Top rated seaside escapes for this summer

With summer approaching, those looking for an escape to the seaside may well be looking for ideas beyond those most well-known and heavily travelled. A recent survey by Which? rated the best seaside destinations for a holiday this year, with plenty of inspiration to choose from and Bamburgh in Northumberland topping the lot for the third year running.

The small Northumberland village, known for its beautiful sandy shoreline and imposing castle ruins, was rated highest amongst more than 3,000 surveyed for its beach, drink, accommodation, scenery and value. Dartmouth in Devon came second, while Portstewart in County Derry, Northern Ireland was third.

Wales’ highest ranked seaside destination was the impressive Portmeirion west of Snowdonia, while St Andrews in Fife was the most approved of Scottish seaside town.

Rory Boland, editor of magazine Which? Travel, said: ‘Few countries can be home to such a diversity of brilliant seaside breaks. Whether you want world-class beaches and utter wilderness, or the bright lights and bucket and spade atmosphere of a resort, the UK has a seaside break made for you. What our survey shows is that it’s rarely the most famous destinations that visitors enjoy most.’

He added, ‘Try somewhere new this year and our survey shows you should find fewer crowds and better value.’

Monarch announces last minute package deals to Europe’s best beaches

Monarch, an UK-based travel and holiday company, has announced package deals from major UK airports to a number of top Spanish beach destinations for holidaymakers and families looking for a summer holiday.

The announcement comes after a Twitter poll by Monarch revealed that Spanish beaches were rated as the best beaches in Europe. Nearly 35 percent of voters said that Spanish beaches were the finest in Europe – more attractive than the sandy shores of Portugal and Greece. The Twitter poll was conducted with 1,145 Monarch followers this month.

Monarch’s last minute package deals start from £495 per person for seven night holidays and £209 per person for two-night holidays, available for travel later this month and early September. The UK-based holiday company is offering:

A seven night holiday to Costa del Sol with rates starting from £545 per person with return flights and seven nights half board accommodation based on two adults sharing a twin or double room. The flight will depart Manchester on August 30 with stay arranged at the four star Almunecar Playa Spa Hotel.

A seven night package deal to Costa Almeria from £385 per person with return flights and seven nights bed and breakfast accommodation based on two adults sharing a double room. Flights will depart Manchester on August 29, with stay at the four star Cabo de Gata Hotel.

A seven night holiday to Lanzarote from £535 per person with return flights and seven nights half board accommodation based on two adults sharing a twin room. The flight will depart London Gatwick on September 25 with stay at the four star VIK Hotel San Antonio.

A seven night holiday at Tenerife from £529 per person with return flights and seven nights half board accommodation based on two adults sharing a twin room. The flight will depart Manchester on September 6, with stay arranged at the four-star Tigotan Hotel.

A six night holiday to Majorca from £655 per person with return flights and six nights half board accommodation based on two adults and two children sharing a suite. The flight will depart London Gatwick on August 23 with accomodation arranged at four-star Puerto Azul Suite Hotel.

A two night holiday to Valencia from £209 per person with return flights and two-nights bed and breakfast accommodation based on two adults sharing a twin or double room. Flights will depart Birmingham on August 24 with stay arranged at the four star SH Florazar Hotel.

In addition, Monarch is offering thousands of seats at £30, to a selection of sun and city break destinations. £30 flights include a number of Spanish destinations in Majorca and Alicante, the airline added.

UK beaches achieve cleanliness record

A record number of the UK’s beaches have been recommended as having excellent water quality in the latest Good Beach Guide compiled by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and released yesterday.

The consistently high water quality of hundreds of British beaches tested for the report is thought to be due partly to last year’s very dry summer, with the lack of rain reducing the amount of pollution washed down on to the shore. This meant that of 734 beaches tested during last summer, 538 (73 percent) were deemed to have excellent water, 135 more than the previous year. Only 14 of the beaches tested last summer failed to reach the minimum water quality standards, and North East and South East England, Scotland and Northern Ireland had no failures at all.

