This year, 55 of the UK’s beaches have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag, which indicates them to be the cleanest and most people-friendly stretches of coast. We’ve sifted through the list and picked out our overall faves. If you want to see them in the sun, you’d better hurry!
Whoever said it’s grim up north? Whitby Beach in the summer gives Rio or Marbella a run for their money; pristine golden sands, great swimming and surfing, plus picturesque beach huts make this a beach bum’s paradise. They even do donkey rides; and yes, we’re pretty sure there’s someone to clean up after them…
The Isle of Wight is a bit of a show-off when it comes to Blue Flags; it has no less than four award-winning beaches. Sandown is a palm-fringed paradise, with perfect sandcastle sand; Ventnor has a Mediterranean vibe; Yaverland has the best view of the chalk cliffs of Culver; and at Colwell Bay you can take out a boat onto the clean, clear waters. Bliss.
Not only does Cromer have a clean beach, it’s a place where things happen. Kids will be kept entertained by the rock pools that appear at low tide, while the pier provides great shelter for surfers. On the pier itself, there’s oodles of entertainment to be found; look out for lifeboats launching off the end too. Cromer beach has recently found renewed fame as a major setting in the Alan Partridge movie Alpha Papa.
We love the way that Whitley Bay’s most recognizable landmark – St Mary’s Lighthouse – is gleaming as cleanly as the sand that’s all around it. Here is a great beach for walking along; even if the weather’s miserable, you won’t be.
How can you ignore a beach which officially has an exclamation mark in its name?! The seaside village of Westward Ho! takes its moniker from Charles Kingsley’s novel of the same name. Though the main beach is sandy, there’s also a rock and pebble area at the southern end, making it ideal for sunbathers and beachcombers alike.