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14 of the best dog-friendly beaches in the UK

Written by Napo HQ
29th Jun 2022
10 mins read
The photo is of a small black and tan terrier wearing a blue harness, stood on a sandy beach. Out of focus in the top left corner of the photo, is the owner's hand holding a ball, and the dog is staring intently at the ball, ready to play!
Britain is a nation of dog-lovers, and many owners will even pick their staycation and day trip destinations depending on whether their pooch can come! If you want to head to the seaside this summer with your dog, try one of these dog-friendly beaches in the UK. Many of which welcome dogs all year without any restrictions!
With the summer holidays coming up, you’re probably keen to escape on a seaside staycation or a day at the beach.
However, finding a beach that welcomes dogs in the peak summer months can be tricky. But you’ll always be able to enjoy some sun, sea, and sand at these dog-friendly beaches in the UK.
Even though dogs are allowed off-lead on these beaches, owners are expected to always have their dogs under control, and you must pick up after them.
Want to know which beach is closest to you? Check the map below.
The graphic shows the United Kingdom, with 14 tags marking where each of the best dog-friendly beaches in the UK can be found.
Remember to keep your dog safe in the car when you’re on your travels to these brilliant dog-friendly beaches. Always carry drinking water for your dog, to prevent dehydration, and be sensible in the sun to
avoid heatstroke

The best dog-friendly beaches in England

The North East

3. Bamburgh Beach

Bamburgh has won Which? “Best seaside town” again in 2022, after winning previously in 2021 and 2019. The beach itself is just as celebrated, having been crowned the
8th best beach in Europe
this year by Tripadvisor!
But what makes
Bamburgh Beach
so special? For a start, the scenery is unforgettable. You can enjoy the sun, sea, and sand with a magnificent castle as your backdrop. It’s also in the heart of an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty. Plus, if you look out to sea, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Farne Islands, so there’s a beautiful view whichever way you look.
Best of all, Bamburgh Castle Beach is one of the most dog-friendly beaches in England as well as one of the most breathtaking. Dogs are welcome here all year with no restrictions at all.
After enjoying the views, you and the dog can enjoy a dog walk to White Stag Rocks, or wander through the wild dunes. Otherwise, you could simply enjoy a doggy paddle in the surf and a game of fetch over the sand.
Location: NE69 7DF

Yorkshire & the Humber

7. Fraisthorpe Beach

Another beautiful sandy beach is
Fraisthorpe Beach
, where dogs are welcome all year round. This flat, sandy beach is popular with horse riders as well as dog walkers. So do be aware of other animals and visitors, and keep your dog under control at all times.
That being said, there are no restrictions on dogs here so they can be off the lead at any time. It’s also a huge, quiet beach so you’re highly unlikely to run into crowds. Perfect for a peaceful seaside dog walk!
There’s everything you’ll need for a day out with the dog here. Including a large car park, cafe, and toilets beside the beach. You could also take a short drive into Bridlington if you need anything extra. Alternatively, you could walk the three miles from Fraisthorpe Beach to Bridlington Beach, just remember dogs need to be on the lead at Bridlington.
Location: YO15 3QU

The East of England

1. Wells-Next-The-Sea and Holkham Beach

You’d be forgiven for mistaking
Holkham Beach
for tropical paradises. Both beaches have expanses of open blue sky and sea, and miles of golden sand. Although there may not be palm trees backing this beach, (we are still in Britain!), the pine forest behind the seafront offers a great shaded spot to cool off.
These two beaches join up at low tide, giving you and the dog miles upon miles of soft sand to walk along. Not to mention, acres of space for your pup to play off-lead, dig in the sand, and splash in the sea.
This beach is often billed as one of the most beautiful in England. In addition, Holkham Beach is also one of the most dog-friendly beaches in the UK, because dogs are welcome all year without any restrictions. They’re also welcome on Wells-Next-The-Sea beach all year, but there are restrictions in the summer on a small section of the beach in front of the beach huts.
Location: NR23 1AB

The East Midlands

2. Sandilands

Sandilands Beach
is another unspoiled seaside with miles of golden sand for you and the pup to play on. This beach never seems to get very busy so you won’t have to worry about crowds or finding space for fetch. Plus, its enormous size means you’ll always find a peaceful place to relax with the pooch.
It’s an amazing area to go dog walking, whatever the season. You can enjoy an off-lead adventure on the beach, a leisurely stroll along the prom, or you can explore the nature reserve. Just remember that dogs must be kept on leads in the nature reserve to prevent disturbance to wildlife.
Dogs are welcome all year to Sandilands, and most of the beach, if not all of it, has no restrictions on canine visitors. Just must make sure to check signposts and local maps as some seasonal restrictions may be introduced in small areas due to nesting birds or bathing.
Location: LN12 2RQ

