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The Best Marinas in the UK: The Complete Guide

As a boating enthusiast, marinas will play a huge part in your life. If you’re always on the move and you need somewhere to set in for a short period, or if you require a longer term place to berth, you’ll probably be searching for the best harbour for you. They’re a gateway from land to sea and vice versa and the difference in quality will no doubt affect your choice. It’s vital that you know where the top class harbours are around the UK, and what facilities you’ll have access to in any marina. Thanks to the Yacht Harbour Association, certain awards exist that help rate many marinas across the world so that any keen boater will know exactly where to go. The YHA ratings are given on a scale of one to five in ‘Gold Anchors’, and you’re able to view the quality of each marina on which-marina.com.


To make things a little easier however, we’ve used this information to create a list of our own favourite marinas in England - almost all of which have a score of ‘5 Gold Anchors’. We’ve given you a little extra information on each one to tell you where they are, what you can access when you get there, and where you’ll be able to explore once you’re settled in.


Use the navigation menu below to select which part of England you’ll be looking at!




North East

North West

South East

South West




English marinas


Marinas in North East England


Royal Quays Marina, North Shields


royal quays


The Royal Quays Marina is one of the most formidable in the country, especially in the northeast region. 2018 marks its 20th anniversary of operation having opened in the late 90’s - it’s continued to grow since then. Situated at the iconic Albert Edward Dock, the Royal Quays is in a prime spot for each and every boating enthusiast. If it’s easy access to the seas you’re after, then the marina lies just over 2km away from the mouth of the river Tyne - meaning you could be out on the North Sea within minutes. On the other hand, if it’s the river itself that you’re looking to explore, then you’re already right at the far end of the Tyne, so you’ll be able to head up river and experience its full beauty from start to finish (well technically, finish to start…).


Will you be able to find a berth?

There are 350 berths available at the marina, and although it’s often popular, you should be able to get yourself a spot. Quay marinas have a great quote calculator tool on their site that allows you to work out how much you’re likely to be charged, but Royal Quays will likely charge you around £20 for a 1 day berth, if you’ve got a small-sized boat. You’re also able to pay in smaller monthly installments, if you’re planning on staying much longer (6 months). If you’d like to speak to a member of staff about securing a berth, you can contact them via telephone too.


What facilities are available at the marina?

One big bonus here is that the premises is staffed and monitored 24 hours a day, every day, so help is always at hand and safety is never compromised. It also features a harbour locking system that allows boats access regardless of the tides current state.

You’ll get free Wi-Fi so you can fulfill all of your browsing needs during your stay, as well as free car parking too. Red diesel and unleaded petrol are at hand if your boat’s running low on fuel, just remember that red diesel is not for road use!


All of your personal comfort requirements can be provided for at the marina office - there’ll be showers and toilets as well as laundry facilities to do any washing. However, if you’re in possession of a berth, you’re going to get access to a top quality, modern changing facility, with far more comprehensive bathrooms and more. You can use telephones here too, if you aren’t able to use your own mobile.

If you need work done to your boat or require any basic maintenance or repairs, exceptional boatyard services are available on site, and any other marine services you need are all on offer short distances away. A sufficient list of local businesses can be found here.


If you’re a day visitor, you might be interested in the RYA training courses available on site, as the Royal Quays has been a registered sea school for many years where you can gain qualifications for Navigating, Power Boating, cruising and much more. Find out more information here.


If you want to eat at the marina, there is a new restaurant called The Lock, open from 9am-11pm every day. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner all of a very high quality, in a really relaxed, modern environment with a great atmosphere.


Where should you visit during your stay?

Just round the corner at the mouth of the Tyne, you’ll find the aptly named town of Tynemouth. You’ll be able to visit the Tynemouth castle, the pleasure park and some very nice sandy beaches. It’s the perfect little stop off to enjoy the seaside on a holiday!

