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        Beaches in Thanet

        Information about our award winning beaches

        Thanet’s 15 sandy beaches and bays stretch from Pegwell Bay in the south to Minnis Bay in the north. Long famous for their beauty, this year we have been awarded seven Blue Flag awards and seven Seaside Awards. If you are visiting the area more information about our beaches can be found on our tourism website Visit Thanet.

        More information regarding our beaches can be found below.

        Our award winning beaches

        Our bays are recognised by national awards such as the Blue Flag Awards and the Seaside Awards.

        Click on the links below for information on access and facilities on Thanet’s beaches.


        European Blue Flag Awards – 2019

        The prestigious European Blue Flag will be flying at seven beaches in Thanet again this Summer, which includes Minnis Bay, West Bay, St Mildred’s Bay, Margate Main Sands, Botany Bay, Stone Bay and Westbrook Bay

        The Blue Flag is awarded in 29 countries for resort beaches with high standards of environmental management. Beaches must also meet the guideline standards of bathing water under EC legislation. Blue Flag beach criteria include beach cleanliness, dog control, wheel chair access, provision of facilities and provision of life saving equipment.  For more information please visit The Blue Flag campaign website

        Seaside Awards – 2019

        Dumpton Jap, Joss Bay, Louisa Bay, Ramsgate Main Sands, Ramsgate Western Undercliff, Walpole Bay and Viking Bay have achieved the Seaside Award, which rewards beaches in England that achieve the highest standards of beach management. The Award rewards beaches that have met strict criteria, including safety and cleanliness, including clean sands free of litter and dog fouling, good access with good facilities and water that complies with EC bathing water standards (mandatory).


        Sea water quality testing

        Thanet’s beaches are ranked among the best in the UK!

        During the Summer Season (15 May – 30 September) the Environment Agency undertakes water sample tests at ‘bathing water’ beaches. These are beaches which are popular for people to swim or paddle, so weekly water quality tests take place.

        These tests rank the beaches from Excellent to ‘Poor’ – more detailed information on Thanet’s 2019 results is published by the Environment Agency.

        These bathing water beaches are also more likely to have facilities like lifeguards, toilets and beach cafes or shops.

        Lots of different things can affect the water quality on our beaches, but you can help keep the water at Thanet’s beaches clean, by:

        • Taking your litter away with you – including cigarette buts
        • Adhering to the by-laws which prevent dogs on our beaches during the summer season
        • Ensuring you don’t feed the birds as attracting them to our beaches means they can poo over the sea
        • Not pouring liquids down the drain as these can lead straight to the sea

        How to report something washed up on the beach

        Over recent years there have been a number of incidents where deposits of a substance believed to be palm oil have washed up on several of Thanet’s beaches.

        Palm oil is a natural edible vegetable oil that is commonly used in food processing. Palm oil production can be linked to a number of environmental issues but it can create a secondary issue if released into the marine environment.

        Palm oil can be come in a variety of forms and it’s important to keep a look out for it, especially if you are walking your dog on the beach. It is sometimes seen as a scattering of pebble-sized lumps that are white and waxy in appearance.

        If you believe your dog has been in contact with the substance and are concerned about their health, please contact your vet as soon as possible.

        The council monitor our beaches and will remove the substance from affected beaches when detected. We’ll also regularly post updates on affected beaches on our Facebook and Twitter channels.

        If you see or suspect palm oil on the beach, or other items which have been washed up on the beach, please report your sightings with specific locations and photos where possible, to


        Seaweed on our beaches

        The coastline within Thanet District Council’s boundary is very important for coastal wildlife and birds. There are numerous nature conservation designations on this part of the coast.

        Thanet Coast’s SSSI Site Management Statement (Site of Special Scientific Interest) for Thanet Council with Natural England aims to leave seaweed during the winter months (October to March inclusive) to help provide the foraging ground for the internationally important winter visiting birds, namely the Turnstone. This is important so they have enough energy to migrate to the tundra to breed over the summer.

        It is also a requirement for Blue Flag beaches to leave algal vegetation (seaweed) or natural debris on the beach. Seaweed and other vegetation/natural debris are natural components of both freshwater and marine ecosystems.  However, Blue Flag guidelines state that vegetation should not be allowed to accumulate to the point where it becomes a hazard, however, only if it is absolutely necessary should vegetation be removed.

        For these reasons, Thanet District Council arranges for collection of driftweed (seaweed that has become unattached from the chalk reef) during the summer months – mainly from June to early October. Driftweed is removed from the main designated bathing beaches, with additional removal from some of the other bays depending on the extent that has come in. Removal generally takes place when the beaches are least busy – normally early in the morning – but this is changeable as it is dependent upon low tide. 

        You can see how this is done in this Twitter thread.

        Every year, we apply for a licence from the Environment Agency which regulates where seaweed can be deposited. We have a number of farms that we work with to receive the deposits.

        Collection of seaweed for personal use

        We allow people to take small quantities of loose driftweed for their own garden or allotment over the summer months (April to September inclusive). Some bays are more suitable for this activity than others. The ones which are more accessible for personal collection include: Walpole Bay, West Bay (west side), Westgate and Minnis Bay, Birchington. 

        Collection of seaweed for commercial gain

        If you are removing seaweed from our beaches as part of a commercial activity – for example, if you are making a seaweed-based product to sell, or foraging seaweed as part of an organised activity – you will need Thanet Council approval – and Natural England’s assent – to do so. Please contact: with a description of your proposed sustainable activity.

        Seaweed harvesting code of conduct:

        Thanet Coast’s Seaweed Harvesting Code of Conduct


        Hiring beach huts

        For full details of booking procedures together with the prices contact the Box Office at the Winter Gardens on 01843 296111 or visit Your Leisure website

        There is an excellent range of chalets available. They can be hired on a daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual basis. The chalets are very popular with both visitors and local residents.

        At some times there is a waiting list so please let us know your requirements at the earliest opportunity.


        Barbecues on the beach 

        Please see our using BBQ’s responsibly page for more information about where and when you can have a BBQ



        The RNLI are annually contracted and paid for by TDC to manage the safety of all of our Blue Flag and Seaside Awards Beach’s. More information can be found on the RNLI website.


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