BEACHES across north Northumberland are ready for summer after they gained the highest rating in the Good Beach Guide 2011.
The guide is produced annually by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and ranks beaches around the country either fail, basic pass, guideline or MCS recommended.
This year, Druridge Bay, Amble Links, Warkworth, Low Newton, Beadnell, Seahouses and Bamburgh all retain the top recommended title for the quality of their beaches.
Giles Ingram, chief executive of Northumberland Tourism, said: “It’s fantastic news for Northumberland.
“One of the main attractions for people visiting the county is the beautiful coastline and this is an accolade which is a deserved recognition of the wonderful natural beauty and landscape which sets Northumberland apart from the rest of the country.
“It’s also a wonderful recognition of local communities and the AONB partnership in retaining that special character.”
Jeff Sutheran, chairman of the North Northumberland Tourism Association, was also delighted with the recognition.
“I know these accolades don’t come cheaply,” he said. “There are very, very stringent measures and controls so for our beaches to retain their very high rating is testament to what we know already, that Northumberland has some of the best beaches both in terms of cleanliness and the setting and spectacular backdrops.
“It’s great news for us as tourism businesses because people are making informed and careful choices about where they spend their leisure time when money is tight and this is something else that will add weight to the argument that Northumberland is the best place in the country for guests to spend their leisure time.”
MCS is urging beachgoers to vote with their mouse and go online to use the Good Beach Guide (www.goodbeachguide.co.uk) to choose beaches with the best water quality for swimming.
The charity says that only by demanding the cleanest beaches for swimming can we ensure that investments are made to improve our coastline and tackle sources of bathing water pollution.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) works in partnership with MCS. This summer the Good Beach Guide will carry new information on potential hazards and tips on how to stay safe on the beach.