Dog Friendly Beaches: The Best In the UK
Dog friendly beaches are great.
Walking your dog on the beach can be one of the most simple pleasures in life.
Your dog will love the wide open spaces, the different grasses, the textures of the sand, and, of course, the opportunity to get sopping wet by diving in the sea.
You get that lovely sea air feeling, the swish of the waves and the give of the sand under your feet as you walk along. It’s great being able to let your dog off their lead and explore the beauty of the coast.
Thankfully, we are blessed with beaches in the UK, whether you’re at home or taking a trip away to one of our many coastal locations.
Here is our round-up of the best dog friendly beaches available for you and your pooch.
Dog Friendly Beaches In the South of England
The south coast of England is beautiful, and has many sandy beaches. In some areas, it feels like you’re in a different country altogether- especially if you’ve travelled a little way to get there!
Dog friendly beaches pop up all over the south coast, and with it being so broad we decided to divide the area up a little, into the best dog friendly beaches in the south west, dog friendly beaches in the south, and dog friendly beaches in the south east.
Hopefully that makes it a bit easier for you to navigate!
Dog Friendly Beaches in South West England
Penhale Sands, Perranporth
Penhale Sands is beautiful. It should be an auto-include on anyone’s list of dog friendly beaches in the UK, and a great one to be kicking off the list with.
It is absolutely huge, meaning there is always space for your dog to run around and explore, even if they aren’t the most confident around other dogs. The dunes go on for over a mile inland, and with it being in Cornwall, you get that lovely, almost continental weather.
Penhale Sands have a little bit of a historic, spiritual, and folkloric connection as well- The sunken city of Langarroc. According to local legend, on stormy nights when the wind is particularly high, you can hear the seven bells of Langarroc still chiming…
Still, you’re in no danger of sinking down to Langarroc these days, as the sand is perfect for walking- firm enough closer to the sea, with just a little bit of sink further out.
Guaranteed to tire you and your dog out by the end of the day!
Access and parking shouldn’t generally be a problem, although the majority of designated car parks are paid (and generally fairly well monitored).
For the best pay and display car park with easy access straight onto Penhale Sands, you’d be best off heading for the Pay and Display Car Park, S W Coast Path, Perranporth, TR6 0AQ.
On your way in, there’s also a massive car park next to the supermarket that always has a good amount of space.
Both are quite cheap, and leave you steps away from golden sands that span on for miles, so enjoy!
Meadfoot Beach, Devon
Lots of people think that dogs aren’t allowed on Meadfoot Beach.
This is a shame, because although the south section of the beach doesn’t allow dogs year round, the northern section is dog friendly 365 days a year.
At Meadfoot there is a split promenade which offers an alternate route if you don’t want your dog to be splashing around in the sea and getting all sandy and wet- especially if you have a bigger dog and a long drive home!
Parking is fairly readily accessible for this beach, and although it’s a little bit of a departure from what you’d expect from a traditional dog friendly beach it’s a beautiful spot to go for a walk and just soak up the scenery and atmosphere.
Dog Friendly Beaches in The South of England
Milford on South, Hampshire
As far as dog friendly beaches go, Milford isn’t exactly the best kept secret in the world.
Even though we move away from the typical golden white sands you’d expect and instead get shale and shingle underfoot, it’s one of the most popular dog friendly spots in the UK.
Definitely one where your shoes should stay on, the walk from Hurst Spit to Hurst Castle is well worth doing (1.5 miles, give or take a few detours for sniffing and exploring!). There is a great view of the Isle of Wight on this walk, and on a clear day you can see for miles.
There are also a few cafes, shops and bed and breakfast style hotels on the beach, making it the perfect location for a weekend away!
Access and Parking can be a little bit more tricky at Milford as a lot of the car parks in the surrounding areas are controlled by the cafes and B&B’s, but you’re sure to find somewhere along the seafront that allows easy access to the shingle beach.
Shoreham by the sea, West Sussex
Shoreham beach had to go on this list for one reason and one reason only.
It is far and away the quickest beach to get to from central London!
Another rocky/shingle beach, this is a great beach to visit if your dog loves exploring and is completely confident off lead.
When the tide is out, there is a little bit more of a sandy section which makes for an easier walk for those of us without four legs and a waggy tail, as when the tide is in negotiating the rocks and steeps can be a bit tough on the ankles!
As far as dog friendly beaches near London go, this one is still a fan favourite, and it’s great to get out of the hustle and bustle for a while and just feel a little bit connected with nature.
If driving, it’s a pretty straight shot from London down the M23- but it’s a much easier and nicer journey by train to Shoreham-by-sea station, which puts you just a short jaunt from the beach.
Dog Friendly Beaches in South East England
Walberswick Beach, Suffolk
Although there is a far more manufactured and commercialised beach a little way north at Southwold, Walberswick beach is our top choice for dog friendly beaches in Suffolk.
A little bit more of a hidden gem, this lovely little beach is a spot you can return to again and again. Even if you get bored of the beach (and how could you? It’s stunning!) the surrounding area offers plenty of wonderful nature walks.
