The 23rd May marked the announcement of this year’s Blue Flag and Seaside Award-winning beaches. The prestigious Blue Flag award is only given to beaches which meet a number of strict criteria, with each beach required to excel in the following categories; environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management and safety and services. From water cleanliness to local facilities, you can trust you’ll get to experience the Great British seaside at its best when visiting a Blue Flag beach.
With summer just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to plan your seaside escape. To help you narrow down your search, we’ve hand-picked a few of our favourite beaches from 2017’s winners - all of which are just a stone’s throw from our holiday parks, making it easier than ever to plan the perfect summer holiday by the sea.
Whitley Bay, Longsands and King Edward’s Bay, Tyne & Wear
It’s easy to see why this trio of beaches have all been awarded with Blue Flag and Seaside Awards. With powder soft sands, gentle clear waters and plenty to see and do nearby, they’re incredibly popular with locals and visitors alike. The 4 mile walk from St Mary’s Lighthouse to Tynemouth will take you along all three beaches and past many of the seafront’s top attractions.
King Edward’s Bay, closest to the River Tyne, is popular with swimmers or those just looking for a spot to tuck into some fish and chips. Its sheltered cove is protected from the sea breeze and the shallow waters are perfect for a paddle. Don’t forget to explore the colourful town of Tynemouth and its historic priory and castle once you’ve dried off.
Head north and you’ll come to Longsands Beach. This enormous expanse of sand is popular with families and surfers, and thanks to its size - it never feels crowded. Further north still, past Cullercoats, you’ll come to Whitley Bay, the largest of all three beaches. This sweeping bay is topped by a major local landmark, St. Mary’s Lighthouse, and is popular with dog walkers. If you’re lucky, you might even spot one of the local seals popping its head above the water along the shoreline.
Video sourced from Chris Ainsley Media
If you’re looking for a beach holiday, look no further than Whitley Bay Holiday Park - just a short walk from the north end of Whitley Bay and St. Mary’s Lighthouse - it puts you within easy reach of Tyne & Wear’s best beaches.
Challaborough Beach, Devon
Nestled in its own sheltered cove on Devon’s spectacular south coast, Challaborough Beach has once again been awarded Blue Flag status for its immaculate fine sands and excellent water quality - with a Seaside Award to boot!
The flat beach and gentle waters make Challaborough ideal for a family picnic or swim in the sea. Occasional swells also attract surfers to the area and, at low tide, there are plenty of rockpools to explore - meaning there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The beach itself is situated on the South West Coast Path, with endless walking opportunities on its doorstep. Head south and you’re just a short stroll away from the village of Bigbury and its unique triangular beach, which stretches out to connect the mainland to Burgh Island at low tide - famous for its connection to Agatha Christie.
Video sourced from SurfeyeUK
Challaborough Bay Holiday Park is situated directly on the beach, so if your idea of the perfect holiday involves being steps from the sand, it’s the perfect place to stay.
Looking for more seaside inspiration? Check out our list of beaches you won’t believe are in Britain, boasting some of the bluest water and whitest sand around.
Trecco Bay, South Wales
Winner of both Blue Flag and Seaside Awards for 2017, Trecco Bay is just a short stroll from the charming Welsh seaside town of Porthcawl. This peaceful beach is sheltered by Porthcawl pier and the headland separating it from neighbouring Sandy Bay, making its calm waters ideal for paddling and swimming.
When the tide is out, the beach’s wide and flat expanse of sand is exposed, providing the perfect makeshift pitch for an impromptu kick around. Kids will also love exploring the outcrops at either end of the beach, looking for local wildlife and clambering over the natural rock formations.
Perhaps one of Trecco’s biggest highlights is its location. With even more fantastic beaches along the Glamorgan Coast, as well as Swansea, Cardiff and the spectacular Brecon Beacons all within easy reach, it’s the perfect base from which to explore the region.
Just steps from the beach, Trecco Bay Holiday Park lines the beachfront, with a number of caravans offering idyllic views over the water. With fantastic facilities and entertainment, it’s the ultimate holiday destination in South Wales.
West Wittering Beach, West Sussex
Overlooking Bracklesham Bay towards the Isle of Wight, West Wittering Beach is an unspoilt haven for all things sun, sea and sand. Situated in an officially designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the wide beach features soft white sands, gentle waters and lush grassland. It’s no surprise then, that it’s the recipient of both a Blue Flag and Seaside Award for 2017.
At low tide, water trapped in the beach’s sand banks forms natural tidal pools, perfect for younger swimmers wanting to stay in the shallows. The waters off the shore are also incredibly popular with windsurfers and kite surfing enthusiasts, with the West Wittering Windsurf Club offering tuition and equipment hire.
Backed by a row of colourful beach huts, the beach encapsulates the quintessential British seaside experience and it’s a must visit if you’re in the area.
Video sourced from DJI Phantom 4
West Wittering Beach is just a short hop over the county border from Hayling Island Holiday Park in Hampshire. With West Wittering to the east and historic Portsmouth to the west, Hayling Island is the ideal location for a seaside holiday on the South Coast.