The Good Beach Guide will help you find the best UK beaches. From sandy beaches to pebbly beaches, our Guide includes popular destinations as well as hidden gems. Find out where the lifeguarded beaches and dog friendly beaches are, get the latest weather and tide forecasts and see what wildlife has been spotted at the coast. If you’re going for a swim we have daily pollution updates and recommend you choose a beach which has excellent or good water quality.
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This year sees some really big changes in the way our bathing waters are rated. After summer 2015, beaches will be classified with new standards using water samples collected during the bathing season (May/June - September) and the three previous summers. It’s a bit complicated so click here if you want the detail.
On each beach you search for you'll find the latest sea water quality information, so you can decide whether to paddle, swim, snorkel or surf. At tested beaches you'll find 2014's bathing water results, and a projection of how the beach would have been rated last year if the new standards had been used. At some beaches you'll also find links to real time daily pollution forecasts for 2015 where these are available.
In England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland a bathing water is defined as a beach (or inland site) used by a large number of bathers. It’s likely to be popular, well-used, where bathing is promoted or associated facilities are provided.
Beaches in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man are not covered by the EU Bathing Waters Directive but they have chosen to monitor some of their popular beaches using the same standards. The Isle of Man Government has not confirmed whether it will adopt the new bathing water standards for the end of 2015.
Find out more about designated bathing waters
UK beaches and seas are home to thousands of marine
wildlife species. They live buried in the sand, hidden in rockpools,
clinging to the rocks, lurking in the shallows or can be seen further
out to sea.
There’s so much to explore – check out our UK seas pages to see what’s living in, on and under the sea.
If you spot jellyfish, basking sharks or sea turtles, then let us know.
To make sure we can all enjoy our fantastic marine life and amazing habitats for generations to come, find out why marine protected areas are so important.
In 2015 we've already had a barrel load of barrel jellyfish sightings! Reports have been coming in from Devon and Cornwall since the end of March - with large numbers appearing recently off Teignmouth in Devon, and Penzance and Newquay in Cornwall. If you're heading to the beach, make sure you keep your eyes peeled and, if you see any, report them here.
Litter on our beaches is unsightly. It's no pleasure if you have to pick your way through plastic bottles, condoms, cotton bud sticks and polystyrene food containers before you go for a paddle. But rubbish on our beaches is also a hazard for wildlife with hundreds of species accidentally eating litter or becoming entangled in it.
MCS runs regular beach cleans all over the UK covering much of the
coastline. The results are used to campaign to stop litter getting into the sea in the first place.
The Good Beach Guide is put together by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) – the UK’s leading marine charity.
The guide highlights the issue of pollution in bathing waters and has enabled us to campaign for more investment by water companies in improved sewage treatment and better monitoring of waste water overflowing on to beaches.
Our work to ensure all of the UK’s bathing waters are as pollution-free
as they can be, continues.
If you love getting in the sea – please support us.
The Good Beach Guide is a free service, but a donation
means we can keep the site running.
This website recieves well over 700,000 visits per year, providing valuable advice on water quality and beach facilities.
We put pressure on water companies to invest in better systems to stop sewage polluting our seas
We're making sure there's a proper network of marine protected areas around the UK, so the wildlife off your favourite bit of coastline can thrive.
Read our fish advice on fishonline.org, with our mobile app and with the handy Good Fish Guide download.
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