The number of people that have the preconceived view that scuba diving in the UK is dark, done in murky lakes or flooded quarries with no bottom. They may also think that our seas are deep, dark and have giant fish hiding in the seaweed, ready to jump out at you.
Nonsense! Britain is actually home to some of the most beautiful scuba diving spots in Europe. From the Scottish reefs to flooded quarries filled with old airplane wrecks, there are dozens of unique scuba diving sites with super clear visibility. You’ve just got to know where to find them.
Here are our 5 favourite sites 🙂
The Farne Islands, Northumberland
That has to be my personal favourite. Being from the North East and have grown up on the Northumberland coast, the Farne islands has a real special place in my heart.
Diving in and around the Farne Islands is a real feast for the senses. Numerous wrecks litter the seabed, and inquisitive grey seals come and say hello. Whether you prefer a shallow dive or are prepared to delve that little bit deeper, there’s something to suit everyone out at the Farnes. The Farnes consist of almost 30 small islands and rock outcrops lying between 2 and 4 miles off the Northumberland coast.
St Abbs, Berwickshire
Berwickshire’s coastal waters have long been renowned for their abundance and diversity of marine life. Here cold Arctic currents and warmer currents from the south swirl together and support diverse and abundant marine life so that Arctic wolf fish can be found living side by side with Devonshire Cup corals.
Scapa Flow, Orkney, Scotland
Scapa Flow ranks as one of the world’s top diving destinations, but many people who will never even get their feet wet are fascinated with what lies beneath its surface.
Scapa Flow is a huge natural harbour formed within the Orkney Islands with over 140 square miles of comparatively calm water within its bounds. Used in both world wars as protection for the British Fleet, the islands became home to tens of thousands of service personnel. At the signing of the armistice the German fleet was interred with skeleton crews at Scapa until its fate could be decided.
The Manacles, Cornwall
The Manacles are simply amazing. This area of reef covering approximately one square mile, is an abundance of shipwrecks and reefs ranging from 8m to 80m, catering for divers of all levels. There has been more loss of shipping here than on any other comparable reef on the entire south coast of Britain, with over 110 ships and more than 1,000 lives lost.
Not only do you have some amazing sites underwater but the surrounding area has some brilliant walks, great pubs and stunning restaurants once back on land.
From beginners to advanced diving, Swanage gives you the option for it all. Simple dives under the pier followed by a nice cuppa and a cake in the pier cafe, makes for a great weekend.
With just a maximum depth of 5 metres under the pier, it is no wonder that so many novices begin their underwater careers here before venturing further off shore to experience more challenging dives. Whenever you are ready, the dive boats that operate from the pier are ready and waiting to take you to some of them.
Drift across Peveril Ledges looking for lobsters, or maybe take a trip to the wreck of the Fleur de Lys, off Old Harry and when you are ready for it the one they all want to dive, the Kyarra! The dive boats can have you on the shot line in less than half an hour from the pier.
Torpedoed in 1918, she just failed to survive the First World War. She went to her final resting place just 30 metres below the sea, 2 miles off Anvil Point. Just like the pier, she makes for a fascinating dive and in a DIVER magazine survey she was voted one of the best wreck dives in Britain.