Seal spotting in the UK is easier than you might think, since half the world’s population of grey seals lives around the coast of the UK. The sight of one (or several) of these gorgeous creatures is guaranteed to bring out the big kid in all of us and the hunt for seals off the UK coast is the perfect excuse for a camping trip, if ever you needed one. Here are some of the best places to spot seals around the UK coast, with suggested campsites near each location.
Donna Nook, Lincolnshire
If you go at the right time of year (October – December), you are guaranteed to see seals. An awful lot of seals. Each year, they come up onto the beach near the dunes, to have their pups. Visitors can view and photograph the seals and their pups easily from a designated viewing area, but understandably, people are asked not to approach the seals. Be warned that Donna Nook attracts thousands of visitors during the pup season, especially at weekends. This is one of those places where you’d really do well to go first thing in the morning on a cold week day…that way, you’re likely to be less overwhelmed by other enthusiastic seal spotters.
Suggested campsite: Holivans, Mablethorpe
Blakeney Point, Norfolk
If a camping trip in winter doesn’t appeal, then perhaps Blakeney Point in Norfolk is a better bet for you. To see the seals here you do need to take a boat trip, but the prices are reasonable and the Blakeney seal colony is about 500-strong, so you’re again guaranteed a great time. Boat trips run from Easter to December, and it’s best to book in advance via the seal trips website. Another bonus of this location is that you may well see a whole host of amazing sea birds too…oystercatchers, terns, gulls, turnstones and cormorants are all easy spots here, with some more unusual visitors possible from time to time.
Suggested campsite: Breck Farm (7 miles from Blakeney)
I’ve spotted seals off the Cornish coast in a couple of places, but basing your trip near Newquay improves your chances of seeing some seals as there is a small group of seals who have taken up residence in Newquay Harbour! It’s not on the scale of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, but these seals are super happy to be close to humans, so it’s worth knowing about in case your coastal walks don’t come up trumps.
Suggested campsite: Porth Beach (March – November)
There are lots more places to spot seals around the UK coast, including the Gower Peninsula and the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales, and the Moray Firth and the Orkney Islands in Scotland. Wherever you go, seal spotting will make your camping trip one to remember. Just remember to wrap up warm!