Best time to travel to England

Shark Watching in England 2024

Now giant sharks are more frequent visitors of English coastal waters

Best time: May–October

Shark Watching
Shark Watching
Shark Watching

England, settled in the northern latitudes, can't boast the largest fish of the ocean, although some big sharks like it here. At least 21 species live in British waters all year round, including the Portuguese Dogfish, Black Dogfish, Kitefin Shark, and Gulper Shark that are only found in deep waters. From May to October it is possible to see the world’s second largest fish—the Basking Shark.

You can easily notice a sharp high fin among the waves. In this giant shark, this fin can reach 1.5 meters; it is clearly visible when feeding near the surface of the water. Due to the fact that the Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel have become much warmer than before, more algae appears in these waters, increasing the amount of plankton and these giant sharks that feed on them.

The Blue Shark and Shortfin Mako are other visitors of British waters. The Smooth Hammerhead and Frilled Shark are occasionally "guests" of the islands. Only at the beginning of the 21st century there was the appearance of a White Shark near the shores of England. Since then, the inhabitants of Britain have not seen these predators anymore

Practical info

When is the best time to see Basking Sharks in England?

Basking Sharks flock to England's warmer waters between May and October when algae and plankton bloom in large quantities, and they feed on them. During this season, they can be easily spotted as they come closer to the surface, particularly from June to August, making it the best period to observe them in England. Show more

What is the average size of Basking Sharks that visit England?

Basking Sharks are known to be the second-largest fish globally, and the ones visiting England can grow up to 11.2 meters long, with most seen between 6 to 8 meters. They can weigh between 1.5 and 5 tons. Despite their size, they are harmless to humans and consume small fish and plankton in their natural habitat. Show more

Where are the best spots to go shark watching in England?

To observe sharks in England, some of the well-known sites are Cornwall, Devon, and the Isles of Scilly. Basking Sharks can be seen mostly in Cornwall in places such as Falmouth Bay, Lizard Peninsula, or Penzance. For sighting Shortfin Mako, one can visit the Isles of Scilly. Blue Sharks can be spotted off the coast of North Devon. You may also join some available tours which operate in these regions. Show more

Are there any other shark species commonly found in England?

In addition to Basking Sharks, England's coastal waters are home to around 21 other shark species. The habitat of these species commonly ranges from deep waters to shallow estuaries along the coast. Blue Shark, Shortfin Mako, Kitefin Shark, Portuguese Dogfish, Black Dogfish, and Gulper Sharks are some of the most frequently seen species in the region. While Smooth Hammerhead and Frilled Sharks are occasionally sighted. Show more

Have there been any recent sightings of White Sharks near England?

A single White Shark sighting was recorded in 2014 near the shores of England, which became quite popular in the UK. However, there have been no reports of spotting any white sharks near the region after that. White sharks usually prefer colder waters such as those around the coasts of South Africa or Australia, hence finding them around England is a rare occurrence. Show more

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