The Easter heatwave has got us all thinking ahead to summer, with many of us now inspired to spend our annual holiday in the UK. But where to go?
We know from speaking to our BCH Camping
customers, that the quality of the beach is often a deciding factor when considering a summer holiday destination. With this year’s Blue Flag certification due in June, we’re taking a look at the current listing of Blue Flag beaches to see which will be in contention for accolades this year, and offer some inspiration for your summer jollies.
What is a Blue Flag beach award?
Awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education, a Blue Flag beach award is internationally recognised and considered the highest accolade for beaches.
A Blue Flag certification guarantees the quality of bathing water and cleanliness – particularly a lack of litter - and is awarded across four main categories:
- Environmental Education and Information: This includes displaying information on the award, the quality of water and a beach map.
- Water Quality: The assessment carries a stipulation that the beach should not be affected by industrial, waste water or sewage-related discharges
- Environmental Management: This is all about administration and facilities. For example, there must be public toilets available near the beach
- Safety and Services: This covers aspects such as the beach must be patrolled by lifeguards, have easy access and the availability of drinking water.
The certification process is carried out every year and beaches can lose or gain their Blue Flag status.
Which are the best beaches in the UK?
At the launch of the award scheme in 1987 only 12 beaches in the UK were awarded Blue Flag status. There are now 65 so the quality of the UK’s beaches has come a long way.
Here is the list of UK beaches awarded Blue Flag status in June 2018
South West – 26 Blue Flag awards
Great Western, Cornwall
Poole, Branksome Chine
Poole, Canford Cliffs
Poole, Sandbanks Peninsular
Poole, Shore Road
Trevone Bay, Cornwall
Widemouth Bay, Cornwall
East Midlands – 4 Blue Flag awards
Central Beach, Mablethorpe
Central Beach, Skegness
Central Beach, Sutton on Sea
East of England – 12 Blue Flag awards
East Beach Shoeburyness
North East – 6 Blue Flag awards
King Edwards Bay
North West – 1 Blue Flag award
Yorkshire – 1 Blue Flag award
South East – 15 Blue Flag awards
Hayling Island Beachlands
Margate Main Sands
Marina St Leonards
West Wittering Beach
We’ll take a look at one beach from each area to see what makes them worthy of their award.
Westward Ho, Devon
Westward Ho beach has been awarded Blue Flag status for the last 15 years so its pedigree is without question. Because the beach is 2.5km long and 800m wide at low tide, it never feels crowded.
This is a long sandy beach backed by a pebble ridge, with a wealth of facilities including shops, toilets and eateries. It boasts sand rock pools and oozes all things nature. The Northam Burrows Country Park is accessible from one end of the beach. RNLI Lifeguard service is available from May to September, and the beach is popular for windsurfing and swimming.
Dogs are allowed on the beach, but within certain restrictions, some of which are determined by the time of year. It is advisable that you read the information boards to check before taking your pooch for a walk.
Central Beach, Skegness
Skegness is a popular seaside resort with a central beach that offers everything a family would look for. There is an impressive pier, the Fairy Dell paddling pool, fun rides at Fantasy Island, donkey rides on the beach, and a seal sanctuary and indoor butterfly conservatory at Natureland.
Central Beach is long, wide, sandy and clean. Bathing is safe with clean waters, and when the wind is up there are great opportunities for surfing and bodyboarding.
Facilities and access are good with plenty of car parks and a railway station within easy walking distance. Lifeguard cover is June to September.
Sheringham Beach, Norfolk
Sheringham Beach is made up of sand, shingle and cobbles. There are colourful beach huts that can be hired throughout the season. Cafes and tea rooms provide table or take-out service, while entertainment can be found in arcades and on steam train rides. Toilets and parking are available on the clifftop.
There is a designated dog free zone area from May to September which is clearly marked on the map on the Beach Information Board at the entrance to the beach.
Two teams of RNLI Lifeguards operate daily between May-September on the East and West promenade.
Roker and Seaburn beaches, Sunderland
Sunderland’s twin beaches at Roker and Seaburn are just over a mile apart, and have been popular with families for many years. The extensive golden sands with safe bathing are patrolled by lifeguards and perfect for paddling.
Pier Point at Roker is on the edge of the beach, with its cafes and restaurants. Seaburn also has a choice of places to eat and drink.
The wide promenade and landscaped seafront on both beaches are ideal for walking next to the water without having to step on the sand. If you want more of a brisk walk, the restored Roker Pier is recommended.
There is a car park and small children’s play area at Roker, while Seaburn is popular for bathing, sailing, surfing and for other water sports.
Blackpool South Beach
Blackpool South Beach is quieter than the other beaches that lie further north along Blackpool’s famous “Golden Mile”. The beach is backed by the promenade that leads north towards the town’s three piers. Along the promenade are sculptures and other installations, including a rotating wind shelter designed to give maximum protection from the bracing sea breezes.
South Pier is full of amusements and rides, such as roller coasters, dodgems and waltzers, along with trampolines and other popular attractions
Close by is Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach, which isn’t a beach! It’s a giant amusement park packed with rides for young children to adults looking for adrenalin-inducing entertainment.
The town of Whitby is famous for being where Dracula is set, and for having the only Blue Flag beach in Yorkshire.
Whitby beach is known for its beautiful sands and water sports so is a good destination for windsurfers, sailors and surfers. It’s also lined with colourful beach huts and has a pier which is a good spot for fishing. There are fascinating rock pools for studying marine life and spectacular cliffs steeped in geological history.
The multi-coloured beach huts are available for hire during the summer months, and there is a convenient cliff lift for transporting the usual beach day clobber. Deckchair hire is available daily (weather permitting) from 30th April to 2nd October.
West Wittering Beach
This beach offers spectacular views of Chichester Harbour and, beyond it, the South Downs. It is a natural and unspoilt beach with the highest water quality and facilities.
The area is recognised for its extensive grasslands, tidal pools, wildlife, birds and unblemished beauty. There is a large area for parking and picnicking on short grass close by, and the sea is popular with wind and kite surfers.
There is an Estate Office at the beach which is manned Monday to Friday, a beach café, a lifeguard base, toilets and showers and a Windsurfing and Kitesurfing Club.
So, where will you go?
If you find a fantastic beach, regardless of whether it has a Blue Flag award, let us know! Should you need any camping
equipment or clothing
for your beach holiday, we’d be delighted to help. We have everything you’ll need to deal with the unpredictable British weather! Just get in touch