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The cleanest beaches in Britain

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Let's be honest, when we imagine our dream beach getaway, it's usually a few thousand miles away from Britain. But this might be a good year to stick to home turf, as new research shows the water at a large proportion of Britain’s beaches is the cleanest on record.

The annual survey carried out by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) by testing water samples for pollution revealed that almost three quarters (73 per cent) of the 734 British beaches examined had water which is of "excellent" quality to bathe in. That's 135 more approved locations than the previous year.

To celebrate this, and the predicted heat wave, we've rounded up the 10 best beaches in the UK that have been given The Marine Conservation Society's seal of approval for clean bathing water come rain or shine.

Rhossili Beach, Swansea

Not only is it one of the cleanest, Rhossili Bay has snapped up a TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice award for Britain's Best Beach and it ranked in at number nine on the travel website's Best Beaches in the World list. Its owned by the National Trust, and is an excellent spot for swimming and views of the Worms Head, an area of land is shaped like a giant sea-serpent.

visitswanseabay.com

Combesgate Beach, North Devon

An attractive golden sand and shingle beach set in a bay, half-a-mile from the main Woolacombe beach. It's popular among surfers (but not too busy) and is great for its coastal walk around the headland to Morte Point, which is National Trust land. The beach also boasts rock pools and many exotic shells to explore.

northdevon.com

Porthminster Beach, Cornwall

This spectacular 1km sandy beach has a Mediterranean feel. Visitors can stroll through the town of St Ives, walk the coastal footpath to Carbis Bay, and expect to see seals and dolphins which visit these areas on a regular basis.

beachesincornwall.co.uk

Alum Chine, Bournemouth

Alum Chine's Blue Flag beach boasts a variety of beach huts, including new exclusive chalets and is in close vicinity to award-winning Alum Chine Tropical Garden. It is less busy than its town centre counterparts and is popular with families.

dorsetbeaches.co.uk

Tynemouth Longsands Beach, Newcastle upon Tyne

This half mile stretch of fine golden sand backed by dunes, is a rural style beach in a very urban location, which is popular with those wanting to bathe, surf, kayak, canoe, play beach sports or just relax.

newcastlegateshead.com

Sandbanks Peninsular, Poole

One of the UK's most exclusive addresses, Sandbanks is known as "millionares row" due to its number of harbour-front mansions. The beach is made up of golden sand and the promenade has lots of facilities. The three mile Evening Hill Discovery Trail runs adjacent to the beach and there is a pedestrian ferry to Brownsea Island where tern colonies and lagoons can be seen.

sandbankspoole.com

Achmelvich Beach, Highland

Alchmelvich Beach is a series of intimate silver sandy beaches backed by a picturesque, flowering landscape with a popular caravan and camping spot nearby. It's also home to an annual sandcastle-building competition and Europe's tiniest castle, Hermit's Castle.

visitscotland.com

West Wittering, West Sussex

This natural and un-commercial sandy beach is internationally recognised for its wild natural beauty and wildlife, including seals, migratory birds and rare coastal plants. It has extensive areas of grass perfect for picnics, barbeques and games. Windsurfing and kite surfing takes place in zoned areas from April to October.

westwitteringbeach.co.uk

Durdle Door East, Dorset

This beach is only accessible by foot - via a steep path and steps over the hill - and is a narrow strand of mixed shingle, gravel and sand. The eastern end (Durdle Door Cove) is protected by the arch, while the rest of the beach is partially sheltered by a submerged offshore reef.

visit-dorset.com

Oddicombe Beach, Torquay

Nestled at the bottom of red sandstone cliffs, this stretch of shingle beach is a sheltered haven for those looking for a relaxing day out. Because of a mild climate, its abundant palm trees and other subtropical vegetation, it's considered to be a part of the 'English Riviera'. Babbacombe Bay is also favoured with several attractive sandy beaches.

torbay.gov.uk

(Images: Rex Features, goodbeachguide.co.uk)

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