MILLIONS of Brits think UK beaches are among the best in the world – with Bournemouth beach in Dorset voted the nation’s number one.
With the possibility of summer staycations on everyone’s mind for 2021, a survey of 2,000 adults saw three Cornish beaches named in the top 10, including St Ives, Bude and Newquay.
While Devon is home to seven beaches featuring in the top 50, with Woolacombe, Dawlish and Torquay popular sights.
Other popular coasts include Blackpool, Whitby and Brighton.
It also emerged 75 per cent consider the beach or sea to be an iconic British landscape, and a third reckon holidays to the UK’s seaside are underrated.
Sarah Young, head of marine policy at WWF-UK said: “While we wait for travel restrictions to be lifted, there are a number of things we can be doing at home to protect our beautiful coastlines and ensure staycations can be enjoyed for years to come.
"Over the months ahead, Sky Ocean Rescue and WWF will be setting out the actions that we can take as individuals to become ocean heroes, while also encouraging stronger leadership from the UK Government to support vital ocean recovery that’s so urgently needed."
The study also found half of those polled love the beach so much because it makes them feel free, helps them to clear their head and allows them to escape the stresses and strains of everyday life.
Top 50 UK beaches
1. Bournemouth, Dorset
2. St Ives, Cornwall
3. Bude, Cornwall
4. Blackpool Beach
5. Whitby, Yorkshire
6. Brighton, Sussex
7. Newquay, Cornwall
8. Tenby, Pembrokeshire
9. Bognor Regis, West Sussex
10. Filey, North Yorkshire
11. Woolacombe, Devon
12. Weymouth, Dorset
13. Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
14. Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear
15. Scarborough, North Yorkshire
16. Barmouth, Gwynedd
17. Llandudno, Conwy County Borough
18. Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire
19. Shanklin, the Isle of Wight
20. Exmouth, Devon
21. Aberystwyth, Ceredigion
22. Broadstairs, Kent
23. Dawlish, Devon
24. Polzeath, Cornwall
25. Watergate Bay, Cornwall
26. Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire
27. Crosby, Merseyside
28. Sandbanks beach, Dorset
29. Torquay, Devon
30. Eastbourne, East Sussex
31. Skegness, Lincolnshire
32. Camber Sands, East Sussex
33. Ilfracombe, Devon
34. Paignton, Devon
35. Southwold, Suffolk
36. Southend on Sea, Essex
37. Whitstable, Kent
38. Lochinver, Scotland
39. Margate, Kent
40. Salcombe, Devon
41. Pittenweem, Fife
42. Porthmadog, Gwynedd
43. Portree (Skye), Inner Hebrides
44. Portmeirion, Gwynedd
45. Hastings, East Sussex
46. New Brighton, Merseyside
47. Folkestone, Kent
48. Plockton, Ross and Cromarty
49. Gardenstown, Aberdeenshire
50. Stromness, Orkney
Two thirds even feel they have a strong emotional connection to the seaside, with 67 per cent admitting they have missed visiting the nation’s beaches during the pandemic.
For eight in 10, sitting by the ocean is good for their mental wellbeing, with a third wanting to visit the coast to help clear their head and get some peace and quiet.
More than half head to the beach to relax and unwind and 29 per cent see it as a form of escapism, while 51 per cent simply like to take in the scenery.
Others like to feel their sand between their toes (24 per cent) or listen to the crashing waves (44 per cent) as they collect their thoughts.
The study, carried out via OnePoll, also revealed 45 per cent feel trips to the seaside are an important part of British culture, and 87 per cent would be upset if their visits were ruined by environmental factors.
As a result, two thirds are passionate about the care of the ocean and its wildlife and are concerned about climate change and the state of the UK oceans.
But only 23 per cent are fully aware of the role that oceans play in tackling climate change – with one in 10 admitting they were not aware at all.
To help benefit the oceans, 59 per cent have made conscious lifestyle choices – with swapping single use plastics for reusables the top change.
Properly disposing of hazardous materials, choosing fruit and veg with no plastic packaging, using the ability to vote, and eating sustainable seafood also feature on this list.
Sarah Young from WWF-UK added: “The Ocean Hero campaign by Sky Ocean Rescue and WWF is designed to show people that they have the power to make an impact on ocean health and, in doing so, inspire them to advocate for bold action from our government.
"At this critical time for climate and nature, we hope that millions of people will join us to show they care about our oceans and help to turn the tide on ocean recovery.”
To find out more about WWF’s partnership with Sky Ocean Rescue or to join the fight and become an Ocean Hero visit – https://www.wwf.org.uk/ocean-heroes
Ocean Hero at Home Actions
1. Get recycling savvy – check your local council’s recycling guidelines
2. Avoid an extra side of plastic – refuse single use cutlery with your takeaway
3. Liberate your fruit and veg. Go packaging-free
4. Your turn to cook dinner? Why not try a plant-based dish
5. Step into the future by making the switch to renewable energy
6. Get clean with a plastic free routine and cut out unnecessary plastic in your bathroom – (e.g., swap to soap bar)
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