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The best dog-friendly beaches in the UK

The UK is home to some of the best beaches in the world, and a trip to one of our sandy shores can be unforgettable. The only problem is, while we all love going on holiday, we hate leaving our pets behind. With 60% of dog owners admitting to missing their four-legged friends more than their partners or children while on holiday, knowing the beaches where dogs are welcome is essential. Well, at Dog Friendly Cottages, we’re here to help. We don’t think that time away should mean time away from your pets, so we’ve scoured the UK shores to come up with the best sandy spots without restrictions on dogs. If you see somewhere you like, why not check out one of our dog-friendly cottages nearby. If you're in a rush and need set up your next staycation in an instant view our last-minute dog-friendly cottages. We've covered every region in the UK extensively and you'll find an interactive map at the bottom of the post with every dog-friendly beach in the UK!

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  • Dog-friendly beaches interactive map
  • Dog-friendly beaches in Northern England
  • Dog-friendly beaches in Southern and Eastern England
  • Dog-friendly beaches in South West England
  • Dog-friendly beaches in Wales
  • Dog-friendly beaches in Scotland
  • Frequently asked questions on dog friendly beaches

Dog-friendly beaches in Northern England

Cayton Bay, North Yorkshire

Best for: Surfing and fossil hunting

Dogs allowed: Year-round

Car Park: Paid parking, adjacent

Sat three miles south of Scarborough, this peaceful, unspoilt beach is a bit of a hidden gem, as its grand sweep of fine sand stays quiet year-round. There’s something of a wild feel to the bay, whose thrilling waves make it perfect for surfers and windsurfers. Backed by towering cliffs formed in the Jurassic period around 150 million years ago, it’s also an excellent spot for fossil hunting.

Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland

Best for: Historic monuments

Dogs allowed: Year-round

Car Park: Paid parking nearby, limited on-street parking available

A walk down this beautiful beach is a walk through English history as the expanse of sand is surrounded by some of the country’s most interesting attractions. Behind the beach sits the majestic Bamburgh Castle, a Norman stronghold which has stood since the 6th century. Opposite the shore are the Inner Farne Islands, home of hermits and monks from the 7th to the 16th centuries, while a walk north leads to Stags Rocks, stunning cliffs surrounded by a selection of intriguing rock pools.

Bispham Beach, Lancashire

Best For: Discovering shipwrecks

Dogs allowed: Year-round

Car Park: Paid parking nearby

Sat across from the Lancashire Coastal way, near the Marton Mere nature reserve, this beautiful beach was voted one of the UK’s top dog-friendly spots. At low tide, a vast stretch of golden sand slopes gently down into the water, providing the perfect place to let your dog run free. Best of all, the remains of an abandoned shipwreck appear, partly buried in the sand.

Dog-friendly beaches in Southern and Eastern England

Hunstanton Beach, Norfolk

Best for: Searching rock pools and fossils

Dogs allowed: Year-round

Cark park: Multiple paid car parks nearby

One of the only west-facing beaches in East Anglia, this sandy stretch is sheltered from sea breezes, while being one of the best spots to take in a spectacular Norfolk sunset. The immaculate shoreline is cleaned daily, making it a safe and pleasant place to let your dog exercise. The shallow water perfect for paddling and bathing, while creature-filled rock pools and fossil-filled rocks provide no shortage of treasures to uncover.

Camber Sands, East Sussex

Best for: Exploring sand dunes

Dogs allowed: Year-round on most of the beach, barred from small section 1st May - 30th September

Car Park: Multiple paid car parks nearby

Two miles of golden shore backed by dozens of exciting sand dunes make this East Sussex coastal resort a dog-friendly adventure playground. Picnic amongst the sand dunes, comb the beach for washed up treasures or tour the many dog-friendly cafes in the nearby village of Camber. With so much to do, it’s no surprise that during the summer months this is one of South England’s best-loved holiday destinations.

Palm Bay Beach, Kent

Best for: Finding four-legged friends

Dogs allowed: Year-round

Car Park: free parking, short walk away

Sat a short walk from Margate town centre, this flat, open beach is particularly popular among dog walkers. If your pup craves company, this is the place to find it, but that doesn’t mean this sandy stretch gets too crowded. Despite its popularity, this spot rarely gets as busy as the nearby beaches and is kept clean all year round.

Dog-friendly beaches in South West England

Prussia Cove, Cornwall

Best for: Exploring the rocks

Dogs allowed: Year-round

Car park: Paid, short walk away

Secluded and romantic, this intimate cove has a poetic, old-worldly feel to it. One of the most picturesque beaches in Britain, it’s perfect for a quiet game of fetch or a photo opportunity in front of the stunning Cornish rocks. At low tide, the sea gives way to a smooth patch of golden white sand, famous for once being home to the Carters, a family of 18th-century smugglers.

Woolacombe Beach, Devon

Best for: Playing fetch

Dogs allowed: Year-round on most of beached, excluding the rocks at the north end

Car park: Paid parking nearby

Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this stunning beach is widely considered as one of the best in Britain, having won both the Blue Flag and Premier Seaside Beach awards. Three miles of clean, clear, golden sand provide the perfect place to have a high-energy game of fetch or just let your four-legged friend roam free, while rock pools and shallow waters are ideal for washing off mucky paws.

