The reasons why are simple and old-fashioned: its clean, safe and very, very long. The three miles of white sands, backed by rolling dunes, mean that even in the height of summer, its easy for visitors to find their very own bit to stretch out on. Theres plenty of space for games, whether its beach cricket, volleyball, frisbee or sandcastle building.
Its wonderful for children too, with rock pools to splash about it, pristine water, and clean, gently sloping sands monitored by lifeguards. And dog lovers are welcome – theres a special section where pooches can run free.”
She said the facilities are top-notch, with reasonably-priced parking, interesting shops, pubs and cafes – and the showers and toilets are always immaculate.
Surfers and bodyboarders are attracted by world-class surf breaks, while active landlubbers are catered for too, even in the depths of winter, with a wonderful network of clifftop walks that take in sweeping views of the sands.
Other European beaches might offer all-night parties or swanky beach bars, but Woolacombe offers good, old-fashioned fun, she added. And to top it off, the sunsets are some of the most expansive and colourful youll find in the UK.
“It should be no surprise to anyone that Woolacombe comes out top, said Telegraph Travel writer Chris Moss, who, as one of our Brazil experts, should know a thing or two about beaches. Its long and wide, part of an AONB, family-friendly, clean and a great stopover between Exmoor and Lundy for anyone touring the south-west, he explained.
He likes the beachs wild nature – give me dunes over chippies and arcades any time – and said it attracts people who go to North Devon to get away from clutter and consumption.
His other favourite is Rhossili, which came third in a list of favourite UK beaches according to Trip Advisor, because the whole of the Gower is just so special, and Worm’s Head and the lighthouse to the north make this superlative walking territory too.”
First-time visitors who feel inspired to head to Woolacombe to see what all the fuss is about should also be sure to check out the far end of the beach.
At the end of the long flank of golden sand stretching south from Woolacombe is Putsborough Sands, said Joanna Symons, Telegraph Travels UK editor.
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Woolacombe, Devon, named top five beach in Europe by TripAdvisor