When you think of scuba diving, the first thing that would come to many people’s minds are vast, tropical paradises, colourful fish, and warm weather. However, many people simply do not have the funds, nor the time to escape from their busy lives in order to pursue these scuba diving desires.
Don’t worry though, here at Oyster we understand the struggle of finding time to go deep-sea exploring, so we’ve selected some of the best places to scuba dive across the UK! Despite not exactly being a tropical paradise, the UK is blessed with multiple diving benefits:
Incredible shipwreck exploration sites (some of the best in the world)
You’re never more than 72 miles from the coast
- Seas are accessible all year round
- Cold water reefs
- Cave systems
- Wall diving
- Gullies and shallow bays
While scuba diving in the UK is becoming increasingly popular, people seem to forget that our diving areas can rival some of the best locations in the world. if you’re brave enough, you can also dive-in with the seals and basking sharks, and explore the reefs within their territories.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most popular areas in the UK!
8. Diving in Jersey
Although you may not think it, there is plenty of opportunity to dive in Jersey and with such a huge variety of marine life, Jersey is a popular diving location! The tidal ranges around Jersey are amongst the largest in the world and the currents bring in plenty of fish species and great opportunities for enjoyable drift dives. What’s more, there are plenty of ship and plane wrecks around the Channel Islands that speak of Jersey’s history – many dating back to World War II. If you’ve been looking for a great diving destination that isn’t too far from home, you should definitely experience the diving Jersey has to offer. You won’t be disappointed!
7. Scapa Flow, Orkney, Scotland
Scotland is home to the incredible Scapa Flow dive site, one of the most famous UK scuba diving locations. During the Second World War, a total of 52 German Naval ships met their doom, sinking to the bed of Scapa Flow. Now, divers from around the world flock to this area to investigate the incredible shipwrecks left behind. A favourite among the divers is the Blockship Tabarka, and was voted as one of Europe’s best dive sites due to its easily accessibility (14-18m). The wreck is also covered in sea life and surrounded by crystal clear waters.
6. The Farne Islands, Northumberland
Lying just off the coast of Northumberland, the Farne Islands is home to one of the most dangerous shipping areas in the British Isles. Due to the danger of the waters, divers have found many wrecks swallowed by the ravaging waters, all of which are open for divers to explore. Aside from the incredible wrecks, divers can also expect to find anemones, crustaceans, and there’s even a large grey seal colony, with around 5,000 seals dominating the rocks of the Farne Islands. This is a fantastic UK scuba diving site for the plethora of rich entertainment available, be it shipwrecks or the nibbling seals!
5. St Kilda, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
If you’re willing to head-out 40 miles from the Outer Hebrides, you’ll stumble across the archipelago of St Kilda. This UK diving location was dubbed a ‘diving mecca’ for British divers due to its astonishing landscape, with its colossal cliffs and massive sea stacks, all of which is mirrored in the depths below. Sea life covers the caves, arches, and sea walls of St Kilda, along with fantastic water visibility, and if that isn’t enough, there are also some resident puffins that you might be lucky to see!
4. The Manacles, Cornwall
Just of the Lizard Peninsula lies the well-known Cornish diving site of The Manacles. The drop-offs are incredible, and the reefs are covered in Gorgonian sea fans, diverse anemones and dead man’s fingers (not literally!). Arguably the most impressive feat of the Manacles are the shipwrecks that litter its seabed. Over 110 wrecks have been found here, ranging from 8m to over 70m deep. The most famous of the lot is the Mohegan, which sank in 1898 and is also said to be haunted! Though many UK diving sites do not play host to dangerous sea life, conger eels are known to live inside the holes in the shipwrecks!
3. M2 Portland, Dorset
Home to one of the most unusual submarine wrecks in the UK, the M2 Portland lies three miles off Lyme Bay in sunny Dorset. The M2 Portland was initially designed to surface, launch a plane, and then dive back down into the depths! Unfortunately, the M2 was sunk in 1932, killing all 60 naval officers on board. Dismissing the tragedy, however, this is truly a fascinating wreck, and definitely one of my personal favourite diving locations within the UK. If you’re interested in joining us one of our trips to Dorset, have a look here on what we have for offer!
2. Skomer Marin Reserve, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Aside from the mountains and the vast green fields, Wales actually harbours a fantastic diving location. The Marine Reserve just off the coast of Pembrokeshire plays home to incredible sea life within its reef. Additional, the reserve is protected from fishing and development, meaning that the sea life is untouched and has been allowed to flourish over the years. Its wall drops descend to over 60m, and the reserve is littered with over 500 immense shipwrecks! Including the Lucy, the most popular diving location for the more adept divers. You’re also in for a special treat, as dolphins, seals, colourful sea snails, catfish and seahorses are in abundance here, all thanks to the reserve’s protection laws.
1. HMS Moldavia, Sussex
If you’re into your shipwrecks and your technology, this is definitely one for you. The HMS Moldovia was a massive 10,000 tonne and once elegant warship from the First World War. The most interesting part of the ship is that the WW1 guns are still fully visible and largely intact. The remains of the HMS Moldovia now lie 48 metres down, and 20 miles out from Brighton’s coast. The underwater visibility is also amazing, considering the depth of the wreck. Did you enjoy my list? There truly are some amazing deep-sea diving locations scattered around the UK, and you’re never that far from the coast! If you’re interested in booking a tour on one of our many trips, take a look here on what we have on offer, you won’t regret it!