If you follow the river land instead, you’ll shortly reach Newcastle; one of the nations most popular cities. There’s so much to do here, including visiting the Theatre Royal, the historic St.James’ Park football stadium, the Grey’s Monument and the beautiful Newcastle University campus.


Hull Marina, Hull


Hull marina


Hull marina is a member of both the BWML (British Waterways Marinas Limited) and TransEurope Marinas, making it an extremely popular location for boaters. That means it’s not only an established port within the British waterways community, but a brilliant option for travelling further afield and onto mainland Europe. Being situated so close to the city centre means day visitors can enjoy the marina just as much as berthing customers. The Humber Dock was the original construction here, built in 1807 making it one of the oldest in the country. It has since then progressed and upgraded into the busy marina that it is today!


Will you be able to find a berth?

Hull marina has 230 berths available all year round, for both residential and leisure purposes. Availability is often low here due to its popularity, so advanced enquiries are strongly advised. There are various mooring spaces based on vessel length, the Railway Dock which can accommodate various lengths, and the Humber Dock which has sections for smaller 9m or less vessels, and areas for boats up to 15m. Leisure moorings can be paid in periods of three, six or twelve month stays, whereas residential moorings are for 12 months or more only. All prices are per metre with a minimum charge of 6.4m.  


What facilities are available at the marina?

Security patrols and CCTV recording is in place so the marina is exceptionally secure all year round. For boat maintenance, the marina is really well equipped. Just about every service you could need or think of is present right on site, including insurance, repairs, electronics, transportation and gas engineers. Each works independently and has their own contact details. Diesel is on hand should you need a fill up, but no petrol is available unfortunately. All berths can have access to their own electricity, which is provided on a pay as you go format from the marina office.


For your basic living conveniences, laundry, showers and toilets are on site. Washing machines and dryers are just over £2 per use but you’ll be able to get free tokens if you’re a resident. Showers and toilets are at ground floor and you’ll need a code to get into the rooms, so you’re going to have to ask at reception once again. You can get water from hose pipes on any pontoon too.

Passcode protected Wi-Fi is free of charge if you need to use the internet, but you can also pay for an upgraded service on ineedbroadband.co.uk.

If you’re looking for boat training or sea schools, then Yorkshire and Humber Boat Training is based at Hull Marina and offer a wide range of approved courses in navigation, powerboating and much more.


If it’s hard standing you’re after instead of mooring, there’s a comprehensive covered area with a 50 tonne hoist and multiple cranes. If you’re already situated at the marina for 12 months or more then you’re entitled to eight weeks free here, but there are very affordable hard standing charges for non-berthers too.


Eating options at the marina are substantial - with three great restaurants/bars located on the waterfront. In the main marina building ‘Warehouse 13’, you’ll find Al Porto, an Italian restaurant serving beautifully presented food of the highest quality. The restaurant has a wonderful atmosphere and a postmodern setting to make you feel classy yet relaxed.    


If a traditional British pub is more your scene, Green Bricks is exactly what you’re looking for. This pub is 112 years old and has pretty much been around since the docks were first opened. Just stepping inside is a chance to be a part of some amazing history. The theme inside is an excellent representation of the marine community it’s always been a part of and the selection of drinks at the bar is second to none. The Green Bricks is also now presented as the marinas flagship bar and grill with its prime location and outdoor seating area for you to enjoy those warm summer days.


The newest addition to Hull marinas new dining culture is the 1884 Wine and Tapas Bar. This contemporary eatery has won multiple awards including a Diners’ Choice Award for 2018, so there’s a big seal of approval already. The ultimate social dining experience that allows you to sample and create your own meal with excellently crafted Spanish dishes. The lively atmosphere here is unrivalled!


Where should you visit during your stay?

A former European city of culture, Hull is a place that fully expresses a British way of life with its classic architecture, interlinked community, appreciation of the arts and much more. Hull is a great city that’s a thoroughly impressive city to live and spend time in. Including things like an impressive museum quarter showcasing British history in many different forms such as transport, streetlife, and even the slave trade.

