Britain’s Best Beaches

Following Trip Advisors Best Beaches announcement here is how Britain featured in their traveller’s eyes.  We only managed to feature once in the Top 25 in the World and that was at No13 which maybe explains why there were no others.  The beach is Woolacombe Sands which I was fortunate enough to photograph last year.  As well as its world standing it was also No1 in Britain and No4 in Europe.  What a great achievement and hopefully the photo below shows why.
 
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Woolacombe is a seaside resort on the coast of North Devon, which lies at the mouth of a valley (or ‘combe’) in the parish of Mortehoe.  The beach is 3 miles long, sandy, gently sloping and faces the Atlantic Ocean near the western limit of the Bristol Channel.  It was also voted “Britain’s Best Beach” in the “Coast Magazine Awards 2012”
 
The other placing in Europe was from Wales at No11 and that is Rhossili Bay which was also placed at No3 in Britain.  One of the most dramatic bays in Europe, three-mile wide Rhossili Bay presents a staggering view across the adjacent clifftops which rise above 200 feet.  The dramatic #hillside setting of Rhossili Down rises to 600 feet above the sweeping bay.
 
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Rhossili Bay featured in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, a youth choir began a cappella performances of “Bread of Heaven” live on the beach which was broadcast at the Olympic Stadium.  The bay has been used as the setting of New Earth in the sci-fi show Doctor Who and the bay including the Old Rectory, seen in the distance in the first image, was used in Torchwood: Miracle Day.  I have visited and photographed many others in the Top Twenty Five in Britain but I only have space for a couple more.
 
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In Scotland at No20 in Britain was Calgary Bay on the north west of the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides.  It is framed by low hills, partly wooded.  A broad area of #machair (a grassy meadow growing on calcareous sand) lies between the land and the beach.  The name comes from the Gaelic, Cala ghearraidh, meaning Beach of the meadow (pasture). “Cala” is the word specifically used for a hard, sandy beach suitable for landing a boat, which relates plausibly to the location.
 
We started in England so we’ll return there for our last beach but this time to Norfolk and Hunstanton.  At No16 is Hunstanton Beach, an east coast town that faces west and is one of the few places on the east coast in England where the sun can be seen to set over the sea.  Whilst the photo below shows Hunstanton’s famous red and white striped cliffs, it does not show that when the tide retreats it exposes a large sandy beach.
 

Hunstanton Cliffs

 
There are many amazing beaches that I have visited on my travels that surprisingly did not make the “Best” lists but I can’t finish without mentioning two others that did make the Top Twenty Five in Europe.  They are at No8 Weymouth, Dorset and Porthminster, St Ives in Cornwall at No18.  What a great result for Britain with five of the best 20 beaches in Europe – more than Spain, France, Greece or Italy.
 
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