What are the Top Dog-Friendly Beaches in the UK?

Dog on the beachIf you’re planning a trip out with your pooch, there are a number of things which need to be taken into consideration. In addition to packing everything you need for the day and making sure you know where you’re going, it’s important to consider things from your dog’s perspective, too. For instance, if you are going to the seaside, it’s essential to double check that the particular beach is dog-friendly before you make the journey.

But with so many rules and regulations surrounding dogs and beaches, this can understandably be a tricky task. To help you out, we’ve put together a handy guide to the top dog-friendly beaches in the UK!

First things first, it’s important to make sure you know the regulations. In the UK, only a very small number of beaches allow dogs without restriction all year round. Instead, most beaches allow dogs during the off-season (1st October to 30th April) while access for dogs during the peak season is restricted or, in some cases, prohibited. And, of course, don’t forget that your pooch will be legally required to wear ID with your name and address on it, so make sure that he or she is wearing their engraved pet tag.

Here, we will just be focusing on the beaches which are truly dog-friendly, meaning ones where the standard seasonal restrictions do not apply.

So, without further ado, here are some of the best dog-friendly beaches across the UK!

Cornwall

The UK’s southernmost county, Cornwall, has often been a favourite destination with British holidaymakers. It is also the county with the highest number of dog-friendly beaches in England, so if you’re looking for plenty of options, Cornwall should be the first place on your list.

Some of Cornwall’s best dog-friendly beaches include:

  • Padstow – St George’s Well Cove at Padstow is a gorgeous sandy beach and is ideal for families with children and dogs
  • Bude – Summerleaze Beach is a large sandy beach with dunes and a breakwater, offering a more sheltered spot to bathe
  • Watergate Bay – Located around 3 miles from Newquay, Watergate Bay is an expansive sandy beach with plenty of space for dogs and kids to let off some steam!
  • Gorran Haven – Also known as Little Perhaver, this is a family-friendly sand and shingle beach. At low tide, it is possible to walk along the beach to the main Gorran Haven beach
  • Mexico Towans Beach – Backed by sand dunes, Mexico Towans beach is part of a four-mile stretch of sandy shore

Northern Ireland

The striking Northern Irish coastline offers beautiful views and plenty of spots to enjoy the beauty of nature. But if you’re bringing your dog, which beaches are best to visit?

Some of the top dog-friendly beaches in Northern Ireland include:

  • Ballyhalbert Beach – Typically a pebble beach, but sand is also exposed at low tide. Ballyhalbert is renowned for being a great beach for walking and fishing, so don’t forget to bring your gear!
  • Carnlough Beach – Hugging the coastline around the bay, this sandy beach is ideal for holidaymakers staying in the nearby village of Carnlough
  • Downhill Strand Beach – Offering awe-inspiring coastal views, this beach is an SSSI and conservation area. Fans of hit TV show Game of Thrones may also be interested to know that Downhill is the filming location for Dragonstone!
  • Murlough Beach – Stretching for five miles of glorious golden sand, Murlough Beach is the perfect spot to enjoy a walk with your pooch
  • Waterfoot Beach – One of the most popular beaches on the Antrim Coast, this is the beach for those in search of glorious coastal views

Northumberland

Offering beautiful views, unspoilt scenery and plenty of places to visit, Northumberland is a must-visit for dog owners. With beaches that are often quieter than some of the more popular tourist hotspots, this is the ideal place for a relaxing getaway with the whole family.

Some of the county’s best dog-friendly beaches include:

  • Alnmouth Beach – Situated in a wide, sandy bay, Alnmouth Beach is perfect for walking, exploring, or building sandcastles with the kids
  • Coves Haven – This remote beach on the far North side of Holy Island is quite sheltered, making it the ideal place to go rock pooling!
  • Fisherman’s Haven – Widely regarded as one of the cleanest beaches in Northumberland, this charming sandy beach is perfect for wildlife spotting
  • Newton Haven – A large beach with a mix of rock and sand, this sheltered bay is ideal for swimming and water sports
  • Warkworth – A pristine sandy beach, Warkworth is perfect for sunbathing, playing games, or simply enjoying a long walk with your dog

Scotland

If it’s unspoilt beauty and raw, natural wilderness you prefer, Scotland is the place for you. With breathtakingly beautiful beaches galore, you and your dog are sure to enjoy a peaceful holiday in Scotland.

The top dog-friendly beaches in Scotland include:

  • Findhorn – One of the most popular beaches on the Moray coast, Findhorn is a naturally beautiful sandy beach
  • Embo Beach – Ideal for dog walkers and families alike, Embo Beach offers breath-taking views, rock pools to explore, and sand dunes to protect from the wind
  • Belhaven Beach – Located in John Muir Country Park, this sandy beach is perfect for lovers of natural beauty. It’s a great spot for a picnic, too!
  • East Beach – Backed by the promenade at Leven, East Beach offers beautiful views and handy access for those staying at the nearby camping and caravan site
  • Saltcoats – With great views over the Firth of Clyde and across to the Isle of Arran, this sandy beach is ideal for families with dogs

Pembrokeshire

Another popular destination among British holidaymakers, Pembrokeshire has dog-friendly beaches galore. This Welsh holiday hotspot boasts scenic views and plenty of opportunities for walking and sightseeing – what more could you ask for?

Some of the best dog-friendly beaches in Pembrokeshire include:

  • Aber-West Beach – If secluded beaches are your thing, then Aber-West is the one for you. Only really accessible from the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, this is a beautifully secluded sand and shingle beach
  • Flimston Bay – One of Pembrokeshire’s hidden gems, Flimston Bay is ideal for intrepid explorers looking for some peace and quiet. It’s worth noting that the beach falls within MoD land, so access will be restricted on some days
  • Freshwater West – This picturesque beach was once used by smugglers, but today is a favourite among surfers. You may also recognise it from films including The Finest and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • Pen-y-Cwm Beach – This secluded beach is ideal for rock pooling and relaxing in the sun!

Have any of these beaches piqued your interest? A beach is a wonderful place for dogs – an open expanse where they can run and play to their heart’s content. Make sure that you and your pooch stay on the right side of the law the next time you take a trip to the seaside by checking the signs and clipping on their pet tag, and guarantee a day to remember for all the right reasons!

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