Lulworth Cove, Dorset

Best for: Postcard-worthy pictures

Dogs allowed: Year-round, on the left side of the slipway

Car park: Paid parking adjacent

Nestled near the picturesque village of West Lulworth, this beautiful, white pebble beach is the perfect postcard picture. Charming, romantic, and delightfully English, it’s the ideal place for a casual walk with your four-legged friend. At low tide, the water retreats to unveils a variety of beautiful rock pools, all teeming with fascinating sea creatures, while the nearby village offers a range of restaurants, shopping spots and dog-friendly cafes.

Dog-friendly beaches in Wales

Conwy Morfa, Conwy, North Wales

Best for: Fishing and birdwatching

Dogs allowed: Year-round

Car Park: Paid parking adjacent

Tucked out of the way, this rural beach is less busy than others in the area. Home to a huge expanse of golden sand, it provides a secluded spot where dogs are free to run, jump, or go paddling in the shallow waters. The peace and quiet also lures in some of the UK’s rarest and most spectacular wildlife, making it a brilliant bird watching and fishing site. The town of Conwy sits nearby, with a variety of dog-friendly cafes and shopping spots to explore.

Little Quay, Ceredigion, Mid/West Wales

Best for: Sunsets and spotting the sea-life

Dogs allowed: Year-round

Car Park: Paid parking nearby

Located to the west of New Quay, this sheltered beach is generally quiet and provides a peaceful place to take in the sea air. With views stretching out over Cardigan Bay, many visitors come here just for the spectacular sunsets. While gazing out across the Welsh sea, there’s a chance you’ll spot a pod of dolphins or some seals swimming by.

Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, South Wales

Best for: Long walks

Dogs allowed: Year-round

Car Park: Paid parking nearby

Perfect for walkers, watersports and wonderful views, this three-mile stretch of golden white sand was voted Wales’ Best Beach in 2018. It’s long and scenic walking routes are the perfect place to let your dog exercise while taking in some of the area’s best views including Worms Head and the wider Gower Coast Path.

Dog-friendly beaches in Scotland

Mellon Udrigle Beach, Highlands and Islands

Best for: Mountain views

Dogs allowed: Year-round

Car park: Paid parking nearby

Backed by sand dunes and distant mountainscapes, the views from this secluded beach are unrivalled by any low-level viewpoint in Scotland. From the centre of the beach, you can see some of the Highland’s most majestic mountainscapes, with a different visual delight in every direction. The clean white sand provides the perfect place to let your dog run free, while the shallow waters are ideal for paddling.

St. Combs Beach, North East Scotland

Best for: A private getaway

Dogs allowed: Year-round

Car park: Parking available in a nearby village

Tucked, unnoticed, down the coast from Fraserburgh, this beautiful beach is one of Scotland’s hidden gems. Perfect for a private getaway, chances are you’ll have this sandy spot all to yourself. But it’s lack of fame doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer. A secluded expanse of sand backed by grassy dunes, this area is reputed to be one of the sunniest in Scotland. It offers incredible views out over the North Sea, and at the right time of day, you can spot seals sleeping in the sand.

Saltcoats Beach, South Scotland

Best for: Family picnics

Dogs allowed: Year-round

Car park: Paid parking nearby

Set between the towns of Saltcoats and Ardrossan, this wide expanse of sand offers incredible views over the Firth of Clyde and across the mountainous Isle of Arran. Facing south-west away from the prevailing winds, and backed by a long esplanade, the flat, open space is perfect for games of fetch, or long and leisurely walks, or family picnics. The shallow waters across the bay are great for paddling or washing off sandy paws.

Dog-friendly beaches FAQs

Is the beach a good place for dogs?

At Dog Friendly Cottages, there are two things we know for sure; the beach is an excellent place for dogs, and dogs love the beach. Sea, sand, and rolling dunes make the beach a paradise for our four-legged friends, with loads to see and do. From digging to paddling to chasing seagulls down the shore, your dog is sure to want to be beside the seaside. 

Why aren’t dogs allowed on some beaches?

While we love our furry friends, we do have to admit; dogs can be mucky pups. Some beaches don’t allow dogs because of the extra waste this can mean is left on the shores. But don’t let this make you think that dog-friendly beaches are dirty. Most ‘dogs allowed’ beaches, especially the ones we at Dog Friendly Cottages recommend, put in extra effort to stay clean, making many of them more hygienic than their dog-free neighbours. 

What is the difference between ‘dogs allowed’ and ‘dogs restricted’ beaches?

In the UK and Ireland, if a beach is ‘dogs allowed’ or ‘dog-friendly’ it generally means there are no, or minimal, limits on where dogs are allowed to go, and the times of the year they are allowed to go there. While we suggest you check before packing up and leaving the house, ‘dogs allowed’ and ‘dog-friendly beaches’ usually welcome four-legged friends throughout the year – even in the height of summer. In contrast to this, beaches listed as ‘dogs restricted’ will have a limit on the accessibility for dogs. This restriction is often a seasonal ban, meaning dogs will not be allowed on the beach from May to September.

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