There’s a wonderful aquarium with over 3000 sharks, fish and many more right on the riverside.

Two large shopping centres and the Queen Victoria Square are surrounded by modern bars and highly rated restaurants, leaving you with endless choices to enjoy a long stay at the marina.


Marinas in North West England


Maryport Marina, Maryport, Cumbria


Maryport marina


Here’s another excellent marina, converted from a truly historic 19th century dock. Senhouse Dock was built in the late 1800s as an easy-access port high in the Irish Sea. Nearly 100 years later it was reformed into an excellently equipped marina perfect for those looking for a longer stay. It’s without doubt one of the most impressive locations in the UK, so visiting Maryport is essential for any boater. Equal distances from the Scottish border, the Lake District National Park and the Isle of Man make your holiday options second to none!


Will you be able to find a berth?

There are just under 200 berths available at the marina which is usually plenty in such a quiet area of the country. We’d still recommend contacting the office well in advance to your stay however, just to avoid disappointment. The marina will accept vessels up to 12 metres in length, but there may be exceptions for some boats up to 20 metres, providing their stay is not long term. Everything is housed under one dock so it shouldn’t be tricky to find everything you need just a short distance away from your pontoon. You can book your spot for annual, monthly or short term berthing at very reasonable prices, per metre.


What facilities are available at the marina?

Access to the marina for citizens is via a security access fob only, so the site is really safe. Any customer will receive one of these once they’ve booked; you’ll have to supply a deposit that you’ll get back once the fob is returned without issues. Any help or advice you need can be provided by the reception on site, which is open 9.00-17.00 Monday to Friday, and 9.30-16.30 on weekends.

24 hour showers and toilets are at hand which can also be accessed via the fob key. This is a modern area perfect for all personal hygiene uses, which is cleaned multiple time daily - late night and early morning. Laundry services are here too and require small change to operate.

The customer lounge is a nice place to relax and watch television with comfortable furniture and warmth all year round.


There is nautical diesel on offer at pontoon A and you must contact a member of staff prior to using this service. You’re entitled to use the pump out free of charge and there’s running water too - available at taps where you must bring your own hose pipes to connect. Apart from at the south of A pontoon all berths have access to electricity meters. These can be filled using an access card which you can get from reception with a small deposit.

They also have a variety of rope for you to buy, to fit any of your chandlery needs.

If it’s hard standing you’re after instead of mooring, there’s a comprehensive covered area with a 50 tonne hoist and multiple cranes.


Car parks and bike parks are free and you must only leave your vehicles in these designated areas. Pets are also permitted but should be kept close to you unless you’re out of the complex.

There is free Wi-Fi that has been upgraded just this year to help make your browsing even easier.


Where should you visit during your stay?

Destinations to visit during your stay at Maryport are endless. If you want to stay on land, then you can visit the Lake District as close as 8 miles away. One of the most beautiful national parks in the world, you’ll get to enjoy peace and quiet with some seriously breathtaking views. Summertime is especially pleasant here and you can visit villages like Cockermouth and Windermere throughout your adventure.

A little further inland you’ll find Carlisle, the second most northerly city in England. It’s extremely close to the Scottish border which makes it a truly historic town - bursting with castles, museums and medieval settlements for you to learn about. There’s great shopping areas too and the perfect place to go and enjoy a lovely evening meal.


If you want to sail somewhere, many locations are within sailing distance such as Port St Mary on Isle of Man, Bangor and Carrickfergus in Ireland, Liverpool and many more. To see a full map of top destinations, look at the Maryport Marina website here.


Overwater Marina, Crewe, Cheshire


Overwater Marina




Overwater Marina is an inland marina, supplying a stopping place for those exploring the Shropshire Union Canal. Surrounded by greenery and set in the British countryside, which is partly responsible for it being named Inland Marina of the Year for both 2015 and 2016. It’s a very modern complex that only opened in 2010  but has really progressed since then. The marina is located short distances from Stoke-on-Trent, Nantwich and Crewe, as well as being pretty close to the Welsh border.


