The Best Dog Friendly Beaches in the UK
Wherever you decide to take that much-needed break away, if you’re taking the four-legged members of the family with you, then having a dog-friendly beach nearby is going to be at the top of your list. Most beaches do welcome dogs outside of the busy summer period, but the last thing you want after a long hot drive in the car, and multiple questions of ‘are we there yet?’, is to discover that your chosen beach has just introduced its seasonal dog ban.
We have gathered together some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK, where you can relax and enjoy your time away with the family without worrying about taking the dog with you. There are hundreds of beaches in the UK which have seasonal restrictions on dogs, and these are almost impossible to avoid. Some even have a permanent dog ban, but the good news is that there are lots to choose from that welcome dogs all year round.
See the list below for our top choices:
Crantock Beach is a stunning, sandy beach close to Newquay, and owned by The National Trust. Framed by a backdrop of sand dunes and lush grasses of Rushy Green. Take advantage whilst the tide is out and explore the rockpools and caves, as well as the beautiful Gannel estuary, which has become a sanctuary for wildlife. There is a lovely walk down the South West coastline, with stunning views beyond West Pentire. There is a carpark and dogs are welcome all year round.
Babbacombe Beach is just east of Torquay. This sheltered bay is a picture perfect haven, offering the perfect mix of sand, shingle and rocky cliffs, backed by stunning woodland. Don’t let the steep climb put you off, you must walk up the Babbacombe Downs with your four-legged friend. Priding itself as England's highest promenade, the views are not to be missed.
The South West Coastal Path is the longest path in the UK, taking you towards Torquay and past Hope’s Nose. Although this takes you away from the beach, it is another fantastic walking opportunity and guarantees breathtaking scenery. Or there is Babbacombe Cliff Railway, where dogs are welcomed on a lead. This railway, built in 1926, will take you 300ft up on the cliffs, with stunning views out across the bay below. Dogs are welcome all year round.
Chesil Beach is a pebble and shingle beach close to the town of Bridport. Stretching over 18 miles, from Portland to West Bay, it is the largest tombolo in the UK. Also known as ‘Chesil Bank’ or simply, ‘The Chesil’, this majestic beach has ample space for your furry friend to freely run around. As beautiful in the winter months as it is in the summer, with stunning views of St. Catherine's Chapel, you won’t want to forget your camera. Swimming is not recommended here due to the strong currents, even on calm days, but fishing, walking and generally letting go, are all very much encouraged. Dogs are welcome all year round.
West Beach is an award-winning beach in the town of Leven. Stretching over 2000km, this sandy beach is popular amongst dog walkers as it is known for being clean and safe. With stunning coastal views and miles of unrestricted walking, taking an afternoon stroll at West Beach is a wonderful way to clear out the cobwebs! At high tide, make sure you stick to the footpaths. There are lots of facilities and activities available for children and families, including private amusement arcades, a toddler to teens play area and an outdoor gym area. Free parking is available. Dogs are welcome all year round.
The Isle of Wight
St Helens Beach is situated opposite Bembridge Harbour, nestled east of St Helens. There are beautiful views across the Solent to St Helens Fort, which was built to defend and protect St Helens anchorage in the 1800’s. This peaceful sandy beach is perfect for dog walking, with a backdrop of sand dunes and a promenade offering respite from the main busy resort areas found on the Isle of Wight. Stretching over 800 meters, there is adequate space for your dog to run around. Dogs are welcome all year round.
Holkham Beach on the north coast of Norfolk is one of England’s finest beaches. With miles of breathtaking sand dunes and pinewood forest, it is the perfect spot to spend the afternoon. Holkham is completely dog-friendly, but remember that you are walking within Holkham Nature Reserve, so be mindful of nesting times, which are normally between 1st March and 31st July. You and your beloved dog can walk, undisturbed and unrestricted for miles and miles on the golden sands or across the well-worn paths around the banks. NB: be aware that when the tide comes in, Holkham has many sandbanks which can be very dangerous if you were to get stranded. Don’t let that put you off, we can guarantee this won’t be your last visit. You and your dog will love it so much you will want to return year after year.
Uphill Beach, known also as ‘Slipway’, is located at the quiet, southern end of Weston-super-Mare. Offering respite from the busy crowds you’d expect to find at a seaside resort, with beautiful, expansive sands and on-beach parking. You can also walk alongside the River Axe which flows out to Weston Bay. Do not be tempted to cross over at low tide to Brean Down, pay close attention to the signs, and be wary of sinking mud! If you follow the River Axe behind the beach, you will come across a bounty of wildlife and some pretty spectacular views too. Dogs are welcome all year round.
Runswick Bay is located close to the town of Loftus. This charming, sheltered bay is surrounded by a pretty village of red rooftop cottages. With miles of picturesque sandy shores and cliffs, this bay is a real testament to the beauty of the UK’s coastline. Once the home of anchorage for fishing boats, Runswick Bay is now a destination beach for families, fossil hunters, and dog walkers. It maintains its heritage with a sailing club and a few pleasure and fishing boats. Dogs are welcome all year round.
Rhosneigr Beach is formed of two beaches, ‘Traeth Crigyll’ (Town Beach) and ‘Traeth Llydan’ (Broad Beach). Found east of Holyhead village and winner of the Green Coast seaside award, Rhosneigr has over a mile of coarse sandy beach and low dunes to walk your four-legged friend. The village of Rhosneigr is just a short walk away, where you will find cafes, pubs and more to explore.