These UK beaches are not only beautiful, but they also welcome both you and your pooch. They've have already been tested out by our resident doggie critic, Wallace the Westie, and we've both agreed they are great places for year round splashies (that's walkies at the beach of course).
Beaches seem like such natural places to bring dogs who like to run and jump in the water. One reason they're not welcome at all beaches is that, frankly, not all dog owners are considerate of others. Who wants to walk barefooted where owners have not cleaned up after their pets? To ensure that these and other dog-friendly beaches stay that way, use a pooper scooper of some kind and deposit in appropriate litter bins. Here are some other pointers to keep in mind:
- Provide fresh water and plenty of shade for your dog.
- Keep your dog under control at all times - that may mean using a leash if the beach get's crowded.
- If your dog is making someone uncomfortable or frightening children - don't be a campaigner, just move along. UK beaches are usually big enough for all sorts.
Here then, with those provisos in mind, are our favorite dog-friendly beaches.
Wallace the Westie stayed close to me as we slogged up the path through the salty marram grass and over the 40-foot dunes that conceal this remarkable beach from the road nearby. But once we crested the hill, he was off. This is an eight-mile stretch of packed white sand on the East Sussex Coast near Rye and the Kent border. When the tide is out, the vast expanse of beach drives most dogs potty. And there are plenty of other dogs to play with, a fair amount of driftwood for doggy games of catch - or in Wallace the Westie's case, swim and catch, and seashells for casual collectors. Dogs are welcome along most of the beach throughout the year though there is a short, dog-free stretch in the summer.
Eat the local seafood at The Gallivant. If you are very, very nice, they may look after your pooch in their office while you dine.
The laid back Suffolk seaside resort of Southwold faces the North Sea with miles of wide, white sand beaches. Head south along the beach toward the River Blythe, past row after row of colorful beach huts and the beach becomes more dog-friendly and more friendly altogether. The sand is soft and powdery - some of the best I've seen for doggy paws in the UK.
You can stay in Southwold, which is a pretty town with all seaside amenities except the usual carnival atmosphere, including a classy pier. But I'd head for Walberswick, about a mile away. Follow Ferry Road along the north bank of the Blythe for the unusual Walberswick Ferry - a little rowboat that carries about ten passengers across the river. At Walberswick, you'll find more white sand beach as well as a very good, dog friendly pub, The Anchor, with accommodations for well behaved pooches and their owners. Walberswick is so dog friendly, by the way, that the man who runs the ice cream and snack van sets out a nice clean bucket of fresh water for four legged customers.
The Kingsbridge Estuary in Devon creates some beautiful tidal beaches. North and South Sands beaches near Salcombe, close to the mouth of the estuary are two of them. Calm and clean expanses of golden sands, with a nice sandy bottom to the estuary as well,they are hugged within the arms of steep green headlands dotted with beach houses you'd be mad not to covet.
South Sands is only dog-friendly seasonally (dogs are banned from May to September). But North Sands, just over a steep hill, is almost identical yet dog-friendly year round. It's all to do with the tides. At high tide, North Sands is completely under water, so washed clean daily. Wallace the Westie sampled North Sands, where he engaged a much bigger dog in a game of water frisbee, and won. What Wallace lacked in size he more than made up in bravery in the water.
There are several hotels, parking, and and a good beachside cafe, The Winking Prawn, within an easy distance of North Sands Beach. If you stay at the glamorous South Sands Hotel, as we did, you and Fido may have to make do with views of South Sands until time for walkies, when North Sands is only about 15 minutes away.