Will you be able to find a berth?

A big thing to remember here is that the marina entrance is via canal waterway, so obviously almost all of the moorings here will be for canal and narrowboats. It may be difficult for Overwater to accommodate other styles of boat.

Overwater features 225 berths, and they’re usually about two thirds full, so there should be plenty of room for you to berth. There are different pontoons available for varying lengths, ranging from 14m up to 21m long. All prices are displayed as an annual fee as this is the most common practice, but you’re more than welcome to contact the marina if you want a more temporary plot (3-6 months) which can be very simply arranged. The mooring cost comes complete with Wifi for your browsing needs and a services standing charge too.

If you’re just in for the night you can pay a visitor mooring fee of £10 per night, without Wifi.


What facilities are available at the marina?

Firstly, booking a mooring at Overwater you can guarantee two things; peace and quiet, and beautiful surrounding landscapes. That’s worth a great amount in itself. You’ll get electricity at every berth and clean running water on each jetty, so you don’t even need to wander far from your boat if you don’t want to!

Marine diesel is at hand should you need a fill up and there’s a pump out station too.


Toilets, showers, and laundry facilities are located in the reception building, these are in great condition thanks to the young age of the marina. Laundry facilities require tokens to operate, which can be bought at the main reception. Waste disposal and recycling is on site if you need to clear out any unwanted waste that you have.

If you require repairs or maintenance work doing on your boat then these can also be done at the complex by trained mechanics.

Pets are welcomed on site and there’s a dog walking area to give your canines a run around. If you want to venture further afield with or without pets then you find easy access to the surrounding countryside via many marked public footpaths and trails to walk on.


If you’re looking to expand your marine knowledge whilst here, Cheshire Cat Training is an RYA approved school based at the marina. Courses include inland waterways training, diesel engine maintenance and many other beneficial assessments.


To enjoy breakfast and lunch or a refreshing drink, Cafe at Bridge 80 is the marinas coffee lounge that serves some great food and drink.


Where should you visit during your stay?

Based on the fact that Overwater is a inland marina we’d suggest that you have access to a car if you’d like to venture out to some great attractions. Notably, the Peak District National Park is only around 30 miles away but can’t really be accessed by boat. If you’ve got a spare day or two and some road transport to make the short journey, it’ll be a really worthwhile adventure for you. The list of activities that you can do is endless: Trail walking, camping, cycling, horse riding, rock climbing, caving, fishing, plenty of watersports and so much more. All of the details are available on the Peak District Get Active page.


The historic railway town of Crewe, and the larger city of Stoke-on-Trent are also very close. These are the best places for you if you want to wander further into a busier lifestyle with the general bustle of people. Both places have great cafes, restaurants and shopping hotspots - perfect for unwinding with some retail therapy and something great to eat.


Marinas in South East England


Shamrock Quay, Southampton, Hampshire


Shamrock Quay


This is just one of many marinas in the coastal city of Southampton - a place that’s been at the heart of the marine industry for many years. We’ve picked the Shamrock Quay in particular for its impressive history and its combination of exceptional facilities and compact size.


One of sailing’s most prestigious competitions, The America’s Cup holds great significance here, as the 1931 challenger Shamrock V was built on the original site, hence the marinas name. It’s also still an active site for construction and manufacturing of boats which adds to multi-purpose abilities. Shamrock Quay has very quick access to the Southampton city centre and, being such a central city, you can visit anywhere along the south coast in a relatively short amount of time.


Will you be able to find a berth?

There are 255 berths at Shamrock and the marina has worked impressively to accommodate just about every type of boat owner. There’s even a 70-metre spot for any superyacht owner who’s wishing to visit sunny Southampton, and a visitors space for up to 60 metres too. As for us regular boat owners, you’ll find pontoons for 10 metre boats, 15 metre boats and everything in between. You’ll have pretty flexible payment rates too - offering annual, monthly, daily and even short stay payment options, all with varying prices based on boat lengths. Availability isn’t always possible however; this is a very popular location. It’s expected that you’ll find around 5-10% of all berths available, so you’re going to have to get in quick! You’ll find the full information about prices right here.


