A Guide to Crabbing in the UK and Crabbing Spots Near You
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The Ultimate Guide to Crabbing in the UK and Popular Crabbing Spots Near You

Discover the joy of crabbing in the UK, a popular seaside activity that involves catching crabs along coastal areas in the UK. In this guide to crabbing, we’ll walk you through the equipment needed for crabbing, a step-by-step guide  and the best coastal spots for crabbing near you.

Please note: If you're crabbing with children, make sure they're supervised at all times as there are usually hazards like harbour walls to be aware of. 

 Equipment you’ll need for crabbing in the UK

Girl looking at crab

Every seaside destination that is a hotspot for crabbing will likely have a shop near the coast selling all the equipment you need to have a fun-filled day of catching crabs.

Crabbing Lines/Nets

A crabbing line/net is a long line with a net or bait bag attached to one end. You need this to be able to catch the crabs. Crab lines with ring nets are especially useful as they mean you can scoop the crabs up quickly and limit their chances of scuttling off before they reach the bucket.


Shellfish, squid and fish are all ideal bait to use when getting a crab’s attention and enticing them into your net. 


So you’ve caught your crab - now what? You need a place to put it and buckets are a great temporary home for our pinchy friends. The bigger the bucket, the better!

Crabbing gloves (optional)

Crabs have sharp claws that they aren’t afraid to use, so it can be good to take the extra precaution of wearing crabbing gloves when handling them.

Step-by-step guide on how to crab

Group of people holding crab

So you’ve got all your equipment prepared and you’re ready to go, what now?

1. Before anything else, make sure to half fill your bucket with seawater at the nearest beach.

2. Get your crab line ready to go, with the bait tied securely onto the line or in the net ready to attract the crab.

3. Unravel the crab line bit by bit until it journeys under the surface of the water and the net reaches the bottom.

4. Wait for a bite. When you catch a crab you may feel a slight tug on your net, however this is not always the case so make sure to bring your net above the surface every 5-10 minutes to see if you’ve caught one.

5. Once you’ve got a crab safely in your net, begin to reel the line up towards you. Make sure you do this as quickly and gently as you can, as the crab might clock onto what’s going on or have finished its bait and try to escape. If you are just using a big net with no line, scoop it up quickly to avoid any crabs crawling back out of the net.

6. Pop the crabs from the net straight into the bucket. If you have to handle them at any point make sure to avoid their pincers and put your index finger on the top of its shell and your thumb on the bottom. If a crab does pinch you, don’t panic, just pull it away from you as quickly as possible.

7. Repeat this as many times as you like, ensuring the crabs have enough space in the bucket to move around.

8. If you have two crabs in the bucket that are fighting, remove one of the two immediately and release it back into the water following the instructions from number 9.

9. Don’t keep the crabs in the bucket for too long before releasing them safely back into the water. To do this, find a suitable spot near the water where you can gently lower it back in, allowing it to scuttle off.

10. Always clean up after yourself, disposing of any bait or equipment you don't want to keep and making sure you don't leave any rubbish behind.

The best time to go crabbing

Crabbing in the UK

You can go crabbing in the UK all year round, however the best time of the day to go crabbing is not as simple. Success rate in crabbing can depend on various factors, including the type of crab, location and conditions. 

However generally speaking, the list below covers the main points you need to have a successful crabbing outing:

High tide

Crabs are most active when the tide is rising, as they are drawn closer to the shore. The best time for you to go crabbing is during high tide or an hour two before.

Early morning or evenings

Crabs tend to shy away from the sun and are more active during low-light conditions such early morning or evening. They sometimes have midday heat so may be less active in the middle of the day, particularly during the warmer summer months.

Locals are experts

No one knows the crabs in their area like the locals, so it’s always worth having a chat with them about when it is best to go crabbing.

The best crabbing spots in Devon

Brixham Harbour

Brixham Harbour

Brixham Harbour is a large seaside town on the English Riviera. Home to an array of rich marine life, Brixham Harbour is well-known for being an ideal crabbing destination.

Nearest campsite: Dartmouth Club Site

Clovelly Harbour

Clovelly harbour

Clovelly Harbour is located in the village of Clovelly and historically known for its once bustling fishing port. While fishing has declined in Clovelly, it is still well-known for having a rich marine life, particularly crabs and lobsters, making it an ideal crabbing spot.

Nearest campsite: Lynton Club Site

Exmouth Marina

Exmouth Marina

Situated at the mouth of the River Exe, Exmouth Marina is a fantastic location for crabbing.

