Best of Britain – Our Blue Flag Beaches
UK Seaside Escapes
With over 160 Blue Flag beaches in the UK, why not consider a staycation this summer? We’ve rounded up some of the best beaches in Britain.
If you’re looking for a beach holiday this year, why not consider a staycation? As an island, the UK has many miles of magnificent coastline and a huge array of stunning beaches. Many of these beaches have even been recognised as a Blue Flag beach – considered to be the gold standard for beaches.
Awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education, the Blue Flag is given to beaches that meet strict water quality standards and which offer key services and facilities, including a lifeguard on duty.
We’ve rounded up some of the best Blue Flag beaches in the UK.
Porthminster Beach, Cornwall
Located just a short walk from St Ives town centre, Porthminster is the second largest of the town’s four beaches. This sheltered sandy beach offers calm waters and fantastic views across the bay to Godrevy Lighthouse, which has been standing since 1859. When you’re feeling hungry, the award-winning restaurant Porthminister Cafe that overlooks the beach is sure to satisfy your seafood cravings.
North Tenby, Pembrokeshire
North Tenby beach is a sheltered East-facing expanse of sand with a pinnacle of rock sticking out of the middle. Ringed by Tenby’s famous colourful houses it is perhaps one of the most photographed views in Wales. The beach itself is just a stone’s throw from the bustling town centre, which has a wide range of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. The adjoining South Tenby beach has also been awarded a Blue Flag – giving you two for the price of one!
Nestled between Penbryn and Aberporth, this picturesque sheltered bay is perfect for families, with an expanse of sand and lots of rock pools for the kids to explore. At the North end of the beach you’ll find a waterfall and an additional smaller beach which is only accessible at low tide. There are plenty of facilities nearby, including a pub, shop, cafe and public toilets. It’s also a great spot for water sports, with good surfing and a well-established sailing club.
Frinton is a quiet family resort that remains relatively uncommercialised. It has a gentle shelving beach with nice firm sand which is perfect for beach games and sandcastle making. Colourful old-fashioned beach huts line the extensive promenade that borders the beach, and when you’re tired of the beach, it’s just a short step to the Greensward – a large grassy area which is very popular with picnickers. Frinton is part of the Essex Sunshine Coast.
Achmelvich Bay, North Scotland
If you think that white sand beaches are only found in tropical locations, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Achmelvich Bay on the West coast of Scotland. This stunning beach offers a large expanse of white sand and crystal clear waters. It gets quite busy during summer months and is particularly popular with water skiers, windsurfers and kayakers. It’s also great for hikers, with several interesting walks and climbs nearby.
Downhill Strand, County Londonderry
Downhill Strand beach can be found at the far end of a seven mile stretch of sand. It is a designated Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and the cliffs that back the beach offer stunning views over the picturesque coastline. Perched precariously close to the cliff edge is the Mussenden Temple, a National Trust building which was constructed in 1785. Game of Thrones fans may recognise Downhill Strand beach – it was recently used as a filming location for Dragonstone.
West Wittering, West Sussex
This large and sandy unspoilt beach in West Sussex offers great views of the South Downs and Chichester harbour. It’s a popular destination for families with grasslands, tidal pools and good facilities including a cafe, showers and deck chair hire. The beach also has an array of wildlife and birdlife, making it the perfect location for nature lovers.
From surfers to families, bird-watchers to hikers, the British coastline has something for everyone. Of course, this is just a short selection of the beaches that are available in the UK – with over 160 Blue Flag areas throughout the British Isles, there is plenty to choose from. So, instead of jumping on a plane this summer why not stay home and experience some of the best that Britain has to offer?
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