Many beautiful rivers, streams, and lakes around the UK are perfect for a fly fishing holiday. Each location has its own unique character and offers a different fishing experience — so if you’re looking to fish a new beat or see new landscapes, it’s time to book a fly fishing break.
In this article, you’ll see:
- How to get a fly fishing licence for your holiday
- 5 of the best UK fly fishing destinations
- Which accommodation is available for fly fishing holidays.
Getting a fly fishing licence
If you don’t already have one, you’ll need a fishing licence to fish in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland. This allows you to fish in most public waters in the UK. Without it, you can be fined up to £2,500 — so make sure you have the right permit for your fly fishing break. A rod licence isn’t required in Scotland.
Buy a fishing licence from the UK Environment Agency, or from a licensed seller. Most tackle shops can sell fishing licences.
5 UK fly fishing holiday destinations
Here are 5 of the best river destinations for a fly fishing trip in the UK.
1. River Test, Hampshire
Nearby towns: Southampton, Romsey, New Forest
The River Test in Hampshire, UK is a world-renowned fly fishing destination. It’s known for its clear, slow-flowing chalkstreams and its abundance of brown trout and grayling.
The Test is home to a variety of insect life, which makes it an ideal place for fly fishing. Anglers have success with many different methods here, including dry fly, nymph, and wet fly. It’s also surrounded by beautiful New Forest countryside, making it a stunning location for a holiday.
Orvis’s fly fishing school is based on the River Test, so book a personal tuition session with one of our expert instructors to make the most of your fly fishing break.
2. River Tweed, Scotland
Nearby towns: Peebles, Galashiels, Melrose
The River Tweed flows through the Scottish Borders. It stretches for almost 100 miles, starting in the Tweedsmuir Hills and flowing eastward through the picturesque countryside before reaching the North Sea.
As you’d expect in Scotland, the surrounding landscape is nothing short of stunning. With rolling hills, thick forests, and picturesque villages, the Tweed is a beautiful, peaceful setting for a fly fishing holiday. There are several fantastic beats to choose from, so make the most of your time on the Tweed and visit multiple spots along the river.
You don’t need a fishing licence to fish the River Tweed (or any river in Scotland, except the Border Esk). So this is a great option for anglers who don't want to invest in an annual permit.
3. River Wye, Wales
Nearby towns: Ross-on-Wye, Monmouth, Chepstow, Hay-on-Wye
The River Wye is surrounded by gorgeous Welsh countryside. It starts in the Cambrian Mountains and flows through the Brecon Beacons. Expect incredible mountain views before the river flows southward through the Wye Valley and into the Severn Estuary.
You can wade and float on the Wye, so it’s a great place to try out a new technique. Anglers here catch trout, grayling, and salmon successfully using lots of different methods.
Like other great fly fishing destinations, there are many different beats to choose from. The more remote Clettwr and Edw beats are typically more challenging than slower, wider beats.
4. River Dee, Scotland
Nearby towns: Braemar, Banchory, Aboyne, Aberdeen
Not to be confused with the River Dee in Wales, the Scottish River Dee begins in the Cairngorms and flows through the national park, meeting the North Sea at Aberdeen 87 miles later. It’s known for its robust supply of salmon and sea trout.
The Dee is home to a number of famous fishing beats, including Upper Drum, Lower Drum, and Ballogie. Choose your locations wisely, as some areas are more remote than others. Upper sections of the river also tend to be faster flowing than lower sections. So there’s something for anglers of every skill and experience level.
Expect stunning mountain views and a diverse range of experiences if you choose the Dee as your fly fishing holiday destination.
5. Hayling Island, Hampshire
Nearby towns: Portsmouth, Chichester
Hayling Island is based just off the south coast, between Portsmouth and Chichester. As well as inland lakes and ponds, it’s also a sought-after destination for saltwater fly fishing. That’s why the Orvis Saltwater Fly Fishing festival takes place here each year. Book a July fly fishing holiday to coincide with the festival.
Fly fishing at sea is a fantastic way to apply your skills in a new way. The waters around Hayling Island are filled with bass, pollock, and mackerel. So if you’re tired of fishing for trout, and want a new challenge, Hayling Island is a great spot for a fly fishing break.
You can stay on the island itself, or pitch up in Portsmouth or Chichester and travel to the island by car or ferry.
Choosing your fly fishing accommodation
There are lots of accommodation options available near all these fly fishing holiday hotspots. Choose from hotels and guest houses to self-catering cottages and campsites.
Select accommodation that’s convenient for the fishing locations you plan to visit and that meets any other needs you may have. For example, if you’re travelling with a dog, make sure your accommodation is pet-friendly.
Some companies offer all-inclusive packages that include accommodation, guided fishing trips, and equipment rental. These are ideal if you don’t want to bring all your gear with you, or if you want some guidance and tuition as part of your holiday package. Orvis Endorsed Guides are experts in their local area, and can be found throughout the UK.
Stock up on fly fishing gear before your trip
A UK fly fishing holiday is a fantastic way to relax and enjoy the great outdoors while refining your skills and getting more experience on the water. The UK is home to many beautiful, varied locations — so no matter which destination you choose, you’ll have a fantastic experience.Make sure your tackle box is fully stocked and you have all the gear you need before you head out on your fly fishing holiday. Browse our men’s fishing clothing and fly collections to get started.