UK's unsung hidden gem beach where you can spot dolphins and has 'dramatic waves'

Roker beach
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Nestled on Sunderland's coastline lies a quaint beach, hidden between Roker Pier and Sunderland Marina, which has recently been honoured with one of the UK's Blue Flag Awards for 2024. Roker Beach, hailed as "one of the unsung hidden gems of the northeast English coast" by, has earned its place among the 72 UK beaches to receive this coveted accolade.

Sharing its name with the city's old football ground before the Stadium of Light opened its doors in 1997, Roker Beach and the adjacent Roker Park are steeped in local heritage. The sandy expanse of Roker Beach welcomes dogs during select months and is a hotspot for water sports enthusiasts.

Even during the chillier winter season, hardy swimmers can be spotted taking dips, while others enjoy paddle boarding, canoeing, windsurfing, and even skiing, reports the Express. Anglers find Roker to be an ideal spot, with the historic pier often lined with people casting their lines.

For those who prefer land-based activities, the coastal promenade offers a scenic route for walkers, extending to Seaburn Beach and onwards to Whitburn. Visitors can enjoy stunning vistas of the North Sea and witness the occasional dramatic surf.

Dolphin sightings add to the charm of Roker, with locals reporting encounters with these playful marine creatures. In May 2023, the Sunderland Echo covered a sighting of around eight dolphins frolicking offshore. Alongside the natural allure, the beachfront now boasts a selection of new cafes and bars, complemented by a children's play area.

The area's arcades, a popular attraction for many years, are located just a short distance from the beach. Blue Flag awards are given only to coastal destinations that meet the highest standards in terms of water quality, facilities, safety, environmental education and management. The significance of the Blue Flag Award scheme has motivated local councils and managers over the years to enhance the quality of their beaches.