Fishing Holidays in the UK: 6 Unique Ideas
Sep 17, 2019 | 8 minute read
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Britain is literally surrounded by amazing angling. Whether you’re taking to the high seas, wading remote streams, or exploring the country’s biggest cities, you’re never far from hard-fighting fish. It’s surprising, then, that fishing holidays in the UK aren’t more popular.

A father and son in wellington boots walking along a beach. The boy is carrying a small fishing net

The reason is probably that, when most people think about fishing, they imagine sitting by a rainy river for hours on end with no action. There’s way more to British fishing than that. To prove it, we’ve put together a guide to some of the most unique and exciting fishing holidays around the country.

Support Sustainable Seafood in South West Scotland

A remote section of coastline in Scotland, with green fields and rocky cliffs leading down to blue sea

If you like seafood, there’s nowhere better than the Scottish coast. Smoked salmon, seared scallops, mackerel pate – even certified fish addicts can eat their fill here. And the best part? You can enjoy it all without worrying about the state of the oceans.

Scotland is in the middle of a sustainable seafood revolution at the moment. Many restaurants have an emphasis on in-season, local produce. Small-scale fishing techniques are becoming more and more common. In short, there’s never been a better time for a fishy feast.

Of course, the most sustainable way to enjoy fish is to go out and catch it yourself. That’s exactly what you can do in south West Scotland. Climb aboard a fishing charter in pretty fishing villages like Girven in South Ayrshire or Drummore in Galloway, and you can head out in search of delicious Skate, Pollock, Seabass, and more.

An angler in a red jacket holding a fishing rod in one hand and a Pollock in the other. He is on a boat, with water and a rocky shoreline behind him.

Sure, there are fish, but what else can I do? We’re glad you asked. Start off by taking in the incredible scenery of Galloway Forest Park. It’s an amazing wild camping spot, and one of those places where you can spend a week and still get stopped in your tracks by its sheer beauty. 

After that, you can warm up with a dram of whisky at the nearby Bladnoch distillery. This can be especially welcome if the Scottish weather isn’t playing nice. Up for more of an adventure? Ferries run regularly from Cairnryan to Belfast, and are short enough for an overnight trip if you want to add a city break to your country escape.

Take On Predatory Pike in Somerset

Green fields and a blue lake in Somerset

Sticking with the southwest theme, but moving down to England, Somerset is an amazing place for fierce freshwater battles. The best of the best are in Chew Valley and Blagdon Lakes. Nestled among the Mendip Hills, just a short hop south of Bristol, these calm waters hold have some of the biggest Pike in the UK.

Pike have earned a reputation as one of the toughest freshwater fish in the world. They’re apex predators with huge mouths and a body built for speed. They’re strong, smart, and don’t give up without a fight. This is how Pike got their nickname, “Water Wolves.” Among those in the know, Somerset is the place to take on these hard-fighting fish.

An angler holding a Northern Pike on a lake in Somerset

It’s also the perfect place for a holiday, whatever you’re after. If you like long walks and country pubs, you’ll be right at home in the Mendip Hills or the southern reaches of the Cotswolds. Prefer the seaside? Head down to Weston-Super-Mare for sandy beaches, fish and chips, and strolls along the pier (remember to save up some change for the arcade).

What if you want something a little more cultural? No problem! Explore historic streets in Bath, stopping for afternoon tea along the way. After something a little less quaint? Head over to Bristol for thumping live music, incredible cider, great museums, and more. It’s incredible how much can be packed into one corner of the country without spoiling its rural charm.

Learn to Fly Fish in Remote Scottish Rivers

A remote section of the River Spey in Scotland

Of all the ways to catch fish, fly fishing has to be the most picturesque. The gentle swish as your line flies through the air. The complete calm of a remote river, with only trickling water for a soundtrack. It’s the ultimate way to get back to nature and unwind from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

It’s also loads of fun! Fly fishing is a challenging skill that you can spend your whole life perfecting. Even so, you can make real progress and catch your first fish in no time with some good guidance. And where better to learn than Scotland? It’s the fly fishing heartland, after all.

A fly fisherman making a cast while wading in a river

You may not know it, but Scotland is a Mecca for fly fishing enthusiasts. People come from all over the world to fish iconic rivers like the Spey and Tay. This is the birthplace of some of the technique’s most important tactics. It’s also home to superstar game fish like Salmon, Trout, and Grayling. In short, it’s just about the best place on earth to go fly fishing.

As if you weren’t already convinced, you can tailor your trip to be as remote or simple as you like. Long for the real outdoors? Escape into Cairngorms National Park and spend the day without another soul in sight. Prefer something a little closer to civilisation? Plenty of fly fishing guides operate within an easy drive of Edinburgh. Whatever else you want from your holiday, it’s easy to combine it with learning a fun new skill.

