With the Great British summer just around the corner, it’s time to pack your bucket and spade and head off on your next UK beach holiday. We’re excited to share our top picks from the 2021 Blue Flag beaches list so you can start planning your summer staycation. From family-friendly beaches boasting miles of golden sand to pretty hidden coves, stunning dog walking spots and traditional seaside towns, there’s something for everyone on this year’s Blue Flag beaches list. The best part is, many of these spectacular beaches are within easy reach from one of our 67 UK holiday parks, so you’ll be perfectly placed for your next day out!
What are Blue Flag beaches?
Although we're used to seeing the flags flying at our beautiful beaches across the country, you may not know what it actually means to be a Blue Flag beach. In order to qualify for the prestigious Blue Flag award, beaches must meet the highest standards of safety and cleanliness as well as several educational and informative criteria. The prestigious mark awarded by this global programme guarantees the cleanest and safest beaches in the world.
How many Blue Flag beaches are there in the UK?
In 2021, 77 of England’s beaches were presented with a prestigious Blue Flag – overtaking countries like Mexico, Cyprus and Croatia – whilst 45 of Wales’ beaches received the award.
Even more Seaside Awards were given out in addition to this, with some beaches winning both! Several beaches near our parks claimed a Seaside Award, including Kessingland Beach, Withernsea Sands, and Croyde Bay at Ruda to name a few.
Discover some of our top picks below, plus a full list of England's Blue Flag beaches broken down by region.
1. Challaborough Bay, Devon
We may be biased, but taking the number one spot on our list of Blue Flag beaches is one of our favourites. Home to the eponymous Challaborough Bay Holiday Park, the beach is a gorgeous horseshoe-shaped bay overlooked by the rolling green hills of the South Hams countryside. The hidden sandy cove, which is directly accessible from the holiday park, overlooks the iconic Burgh Island on a sunny day. A great spot for surfing, we truly believe there’s no better place for your next staycation.
2. Great Western Beach, Cornwall
Next on our list is one of Cornwall’s quieter gems and it’s just a short drive away from our four holiday parks in the Newquay area. Kids will love the rockpools that appear at low tide, which are home to all sorts of marine life. Complete with lifeguard service in the summer months, Great Western is ideal for swimmers and surfers as well as other water sports. There’s even a place to hire surfboards and deckchairs – what more could you want from a peaceful Cornish beach this summer?
Video courtesy of Glynne Hather
3. Whitley Bay Beach, North Tyneside
Just minutes away from our holiday park of the same name, Whitley Bay Beach has been granted the esteemed Blue Flag award for another year running and it’s easy to see why. With the majestic backdrop of St. Mary’s Lighthouse dominating the horizon, this glorious golden beach stretches for two miles of North East coastline. It’s also a stone’s throw away from the bustling promenade, much of which has been newly refurbished – the Spanish City is well worth a visit whether you fancy a glass of bubbles or some live entertainment!
4. Sea Palling Beach, Norfolk
If you’re seeking the perfect family-friendly beach, look no further than Sea Palling. Located between Great Yarmouth and Cromer, it offers the idyllic seaside break if you’re holidaying in Norfolk. Calmed with man-made defence reefs, the safe waters are perfect for children, and you’ll love soaking up the gorgeous countryside views from the soft sands. Just a 25 minute drive from both Summerfields and California Cliffs, Sea Palling offers the complete seaside experience with amusements, cafes and pubs set just off the beach.
Video courtesy of Broadland Computers Ltd.
5. Trecco Bay, Wales
We’re delighted to share that another Parkdean Resorts favourite has made the Blue Flag beach list in 2021. Nestled in the seaside town of Porthcawl in South Wales and right on the doorstep of Trecco Bay Holiday Park, it’s the perfect spot from which to explore the low limestone headland and sandy beach. Ideal for families, Trecco has lifeguard service in the summer months, meaning you can rest easy and let the kids make the most of the incredible Welsh coastline.
6. Scarborough North Bay, Yorkshire
If you’re staying at Cayton Bay Holiday Park this summer, head north along the coastline and you’ll find the thriving seaside resort of Scarborough just a 10 minute drive away. Boasting the impressive ruin of Scarborough Castle as its backdrop, the North Bay claimed its Blue Flag status this year and is less commercialised than its South Bay counterpart. Backed by sea defences and a rocky outcrop, the excellent quality sand and clean waters mean the beach is popular with young families and surfers alike.