The South East

5. West Wittering

West Wittering
has long been known as one of the best beaches in the country and routinely holds Blue Flag status. It boasts beautiful golden sand, clear blue water, and superb views over the South Downs, making it one of the most beautiful dog-friendly beaches in England.
Unusually for a Blue Flag beach, dogs are welcome all year on most of the beach. But do be aware that there are some restrictions for four-legged visitors in the summer.
From the 1st of May to Mid-September, dogs aren’t allowed in the Blue Flag bathing zone. This is the bit in front of the beach huts, between groynes 14a and 18. It’s clearly signposted and makes up a very small area of the beach. So you and the pooch can still enjoy plenty of seaside fun further along the front.
The entire beach becomes dog-friendly outside the summer high season. So from September to April, you and the dog can go anywhere on the beach without any restrictions at all.
Location: PO20 8AJ

The North West

4. Haverigg Beach

At the mouth of the Duddon Estuary is
Haverigg Beach
. When the tide goes out, there are near endless sand and mud flats, so don’t expect to be able to have a paddle without a long walk. It does mean that there are miles of open beach for your dog to run around on off-lead.
As mentioned, there are also mud flats to be aware of as you go towards the sea. They’re great for watching water birds and waders, but not so good for buckets and spades. So if you’re here to build castles or let the dog dig in the sand, stick to the upper part of the beach where you’ll find stretches of clean, soft sand.
There are also sand dunes to explore on a dog walk, lots of birds and wildlife to watch, and a cafe and kid’s play area to keep the humans happy.
Haverigg is a hidden gem on the Cumbrian coast, and one of the most dog-friendly beaches in the UK since dogs are allowed here all year without any restrictions. However, if you do take a dog walk through nearby RSBP Hodbarrow nature reserve, you must remember to put your pooch on a lead.
Location: LA18 4GY

The West Midlands

Sadly, there are no dog-friendly beaches in the West Midlands because the region is land-locked. However, there are loads of great beaches you can drive to in the North West and Wales.

The South West

6. Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay
is one of our favourite dog-friendly beaches in the UK because it is a beautiful place to be, and has no restrictions on dogs. Your pooch is welcome here all year round and is always allowed to play off the lead.
When the tide’s out, you’re treated to no less than two miles of golden sand to play on. But even if the tide is in, you can enjoy a bracing walk along the top of the cliffs.
It’s the perfect place for families as it’s also an ideal bucket and spade beach. Plus, it’s only a short drive from Newquay and all the accommodation and amenities there. You could even walk here from Newquay, but it’s a tough walk with a few hills and valleys on the way.
That being said, there’s still a hotel, restaurant, toilets, and coffee hut on the beach if you need a snack and a drink during your day at the seaside
Location: TR8 4AA
The photo shows a wet collie dog carrying a tennis ball away from the sea and up a sandy beach.

Dog-friendly beaches in Northern Ireland

8. Murlough Beach

Murlough Beach
stretches on for over five miles, all the way from Newcastle to Tyrella. Given its sheer size, you and the dog will always be able to find a quiet space where you can enjoy a game of fetch undisturbed.
If a long walk along the beach wasn’t enough, you can also explore the
nearby nature reserve
. Dogs are welcome throughout the reserve, but they must be kept on leads so they don’t disturb any wildlife. Speaking of wildlife, you might spot some Common and Gray seals hauled up on the beach, or porpoises playing in the sea.
Even if the only animal you see is your own pooch, it’s always worth visiting Murlough. It’s a great spot to sunbathe, swim, and play in the sand. Plus, it’s one of the most dog-friendly beaches in Northern Ireland because pooches are welcome along the entire beach, all year round.
Location: BT33 0NQ
The photo shows two terriers trotting along by a stream that cuts across the sand of a dog-friendly beach in scotland.