109 of 152 Welsh beaches tested, or 71.7 percent, had excellent water quality, which was an improvement of 11 beaches on the previous year’s figure. Four Welsh beaches failed to meet the minimum requirement, one less than last year.

In Scotland, 54 of 95 beaches tested (56.8 percent) were given an excellent water quality rating, which was 12 more than last year, and with no failures, all of Scotland’s beaches achieved minimum bathing water standards.

MCS Coastal Pollution Officer, Rachel Wyatt, said on the organisation’s website that she hopes the latest figures will be a boost to UK tourism after several previously wet summers led to a drop in bathing water quality from pollution running into the sea from rural and urban areas and overloaded sewers.

She added, ‘It’s great news that we are able to recommend more beaches than ever for excellent water quality and it shows just how good British beaches can be. The main challenge now is maintaining these standards, whatever the weather.’

By the end of the 2015 bathing season, all designated bathing waters must meet the new minimum ‘Sufficient’ standard due to the revised EU Bathing Water Directive. Beaches that do not meet the ‘Sufficient’ standard at the end of 2015 will have to display signs warning against bathing in the sea from the start of the bathing season in 2016.

For the full MCS report visit


Wristband Warning for Sunburn Victims

A consortium of experts from Scotland and Sweden claims to have struck a blow against one of the biggest drawbacks to visiting sunny foreign climes, sunburn.

Every year, thousands of poorly prepared holidaymakers succumb to the painful and potentially dangerous effects of soaking up too much sun, not only abroad, but also on those rare sunny intervals in the UK. Now, researchers from the University of Strathclyde, in Scotland, have teamed up with Swedish organisation, Intellego Technologies, to create a wristband that warns sunbathers when they are about to enter the danger zone.

The paper wrist monitor changes colour when exposed to varying amounts of Ultra-Violet radiation, the harmful content of light beams emitted by the sun’s rays. In prolonged sunlight, the narrow band changes from its yellow starting colour, to pink, alerting the wearer that they should consider covering up or taking shelter. The developers of the band are confident that its sensitivity to UV radiation can be tweaked so that they can produce different bands for different skin types.

According to reports, the inventors believe that as their band is disposable after use, they would be unlikely to market it for more than £0.10.

Reported in the Daily Mail, Claes Lindahl, the founder of Intellego Technologie, said, ‘We are very excited about the UV dosimeter technology and we look forward to developing it further and commercialising it. There is a substantial need out in the market for a functional UV dosimeter and we look forward to continuing the process.’

British Travellers Searching for Beach Holidays for August Bank Holiday

Beach breaks are proving to be popular for the August Bank Holiday, which takes place over the weekend of August 25, 26 and 27.

Cheapflights, a UK-based online travel company, has reported an increase in searches for seaside holidays for the August Bank holidays this summer, compared to previous years.

The company has reported that around twice the number of people have searched for flights to overseas beach resorts for the bank holiday weekend, compared to the same time last year, while around five times more people are searching for flights for the August bank holiday than for the weekend of August 11 to 12, this year.

Oonagh Shiel, the travel expert at Cheapflights, said, ‘After a washout summer, the demand for Bank Holiday escapes are even higher. We’ve seen a surge in searches for post-Olympics holidays as Brits rush for their last chance to enjoy some sun and sand.’

The 10 most popular destinations, in terms of flight searches, for the upcoming August bank holiday weekend are: Palma, Malaga, Alicante, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris, Dalaman, Faro, Ibiza and Edinburgh, proving that city breaks are almost as popular as beach holidays.

Return flight fares commence from £59 per person for destinations in the UK, and from £101 per person for destinations in Europe.

M&S Money has also commented on the increased trend for British holidaymakers to search for overseas beach holidays. The M&S Money research has shown that taking a beach break overseas is a better option financially, than staying in London, with holiday makers finding themselves around 25 percent better off when going abroad than holidaying in the UK.