From the beach to Suffolk nature reserve won’t take you much longer than half an hour, even at a leisurely pace!
For dogs who love a long walk, or are full of energy, this is the perfect dog friendly beach in the UK.
There are even a few vegan friendly cafes for hungry humans, too!
Dog Friendly beaches in The Midlands
Theddlethorpe Beach, Lincolnshire
Theddlethorpe beach is brilliant.
It does what it says on the tin, and it is a beach free from all of the clutter and commerce that is unfortunately creeping in at a lot of Britain’s natural beauty spots.
There isn’t actually a lot to say about this beach, other than it is never all that busy because it doesn’t offer that tourist-y pull but it is huge and a great place to let yourself relax and let your dog run off their lead if safe to do so.
If ever you’ve felt like you could just do with a private beach all to yourself, this hidden gem is well worth checking out- and free parking never hurt anyone.
One thing to bear in mind is that there are literally no facilities here, so take anything you might need with you- water bottles are a must!
Dog Friendly Beaches in the North East and Yorkshire
Roker Beach, Sunderland
For dog friendly beaches in the North East, Roker is king.
South Shields beach is also lovely, about a five minute drive up the road and it is a nice beach but it isn’t quite as dog friendly.
The Leas- a national trust area that lies between the two beaches- are great for dogs, with grassy expanses covering cliffs with a lovely view of the sea. In very specific (very cold) circumstances, this stretch of grass is one of the few places you can see the Northern Lights in England!
Roker itself is a brilliant, beautiful beach. For photography enthusiasts, arriving early morning or later at night is ideal to catch sunset across the beach.
Between the piers the stretch of sand is ultra dog friendly and the perfect place for playful dogs to chase after the alarmingly large seagulls!
There’s lots of space on Roker Beach and it’s rarely overcrowded due to the availability of so many other beaches in the area. There are some lovely cafes in the area and lots of dog friendly pubs and restaurants a short trip away in Sunderland and South Shields.
Filey Beach, Filey
Filey is a gem of natural beauty and heritage.
Although there are certain areas where dogs aren’t allowed in the Summer months, the vast majority of the time (and the vast majority of the beach) is fine for dogs to roam free.
Sandy rather than pebble beach, with lots of rock pools and dips for your dog to splash around in, this is a bit of a hidden gem as far as the beaches in Yorkshire go- it’s much more easily accessible and less designed to bombard tourists with cheap trinkets and Filey memorabilia (looking at you Scarborough!)
It’s a little way away from most of the major cities, about an hour’s drive from York (It’s a lovely drive though!) but I think the distance from the busy and bustle and typical tourist traps works to its favour.
Dog Friendly Beaches in the North West
St. Anne’s Beach, Lancashire
Another beach that unfortunately restricts dog walking in the summer months, this is just about the only criticism we have of St.Anne’s Beach.
Although it is only a few miles away from Blackpool, it feels like another planet entirely to the madness of Blackpool pier.
The beach itself is enormous because of the flatness of the beach and the way the tide moves (it can come in surprisingly quickly, so keep an eye on your pooch going too far in at the water’s edge!).
The surrounding area is all geared towards enjoyment, leveraging the appeal of the beach and surrounding it with great parks and outdoor spaces where you and your dog will feel 100% welcome.
Parking is almost exclusively pay and display, but there is plenty of it available near the beachfront and St.Anne’s Beach has some of the best beach accessibility of all of the beaches on this list.
Mariners Road, Crosby Beach, Bootle
Crosby Beach is fascinating.
From the UFO architecture of the Crosby leisure centre to the almost eerie turner prize winning statues dotted across the beach, and the offshore wind farm off in the distance gives an almost ethereal feel to the place.
The statues, as strange as they first appear, can actually be great for training exercises with your dog.
If your dog is too sociable with bad recall, or intimidated by people, the statues are human enough for you to allow your dog to run up to or interact with, without the unpredictability of actual humans being involved.
It is another beach with a quick tide, so don’t stray too far from the promenade and keep an eye on the tide level.
Crosby beach is one of those places you just have to visit to experience it for yourself, it is so unlike anywhere else.
Parking is pretty readily available unless you head down later in the day on a particularly lovely sunny day.
Dog Friendly Beaches in Scotland
Pettycur Beach, Fife
You and pooch will get a looooooooonng walk here.
It’s picturesque, quiet, and massive, perfect for a really laid back stroll, or a bit of a jog if you are into your fitness.
The sand is usually firm enough underfoot as to not make it quite as tiring or difficult, but there is little opportunity for shade here so remember your sunscreen and water bottle!
If the tide is kind you can walk straight across to Burntisland beach, and the views of Edinburgh on a clear day are stunning.
Parking and access is pretty reasonable, and the train station is only a 10-15 minute walk- 10 with an greyhound, 15 with a daschund!
