Strand praised at Westminster

Golden sand and ancient dunes are among the features of the award-winning beach.
Golden sand and ancient dunes are among the features of the award-winning beach.

The national award-winning achievement of Portstewart Strand has been highlighted at Westminster by East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell.

The two-mile stretch of golden sand has just secured the Best Blue Flag Beach in the UK title.

The competition was run by Holidaylettings.co.uk and 12 Blue Flag beaches were nominated. The public were then asked to vote online for their favourite - with this local gem taking 43% of the poll.

Mr Campbell said: “In June international Blue Flag status once again recognised five beaches in East Londonderry as world class beaches for their facilities and quality. Further good news was announced this month when one of them, Portstewart, was voted the best in the UK.

“This national award for Portstewart is mark of excellence for the resort which I have acknowledged in the House of Commons by tabling a motion recognising the accolade it has merited.”

Mr Campbell’s motion read: ‘That this House acknowledges the recent award of Best Blue Flag Beach in the UK to Portstewart, Northern Ireland recognises that there were 11 other beaches nominated, including some of the most famous across the nation, and by a public poll the beautiful and picturesque Portstewart was voted the best by a considerable margin; and heartily congratulates the National Trust and all those council personnel and volunteers who have worked to ensure that Northern Ireland’s beaches are of such an incredibly high standard that one of its many superb coastal resorts has now merited such an accolade.’

The Strand faced stiff competition from some of the most scenic beaches in the UK including Swanage in Dorset, Minnis Bay in Kent and Porthmeor in Cornwall.

Saskia Welman, spokesperson for HolidayLettings.co.uk, said: ‘We picked 12 amazing Blue Flag Beaches that we felt perfectly embody everything that’s great about the British seaside. They needed to be iconic, family-friendly, and they all had a unique characteristic about them.

“We’re delighted to reveal that after running our online survey for more than three weeks, Portstewart Strand has come out on top and has been voted as the number one Blue Flag beach by our visitors. This amazing beach has got it all, from fine golden sand that is perfect to build sandcastles, to ancient dunes that make it a much-loved spot for walkers throughout the year. It’s also popular for surfing and other water sports.”

Receiving around 150,000 visitors a year, the National Trust ensures this stretch of the north coast retains its natural beauty and remains an important wildlife sanctuary.

National Trust celebrates, see page 17.