Montreal’s no-swim beach becoming popular

Launched on June 14 this year, the new Clock Tower Beach, a ‘no-swim’ beach in Montreal, has been attracting large numbers of visitors.

A beach that does not allow swimming sounds like a strange concept, but people are believed to be visiting the attraction to escape the buzz of the city. Those that visit the white sand beach can sit back and pick out city landmarks and watch the activity on the St. Lawrence River. Visitors can see the old Molson brewery, the steel trusses of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, and La Ronde, the city’s offshore amusement park, against the city skyline.

Authorities have banned swimming at the beach because of the strong currents on the lake. Sunbathers can however have access to refreshing mist showers to make up for not having access to the water. The beach does also have some safe pools where visitors can paddle in the waters.

The beach is located on a quay at the city’s Old Port, and the destination was named after the giant clock tower that stands at the water’s edge. There is also an adjacent marina that houses a few motorboats and yachts.

Visitors that visit the beach can take walks on the boardwalk or visit Old Montreal, which is a shopping treat for foodies, art experts and curio hunters. Other attractions include boat cruises, caleche rides, a child-friendly science centre, and a Cirque du soleil performance.

The beach also has a refreshment stand in the evening, and is open every day until September 2, between 10.30am and 7.30pm.


The Bourne-Cation

A rise of Brits ‘staycationing’ has been seen inrecent years, and shows no signs of abating, mainly due to uncertainty in the jobs market and the cost of living increasing.

Recent polls in the national media also rate Bournemouth beach as number 1 in the UK.

That’s one good reason for staying, and with the number of exciting events in the calender this year Brits staying for the summer holidays in the UK is likely to increase further. the summer months will include; the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, followed by the Olympics then the Paralympics.

Britons still want – and need – their holidays whether overseas or in theUKand where better to go than to theSouthCoast?  With the plethora of events across the area throughout the year and many beautiful places of interest to visit, Bournemouth and Poole are hard to beat and with its own micro-climate benefit from theUK’s best weather.

Value for money is important, but so is experience.  Bournecoast has been established for over 50 years and is still family run to this day.  It prides itself in providing quality properties with properties holding the Bournemouth Quality Standards awards.  For more information, visit

Bournemouth is UK’s best beach destination

The winners of TripAdvisors second annual Travellers’ Choice Beach Destinations awards have been revealed. Bournemouth was crowned the UK’s best beach destination and was the only UK finalist in the European top 10, where it took fourth place, beating every beach destination in Italy, France, Portugal and more.

Jersey’s St. Brelades was named the UK’s second best beach destination while Devon’s Woolacombe took third place.

“These awards recognise the UK’s and Europe’s best beach destinations, according to those that really matter – travellers themselves,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “Bournemouth has long been a popular seaside resort and recent investment in the area has clearly paid off – not only has it been named the UK’s best beach destination, up from third place last year, but it’s also ranked ahead of almost every Mediterranean beach destination.”

Bournemouth takes top spot

Following its third-place finish in 2011, Bournemouth rose through the ranks to be named the UK’s best beach destination this year.  It was joined by two other Dorset destinations: Weymouth in 8th place and Swanage in 9th.

Bournemouth is currently undergoing significant improvement with some £11 million recently injected into the seafront at Boscombe. The area has seen the addition of new designer beach ‘pods’, water sports academies, and new bars and restaurants sitting alongside a newly refurbished pier.

Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, commented: “Those that live in Bournemouth have long known what a great town it is, but for it to be recognised by TripAdvisor’s travellers as the UK’s best beach destination really is a tremendous honour for the area.”

Cornwall claims almost half of the top ten spots

Home to three of last year’s winners, Cornwall triumphed again claiming four of the UK’s ten best beach destinations: St. Ives in 4th place, Newquay in 6th, Bude in 7th and Padstow in 10th.

