2021's Blue Flag beaches in Essex

Blue Flag beaches in Essex: Brightlingsea beach and beach huts

Brightlingsea beach and beach huts - Credit: Phil Hearing from Unsplash

Essex has plenty of beaches to choose from, but Blue Flag beaches meet the highest environmental standards and tough international bathing water quality standards, meaning they are clean and safe! 

Three Shells Beach, Southend on Sea
Blue Flag season
May 15-Sept 30

Three Shells Beach, to the west of the Pier, is a compact, sandy beach ideal for swimming and paddling. The local authority valets the beach daily, and there are toilets, a shower, a kiosk and play equipment. The beach is also disabled friendly. A tidal lagoon, which slopes gently from the beach to a depth of 1.2, offers paddling and swimming at all times of the tide. The town centre is just a few minutes' walk away and the nearest railway station, Southend Central, is just a 10-minute walk away. 

Thorpe Bay, near Southend
Blue Flag season
May 15-Sept 30

This sand-and-pebble beach has spectacular views of the Thames Estuary, some pretty beach huts and lots of boats bobbing around serenely in the waters nearby. Thorpe Bay, accessed via Southend on Sea Eastern Esplanade, also has one of the best records for sunshine in the UK. It's popular with swimmers, walkers and those looking to enjoy the natural elements of the coast, and nearby Southend offers all the facilities and amenities expected of a large coastal town while retaining a relaxed charm. There is also 

Shoebury Common Beach, Shoeburyness
Blue Flag season
May 15-Sept 30

Shoebury Common beach is a popular shingle beach about three miles from Southend centre. It has adjacent car parking - making it easy to unpack your picnic box and all the kids' paraphernalia from the boot - an on-site cafe, grassy hinterland, launching facilities for personal watercraft, and excellent views of the busy Thames estuary. The beach, found via Southend on Sea Eastern Esplanade and Thorpe Bay, is also disabled friendly.

East Beach, Shoeburyness
Blue Flag season
May 15-Sept 30

Shoebury East beach is a sandy-rocky beach just a five-minute walk from the railway station. To find it, turn into George Street from Shoeburyness Town Centre and follow the signs to East Beach. The beach has adjacent car parking, a kiosk, grassy hinterland, launching facilities for personal watercraft and excellent views of the Thames estuary. It's also disabled friendly. If you're up for a stroll, head around the corner to Shoebury Common Beach past a number of military emplacements including Gogs Berth and an anti-submarine boom. 

Brightlingsea Beach
Blue Flag season
May 15-Sept 1

It's not a large beach, but what its lack in size it makes up for with its relative tranquillity and photo opps. The sandy beach runs along the Western Promenade next to Batemans Tower, a historic local landmark, and a parade of beach huts line the waterside walk. There are also views over to Mersea Island and the Colne Estuary and you can join the nature trail along the old railway line to Alresford Creek. Brightlingsea is a haven for yachting and hosts international sailing events annually. A range of sports and leisure activities are available along the promenade and you can also take a pleasure cruise on a sailing barge.

Walton on the Naze Albion Beach
Blue Flag season
May 15-Sept 1

Twitchers and history lovers should head for the beautiful Naze cliffs, located just North of Walton on the Naze. The nature reserve is perfect for walking and bird watching, and dotted along the beach are WWII pillboxes and gun placements. The historic, 86ft Naze Tower is home to an art gallery, tea room and museum, and at the top is a viewing platform offering spectacular panoramic views. The beach is rocky and sandy, there's a kiosk and there's also disabled access to the water.

Dovercourt Bay
Blue Flag season
May 15-Sept 1

Dovercourt is a peaceful family resort with gentle shelving sand and shingle beaches and interesting sights from its industrial past, such as the landmark 'leading lights' - two cast iron lighthouses from the 1800s. The resort has great views of Harwich, the port of Felixstowe and Hamford Water National Nature Reserve, and you can also enjoy a stroll around the narrow streets in the historic old town of Harwich, or walk along the seawall to the nature reserve with its resident seals. The promenade offers plenty of family activities including a model yacht pond, boating lake and skate park, and there's disabled access to the water.

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