Yorkshire’s cleanest award-winning beaches - as ranked by the Environment Agency

Two Yorkshire beaches are set to fly Blue Flags with pride this summer, including surfing hotspot Scarborough North.

By Simi Mundey
Friday, 13th May 2022, 11:10 pm
Updated Friday, 13th May 2022, 11:35 pm

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has announced the winners of the prestigious Blue Flag and Seaside Awards for summer 2022.

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Nine brilliant beaches within an easy drive of Leeds

The Blue Flag - an international award - has been given to two Yorkshire beaches this year.

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Scarborough North Bay is a popular beach for surfing. Picture: Tony Johnson

Scarborough North Bay and Whitby each met the high standards required to be able to fly the flag that signals a beach meets the highest standards.

Other beaches in the region have been presented with the 2022 Seaside Award, including Runswick Bay, Cayton Bay and South Landing.

Now in their 35th year, the Seaside Awards offer assurances to the public that beaches are delivering a safe, clean and well-managed space for them to enjoy.

Keep Britain Tidy's chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “People who visit a beach flying a Blue Flag or Seaside Award can be assured the beach will be clean, safe and meet the highest environmental standards, as well as international bathing water quality standards.”

When it comes to the understanding the quality of water at designated bathing sites across the UK, visitors can also look to the Environment Agency's rating system.

Its teams assess the quality of the water at each location and provide each site with a star rating for cleanliness, out of three.

Each site is classified as excellent, good, sufficient or poor based on measurements taken over a period of time. There are few factors that must be taken into account when rating the sites, such as pollution and the levels of E. coli and Intestinal enterococci (IE).

Here are the Yorkshire beaches rated the cleanest and classified as 'excellent', according to the Environment agency:

Runswick Bay

Runswick Bay Beach is said to be one of the Yorkshire Coast’s prettiest destinations, with its sheltered bay and charming cottages. It's a family favourite for rock pooling, fossil hunting and coastal walks, and boasts stunning sea views.

Other popular activities at the bay include fishing, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing and sailing. Or if you’re looking for something different you can explore the small caves known as Hob Holes, where hobgoblins are reputed to live.

Runswick Bay has previously topped a list of Britain's best beaches, winning The Sunday Times Beach of the Year 2020.

It has also been awarded the 2022 Seaside Award, which recognises the overall quality of the beach and its facilities.


Whitby Beach has Blue Flag status and offers something for everyone, with its sandy and rocky beach, beach huts, cafe, rock pools and local marine life.

It's a Yorkshire destination that's hugely popular with families and children. It's definitely the ideal spot for your bucket and spade, as there's plenty of sand and space for sandcastle masterpieces.

Looking up from the beach you can also see Whitby Abbey on the clifftop - a must-see attraction for visitors.

Whitby has been awarded the 2022 Blue Flag and Seaside Award, recognising the quality of the beach, the way it is managed and the facilities it offers to its visitors.

Scarborough North Bay

Scarborough has two bays - the North and South - and of the two, the North is the place to be if you want to really enjoy the sand and sea.

The North Bay is ideal for those wanting to enjoy time with family and friends, whether it be rock pooling with the kids, or hiring out one of the famous rainbow-coloured chalets that line the promenade.

Scarborough North and its Blue flag waters are known for their popularity with surfers, as the main peak can get quite powerful, as opposed to the South Bay, which has a more beginner-friendly wave.

Scarborough North Bay has also been awarded the 2022 Blue Flag and Seaside Award, recognising the quality of the beach, the way it is managed and the facilities it offers to its visitors.

Cayton Bay

Cayton Bay is situated in-between the famous Yorkshire coast resorts of Scarborough and Filey. It is extremely popular for those looking for a camping or caravanning destination, as it boasts a dog-friendly beach, clean water, affordable parking and great facilities.

It's a great location for families, couples and friends, as it's the ideal place to relax and unwind with a picnic, as well as jump into water sports - with surfing, paddle boarding or kayaking on offer.

Cayton Bay has been classified as 'excellent' for the last five years and has also been awarded the 2022 Seaside Award, which recognises the overall quality of the beach and its facilities.


Reighton Beach is a rural sandy beach situated on the Yorkshire coast, known for its flat sands. It is a popular location for swimming and walking, as well as the occasional fossil hunt from the cliffs.

There is a large holiday park, Reighton Sand, situated on the high cliff top above the beach.

The park can be reached via a ramp from the beach, where there is also a cafe. As the holiday park is so close by, the beach is extremely popular with families and children holidaying there.

The classification for Reighton has improved over the last five years, having been given a 'good' and two stars in both 2017 and 2018. The most recent data states that Reighton Beach is now excellent with three stars.

Danes Dyke, Flamborough

Danes Dyke Beach is located on the southern side of the Flamborough, just under a mile west of South Landing.

It has a pebble beach, which becomes sandier the closer you get to the water. At low tide, a number of rockpools are exposed, making this a good place to hunt for marine wildlife and fossils.

Actually getting to this beach is easy as there is a nearby car park, however it's worth checking the tide times before you visit as high tides can reach the cliff tops.

Danes Dyke Beach has been classified as 'excellent' with three stars for the last five years, and there are no active pollution risk forecasts at this site.

South Landing, Flamborough

Flamborough South Landing beach is a small rural chalk pebbled beach situated on the Yorkshire coast. At a low tide, rockpools expose crabs, small fish and other wildlife from the reef.

It's a great place for bird-watching, as a variety of different birds are known to make an appearance throughout the year.

There are also a number of walking trails in the area, with cliff-top walks and stunning views over the bay.

Flamborough South Landing has made the biggest improvement over the years, having received a classification of 'good' for three years. The most recent data states that South Landing is 'excellent'.

South Landing has also been awarded the 2022 Seaside Award, which recognises the overall quality of the beach, and its facilities.