Blue Flag 2018 – A guide to Britain’s cleanest beaches

Over 100 beaches in the British Isles have been recognised for their cleanliness, safety, public amenities and quality of water by Keep Britain Tidy in this year’s Blue Flag and Seaside Awards.

A Blue Flag is an internationally recognised symbol given to beaches and marinas for ‘high standards of management, cleanliness and safety’ – an eco badge of honour which any beach can be proud of.

Here’s our guide to the 2018 Blue Flag winners.


The golden sands of Achmelvich Beach
The golden sands of Achmelvich Beach

Scotland too has its fair share of wonderful beaches, many far-flung and so remote you may have the place to yourself. Explore the sheltered sands of Achmelvich Bay and Elie Woodhaven – two of the country’s five recipients, or the Fraserburgh Waters of Philorth Beach.


Tenby South Beach
Tenby South Beach

Wales will also see plenty of Blue Flags snapping in the sea breezes this summer, with an impressive 47 beaches awarded the highest accolade – more per mile than any other stretch of UK coast. Pembrokeshire is most popular with 11 total flags, while Gwynedd has 8 and holiday favourite Tenby has 3 Blue Flag beaches.

South West England

Popular Porthminster in St Ives

If you’re seeking quality and quantity, head to Dorset; the gorgeous south-west county received eight separate awards for its beaches out of England’s total 65.

In fact the south west’s beaches really cleaned up – in more ways than one – with 26 different awards. Cornwall has 8 of these, from the gorgeous golden sands of popular Porthminster Beach in St Ives on the north to the white sands of Gyllyngvase Beach near Falmouth.

Not to be outdone, you will find an additional 8 Blue Flag beaches in Devon, including Dawlish Warren on the south coast which celebrates two decades of award-winning clean beaches.

North West England

Blackpool offers a clean beach break

Blackpool is the go-to destination for those seeking a traditional seaside experience, and for the third year running can boast its Blue Flag status on the resort’s south beach – the only one in the north-west!


Head to Whitby for Yorkshire’s only Blue Flag beach

Similarly, Whitby beach was the only beach in Yorkshire to receive Blue Flag accreditation for its clean sands, waters and safety. It offers plenty of quintessential seaside charm, and is popular with literary lovers due to is appearance in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

South East England

Joss Bay
Four-time winning Joss Bay in Kent

Thanet is the place to go if you’re seeking both quality and quantity. This Kent district received 6 Blue Flag awards for its beaches out of a total of 9 for Kent. Tankerton received Blue Flag status for the first time while Botany Bay, Joss Bay and West Bay are four-time winners.

North East England

Whitley Bay
The Blue Flag beach of Whitley Bay

There are plenty of award-winning family friendly beaches in England’s north east. The twin golden beaches of Roker and Seaburn in Sunderland have been delighting visitors for years. Tynemouth Longsands is a great year-round destination and a popular surf spot. Visit Whitley Bay, King Edwards Bay and Sandhaven Bay to compete the set!

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