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Best Dog Friendly Beach Holidays in the UK – Tried and Tested

Surf’s Up!

First, a disclaimer. This is a work in progress. Dog friendly beach holidays have become our new obsession. We visit a lot of the UK and love taking our mutts to the beach. So check back now and again for any updates.

Dog friendly beach holidays? Not this placeWhen we got our first dog, we took a trip to Brighton. We wanted to introduce him to the sea. We’d laze, he’d wander – it would all be wonderful. We travelled down by train from London, got to the beach and were confronted with the sign. No Dogs. Stranger still, dogs were allowed on the beach but only in the winter months. We didn’t fancy a pupsicle – we did fancy a day in the sun.

Being the risk takers we are – we threw caution to the wind and decided to chance our luck. We lasted five minutes. In that time an official had wandered over to inform us of the rule and send us and the pup off backing to the back-streets. Side note: it then rained and we landed up sitting outside on a dog unfriendly chain restaurant looking and feeling miserable as we gnawed on soggy chips. Fail.

Since then we have become a lot more seasoned in sniffing out the best dog places. So check out these dog friendly beach holidays we’ve tried and tested thus far!

Tintagel, Cornwall

Tintagel is a Cornish village bursting with history. Most famously is the legend of King Arthur and links to Tintagel Castle. Notable past residents include Sir Francis Drake and J. B. Priestley as well as famous visitors from Charles Dickens to Thomas Hardy.

Tintagel - from Arthurian legends to hidden beaches
Tintagel - from Arthurian legends to hidden beaches

For the humans there’s plenty to see and explore, both by foot and by a short drive. For the dogs there’s… well everything. Almost all of the beaches were dog friendly – the busy tourist ones and the gorgeous little pockets of isolation we found dotted along the coast. There are coastal walks aplenty. Woods, fields.

What was even more enjoyable about the entire holiday was everything seemed to be dog friendly. The restaurants, the bistro, the cafe, the pubs, the shops. Even the historic Airbnb house that we stayed was delighted to welcome dogs.

A note for the geeks (and their humans). Just a quick drive outside of the village brought us to an old abandoned WW2 Royal Air Force base: RAF Davidstow Moor.

St. Andrews, Fife

You probably recognise this beach from the opening running scenes of ‘Chariots of Fire’. No? Well allow us!

The beach is long, sprawling and beautiful. The town is wonderful. Famed for its golf and of course the University of choice for Prince William, it offers plenty of places to explore. Villages surround it and its closest city, Dundee, is a short drive away.

Perhaps the most stunning route to the beach is not through St. Andrews itself but rather the adjoining Tentsmuir Forest. Because it’s a great place to explore with your dogs – the added bonus of opening up to the beach and the lapping waves of the sea makes this close to perfect.

Beach at St Andrews in Scotland

Note: Not all parts of the beach are dog friendly. Saying that, it’s very large – and who wants to be near the tourists anyway.

St Andrews itself has several dog friendly hotels, guesthouses and eateries – though if you’re visiting for more than a couple of days – it’s worth checking in advance for availability.

Burnham Overy Staithe Beach, Norfolk

Burnham Overy Staithe Beach is a lovely secluded beach and only a small part of this massive peaceful area full of golden sandy beaches, and pine forest.

Top friendly beaches in UK - Norfolk coast

Whether you walk east or west from here is up to you, either way, you’ll be met with miles of beautiful coastline, and zero restrictions on the amount of fun your furry companion can have.

It takes a while to reach the beach, you can count on a good mile long walk, but let that be your incentive, it’s never really busy, and the walk is stunning.

Note that you should be careful during nesting times, as the area is within the Holkham National Nature Reserve; make sure you have those ultimate value treats with you.

Ness Cove Beach, Devon

Another fairly quiet, and very dog friendly beach. Beware though, access is through the Smuggler’s Tunnel which leads onto steps, so getting to the beach can be tricky.

Ness Cove Beach - © Chris Allen

Dogs are welcome all year round, just make sure you have bags with you to clean up after your pet. You’ll find plenty of dog-friendly accommodation in the area too, just make sure Fido packs all the necessities.

The beach gradually slopes down to the sea, so if you have a scaredy cat who’ll only get wet up to his/her knees/elbows, this beach will be a good fit.

For the humans in the family, cafes and shops are nearby, serving the finest of Devon’s refreshments.

Be sure to check the tide tables, as most of it submerged during the high tide. At low tide, your pups might enjoy hunting for crabs and shellfish in the rocky pools, if they are so inclined.

That’s it for our dog friendly beach holidays for now. We’ll add more as we visit over the next few months. In the meantime – if you have any suggestions or even photos of you and your best friend on the beach – send us a picture or comment below. Also check our dog travel section for other ideas. Don’t forget the sun cream! Top Dog.

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