Best beaches in England: 56 beaches get 2014 Blue Flag award

Ruth Doherty

More than 50 beaches in England have met new EU standards to receive Blue Flag awards recognising high standards and water quality.

Keep Britain Tidy has announced the winners of its 2014 Blue Flag and Seaside Awards and, in total, 168 awards have been won by beaches around the country, with 56 beaches gaining the Blue Flag and 112 picking up the Seaside Award.

For many people going to the beach also means a dip in the sea. The water quality at all award winning beaches meets the required European Union standards, with the water quality at Blue Flag beaches subject to even tougher tests under the new EU Bathing Waters Directive.

Thanet in Kent has claimed the title for the most Blue Flag beaches with seven, including Margate Sands, closely followed by Poole, Torbay, Bournemouth and Isle of Wight which have four each. Joining them on four this year, from three in 2013, are North Norfolk and Tendring.

The Isle of Wight boasts the highest number of flags in total with four Blue Flags and 13 Seaside Awards.

Westward Ho! beach in North Devon was awarded a Blue Flag for an impressive 10th year in a row.

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, which guarantees the public the best facilities and the cleanest beaches this summer.

"We know that for many holidaymakers and daytrippers clean, safe beaches, with good water quality and facilities are important factors in deciding which beach to visit and the continuing quality of management at these beaches is a real testament to the dedication, hard work and investment that local authorities and other beach managers put in year after year.

"The sight of the Blue Flag or Seaside Award flying gives visitors the reassurance that they'll have a great time."

Click here to see the full list of 2014 Blue Flag and Seaside Award Winners.

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