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Splash into Summer 2021 with Scotland's Beach Awards

28 May 2021

52 well managed beaches recognised for keeping Scotland beautiful.

Ahead of the late May bank holiday, and forecast heatwave, we've announced Scotland’s Beach Award winners – from bustling city beaches to quieter rural idylls.

With thousands of people across the UK planning to spend summer holidays at home, rediscovering what they have on their doorstep, the good news is that around Scotland’s iconic coastline, from Shetland to the Scottish Borders, there are award beaches to suit everyone.

It is fitting that during the Year of Coasts & Waters 20/21, 52 beaches have been recognised with Scotland’s Beach Award - the only national benchmark for local environmental quality celebrating clean, well-managed and sustainable beaches. All award-winning beaches are assessed annually and must demonstrate excellent beach management and environmental best practice.

The beach awards in numbers:

  • 52 winning beaches
  • Across 11 regions
  • 42 beaches have held an award for ten or more consecutive years, 13 for more than 20 years
  • Gullane Bents and St Andrews West Sands, both of which celebrate 29 consecutive years as award winners.
  • Fife also retains its title as the region with the most awards, home to 15 winning beaches. Aberdeenshire and East Lothian share second place with eight successful award winners each.

Barry Fisher, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said, “As summer approaches we know that people want to reconnect with our country’s beautiful beaches.   Scotland’s Beach Award is the only accreditation for beach management of its kind in Scotland - recognising our fabulous beaches and driving up environmental standards for residents and visitors alike.

“Last year we weren’t able to celebrate the success and hard work of the beach managers, many of whom worked extra-long hours to ensure that their beaches were well managed despite local lockdowns.  But, it’s thanks to the incredible work of those local authorities, charities and communities that we are able to experience these clean beaches with excellent amenities and information about water quality.

“I personally would like to say a massive thank you to them for keeping Scotland’s beaches beautiful and remind everyone who enjoys them to leave only footprints and take their litter home.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Scotland’s diverse coastal scenery, ranging from dramatic cliffs to gleaming white beaches, offers an unparalleled range of experiences, from water sports to whale watching.

“As we celebrate the Year of Coasts and Waters, we reflect on these vital elements of our landscape which are greatly valued by communities and visitors alike. Consumer research shows that now, more than ever, visitors are being drawn to our coastline to improve their wellbeing because of the pandemic.

“Scotland’s Beach Award winners are a sign of the high-quality visitors can experience. To ensure our wonderful beaches are protected for the enjoyment of all, we’d ask everyone to be respectful and responsible when visiting, looking after our natural landscape and leaving no trace of their visit.”

Focusing on local environmental quality, the award is designed to complement the work currently undertaken by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency on bathing water quality. The full criteria can be accessed here.

A map showing all the award-winning beaches with directions, facilities and images can be found on our Scotland's Beach Award pages here

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