Reel in a Feast Under the White Cliffs of Dover

A view along the white cliffs of Dover in Kent

Is there anything that symbolises England more than the white cliffs of Dover? These towering walls of chalk have greeted sailors crossing the channel for thousands of years. These days, countless ships pass by them each week as they make their way through the Straits of Dover.

As well as being the gateway to Europe, this is also one of England’s most popular places for sea fishing. You can either join a fishing charter out of Dover itself, or head to other towns nearby. Folkestone, Margate, and Ramsgate all have fleets of charter boats waiting to take you out.

What will you be catching? Tonnes of tasty fish, that’s what! An average day will see you reeling in Rays, Bass, Bream, Pollock, Plaice, Whiting, Pouting – you get the picture, there are a lot of fish here. What’s more, pretty much everything you’re likely to catch is delicious. To top it all off, the crew normally helps you clean the fish. All you have to do is eat it.

A frowning fisherman holding a large Seabass on a boat

When you’re done reeling in some supper and admiring the view, you can take a walk along the cliffs to see where you were fishing. There are trails running along the coast, giving you panoramas of the surrounding sea. On a clear day, you can even see France.

We haven’t even started on Dover itself yet. The thing that most people will know is Dover Castle, the largest castle in England. It’s well worth a visit, but it’s hardly the only thing to do in town. Explore the secret tunnels carved into the cliffs during the War. Learn about local history in Dover Museum. Can’t get enough of fishing? Head to Admiral Pier bright and early to make a few casts into the rising sun.

Wrestle Monster Sharks off the Cornish Coast

A sunny day on the Cornish coast, with rocky cliffs and green-blue sea

All our fishing holidays so far have been fine, but what if you want a real deep sea adventure? Real big game battles? The answer is simple: go to Cornwall. The waters offshore from Cornwall are famous among anglers for their massive fish, and nowhere does them bigger than Falmouth.

Let’s start with the Sharks. Depending on when you visit, you could be in with a chance of hooking Blue, Porbeagle, and even Thresher Sharks. These guys can be huge – just ask the lads who caught a 256 lb Blue Shark out of neighbouring Penzance. The best part? Shark fishing in the UK is usually catch and release, so all your fish can swim away to fight another day.

It’s not just Sharks, mind you. The seas around Falmouth are also home to all your fish counter favourites: Cod, Pollock, Bass, Bream, Mackerel, Plaice, and tastiest of all, Turbot. If you’re lucky enough, you might even spot Bluefin Tuna feeding on the surface. Bluefin are protected in British waters, but they’re a real sight to behold.

Two young anglers holding a large Blue Shark on a fishing charter

And that’s just the fish. Fin, pilot, and minke whales all spend the summer and autumn here, as do several species of dolphin. With so much going on, it’ll be tough to tear yourself away from the water. Make sure you do, though, because there’s plenty to see back on dry land.

Start off by exploring Falmouth itself. This is a classic Cornish port town, nestled around an old stone harbour. Take a stroll around the harbour or head over to Pendennis Castle for impressive views of the surrounding coastline. If the weather takes a turn find a cosy pub for a warming cider, or head to a tea room for a Cornish cream tea (jam first!). Otherwise, pick up a pasty for lunch on the go as you take a walk along the stunning Lizard Coast.

Experience Urban Angling in London

A view across the Thames in London of Big Ben and Parliament

We weren’t joking when we said you can find fish everywhere. On the opposite end of the scale to Cornish deep sea angling, you can actually go on guided fishing tours in the middle of London. “Urban angling” is a growing trend, with people taking on a variety of coarse fish without ever leaving town.

This is about more than just fishing. It’s a way to see a whole new side to London. Escape the crowds and the tourist traps and explore the city’s many rivers (yes, there’s more than just the Thames). Spend some time by the water and meet the Londoners who appreciate taking things slowly. It will make you see the city in a whole new light.

Two fishing rods set up by a river in a city at night. The lights of a nearby bridge are visible in the distance

This isn’t just some gimmicky “fishing experience”, either. You’ll have your work cut out for you fishing London’s murky waterways. Carp, Bream, Pike, Perch, Chub, and Zander call the capital home. Next time you see somebody carrying a fishing rod on the tube, you’ll understand why.

And of course, once you’re done fishing, you’re in London! You can pretty much take your pick of what to do. In fact, there’s way too much to start listing it all here. The best thing to do is build your perfect city break, then add on urban angling to make it into a fun fishing holiday.

An Isle of Incredible Angling

We’ve tried to put together a balanced view of the different fishing holidays in the UK, but it’s impossible to cover everything. Britain may be a small country, but it has a huge variety of angling opportunities. From remote Trout rivers in Wales to incredible coarse fishing in Yorkshire, you can find fun fishing holidays everywhere. The hard part is choosing where to go first!

What’s your favourite place to go fishing in the UK? Have you done anything similar to the trips we’ve mentioned? Let us know your suggestions and experiences in the comments below!

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