Nearest campsite: Dartmouth Club Site

Teignmouth Back Beach


Located on the stunning South Devon coast is the popular seaside resortreport of Teingmouth. Teignmouth Back Beach is a small, sandy beach in the centre of Teignmouth and an ideal location for catching crabs.

Nearest campsite: Dartmouth Club Site

The best crabbing spots in Cornwall

Padstow Harbour

Padstow harbour

Situated on the Cornish north coast is the stunning Padstow Harbour that hosts plenty of crabbing opportunities. There are also small beaches and covers surrounding Padstow that make perfect, quieter crabbing hotspots.

Nearest campsite: Tregurrian Club Site

The old pier wall behind Smeaton's Pier

Smeaton's Pier

In the historic town of St Ive’s sits the old pier wall behind Smeaton’s Pier and it is an ideal spot for crabbing.

Nearest campsite: Sennen Cove Club Site

Mevagissey Harbour

Mevagissey Harbour

Mevagissey is a picture-perfect harbourside village in Cornwall. Spend the day crabbing within the inner harbour wall in Mevagissy and exploring the local area.

Nearest campsite: Veryan Club Site

The best crabbing spots in Dorset

Poole Quay

A gorgeous coastal town in Dorset, Poole is known for its natural harbour and scenic beaches. The best place for crabbing in Poole is by the quay, with plenty of parking nearby making it super easy to get to.

Nearest campsite: Verwood Club Site

Swanage Beach

Swanage Beach

Enjoy a visit to Swanage, known for its coastal charm and nostalgic quirks. One of the main attractions in town is Swanage Beach, where you can enjoy a spot of crabbing at a quiet and shady spot by the slipway near the pier.

Nearest campsite: Moreton Club Site

The best crabbing spots in Norfolk

Blakeney Quay

Blakeney Quay

Classed as an Area of Natural Beauty, Blakeney is a gorgeous coastal village ideally situated for exploring the Norfolk Coast. You can join in the classic Norfolk holiday tradition of crabbing at Blakeney Quay.

Nearest campsite: West Runton Club Site

Wells Harbour

Wells Harbour

Wells-next-the-sea is a charming coastal town on the North Norfolk coast. It has a picturesque harbour that is ideal for crabbing.

Nearest campsite: Sandringham Club Site

The best crabbing spots in Somerset

Minehead Harbour

Minehead harbour

Minehead is a beautiful coastal town located on the shores of the Bristol Channel. It is a popular holiday destination and the harbour has plenty of space along it to go crabbing.

Nearest campsite: Minehead Club Site

Clevedon Pier

Clevedon Pier

Clevedon is a quaint seaside town, well-known for its Victorian architecture and nostalgic charm. Clevedon Pier is one of the most iconic Victorian piers in the UK and a hotspot for crabbers.

Nearest campsite: Cheddar Mendip Heights Club Site

The best crabbing spots in Yorkshire

Whitby is one of the UK’s most popular seaside holiday destinations situated on the northeast coast of England, at the mouth of the River Esk. Whitby Harbour is  idyllic with magnificent views overlooking the North Sea and a perfect spot for catching Whitby crabs.

Nearest campsite: Scarborough Club Site

Sandsend Beach

Sandsend beach

Sandsend is a small village that is closeby to Whitby. It has a beautiful sand and shingle beach with opportunities for crabbing.

Nearest campsite: Scarborough Club Site

The best crabbing spots in Wales

Trearddur Bay

Treaddur Bay

Trearddur is a small village that is home to the popular sand and shingle beach that has plenty of rockpools to explore. It also makes for a great crabbing spot.

Nearest campsite:
Llanystumdwy Club Site

Swansea Bay

Swansea Bay

Swansea Bay is a beautiful bay on the Southern coast of Wales. It has a large mudflat area which is ideal for crabbing.

Nearest campsite: Llanystumdwy Club Site

The best crabbing spots in Scotland

Ayr Pier

Ayr Pier

Ayr is a town located on the southwest coast of Scotland. It is home to a large beach and harbour area with a pier, a hotspot for crabbing.

Nearest campsite: Culzean Castle Club Site

Crail Harbour

Crail harbour

Crail is a charming coastal village located on the east coast of Scotland. Crail Harbour is a focal point of the village, with stunning views overlooking the sea and a great destination for crabbing

Nearest campsite: Scone Club Site

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