Portstewart Strand named best Blue Flag Beach in UK
PORTSTEWART Strand has been named as the Best Blue Flag Beach in the UK.
The two-mile stretch of beach in Co Derry, which is maintained by staff and volunteers from The National Trust, has scooped the prestigious award after securing 43 per cent of the public vote.
An internationally recognised award granted by the Foundation for Environmental Education, the Blue Flag is considered the gold standard for beaches.
A Blue Flag indicates the beach meets certain standards for water quality, environmental education and information, safety and services.
The strand fought off competition from 11 other beaches, including the scenic Minnis Bay in Kent and Swanage in Dorset, to win the prize.
Beach supervisor for the National Trust, Gill McIlmoyle, said: "I was out on the beach every day asking people to vote for us.
"I was so proud that Portstewart Strand was the only beach in Northern Ireland to be nominated for the award and I was determined that our wonderful beach would win."
Around 150,000 visitors travel to the beach each year, which is one of only ten Blue Flag beaches in Northern Ireland.