The Blue Flag Award lists over 199 excellent beaches in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, honoured for their high environmental standards, facilities and water quality. The Seaside Awards also celebrate the diversity and quality of the UK’s coastline.
East Jordeston Cottages, Pembrokeshire
Located near the seaside town of Tenby, East Jordeston Cottages are ideally located for exploring the many delights of Pembrokeshire and its National Park. These stylish properties are just four miles from the coast and Tenby’s Blue Flag beaches.
Tenby Castle Beach joins up with the mile and a half Tenby South Beach at low tide and is accessed via the town’s sheltered harbour. Scenic steps lead down from the esplanade to the huge stretch of clean golden sand, which looks out to Caldey Island. Another glorious sheltered sandy beach is Tenby North Beach with the much photographed Goscar Rock rising from its centre. Tenby is definitely worthy of its 3 Blue Flag Beach awards.
East Jordeston has nine cottages, which sleep between four and eight guests. Dolmenyn, which accommodates four, is available for a week’s stay from £590. Alternatively, a three-night short break in the property starts from £413. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01834 871627)
Field House Farm Cottages, Yorkshire
Guests at the award winning Field House Farm Holiday Cottages are spoilt for choice when it comes to Blue Flag beaches.
Located close to the Yorkshire Heritage Coast the cottages are within easy reach of Flamborough Head with its many sandy coves, rock pools and caves. Other local gems are Bridlington’s North and South Bays offering long, sandy beaches and safe bathing. The high chalk cliffs of Flamborough Headland are the nesting site for thousands of seabirds, the only mainland breeding site for gannets in the UK and the spring and summer home to a large puffin colony.
Field House Farm Cottages has six cottages that sleep between two and six guests. The Turnip House, which sleeps two, is available for a week’s stay from £440. Alternatively, a three-night short break in the property starts from £300. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01262 674932)
Rosehill Lodges, Cornwall
Just five minutes walk from the fantastic sandy Blue Flag beach of Porthtowan, Rosehill Lodges are the perfect Cornish retreat. Set within the woodland valley of Porthtowan, the properties are built to the highest environmental standards without compromising style and comfort.
Guests staying here can easily escape the stresses of everyday life while relaxing in the hot-tub, dining al-fresco or star gazing from their lodge’s glass covered decking.
Located within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the award-winning Porthtowan boasts great surfing, soft golden sand, large dunes and dramatic cliffs. At low tide, the neighbouring and equally stunning Chapel Porth beach, is easily accessible from here.
Rosehill has ten lodges, which sleep between four and six guests. Wheal Lydia accommodates four and is available for a week’s stay from £663. Alternatively, a three-night short break in the property starts from £486. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01209 891920)
Heathfield Coach House and Magnolia Cottage, Dorset
Situated in a rural location in the New Forest National Park, Heathfield Coach House and Magnolia Cottage are bursting with character and style.
Located in Holmsley, the properties are well positioned for exploring the beauty of the New Forest, with its country pubs and many activities and within easy reach of the Blue Flag beaches of Southbourne and Bournemouth as well as great coastal walks, sailing and many water sports.
Heathfield Coach House sleeps eight guests. A week’s stay starts from £1450 and a three-night short break from £1160. Alternatively stay at sleeps four, Magnolia Cottage for a week from £1095 and from £876 for three nights. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01425 880009)
Cwm Connell Coastal Cottages, Pembrokeshire
Cwm Connell Coastal Cottages are tucked away in a coastal valley within the spectacular rolling landscape of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. With views over Cardigan Bay and the Preseli hills, the cottages offer a secluded haven of peace and quiet. The properties are within easy reach of the wealth of activities and beautiful Blue Flag beaches that Pembrokeshire has to offer.
Cwm Connell Coastal Cottages is based on the edge of the Pembrokeshire/Ceredigion border offering guests the chance to explore two fabulous counties in Wales. Between them they have eleven stunning Blue Flag beaches. The closest one is Poppet Sand, just a five minute drive from Cwm Connell Cottages.
Cwm Connell Coastal Cottages has six cottages, which sleep between two and six guests. Fron Haul, which sleeps four, is available for a week’s stay from £540. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01239 881691)
Hoste Barn, Norfolk
Hoste Barn is a luxurious 16th century Grade 2 listed thatched threshing barn close to several of Norfolk’s best Blue Flag beaches. The spectacular accommodation boasts plenty of original features including: a dramatic timber roof, a bespoke oak kitchen and luxurious modern fittings.
Overstrand is the nearest Blue Flag beach and is ideal for walking and swimming. It’s beautiful beach with cliffs and a café. It’s quiet and unspoilt and at low tide it’s easy to enjoy a stroll from here to Cromer pier.
Hoste Barn sleeps up to four guests and starts from £821 for a week. Alternatively a three-night break costs from £460. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01692 538224)
Widemouth Bay / Combe Martin: Illfracombe, Devon:
There are over 100 Blue Flag beaches in Devon with a large number located on the North Devon coast. Sandaway Beach Holiday Park is ideally situated within a few miles of five Blue Flag Beaches, including Widemouth Bay. Seaside Award winner Combe Martin, is also just a six minute stroll away. This mostly shingly beach is great for swimming due to its sheltered location. It is surrounded by some of the highest sea cliffs in England. The site itself offers a private stretch of beach within Mermaid’s Cove and offers a number of cosy two bedroom camping pods, featuring one double and one twin room, with a private verandah looking out over the sea. Onsite facilities include a swimming pool, soft play, kids’ club and playground, making it an ideal choice for families.