What facilities are available at the marina?

The practical marine services at the quay are of the highest quality and allow any visitor to fully enjoy their time here without really needing to leave the marina. The only thing that you might need to venture out for is to stock up on marine diesel or petrol, which is only 15 minutes down the road at either Port Hamble Marina or Hythe Marina Village. You’ll have access to dry dock and storage on site, as well as boat lifting thanks to a 75 ton travel hoist and 45 ton boat mover.

There are a handful of businesses providing you with all of your chandlery needs too - whether its ropes and cord, fenders and buoys or anything else you need, you’ll be able to get it all on site. That’s also accompanied by a full range of trades and services so you can get any minor maintenance or serious repairs done during your time at Shamrock.

Or even if you fancy splashing out on a new boat, there are yacht brokerages, new boat sales and yacht charters at hand giving you the opportunity to browse the latest vessels or pick up a bargain on something second hand. A full services directory can be found here, with details on every business based at the marina.


For your own personal conveniences, you’ll find really modern shower and toilet facilities in a recently built W/C block, as well as a 24 hour laundry service for customers. There’s fresh water on every pontoon and a recycling facility at the main building.

All berth holders will be entitled to the super fast WiFi system that should be suitable for streaming, downloading and all of your browsing needs.


The ‘COVE Restaurant’ on site is a really top restaurant with an awesome nautical theme and contemporary setting. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the quality of food is exceptional. There’s also a vibrant bar area for chilling out in.

Where should you visit during your stay?

Obviously, Southampton city centre is a major tourist attraction just a few minutes away. It’s one of the UK’s largest port cities and was the notorious home of the RMS Titanic, which saw its famous departure in 1912. The SeaCity Museum is located here, as well as large shopping areas, high-end restaurants and many festivals and events all year round.


Two more of the UK’s finest attractions are just around the corner. The New Forest National Park borders Southampton to the west and is an extremely beautiful area of the country, full of British wildlife, stunning views and deep forests.

The Isle of Wight is also just a short ferry or boat trip to the south, a vibrant community island full of sandy beaches and renowned for frequent findings of dinosaur fossils and skeletons.


Brighton Marina, Brighton, East Sussex


Brighton Marina


Brighton is home to the UK’s largest marina complex and it’s a seriously impressive facility - there’s no other quite like it. Over the past few years, Brighton Marina has developed into an enormous leisure complex, where over a thousand berths are surrounded by a huge collection of well-known restaurants and cafes, as well as top quality entertainment sectors.

Its location is very hard to beat too, as the south coast is a popular destination for sun seekers and Brighton is easily one of the top tourist cities in the country.


It was built almost 40 years ago after long lengths of time were spent constructing and planning the designs, but the finishing product gave boat owners the chance to berth in complete shelter from the sea, whilst still having very easy access to it.


Will you be able to find a berth?

Due to the sheer size of the marina, available berths at Brighton are common. There are a staggering 1,550 berths which is more than anywhere else in the UK. These berths range from 8 metres to 41 metres, however upgrades are currently underway to help accommodate even larger yachts.

These berthing spots are available in daily, monthly or annual visits, with annual rates ranging from £390 to £494 per metre, where you can use a one off payment, or pay in monthly instalments for a little extra.

If you’re just wanting a short stop-off by boat to come and visit the impressive facilities, you’ll find visitor berths from as cheap as £3.10 per metre per day.


What facilities are available at the marina?

Your personal facilities as a berth holder at the marina are exceptional. There are two building blocks with washing and toilet areas so that everyone has access to enough space. Both of these buildings can only be accessed by a security key fob which you’ll be given upon booking. The west jetty building has been completely revamped within the last two years providing visitors with new modern showers, heating, LED lighting, a new chrome styling and much more. You’ll be able to look after yourself in bathrooms that wouldn’t be out of place in an expensive city apartment!

