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Britain's best beaches

by Maxine Clarke




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Candy floss to cliff tops

[July 2008]

Enjoying some beautiful balmy summer weather at last, many Brits will be planning a trip to the beach. But before you get your flip flops on, it's worth doing a bit of research so that you choose the right seaside experience for you.

The British coast isn't just about ice cream and amusement arcades, we've got stunning natural scenery to rival the best the rest of the world can offer.

Whether you're looking for a gentle summer stroll along a pretty stretch of sand, a family day out complete with fish, chips, buckets and spades or a wild walk along a rugged cliff top track, it's close to home.

In order to recognise the variety of beach experience available in England, the Quality Coast Awards were launched in 2007. Quality Coast Award winners must pass a strict selection criteria which includes access, cleanliness, safety and facilities for its type of beach. These awards cover isolated coastal destinations, natural expanses of golden sand and romantic hideaways as well as traditional seaside resorts.

To help beach lovers locate the perfect spot, the Quality Coast Awards website features a search facility. Users can select region, whether or not they are going into the water, their preferred beach surface and if they are bringing a dog. A selection of suitable beaches will then appear. Every entry has a profile covering the beach itself, the surrounding area and nearby attractions.

For those looking for solitude, Yorkshire's beaches - including South Landing and Cayton Bay - come top in the North. Central England offers Cleethorpes Humberston Fitties Beach in Lincolnshire. In the South, Norman's Bay, East Sussex; Coryton Cove, Devon; and the Isle of Wight including Totland all provide retreat.

If you fancy dipping your big toe then try Tynemouth Long Sands South, North Tyneside; Central Beach, Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire; Croyde Bay, Devon; one of the Isle of Wight's many beaches; or Camber in East Sussex.

Children will enjoy good old fashioned family fun at Scarborough South Bay, North Yorkshire; Viking Bay, Broadstairs in Kent; Clacton on Sea, Essex; Burnham on Sea, Somerset; and Worthing, West Sussex.

For the best seaside strolls, Cooden Beach, East Sussex; Southwold Denes, Suffolk; Ainsdale, Lancashire; and Barmston, East Yorkshire can't be beaten.

The 8,000 miles of British coastline also includes the stunning beaches of Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Nairn Central Beach, Scotland, Benllech Beach, Wales and the Dingle Peninsula, South West Ireland are all outstanding natural beauties.

Visit Britain and Enjoy England have comprehensive guides and suggestions for great days out at the beach. So you've got no excuse - get the wind in your hair and sand in your toes and rediscover the great British seaside.

by Maxine Clarke