IT’S official – Sandbanks is the best beach in the country!

The golden stretch is the first in the UK to be awarded Blue Flag Status 25 years in a row – and yesterday the prestigious flag was raised once again.

Since 1987 Sandbanks, which welcomed more than 141,700 visitors last year, has always received the sought-after beach award which recognises high standards of cleanliness, water quality, safety, environmental management and facilities. It will be presented with a plaque to mark the occasion. View our best pictures of Sandbanks beach

Karen Birch, 52, from Creekmoor, who was visiting the beach as the flag was raised with 17-month-old granddaughter Macie Cailes, wasn’t surprised to hear Sandbanks had come out on top.

She said: “We come here winter or summer. It’s always nice and clean, there are toilets, the cafe – everything on hand. I would agree it’s the best beach in the country having been to some other ones.”

Tracey Moore, beaches team leader for Borough of Poole, said: “We have great pride in the beach. It’s fantastic news.”

Cllr Judy Butt, cabinet portfolio holder for public engagement and participation at the council called it a “tremendous honour.

“When people come to the beach they expect and get a very high standard. What makes it so special is it’s accessible to absolutely everybody – adults, children, and disabled people.”

“Everyone in Poole is proud of our beaches, especially Sandbanks Beach.”

Clive Smith, head of leisure services, Borough of Poole said: “These awards continue to put Poole on the map as a quality visitor destination, and I would like to thank all of our staff and partners for their hard work and dedication to ensure that our outstanding beaching remain world class.”

• Poole beaches at Canford Cliffs, Shore Road and Branksome Chine, and Bournemouth beaches at Alum Chine, Durley Chine, Fisherman’s Walk and Southbourne also secured Blue Flag honour.