The best dog-friendly beaches in Scotland

The East Highlands

9. Nairn Beach

The North of Scotland is famous for its beautiful white sandy beaches.
Nairn Beach
is one of the best of them, with miles of clean sand for the pooch to run over, sheltered shallow waters for doggy paddles, and a vast network of sand dunes to enjoy a dog walk in. There’s also a long promenade if you fancy a more leisurely walk with the pooch.
Although we often take days out at the beach in the height of summer, a visit to this beach in winter could be worthwhile because you might see the Northern Lights. Whatever time of year you visit, you don’t need to worry about any restrictions, making this one of the most dog-friendly beaches in Scotland.
The beach also backs onto the town of Nairn. Being a seaside resort, there are plenty of things to do including a museum, shops, pubs, and two golf courses.
Location: IV12 9AE

The West Highlands & Islands

10. Big Sand Beach

If you couldn’t guess from the name,
Big Sand Beach
is a massive sandy beach and another example of the gorgeous seafronts the highlands are known for. It’s also on the North Coast 500, making it a fabulous seaside pit-stop when you’re exploring Scotland.
The beach’s size, unspoiled sands, scenery, and the fact there are no restrictions on dogs, make this one of the best dog-friendly beaches in the UK as well as one of the most beautiful. Your dog is welcome to visit any time of the year, even at the height of summer, and they’ll love swimming in the clean blue water.
Although popular, this beach never gets crowded and always feels rather remote since it’s in the Highlands and Islands. Being on the west coast, you can also see some stunning sunsets over the Hebrides.
Location: IV21 2DL

The Lowlands

11. Westport Beach

On the west coast facing into the Atlantic is
Westport Beach
. Since it faces into the Atlantic it sees some spectacular sunsets, as well as plenty of big waves which tempt surfers from all over. If the wind and waves are high when you visit, be sensible around the sea and avoid swimming.
Your dog doesn’t care about sunsets and surfing, but they will love the miles of unbroken, soft sand to run on and dig to their heart’s content. You’ll never have to worry about crowds, and could take a long dog walk to explore the sand dunes behind the beach. As well as being a safe seafront with plenty of space to play, there are no restrictions on visiting dogs, making it one of the most dog-friendly beaches in Scotland.
Location: PA28 6QD
The photo shows two long-haired dachshunds running across the golden sands of a beach, ears flapping in the wind.

The best dog-friendly beaches in Wales

Mid Wales

12. Cei Bach Beach (Little Quay)

Cei Bach
(or Little Quay) is a large, sheltered beach near New Quay. When the tide is out, you could even walk along the beach and up into town. There’s also a nearby walk dedicated to Dylan Thomas, a famous Welsh poet who regularly came to holiday in this area.
If you’re looking for a peaceful seaside escape, you’ll find it on this secluded seafront. There are few facilities and visitors. You might find the only other soul you see is another dog walker. There are also no seasonal dog restrictions to worry about, so the dog is welcome off the lead and they can enjoy the whole beach, all year.
It’s particularly pretty in the evening, as the west-facing direction means you’re treated to a spectacular sunset over Cardigan Bay. And, if you’re lucky, you might even see some seals or dolphins playing in the surf.
Location: SA45 9SL

North Wales

13. Harlech Beach

Nestled within the Snowdonia National Park is
Harlech Beach
. It’s another big, beautiful flat sandy beach with plenty of space for your dog to run around off the lead and enjoy a doggy paddle.
Harlech Beach is a contender for the most beautiful dog-friendly beach in the UK. Few beaches have as stunning a backdrop as Harlech, which is backed by a network of sand dunes, a castle, and the mighty mountains beyond.
Although your dog might not care about the scenery, they will love playing in the shallow surf, digging in the sand, and racing around on the seafront. Your pooch is welcome here all year, and there are no restrictions on most of the beach.
The only exception is a small section of the seafront in front of the holiday park, where dogs aren’t allowed in between 1st April and 30th September. But it is a very small area, and you’ll still find acres of sand and sea to play on with the pooch. Plus, outside those months, your dog can go anywhere, anytime.
Location: LL46 2UG

South Wales

14. Ogmore Central Beach

Ogmore Central Beach Once hit the headlines for hosting a huge Dachshund dog walk a few years ago. Since then, its reputation as one of the most dog-friendly beaches in Wales has persisted. That’s because dogs are welcome all year on this massive beach, and there are no restrictions on where they can go or what they can do.
The beach is a mix of sand and shingle, so the dog and kids can race around and dig on the seafront. There are also sand dunes, rockpools, and rivers to explore, all home to a wealth of wildlife you can watch. You might even find a fossil as you enjoy a dog walk on the beach and cliffs. You could walk here from Ogmore Castle, or head into nearby Ogmore-by-Sea after your day at the seaside.
Just be aware this is a popular beach for families, dog walkers, and horse riders so keep your dog under control at all times. But the beach is so big, it never feels busy.
Location: CF32 0PH

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