Bathing water performance and awards

We have 48 designated bathing waters in the east of England, stretching from Cleethorpes in the north, near the Humber estuary, to Southend Leigh Bell Wharf in the south near the Thames estuary.

Beaches and swimming areas

These beaches and swimming areas are officially classed as bathing waters by the European Bathing Water Directive 2000/60/EC and this legislation applies across the UK.

The European Union's Bathing Water Directive (2006/7/EC) categorises our water quality into Excellent, Good, Sufficient or Poor after analysing water samples taken by the Environment Agency (EA) over a four year period from May to September. Information about our region’s bathing water quality can be found by clicking on the links below.

EA bathing water sample results








Blue Flag

The European Blue Flag campaign launched in 1987 and in the UK is co-ordinated by Keep Britain Tidy. Beaches that are well managed with excellent water quality and environmental education programmes are given Blue Flag status. Awarded for a year, the bathing water at Blue Flag beaches must be categorised as Excellent in the previous year and meet 28 separate beach-management criteria.

Such was the quality of our bathing water in 2018, 16 Blue Flags fly in our region. The next announcements are in May 2021. 

Seaside Quality Coast Awards

Keep Britain Tidy also runs the Seaside Awards, celebrating the quality and diversity of our coastline and presented to the best beaches in England. Of the 48 designated bathing beaches in our region, 17 qualified for this award in 2018 alongside some non-designated beaches.

Bathing water