78,000 people can socially distance on Bournemouth beach, new analysis shows

Hugh Morris
Perranporth in Cornwall has been deemed the best to keep your distance - istock

Around 78,000 people can fit on Bournemouth beach while comfortably obeying social distancing guidelines, new analysis has shown. 

The situation during the heatwave was described by some as "Armageddon"; and we now know that more than six times as many people were there as could have been under social distancing rules.

Spatial analysis firm Esri UK has mapped the area of 10 of the UK’s most popular beaches and examined how many people could hypothetically fit on the sand, while keeping two metres from each other. Each “person” was given a two-metre diameter of space to themselves, too. 

The figures are released ahead of the reopening of numerous hospitality outlets, including hotels and pubs this weekend, allowing for English people to stay away overnight. See here for England's 20 top secret beaches

Perranporth, Cornwall, was found to be the biggest beach surveyed, with space for more than 80,00 people. 

How big are the UK's beaches?

Brighton beach, Portobello in Edinburgh and Whitley Bay, also look good options, with room for more than 28,000 people. 

At the other end of the analysis was Durdle Door, which has also been overwhelmed with beachgoers since the Government first eased lockdown restrictions. Esri found that it could cope with 3,000 people. 

How many people can you fit on a UK beach?

Esri UK said it used ArcGIS software to analyse the dry sand area of a beach, before calculating the number of two metre bubbles able to fit. 

Cartographer Sam Bark said: "We wanted to examine how many people could hypothetically fit on a beach ahead of the main UK holiday season.

How people might keep their distance on Bournemouth beach - ESRI UK

"Obviously the figures come with some caveats, as most beachgoers are in groups of more than one, people don't remain static and tend to congregate at the water's edge, the back of a beach or around amenities but spatial analysis can help give an indication of capacity under these unprecedented circumstances."

Police chiefs, meanwhile, warned of an impending "summer of discontent" and disorder when pubs finally reopen on July 4.