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England Cruising Guide

An online cruising guide for yachts sailing around England.

HELP! The ENGLAND section is lagging behind in development.

Your assistance is required to develop these pages into a useful resource. Bring out the hidden "cruising guide writer" in you and share your information here (in the true cruising spirit) for all who follow in your wake.
Capital: LondonWorld icon.png 51°30.43′N, 0°7.65′W
Language: English
Currency: Pound Sterling (GBP)
Timezone: UTC+0 (DST observed)
More notes about the country
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Content - news items, etc.

This Cruising Wiki cannot hope to cover all the sailing areas in the United Kingdom but we will attempt to list ports and information of particular interest to cruisers.


England is the largest and most populous country of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population while its mainland territory occupies most of the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain. England shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west and elsewhere is bordered by the North Sea, Irish Sea, Celtic Sea, Bristol Channel and English Channel. The capital is London, the largest urban area in Great Britain, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most, but not all, measures.

Cruising the region

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Climate & Weather

  • The UK is at the junction of 4 different weather systems, which makes it very unpredictable.
  • Winter tends to vary between and cold dry with frost little wind to slightly warmer with rain and wind which makes it seem cloder. We generally get about 1-3 days of snow in the winter
  • Spring can vary between glorious sunshine to gales with everything in between.
  • Summer is more stable we either get weeks of wonderful weather, or weeks of rain.
  • The autumn is much the same but quite often keeps fairly warm right up to December

Sources for weather information:

  • Regular weather forcasts and navigation warnings are announced on VHF Ch16 and broadcast on various VHF Channels by the [MCA] coastguard service.
  • BBC Radio 4 on 198m LW - broadcasts weather forecasts at fixed times during the day , and gale warnings as appropriate

Also see: Shipping Forecast (Wikipedia)



Special Navigation Notes

  • If you sail up the English Channel, keep clear of the Scilly Isles unless you have detailed charts, the sea is shallower here and can be very rough in a blow. If you have the charts, the islands are well worth a visit.
  • The English Channel is a busy commercial waterway and in many areas Traffic separation schemes (TSS)exist for commercial shipping - these are shown on the charts. If crossing these try to do so at right angles to the traffic flow. It is vital that you maintain a good lookout at all times as there are also many fishing vessels working the area, including pair trawlers as well as the larger ships.
  • If you decide to go up the Bristol Channel, note that there are few refuges and that the currents can be fearsome. Due to the funneling effect of the channel this area has the second largest tidal ranges in the world (approx 15 metres). This is one area that with careful planning, monitoring the weather forecast and good seamanship you can enjoy some of the best sailing available. In the upper reaches of the Channel fully corrected, up to date charts,accurate tide tables and tidal curves are essential. A boat that can take the ground can be a distinct advantage in most moorings.

Local Radio Nets

Also see World Cruiser's Nets

Submit details of Cruiser's Nets and VHF operating/calling channels here.

  • No cruiser nets (as far as I am aware). VHF CH 16 is used to call but must not be used other than to establish contact.
  • Excellent access to the coastguard on CH 16 in all areas. Emergency assistance is available via the coastguard service and is provided free of charge including Lifeboat or helicoter rescue.

Arrival/Departure procedures

See United Kingdom


See United Kingdom


See United Kingdom

  • If you have a pet dog I suggest you leave him/her home, the customs are very hot on rabbies prevention. Any dog coming into the UK has to go into 6 months quarantine unless it has a pet passport detailing that it has all the necessary vacinations etc!

Offshore Islands

See United Kingdom

Ports and Stops


Ports to visit:

  • Plymouth is probably the easiest to get into if you're coming from the west, just head for the Eddystone lighthouse and you're just 20 miles away. Falmouth is a little further to the west but prettier, more of a holiday town. If you're coming from the south, keep to the seaward side of the Manacles rocks, there's some hidden dangers there if you don't know the waters. Just remembered, the small harbour of Looe is well worth a visit it's very pretty, and typifies that part of Cornwall, but it does get very busy with hoilday makers in the summer.
  • Further east is Salcombe, very beautiful, but be careful when enter at low water or at less than half water if there is a sea running, there's a bar across the entrance and a good possibility of grounding.
  • Further round there's Dartmouth (with 3 marinas)- very beautiful entrance particularly in the evenings but busy, Torquay (with a marina)- a busy holiday town,and Brixham - a fishing harbour and Marina. Avoid Teignmouth, a less busy holiday town, the approach is poor and it's probably the least desirable spot to stop. Exmouth, just around the corner has a difficullt approach, strong currents, lots of mudbanks and virtually no facilities even if you can find somewhere to anchor.
  • Further east is Weymouth. Plenty of pubs and clubs, it even has a theatre.
  • Next along is Poole, a great place but very shallow, be careful not to stray out of the channel
  • Then there's the Isle of Wight and the The Solent. Keep the Needles to starboard and stay in the channel! If you can time it; come in with the tide, it races through here at about 8 knots. There's a double high tide in the Solent too. This means the tide runs eastbound for about five hours, stands or goes out a bit then comes in a bit for about 2 hours, then rushes westward for the next five hours. The Needles Channel is the narrowest bit and this is where the strongest current is.
  • Once you're in The Solent, there are almost immediately two harbours choose from Lymington on the mainland, and Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight I prefer Yarmouth but both are worth a visit. Be careful crossing in a strong current, keep your engine running just in case you get carried past the entrance. Other places to visit are Newtown Creek - this is a nature reserve and you need to use your anchor here, but there's a pub a mile up the stream if you fancy a long row. Bealieau on the mainland is next - motor up to the Bucklers Hard & visit the Maritime Museum - fascinating. Cowes of course, on the Isle of Wight, is the centre of yachting - excellent shopping for all kinds of maritime things. Back over on the mainland is the major port of Southampton. If you want to visit, you can use the town marina or turn right just before you get there and moor in the River Hamble, this is the busiest river for all kinds of leisure boats and really is a must. Next along on the mainland is Portsmouth - full of navel history, a tour round HMS Victory is obligatory. Finally across on the Isle of Wight is the beautiful Bembridge which is only accessible at high tide. Oh and by the way, there are three forts guarding the eastern entrance to The Solent, built to keep out the French during the Napoleonic wars, and one of them has been modernised, see of if you can spot which one.
  • Once you leave The Solent, the next place to visit is Chichester harbour, be careful of the shallow entrance at low water, and keep to the channel. Its very beautiful here - another nature reserve.
  • The next big harbour is Brighton - easy to get in. The marina is on the outskirts of the town so not too crowded, but a short bus ride or walk into the town. Lovely resturaunts.


  • We're all pretty healthy here. If you need medical treatment, the National Health service will provide it. Theoretically, non-nationals should pay for treatment but in many cases they are never asked to do so.


Cruiser's Friends

Submit details/contacts of cruiser's "friends" that can be contacted in advance or on arrival - who can offer information and assistance to our cruising "family".

Links to Forum Discussions

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

External Links

Submit useful website links for the region

Personal Notes

References & Publications

Books, Guides, etc.


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