Also in the same area you’ll find the launderettes which are again available in both buildings on the east and west jetties.

There’s electricity and clean water on every pontoon as well as five easily accessible recycling points - there’s a big focus on recycling in this very green city.


On the west jetty there’s a pump out and gas station which is free to use for berth holders, with a fair usage policy of course. This is just behind the Premier Marina reception where you’ll be able to get any assistance you need.

The entire marina is watched by 24-hour security with both manned patrols and CCTV surveillance, so you won’t have to worry at all about theft or damage. -

You’ll get free WiFi as a berth holder, which is of a really good speed thanks to nine different hotspots spread right across the site.


In terms of boatyard services, everything’s available too. Heavy duty boat hoists and movers will allow you to get any maintenance or repairs that you need completed. Dry storage, pressure washing and much more is also at hand, conducted by very high quality staff all year round.


During your stay here, you won’t get bored. There’s a huge bowling complex and arcade for you to go and have fun in, as well as multiple crazy golf courses and a Cineworld cinema if you want to watch a movie. For keeping fit or relaxing there’s a David Lloyd leisure centre with a gym, swimming pool, spa facilities and so much more. Need to do a big weekly shop? The marina also has an ASDA superstore on site with everything you can think of in store.

There are even clothing, footwear and accessory shops too for you to do a bit of shopping. As for food and drink, the standard of restaurants and cafes is unbeatable. To list a few of the top restaurants on site: Nandos, Five Guys, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Cost2Coast, Cafe Rouge, Prezzo, Las Iguanas and so many more. In fact, you could eat in a different restaurant every day for an entire month!


It’s without doubt the best marina to explore and amuse yourself all year round!


Where should you visit during your stay?

Obviously the city centre of Brighton is just a short way down the road - even within walking distance should you want to take a beautiful stroll down the seafront. It’s a vibrant city known for its diversity and carnival culture, so you’ll always find a fun event or festival to be a part of. If you just can’t stay away from the marine life, then there are plenty of places to take part in watersports such as windsurfing, paddle boarding and jetskiing, plus the Yellowave centre is great for beach volleyball and football.

The famous Laines are worth a visit where you can walk down historic cobblestone passageways whilst browsing beautiful jewellery shops and vibrant cafes. There’s a huge shopping centre and plenty of busy restaurants for you to enjoy some fine food. Nor is there a lack of green space; Brighton is bursting with beautiful parks that you’ll be able to sit or take a walk in if you want some peace and quiet.


Marinas in South West England


Cobbs Quay, Poole, Dorset


Cobbs Quay


This is a very special location, as Cobbs Quay Marina is set right inside Poole Harbour which has the impressive claim of being the second largest natural harbour in the entire world. It’s nestled on the stunning south coast, and Poole is a harbour that offers ferry transport to Guernsey, Jersey and Northern France.

The fragmented formation of the local land means that there are plenty of small waterways and islands to explore in and around the harbour, which could keep you entertained for hours. Notably, Brownsea Island is a very short trip south.

The marina has been protected by the watchful eye of the Cobbs Quay Berth Holders Association since 1991, who have done massive amounts to ensure the quality of the marina is second to none.


Will you be able to find a berth?

Cobbs Quay has one of the largest berthing profiles in the country with more than 800 marina berths and 259 dry dock spots too. Because of this generous selection, we’re confident that you’ll be able to bag a spot in this wonderful location.

You’ll get the full range of options when picking your stay duration too and can pay for visits as brief as 1-4 hours, whilst also offering daily, weekly, monthly and annual plans. Prices are great value in comparison to many other marinas - you can get monthly berthing from as cheap as £62 per metre.


If you wish to look into annual berthing options, you’ll have to call the marina to allow them to check availability and receive a quote.


What facilities are available at the marina?

On site security and surveillance is 24/7, so you can trust the marina to keep everything in check.


Have you got another favourite marina? Let us know!



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Boats and Outboards Team
Published on 2018-08-10