmarks. It’s well-worth a visit here in winter to go motoring around the quaint Osea Island, although always check tides beforehand – during low tides, a causeway is exposed for people to cross on foot.
Our Managing Director & Senior Underwriter at Stoneways Marine, Keith Lovett, further added: “Staying warm, provisioned and maintaining your boat in tip-top winter condition are the best preparatory steps to take when heading on any winter boating trip. Regardless of where you opt to go cruising, the correct preparation and water-tight insurance policy is key for any successful voyage.”
If you’re looking for further marine insurance guidance on any upcoming trips, get in touch with our experienced team today via phoning 03333 609 886 or visiting stoneways.co.uk/contact-us