I love diving…and just like most of the divers out there, initially I also never pictured the UK as one of the best diving destinations to experience when traveling abroad. But, the waters surrounding this nation are something of a revelation. With years of merchant seafaring, there is a rich wreck heritage waiting to be explored. I have personally experienced adrenaline-pumping drift dives and the rich fauna from seahorses to large sharks – underwater life is full of surprises.
If you are a diving enthusiast and looking for the best diving destinations in the UK, then I am sure the following list will surely be of great interest to you.
Scapa Flow, Scotland
In 1919, more than 50 vessels of a German fleet were destroyed and scuttled in Scapa Flow. Most of them have been rescued, but plenty of them are still there. I got the chance to explore them all, and certainly, they are an uncanny reminder of turn-of-the-century naval technology. At varying depths, you will find three battleships (177m/580 foot) and four-foot cruisers (155/510 foot).
Stoney Cove, England
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Located in Leicestershire, this is one of the busiest inland diving sites in the UK. Originally it was a granite mine during the 19th century. The best thing about this flooded quarry is that there is something for divers at all levels, since this is also a dive-training site. You will find lots of facilities here, including a gas filling station, a dive shop, a public house, and a diving school as well. The depth of this place is 118 ft., and I have been there. The underwater attractions comprise of:
- Deep hydrobox.
- Archways beneath the pub.
- 4-meter block house.
- Wooden boat and a bus.
- Wessex helicopter.
Head away to the Jurassic Coast and this World Heritage Site. Both Portland and Weymouth offer shore dives, and Aeolian Sky & M2 submarine are the popular shipwrecks for experienced divers. If you are a novice diver, Swanage Pier is the best place – as it is 4m deep and, trust me, no two dives will be identical.
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Travel towards the South Coast of England to witness rich naval and maritime experience. Dive deep to come across various marine creatures – if you are one of those who prefer seeing wildlife creatures rather than warship carcasses, then you will not be disappointed. But even if you are not a huge fan of wreck diving, you will still appreciate the war ships you get to see down there.
Known as the home to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, here you get to enjoy everything from wreck dives to beachy shore dives. At 20m sits the The Dakotian, and at 40m sits The Lucy. Island of Grassholm is not only a popular diving spot, but it is also known as the home to the world’s largest Gannet populations. Known for its rich marine life, Pembrokeshire includes sunfish, octopus, blue sharks, conger eels, starfish, rays, lobsters, and more.
You will find Farne Islands off the east coast of England and Scotland’s border. Here, your diving experience will include steep topography, grey seals, and noisy seabirds. Anemones, dead men’s fingers, and sponges tend to cover the rock, and amazing wolf fish can be seen emerging from beneath a shelf in the cool waters.
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Offering warmer water as compared to the mainland UK, make sure you visit Jersey during the winter months. Here, you will have a variety of shore diving options, with sights including cuttlefish, wrasse, reef, flat fish, rays, and more. Jersey is known to have one of the biggest tides in the world, making for fun drift dives where you have the chance of spotting lots of scallops and rays.
Various ancient wrecks lying around the island can be seen teeming with rich marine life. Further out from the island, you can opt for boat trips, where the reef walls are covered by the fan corals and soft sponges. If you are lucky enough, then you may spot resident seals here.
Isles of Scilly
If you want to have an unforgettable diving experience, then you need to visit the Isles of Scilly. Since I have explored the great depths of this place, I can say that this is the finest diving spot in the UK. The best thing about this place is that it has over 100 diving sites. There is a diving school on St. Martin’s, offering diving lessons for beginners.
With the variety and standard of diving this place offers, most people are drawn back time after time. Some people often term the Isles as a sub-tropical paradise, due to the mild, gentle climate and plethora of wildlife. Its beautiful coastline is known to have some of the best beaches and rocky headlands in the nation. Above all, each island tends to have its own unique character.
Next time you’re looking to travel abroad for a unique diving experience, consider the UK and all its hidden wonders.
Adam Smith Bio
Adam Smith is a content writing professional at alwaysreview, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Adam worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. He graduated with honors from California University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.
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