Beaches across England have been recognised for both their cleanliness and the quality of their water, with the Isle of Wight taking home the highest number of Blue Flags and Seaside Awards for 2014.
In total, 168 awards were given to English beaches by Keep Britain Tidy (KBT). Blue Flags were awarded to 56 beaches while 112 picked up the Seaside Award.
The awards recognise "high standards of management, cleanliness and safety", according to KBT. This year the water quality was judged against the EC Bathing Water Directive, which the group said requires meeting “the very highest international standards”.
Thanet in Kent has claimed the title for the most Blue Flag beaches with seven, closely followed by Poole, Torbay, Bournemouth and Isle of Wight which received four each.
In pictures: England's best beaches
In pictures: England's best beaches
1/13 Central Beach, Mablethorpe
Mablethorpe is a small seaside town in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
2/13 Central Beach, Skegness
The first Butlin's holiday resort was opened in Skegness in 1936
3/13 South Claremont Pier
South Claremont Pier's was initially built on wooden piles of pitch pine, until they were eventually replaced by greenheart timber
4/13 Cromer Beach
Cromer beach is known for its Cromer crabs thanks to fishing boats which tend to crab pots in season
5/13 Whitley Bay
Whitley Bay was famous for its permanent seaside fairground, the Spanish City. A fair ground now returns on bank holidays and throughout the summer
6/13 King Edwards Bay
King Edwards Bay is enclosed by grassy verges and cliffs and sits at the bottom of the Tynemouth Priory and Castle
Whitby is popular with tourists and offers views out to the sea and from the pier
8/13 Botany Bay
Botany Bay has been a popular location for films, music videos and adverts
9/13 West Bay
West Bay experienced an increase in tourism after it was featured in the ITV series Broadchurch
10/13 Hayling Island
Hayling Island is an island off the south coast of England
11/13 Blackpool Sands
Blackpool Sands is set in a bay surrounded by evergreens and pines
12/13 Westward Ho!
Westward Ho!'s name comes from the title of Charles Kingsley's novel Westward Ho! (1855), which was set in nearby Bideford
13/13 Carbis Bay
Carbis Bay overlooks the small bay of the same name and is part of St Ives Bay
Richard McIlwain, Programmes Director for the charity Keep Britain Tidy, which is responsible for the Blue Flag and Seaside Awards in England, said: “It’s fantastic news for everyone who loves visiting the seaside that more than 160 awards have been won by beaches, which guarantees the public the best facilities and the cleanest beaches this summer.
“The sight of the Blue Flag or Seaside Award flying gives visitors the reassurance that they’ll have a great time.”
The Blue Flag beaches for 2014 are as follows:
- East Midlands: Mablethorpe Central , Skegness Central, Sutton-on-Sea and Cleethorpes North Promenade
- East of England: Cromer, Sea Palling, Sheringham, Mundesley, Martello Bay in Clacton on Sea, Dovercourt Bay, Brightlingsea, Frinton On Sea, Southwold Pier and South Claremont Pier in Lowestoft
- North East: Tynemouth Longsands, King Edwards Bay, Whitley Bay, Sandhaven
- Yorkshire: North Bay in Scarborough, Whitby and Hornsea
- South East: Littlehampton Coastguards, Tankerton, Hayling Island Beachlands, Sandown, Ventnor, Yaverland, Colwell, Sheerness Beach, Minnis Bay, West Bay, St Mildreds, Westbrook Bay, Botany Bay, Joss Bay, Stone Bay, West Wittering
- South West: Blackpool Sands, Sandbanks, Shore Road, Canford Cliffs and Branksome Chine in Poole, Alum Chine, Durley Chine, Fisherman's Walk and Southbourne in Bournemouth, Carbis Bay, Sandy Bay, Salcombe South Sands, Swanage Central, Dawlish Warren, Breakwater, Broadsands, Meadfoot, Oddicombe and Westward Ho!