Loch Morlich Beach, Loch Morlich (Highlands)
One of the coolest and most instagrammable beaches on this list, Loch Morlich Beach is actually a freshwater beach- no sea in sight, just the sand and the Loch.
Dogs are welcome all year round, and there are tons of circular walks to enjoy in Cairngorms national parks.
Forests, beaches, snow capped mountains… you’d be hard pressed to find a walkable expanse in Britain which offers as much variety!
There is a little bit of novelty attached to this beach which probably enhances it’s appeal, but if you can it’s well worth a visit for a day or even longer as there is so much to see and explore for both you and your dog.
Seamill Beach, Strathclyde
One for the birdwatchers, Seamill beach is a sandy beach backed by dunes and lots of local wildlife.
It’s a really relaxed beach with not too much mess or fuss, and there are some lovely picnic spots and grassy areas surrounding.
For parking, follow KA23 9NL all the way to the end of the road and there is a little car park at the end of the road.
It is a tough one to talk about, as there isn’t actually a tremendous amount of anything at Seamill Beach other than sand and sea… but really, that’s all you need!
Dog Friendly Beaches in Wales
Traeth Cymyran Beach, Anglesey
Traeth Cymyran will probably be the most polarising beach on this list by a long way.
It is beautiful, and great for dogs as it tends to be a little bit less busy- it’s a long walk from Rhosniegr which tends to keep the locals away as there are beaches a bit closer.
The polarising aspect is that the beach is just behind the RAF Valley Base, and with it being an active air base there are often training exercises going on involving fighter jets.
This comes with a little bit of noise, so if your dog is skittish or sound sensitive this might not be the best place for them.
Alternatively, if you can block out the occasional aeroplane noise, or see fighter jets overhead as a feature rather than a negative, this will quickly become your favourite beach!
If you keep walking on this beach you’ll end up on Traeth Crigyll, which is zoned differently but still dog friendly- in essence, it’s all one big beach which is great for really putting in the miles with your dog.
Porthlysgi Beach, Pembrokeshire
Whilst the beach is beautiful, the real dog walking spots are across the tops of the cliffs that surround the beach.
Vast expanses of greenery with beautiful views, Porthlysgi is a wonderful place to let your dog run off all of their energy while you catch some sunshine and breathe the sea air.
If you’re truly determined, access to the beaches at Porthlysgi is somewhat limited- you can only reach the beach via the coastal path, about a mile away.
The beach itself is pebbly unless it is very low tide, in which case you’ll get some golden sands and rockpools to explore. It is a lovely beach, but the real treat is the clifftop walk, so maybe it shouldn’t have made it onto this list!
Dog Friendly Beaches in the Isle of Wight
This is one of the best beaches in the Isle of Wight and offers a long stretch of sand and blue waters. When the tide is out, the beach extends even further giving you and your pooch lots of space to enjoy.
Of course, your pooch can also dip their paws in the sea or go for a swim to cool down after their walk!
Yaverland follows a beautiful route and stretches North East from the sailing and yacht club to the foot of the chalk cliffs of Culver Down. This gives your pooch plenty of time to burn off their energy whilst you enjoy the stunning coastal views.
There’s also a beach shop and cafe at the southern end of the car park so you can grab a coffee and sit down to rest your legs. I’m sure your pooch will appreciate some time relaxing too!
Located on the South East coast of the Isle of Wight, Shanklin Beach is very popular due to its stretches of golden sands which backs onto a traditional English seafront promenade.
After your walk there are a range of seaside cafes and traditional beach shops selling everything from newspapers and books to inflatable boats and wetsuits – if you were fancying a dip in the sea yourself!
The southern end of the Esplanade offers lots of hotels, pubs and restaurants in case you’re wanting to spend a night or two in this beautiful location with your four legged friend.
Majestic cliffs tower over the waters at the southern end of the beach, and you can carry on by foot around the headland to Luccombe Beach during a low tide if you want to extend your walk further.
Also known as the Isle of Wights best kept secret, Compton Beach provides a two mile stretch of contrasting golden and dark sands, with tranquil blue seas, multi-coloured sandstone cliffs, and the white chalk cliffs at Freshwater.
This creates a very scenic setting and is the perfect way to wind down after a busy day with your pooch!
Although based in the West of the Isle of Wight, Compton Beach is reminiscent of the beaches in Cornwall or even on the west coast of America due to its stunning coastline.
Newly restored steps lead down to the beach from Hanover Point/Shippard’s Chine where there is a large National Trust car park, toilets, and a fresh water tap to keep you and your dog hydrated.
This is key to maintaining your dog’s health, especially after a long day in the sun!
You can also drive further west to Compton Chine/Farm where there is a smaller car park on the opposite side of the coastal road.
Dog Friendly Beaches: The Best in the UK
There are hundreds of dog friendly beaches in the UK, so we hope our list has helped at least a little bit in deciding where to head on your next trip out.
Walking your dog has so many health benefits by keeping their fit and helping to increase their mobility.
We tried to give a wide variety of options to make sure your furry companion gets the best experience possible.
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