There’s no need to go to the Caribbean or the Maldives to experience fantastic scuba diving; there are some amazing places to dive right here in the UK. Whether you’re looking for beautiful wildlife or well-preserved wrecks, the shores around Britain have some wonderful places for you to see. If you’re looking to get started at diving, companies like Into the Blue offer a brilliant introduction. But if you’re ready to go, here are ten of the best dives spots from all around the UK.
At the end of the First World War, the German fleet that had been moved to Scapa Flow by the Orkney Islands in Scotland as the victorious allies decided what to do with them. To prevent the ships being given to the allies, German Admiral Ludwig van Reuter ordered them to be scuttled – deliberately sunk.
The result is that there are seven German ships here that are extremely popular wrecks to dive to. There are few locations in the world where you can see so many historic ships in relatively shallow water and good diving conditions.
Another great location for seeing wrecks is the Farne Islands, which can be found off the coast of Northumberland. This is a dangerous shipping area and many vessels have sunk here over the years. Alongside the abundance of interesting wrecks, there is some stunning wildlife to see. It is home to one of the UK’s largest colonies of grey seals, who are inquisitive and friendly and often come to see what you’re doing.
Off the coast of the Cornwall, undoubtedly one of the finest spots is The Manacles – it attracts divers from across the country and beyond. With beautiful reefs as well as drop-offs to explore, this has a highly varied landscape. If you’re feeling especially adventures you can visit the wreck of the SS Mohegan, which sank in 1898 and is said to be haunted.
No, not the motorway in Kent. The M2 is a submarine wreck in Lyme Bay off the coast of Dorset. It’s undamaged, in one piece and sits upright on the seabed which makes it a lot of fun to explore. At only around 35 metres deep, this is a highly accessible dive and one that’s fairly unique in UK waters.
HMS Scylla and James Eagan Layne
These two separate wrecks off the coast of Plymouth are close enough to each other to be considered together. The Scylla sits upright on the seabed and can make a brilliant first wreck dive for less experienced divers. It was deliberately sunk to form at artificial reef – the first example in Europe. The Scylla was deliberately placed close to the James Eagan Layne, a much older and very popular dive site.
Also close to the Plymouth coast is the Eddystone Reef. This is a fantastic place to see jaw-dropping sea life and explore the coastline at a variety of depths. You’ve got a good chance of seeing dolphins here too.
Lundy is the largest island in the Bristol Chanel and the first Marine Nature Reserve. Visibility in the area is typically excellent and you can expect to see impressive jellyfish, lobsters and other creatures in abundance. If you’re lucky you might also encounter seals. There is even a selection of ten diveable wrecks – enough variety for anyone.
Something quite unique is Capernwray, an inland diving centre. This is a flooded quarry that has been turned into a dive centre. Perfect for learners and those looking to build up their diving experience, you’ll find sunken boats, a jet plane and fish.
The St Abbs Marine Reserve holds some truly beautiful underwater sights including the arched Cathedral Rock. Found just 50m offshore, it can be easily accessed.
One of the most tempting wreck dives off the South Coast. The HMS Moldavia is around 20 miles out to sea from Brighton and found at a depth of around 48m. This former P&O cruise liner was converted into a First World War ship – you can still see the guns today.