Top 10 British beaches

Our pick of this year's Blue Flag awards

With an increasing number of British beaches achieving Blue Flag status, our seaside spots are becoming cleaner, safer and more family-friendly than ever.

Blue Flag beaches are re-evaluated each year, and must fulfill a range of criteria, including environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management, and safety and services.

Here’s our pick of this year’s Blue Flag-awarded beaches.

Torbay Broadsands Beach, Devon

Torbay Broadsands beach

This beautiful stretch of red sandy beach slopes gently into clean, safe shallow waters that are ideal for paddling. There’s a long promenade, with colourful beach huts – an ideal starting point for scenic coastal walks.

Polzeath Beach, Cornwall

Polzeath Beach, Cornwall

Polzeath is one of Cornwall’s top surfing locations, and boasts a wide, flat sandy beach. Look closely and you might just catch a glimpse of dolphins and seals swimming in the bay alongside the surfers.

Sandown, Isle of Wight

This popular beach is renowned for its long sandy stretches, offering safe bathing and a wealth of activities. The amenities and the town nearby make Sandown a resort to visit for all ages.

Botany Bay, Kent

Botany Bay, Kent

This quiet sandy bay, sheltered by chalk cliffs, is an ideal family beach – with safe bathing, and plenty for children to explore. It gets its name from the more famous Botany Bay in Australia – where locally captured smugglers were sent in days gone by.

Clacton-on-Sea, Essex

Clacton-on-Sea, Essex

This thriving resort on Essex’s ‘Sunshine Coast’ boasts beautiful golden beaches, a fun-packed pier, beautifully maintained themed seafront gardens, pleasure flights and a range of sporting activities on land and water.

Tynemouth Longsands South, North Tyneside

Tynemouth Longsands South, North Tyneside

Backed by sand dunes, this half-mile stretch of fine golden sands is ideal for bathing, surfing, playing beach sports, or simply relaxing. The nearby Blue Reef aquarium and toy museum offer plenty of entertainment for young children.

Scarborough North Bay, North Yorkshire

Scarborough North Bay

North Bay’s flat sandy beach is popular with recreational water sports enthusiasts. Its rocky outcrops to the north provide rock pool areas at low tide.

Benllech, Anglesey

Benllech, Anglesey

Situated on the east coast of Anglesey in a crescent-shaped bay, Benllech’s pleasant beach of fine golden sand and clear blue waters offers ideal, safe conditions for bathing and paddling. At low tide the sand stretches for miles, giving young children plenty of space in which to play, and providing a flat expanse of land that is ideal for a gentle stroll.

Port Eynon, Swansea

Port Eynon, Swansea

Located on the Gower Peninsula, Port Eynon beach boasts a glorious wide expanse of sand and is an ideal location for a family holiday. During low tide, an interesting array of rock pools offers amusement for inquisitive young children.

Aberdour Silver Sands, Fife

Aberdour Silver Sands, Fife

Combining the scenic charm of the coast with the peace and tranquillity of the countryside, Aberdour Silver Sands is one of the most popular and attractive sandy beaches on the Fife coast. The Fife coastal path passes by this beach, and the section from here is well worth walking.

Planning your trip

Make sure you plan your route and check the traffic news before you set off.

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(24 October 2013)