Porthmeor Beach Cornwall

Here in the UK, we are fortunate to have an incredible and varied coastline that rightly attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Want miles and miles of sandy beach to build sandcastles? Or a remote bit of coastline to let the dogs run wild? Or perhaps something altogether craggier to do some coasteering? We’ve got it all!

But what if you want to spend time in the water? How clean is it really? And what about the surrounding area? Is it safe? Are there any additional facilities like toilets or lifeguard services?

Fortunately, there’s already a fantastic gold standard to refer to, the Blue Flag beach award, which means that beaches given this honour can be expected to meet a number of strict requirements, including water quality.

Holiday Cottage Compare takes a closer look at the best beaches to visit.

What is a Blue Flag beach award?

An internationally recognised standard, the coveted Blue Flag is awarded by the non-governmental, non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education, based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Founded to promote sustainable development in freshwater and marine areas, interestingly, the actual quality of the water is just one of its many requirements.

The main categories taken into consideration are:

  • Environmental Education and Information
  • Water Quality
  • Environmental Management
  • Safety and Services

Carried out every year (the UK results are announced in June), the certification process means that beaches can lose or gain their Blue Flag status – so there’s no room for complacency on the part of previous winners!

Which beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag?

Below is the list of beaches in the UK that have been awarded the Blue Flag for 2018. Bear in mind of course, that this list may well change next year!

England Blue Flag award beaches

  • Alum Chine Bournemouth
  • Beachlands - Hayling Island
  • Blackpool Sands
  • Blackpool South
  • Botany Bay
  • Branksome Chine Poole
  • Breakwater Beach
  • Brightlingsea
  • Canford Cliffs Poole
  • Carbis Bay Beach
  • Challaborough
  • Cromer
  • Dawlish Warren
  • Dovercourt Bay
  • Durley Chine Bournemouth
  • East Runton
  • Fishermans Walk Bournemouth
  • Gyllyngvase
  • Hornsea
  • Hove
  • Ingoldmells
  • Joss Bay
  • King Edwards Bay (Tynemouth)
  • Long Sands North Tynemouth
  • Long Sands South Tynemouth
  • Mablethorpe Town
  • Meadfoot
  • Minnis Bay
  • Minster Leas
  • Mundesley
  • New Brighton (Wallasey)
  • Oddicombe Beach
  • Palace Pier Brighton
  • Polzeath
  • Porthmeor St Ives
  • Porthminster St Ives
  • Porthtowan
  • Roker (Whitburn South)
  • Sandbanks Poole
  • Sandhaven
  • Sandy Bay
  • Scarborough North Bay
  • Sea Palling
  • Seaburn Beach (Whitburn North)
  • Sheerness Beach
  • Sheringham
  • Shoebury East
  • Shoeburyness
  • Shore Road - Sandbanks Poole
  • Skegness
  • Southbourne Bournemouth
  • Southwold Pier
  • St Mildreds Bay
  • Stone Bay
  • Sutton-on-Sea
  • Swanage
  • Tankerton Beach
  • Thorpe Bay
  • Trevone Bay
  • West Bay
  • West Runton
  • West Wittering
  • Westward Ho!
  • Weymouth
  • Whitby
  • Whitley Bay
  • Widemouth Bay
  • Withernsea

Scotland Blue Flag award beaches

  • Aberdour-Silver Sands
  • Achmelvich Bay
  • Burntisland
  • Elie Woodhaven (Ruby Bay)
  • Fraserburgh Waters of Philorth

Wales Blue Flag award beaches

  • Aberdaron Beach
  • Aberporth
  • Abersoch
  • Aberystwyth (North)
  • Amroth
  • Barmouth
  • Benllech
  • Borth
  • Bracelet Bay
  • Broadhaven
  • Castle Beach Tenby
  • Caswell Bay
  • Church Bay
  • Colwyn Bay - Rhos-on-Sea
  • Coppet Hall
  • Criccieth
  • Dale
  • Dinas Dinlle
  • Langland Bay
  • Llanddona
  • Llanddwyn Beach
  • Llandudno - West Shore
  • Llanfairfechan
  • Llangrannog
  • Lydstep
  • Morfa Bychan - Black Rock Sands
  • New Quay - Harbour Beach
  • Newgale Sands
  • North Tenby
  • Pembrey Beach - Llanelli
  • Penmaenmawr
  • Poppit Sands - West
  • Port Eynon
  • Porth Dafarch
  • Prestatyn Central
  • Pwllheli
  • Rest Bay Porthcawl
  • Saundersfoot
  • South Tenby
  • Trearddur Bay
  • Trecco Bay Porthcawl
  • Tresaith
  • Tywyn
  • Whitesands
  • Whitmore Bay (Barry)

Northern Ireland Blue Flag award beaches

  • Cranfield Bay
  • Downhill Strand
  • Magilligan Strand - Benone
  • Mill Strand Portrush
  • Murlough
  • The Strand Portstewart
  • Tyrella Beach (Clough)
  • Whiterocks

How can I tell if a beach has a Blue Flag award?

All beaches that have been accredited with the Blue Flag are required to fly their flag during the Blue Flag season, as an indicator that they are both participants in the scheme and actively complying with the criteria.

Flags can be flown 24 hours a day during the Blue Flag season – or just during the hours that the beach meets all the criteria (with adequate signage indicating the times when services (e.g. lifesaving) or facilities (e.g. toilets) are in operation.

Camber Sands Beach Kent

How can I book a holiday cottage near a Blue Flag beach?

It’s quick and easy to book a holiday cottage near a Blue Flag beach.

First of all, identify the location of your preferred Blue Flag beach.

Then enter the location of your chosen beach into Holiday Cottage Compare’s search box ‘Where would you like to go?’ and all the cottages in the immediate area will be displayed.

Nothing suitable in the immediate area? You can always choose to widen your search by drive time or distance, meaning you can search for cottages within 30 minutes of your chosen location. Or, say, by 10 miles from where you would like to visit.

Need a hand finding your perfect beachside holiday cottage?

If you need a hand looking for the perfect beach holiday cottage, then give us a shout.

You can let us know exactly what you’re looking for in your next holiday cottage using our easy concierge form and we will then send you a list of perfect matches, within 24 hours.

Which means you can sit back, relax and spend that extra time planning what you’re going to do when you get there!


Hallane Mill Cornwall

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