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14 of the best dog-friendly beaches in the UK

Written by Napo HQ
29th Jun 2022
10 mins read
Summary
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!
This article was updated on 17th April 2023
With so many Bank Holidays coming up, and summer just around the corner, you’re probably keen to escape on a seaside staycation or a day at the beach.
Finding a beach without dog bans in summer can be tricky. So we've written this list of 14 of the best dog friendly beaches in the UK where you and the woofer will always be able to enjoy some sun, sea, and sand.
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.
Remember to keep your dog safe in the car when you’re on your travels. Always carry drinking water for your dog, and be sensible in the sun to avoid heatstroke.

The best dog-friendly beaches in England

The East of England

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

You’d be forgiven for mistaking Wells-Next-The-Sea and Holkham Beach for tropical paradises. Both beaches have expanses of open blue sky and sea, and miles of soft 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 long stretched of 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 so they don't disturb the wildlife.
Dogs are welcome all year to Sandilands and almost the entire beach has no restrictions on canine visitors. Just make sure to check signposts and local maps, because some seasonal restrictions may be introduced in small areas due to nesting birds or bathing.
Location: LN12 2RQ

The South East

3. 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.
Outside the summer high season it becomes a completely dog friendly beach. So from September to April, you and the dog can go anywhere without any restrictions at all.
Location: PO20 8AJ

The South West

4. Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay is one of our favourite dog friendly beaches because it's a beautiful place to be, and has no restrictions on dogs. Your four legged friend 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. There's also a hotel, restaurant, toilets, and coffee hut on the beach if you need a snack and a drink during your day at the seaside.
It’s the perfect place for families because it’s an ideal bucket and spade beach. Plus, it’s only a 15 minute drive from Newquay. You could even walk there, but it’s a tough walk with a few hills and valleys on the way. If you do make the trip to town, stop by Fistral Beach which is another dog-friendly shore that's just been voted the 22nd best beach in Europe by TripAdviser!
Location: TR8 4AA

The North East

5. Bamburgh Beach

Bamburgh 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 last 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.
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.
Best of all, Bamburgh Castle Beach is one of the most dog friendly beaches in the UK, as well as one of the most breathtaking. Dogs are welcome here all year with no restrictions at all.
Location: NE69 7DF

Yorkshire & the Humber

6. Fraisthorpe Beach

Another beautiful sandy beach is Fraisthorpe Beach, where dogs are welcome all year round. This flat, sandy beach isn't just one of the most dog friendly beaches in England, it's pretty animal friendly in general. It's popular with horse riders, so be aware of other animals and visitors, and keep your dog under control.
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 North West

7. 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. There are also sand dunes to explore on a dog walk, lots of birds and wildlife to watch.
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 an expanse of sand. This is a family friendly beach too, with a cafe and a 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.

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 on the entire beach, all year round.
Location: BT33 0NQ

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 walk in. There’s also a long promenade if you fancy a more leisurely stroll with the pooch.
Although we often take days out at the beach in the height of summer, a visit to this beach in winter is worthwhile because you might see the Northern Lights. Whatever time of year you visit, you don’t need to worry about any restrictions on the pooch.
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 whether you’re exploring Scotland or taking a dog friendly beach holiday.
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. 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 probably 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 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 on holiday here.
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. It's another dog friendly beach in the UK without any restrictions or time limits for furry visitors. So your dog is welcome off the lead on 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. There aren't as many dog friendly beaches in North Wales compared to the south, which makes this one all the more special.
It's 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 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. There's plenty of space to play on this huge, flat sandy beach for an off-lead romp or a doggy paddle.
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 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 south 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 too busy.
Location: CF32 0PH

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