Nine dog-friendly winter beaches to take your pooch
Winter is a great time to head to the coast for a stroll without the crowds. If you’re planning an adventure with your four-legged friend, but aren’t sure where to go, take a look at these dog-friendly beaches in the UK.
1. Holkham Beach
Best for: Having a choice of woods, dunes and beach walks
Car park: The closest car park is Holkham Nature Reserve Pay and Display next to a cafe, which is a short walk from the beach
If you want to stay somewhere that offers more than just serene beachfront walks, Holkham Beach will leave you feeling spoilt for choice. There is an expanse of shady pinewoods and a wildlife-rich nature reserve behind the beach to explore.
2. Camusdarach Beach
Best for: Some candid shots of your canine with a spectacular back-drop
Car park: Camusdarach Car Park is a short walk from the beach, through the dunes
Scotland is known for its striking mountainous scenery and Caribbean-like beaches with glistening white sand, and Camusarach Beach is one of many that is bound to take your breath away. The water is crystal clear and there’s even some coral to scope out if you and your four-legged companion are confident swimmers.
Find dog-friendly cottages in Mallaig here >
3. Watergate Bay
Best for: A day trip with a beachfront dog-welcoming cafe for lunch
Car park: The beach is easy to access from Watergate Bay Car Park, which is a pay-and-display
With a two-mile stretch of golden sand, there’s plenty of space to let off some steam with a few games of fetch. Watergate Bay is a popular spot for dog walkers and is backed by striking cliffs, which you can walk along for some impressive views. You can easily spend a whole day here, swimming, walking and dining at the local canine-welcoming cafes and restaurants.
4. Bantham Beach
Best for: Shallow spots for canines who are less confident in the water
Car park: Bantham Beach Car Park has great facilities and is close to the beach
If you’re looking for clear shallow waters for paddling, Bantham has plenty of small pools for nervous four-legged swimmers, or if it’s their first time in the big blue sea. It’s also known for some of the best surfing in South Devon, so it’s worth a visit if you and your dog are looking to catch some waves and you’ve got a good wetsuit.
5. Rhosilli Bay
Best for: Long sunset walks
Car park: Rhosilli Bay Car Park is close to the beach and belongs to National Trust, which means free parking for members
As the sun sets in the west, Rhosilli Bay is an ideal spot for sharing a sunset with Fido – especially during winter, as you won't have to stay out late for dusk. For a great view of the coastline, head along the cliff path to Worms Head.
6. Bamburgh Castle Beach
Best for: History and dunes to explore
Car park: The Beach Car Park is very close to the shore
Located on the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Bamburgh Castle Beach is surrounded by birdwatching spots and a picturesque coastline. In addition to being a tranquil sandy beach backed by dunes, there’s also the impressive 1,400-year-old castle to sniff out.
7. Nairn Beach
Best for: Spotting the Arora Borealis
Car park: Links Car Park is free and is close to the beach
Walk through the grassy dunes to reach the shore, where you can admire the distant mountains. If you’re on Nairn Beach at sunset, if possible, stay a little bit longer and you might spot the Northern Lights if you’re visiting between October and early march.
Best for: An expansive stretch of beach backed by dunes and cliffs
Car park: Whiterocks Car Park is just off the beach
Winter is the only time you’ll get to take your four-legged friend to sprint along the golden sand of Whiterocks Beach, which is sheltered by rugged limestone cliffs. But this time of year is better, as it’s a lot less crowded so you’ll have uninterrupted panoramic views along the Causeway Coastal Route.
9. Rocken End Beach
Best for: Long scenic coastal dog walks
Car park: Follow a steep path down to the beach from Old Blackgang RD Car Park
Head to the South West of the Isle Of Wight on the edge of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where you’ll find miles of coastline to explore. The secluded Rocken End Beach is made up of sand and shingle and isn't far from the popular village of Ventnor.