Price: From £139 for three nights for four people (£12 pppn).Book at Pitchup.com
Whitby Beach, North Yorkshire:
The Sandy beaches of Whitby, on either side of the River Esk are Blue Flag award winning beaches. On the east side is Tate Hill, a sheltered sandy beach that allows dogs year round. On the other side is West Cliff, a larger holiday beach with colourful beach huts and entertainment. Whitby Holiday Park offers cliff top accommodation overlooking Saltwick Bay and just a mile from Whitby Town Centre via the coastal path. It’s also an ideal site from which to explore the Yorkshire Moors. There’s also plenty to do onsite including a games room and playground. Guests can pitch up in their own accommodation or rent a modern two-bedroom static caravan, complete with kitchen and living room.
Price: From £400 for three nights based on four sharing (£33 pppn). Book at pitchup.com
Gwel Y Rhos, Anglesey
Newborough Beach features miles and miles of uninterrupted sand – so it’s never too difficult to find your own private spot – and located just one mile away is the three-bedroom Gwel Y Rhos. This luxurious converted barn sits in a secluded and carefully restored development and is packed full of style and character, combining original features such as timber floors, exposed beams and deep set windows, with plenty of modern furnishings. The open-plan living area features comfortable seating, focused around the log-burning fire, as well as a kitchen equipped with top-of-the-range appliances and large dining table. Picturesque views towards the Menai Strait can be enjoyed from the garden, which provides plenty of space for alfresco dining.
Newborough Beach was awarded a ‘Blue Flag’ award for its cleanliness and clear blue waters, and it has become a very popular spot for a number of watersports, although many people visit simply to walk along the shore and explore the Newborough Forest at the north end of the beach.
Quality Cottages (www.qualitycottages.co.uk; 01348 837 871) offer seven night stays from £530, based on up to six sharing on self-catering basis.
Ty Gwyn Farmhouse, Pembrokeshire
Whitesands is considered one of the best surfing spots in the country and it is a fantastic place to learn how to catch some waves. Sitting 200 yards away and a stone’s throw from the UK’s smallest city, Ty Gwyn Farmhouse has been owned by the same family since the 17th century and local legend has it that Wales’ patron saint himself was educated here in the 6th century. Inside, this property provides a cosy country-style dining room with a Rayburn, comfortable living room with a wood-burner and a well-equipped modern galley kitchen. The enclosed garden overlooks the golden sands of Whitesands Bay out to Ramsey Island and features a play area for little ones.
The beach at Whitesands is almost the most westerly point of Wales, which makes it a great spot to enjoy completely unspoilt sunsets across the Irish Sea. At one end there’s a rocky promontory to climb on, whilst at the quieter south end, there are some nicely sheltered bays.
Quality Cottages (www.qualitycottages.co.uk; 01348 837 871) offer seven night stays from £795, based on up to nine sharing on self-catering basis.
Waun Morfa, Cardigan
Surrounded by five acres of Welsh farmland and within easy reach of three Blue Flag beaches – Llangrannog, Tresaith and Aberporth – Waun Morfa is a great choice for beach lovers. This detached holiday home offers beautiful sea views from the large front lawn, which is fully enclosed and features a terrace ideal for barbeques, as well as a goal net for budding footballers and plenty of space for children to play. There are many country house features present throughout Waun Morfa, such as the log-burning stove and exposed stone walls, but this house also provides a modern kitchen, open-plan living spaces, a cosy lounge and four good-sized bedrooms.
Llangrannog, Tresaith and Aberporth are all within a 20 minute drive of Waun Morfa, as well as Penbryn Sands, which is a National Trust beach. All of them offer wide expanses of golden sand and plenty of opportunities to try out a number of watersports.
Quality Cottages (www.qualitycottages.co.uk; 01348 837 871) offer seven night stays from £470, based on up to seven sharing on self-catering basis.
Bay Retreat Villas, St Merryn
The Blue Flag Trevone Bay is flanked by cliffs either side, which provide fantastic walks and views to Hawkers Cove, the Camel Estuary and beyond. Bay Retreat Villas are just 10 minutes away from this small cove and each property within this modern and stylish development of 28 contemporary holiday villas comes with its own timber decked terrace and private garden. Natural light flows through the open living area, which includes a kitchen equipped with top-of-the-range appliances, dining table and comfortable lounge, thanks to large French doors which lead out the front and back of the property. Guests can enjoy access to tennis courts, shops and a play area within the complex, while the villas offer free wifi, widescreen TV and DVD player.
There are plenty of little sheltered alcoves and rock pools to explore along the golden sands of Trevone Bay and this small cove produces good waves, which make it an ideal spot for surfing and plenty of other watersports. Backing right onto the village of Trevone, there is no shortage of nearby facilities.
Breaks in Cornwall (www.breaksincornwall.com; 01621 787704) offer seven night stays from £500, based on up to six sharing on self-catering basis.