Blackpool Sands, South Devon – photo © Visit South Devon

The wow factor: With its golden sands cupped by pine-topped cliffs and lapped by crystal-clear water, you could almost be in the Mediterranean. A Blue Flag winner in 2010, Blackpool Sands is privately-managed and is cleaned daily.

Activities: Supervised sand pits and lifeguards help make it one of the area’s most popular family beaches. Water sports include kayaking and boogie boarding, while you can rent surf-skis or hire a wetsuit and snorkel to explore the waters. Walkers can enjoy the adjacent South West Coast Path. The sub-tropical Blackpool Gardens, a restored 19th century plantsman’s garden, are nearby.

Stay: A range of accommodation is right on the doorstep. Family-run Stoke Lodge Hotel ( is in the neighbouring village of Stoke Fleming. Camping and caravanning and rental holiday cottages are also available in the area.

Next: UK beach