As the UK gears up for the summer holidays, our thoughts inevitably turn to long, hot sunny days at the beach, slurping ice cream, munching fish and chips, building sandcastles, and swimming in the sea.
Here in South Devon, our beaches are our pride and joy! But don’t just take our word for it. The Blue Flag awards have just been announced for 2017 and Devon has been awarded a whopping eight Blue Flags, seven of which are here in sunny South Devon. This includes our very own beach at Dawlish Warren.
Here’s an overview of the best Blue Flag beaches in South Devon.
1. Dawlish Warren
We might be biased, but we think our beautiful beach here at Dawlish Warren is seaside heaven! One and a half miles of golden beach stretches along the coast, backed by sand dunes and small lakes.
Our clean, blue waters are perfect for swimming, loved by watersports enthusiasts, and watched over by the eagle eyes of RNLI lifeguards. There are plenty of things to keep you entertained, such as fairground rides, amusements, and Punch and Judy shows, along with a café, shops, and plenty of parking. If you’re seeking nature, the dunes and grasslands are protected areas filled with wild flowers and birds.
In the summer, there are spectacular fireworks displays and free open-air events.
2. Sandy Bay, Exmouth
You probably won’t be surprised to hear Sandy Bay is very sandy indeed! Set against a backdrop of high cliffs, it feels like a secluded bay until the tide goes out and the sand stretches to Exmouth, almost two miles away.
It’s a wonderful beach for rock-pooling, and the sheltered bay ensures safe swimming for all the family. Head west of the beach to go fossil-hunting at Orcombe Rocks.
3. Oddicombe Beach, Torbay
Torbay has not one but three beaches on the Blue Flag list. The beach at Oddicombe Bay is a pretty shingle beach, set against a striking backdrop of red sandstone cliffs. This sheltered beach offers safe swimming, a selection of boat hire including pedalos and kayaks, and the full range of facilities. Head to the top of the cliffs for superb views across the bay.
The beach can be reached on foot or why not take the more relaxing route and enjoy a ride on the famous Babbacome Cliff Railway.
4. Meadfoot Beach, Torbay
Set a short distance from the main bustle of Torbay, Meadfoot Beach is small but perfectly formed. This peaceful beach is a mixture of sand, shingle and rocks, with a split-level prom that backs onto a tree-covered hillside. The sandy end of the beach has a line of beach huts, and you can hire deckchairs for a true British seaside feel.
5. Breakwater Beach, Torbay
Breakwater Beach is a small shingle beach set against the curving Brixham harbour breakwater. One of the cleanest beaches in the area, the warm, calm waters are popular with scuba divers and there are a number of dive schools in the area where you can get your open water certificate. Close to Breakwater Beach is Shoalstone Outdoor Pool , a seawater lido which is open to the public from May to September.
6. Blackpool Sands
Blackpool Sands is a fine-shingle beach in a stunning location backed by pine trees, giving visitors a whiff of the Mediterranean. A privately managed beach, there’s a café serving delicious, local, organic food and you can hire kayaks, canoes, diving and snorkelling equipment, and wet suits. Don’t be put off by the lack of sand – there are sand pits so little ones can get their sandcastle fix!
Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Challaborough Beach is a horseshoe-shaped cove with fantastic rock pools at low tide. It’s a popular beach with surfers and bodyboarders, and frequented by divers who love exploring the wrecks along this stretch of coastline. There’s a café and beach shop, and some glorious walks along the hilly coastal path.
Please note that information is correct as of 20/6/17.