Malcolm Bell, head of tourism, VisitCornwall, commented: “Cornwall is an iconic destination where our fantastic beaches are one, if not the major draw, be that to swim, surf, walk on or dine beside.”

Award winners were determined based on the most highly rated beach destinations by travellers in TripAdvisor reviews. Unlike any other honours, TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice winners are based on millions of valuable reviews and opinions from travellers around the world.

For the complete 2012 Travellers’ Choice Beach Destinations winners and more reviews, opinions and candid holiday photographs, go to


Swim ban lifted from world’s best beach

“A return to normality,” for many tourists who enjoy the world famous beach on the island of Praslin, after the swim ban was lifted last week.

Voted year after year as the World’s Best Beach, Praslin, the tourist Mecca of the Seychelles, has seen the introduction of lifeguards on its beach at Anse Lazio, following the freak shark attacks mid-last year.

Experts from South Africa have been assisting the Seychelles government with a long list of what to do, which the authorities have been following as they prepared to reopen the beach.

The popular Anse Lazio Beach is popular with tourists and locals, and it remains an idyllic setting for romantic swims or just admiring the beauty that still exists in this era when the world is being overtaken by development.

Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, was on the island of Praslin after the swim ban was lifted, and after enjoying a swim with hoteliers of the island, he met with the press for an interview right on the beach itself. “As a country, we worked hard to ensure that recommendations made by South African experts were looked at. We sought more help from Australia in the field of training for our life guards. Today, we feel satisfied that we are ready to reopen the beach, which is adequately manned by Seychellois life guards,” Alain St.Ange said.

Seychelles is known as a year-round tourist destination, as it does not have winter. The country has clean and clear white sandy beaches that are lapped by the clean and clear turquoise blue seas. This is why tourists continue to flock to this mid-ocean group of islands that offers both granitic and flat coral islands. Tourism remains the pillar of the Seychelles economy.

Heading to the beach?

The Environment Agency is encouraging beach-goers to check the water quality of their favourite swimming spots before taking the plunge as the school summer holidays start.

There is now more information than ever before to help the public decide where, and when, to swim.

The Environment Agency has published detailed profiles on the cleanliness of some 500 bathing water sites across England and Wales.

Detailed information about each beach can be seen online and include maps, photos and links to the latest water quality results. These profiles were created to help the public make more informed choices about the best locations to visit and enjoy.

* Bathing water profiles

Record number of beaches meet highest standards

Last year, a record number of beaches and inland bathing waters in England and Wales reached the highest European standards in water quality. Over eight in ten beaches met the EU “guideline” standard across England and Wales – compared to just three in ten in 1990.

However, there is more work to do to drive further improvements in water quality. The Environment Agency is working hard with others to identify and tackle sources of pollution at all bathing sites.

Christine Tuckett, Environment Agency Head of Bathing Water, said:

“These profiles provide the most comprehensive information yet on the cleanliness of bathing waters, helping the public to make more informed choices about the best locations to bathe.

“A record number of beaches reached the highest European standards last year but we are not complacent. The Environment Agency is working hard to tackle all sources of pollution, alongside beach users, local authorities, farmers and water companies.”

In addition to the extensive information available in the profiles, the Environment Agency is supporting water companies, local authorities and Surfers Against Sewage in trialling a “real-time” warning service to alert when Combined Sewer Overflows discharge at certain locations.

Andy Cummins, Campaigns Director for Surfers Against Sewage, commented:

“The bathing water profiles are a significant step forward in the provision of public information about important coastal environments. Beach lovers, including many SAS members, can learn about the environmental impacts on their coast.

“The launch of SAS’s Sewage Alert Service finally makes available to the public the real time facts about sewage pollution at over 50 well used beaches nationwide. Providing this vital information will help all beach goers both avoid the potential health risks of sewage contaminated waters and reassure them of water quality.”