Scuba diving in the UK has a bad reputation for being cold, dark and murky with nothing to see but that actually couldn't be further from the truth. The UK is home to some of the most beautiful scuba diving sites in Europe. We are lucky to have a wide variety of diving around our coastline including reefs, marine reserves and a vast number of wrecks with some super clear visibility to be had. Here are some of our top dive site suggestions.
The Farne Islands
The Farne Islands sit off the coast of Northumberland and are home to dozens of ship wrecks to explore. That isn't the main reason that divers are drawn to the Farne Islands though. It has some of the largest grey seal colonies in England along with an incredible number of fish, crustaceans, anemones and other marine life.
Lundy Island was one of the first areas in the UK to be classified as a Marine Conservation Zone. Being just a few miles off the North Devon coast it boasts some impressive visibility, marine life and some great wrecks. If exploring vast kelp reefs looking for their many inhabitants with the chance of coming across a playful seal then this is the place for you.
The Manacles, Cornwall
The Manacles is a very well known dive site found off the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. It was a difficult and treacherous area of coast to navigate with hidden pinnacles and reefs that have claimed over 100 known ships which now sit anywhere from 8m to 80m. The rocky seabed offers some impressive drop-offs and reefs covered in sea fans, jewel anemones and dead man's fingers.
The M2 Submarine, Portland, Dorset
The M2 is a must for most wreck divers, offering a unique experience to dive an intact and unusual submarine. Located three miles out of Lyme Bay it is a bit of a trek to get to but well worth the visit. The unusual sub was designed to allow a single plane to be launched from the onboard hanger before it submerges again back to safety. It is thought the submarine sank after the hanger doors were left open, causing all 60 souls to be lost.
Scapa Flow, Scotland
You can't get much more north in the UK than diving Scapa Flow. 52 German Naval ships were scuttled here during the second world war and with the wrecks now attracting divers from all over the world. The Blockship Tabarka has been voted one of the European dive sites thanks to its relatively shallow depth and abundance of marine life.
Skomer Marine Reserve, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Protected from both fishing and development, the Skomer Marine Reserve is a fantastic example of a British reef at its finest. Safe from the destructive habits of humans the area is packed full of marine life and offers a diverse diving experience from shallow reefs to 50m wall drops as well as over 500 wrecks. Depending on the time of year you'll see dolphins, seals, lobsters and seahorses if you have a keen eye.
Rhoscolyn Beacon, Anglesey, Wales
Anglesey has an amazing stretch of coastline to explore with an incredible mix of marine life and wrecks. If you are looking for something a little different then drift diving Rhoscolyn Beacon is an fantastic experience. A just the right stage of the tide when the current is right everything comes out to feast on the nutrients brought in by the currents. There are rocky gullies to explore with fish, prawns and crabs everywhere.
St Abbs Marine Reserve, Scotland
St Abbs offers some of the best shore diving in the UK thanks to strong tides and deep water that draws in a huge array of marine life. Popular sites include Cathedral Rock which is a stunning double rock arch formation, Broad Craig, Big Green Carr and Little Green Carr. All have plenty of marine life to see including some less common species.
St Kilda, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
Not exactly a day trip if you plan on exploring thoroughly but 40 miles off the Outer Hebrides you'll find St Kilda which is beautiful both above and below the water with incredible cliffs and sea stacks that extend down into the water to offer caves, arches and amazing walls covered in marine life. Seals and puffins are regularly seen whilst diving.