England’s best beaches

Close enough for a day trip, but good enough to stay for a whole week

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Old faithful

Having just picked up its first Blue Flag award (basically the coastal Oscars, covering environment and facilities), Blackpool Beach has proved it’s no longer just a punchline. The only shore to secure the status in the Northwest, it’s not a tranquil minibreak destination, but it does make for serious – and sparkling – seaside fun.

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Writer’s paradise

If you watched the adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None over Christmas, you’ll know the secluded tidal island had to be based on a real place. Enter the art deco Burgh Island Hotel near the little village of Bigbury-on-sea in south Devon, which Christie and Noël Coward both used as a writer’s retreat.

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Through the glen

In legend, Robin Hood’s Bay in the North York Moors National Park is where the socialist robber disbanded a pack of pirates and gave their money back to the poor (we would be quite keen to see a glossy blockbuster about this, TBH). Today, the picturesque fishing village is home to rocks from the Jurassic period and has just scooped one of Keep Britain Tidy’s Seaside Awards.

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No haystacks

If the Isle of Wight is the UK’s version of Ibiza (at least for the duration of the island’s music festival), then the Needles Headland is the quiet and serene side. If you’re not going to the festival in a couple of weeks’ time (9-12 June), relax amid the incredible cliffs. Stay in one of the National Trust’s coastland cottages for the best view.

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Hey Bude

People get very territorial about beach huts, making it hard for non-hut owners to get involved. But now, rejoice! Bude’s Summerleaze shore has brand new, bright and beautiful decked cabins you can hire for the first time this summer. Oh, and we should probably mention that Cornwall is thought to be on the brink of a three-month heatwave. No big deal.

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