7. Westward Ho!, Devon
The quirkily named Devon seaside town, Westward Ho! is next on our list of 2021 Blue Flag beaches. Backed by a pebbled ridge, the vast sandy beach stretches two miles north of the town of the same name. Whilst popular with tourists, Westward Ho! rarely feels crowded due to the size of the beach and it’s a fantastic spot for taking to the waves for surfing and other water sports. Visitors to Bideford Bay Holiday Park can reach Westward Ho! in just 15 minutes.
8. Central Beach, Skegness
The popular seaside holiday destination of Skegness is buzzing with activities for the whole family, from amusement arcades to delicious fish and chips by the sea. Thrill-seekers will love Pleasure Beach Fairground, which is home to rides for all ages, but if you’re not an adrenaline junkie then don’t worry - there’s a massive amusement arcade, adventure golf and even 10-pin bowling! Holidaymakers visiting Southview can pop to Skegness in less than 10 minutes by car, making the Central Beach a fantastic day out you’ll want to relive time and time again.
Video courtesy of Kevin Williamson
9. Tynemouth Long Sands & King Edward’s Bay, North Tyneside
Moving back up north to the award-winning North East coastline, the next Blue Flag beaches on our list are just 10 minutes’ drive from Whitley Bay Holiday Park. A popular surfing spot, Longsands is a stunning expanse of golden sands that attracts tourists and locals all year round. Home to on-beach cafés and within walking distance from the Blue Reef Aquarium, Longsands is ideal for a family day out. With ramps on either side of the beach, it also has great access facilities, making it the perfect spot for a summer day trip.
King Edward’s Bay sits a short distance south of Longsands. The stunning 300-metre bay is overlooked by Tynemouth Priory and Castle, which boasts over 2,000 years of history.
Video courtesy of kingsimz
10. Walton on the Naze Albion Beach, Essex
A mere half a mile away from Naze Marine Holiday Park, you couldn’t be better positioned for visiting the fantastic Blue Flag beach at Walton on the Naze. Surrounded by beautiful cliffs and home to the second longest pier in Britain, this stretch of sandy beach is popular with families due to the safe waters and abundance of nearby facilities and amusements. Offering a seasonal lifeguard service, the beach also benefits from the perfect sand consistency for building sandcastles, so the kids are guaranteed to love it!
11. Sandown Beach, Isle of Wight
Hopping across to the Isle of Wight for your next UK staycation? Sandown Beach is within close proximity to all four of our holiday parks and is one of the most recognised beaches on the island. It brings all that you could want from a traditional bucket and spade holiday, featuring the popular pier lined with beach cafés, amusements and souvenir shops galore. The beach itself provides miles of golden sand with deckchairs and windbreaks available for hire, plus there’s a lifeguard service during peak season.
Video courtesy of Paul Elkins
12. Canford Cliffs Beach, Dorset
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to Blue Flag beaches in Poole, however, Canford Cliffs is one of our favourites if it’s peace and quiet you’re looking for. Just under a half an hour drive from Sandford Holiday Park, this beautifully broad, sandy beach is accessed via a steep ascent down the Chine, but is well worth the climb. Lined with beach huts, the sand is fairly flat which makes it perfect for beach games and building sandcastles, plus the gentle, clear water makes the sea very safe for swimming.
Video courtesy of MAAF_xCapture
England's Blue Flag Beaches in 2021
Central Beach, Mablethorpe
Central Beach, Skegness
Central Beach, Sutton on Sea
|East of England|
East Beach Shoeburyness
Felixstowe South & Pier
Three Shells Beach
Walton on the Naze Albion Beach
King Edward's Bay
Saltburn by the Sea
|Yorkshire & Humber|
Scarborough North Bay
Hayling Island Beachlands
Margate Main Sands
Marina St Leonards
West Wittering Beach
Bournemouth Manor Steps
Poole, Branksome Chine
Poole, Canford Cliffs
Poole, Sandbanks Peninsular
Poole, Shore Road
Torre Abbey Sands