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Best Dog Friendly Beaches in Britain

Rover recommends the best dog friendly beaches in England, Scotland and Wales to help you plan your next trip to the coast.
There's nothing nicer than walking at the seaside with your dog but unfortunately many of the UK's most popular beaches have dog bans or restrictions. The good news is that there are still some incredibly beautiful and unspoilt beaches that welcome dogs all year round. Here are ten of the best.

Holkham Bay, Norfolk

This expansive stretch of golden sandy beach was where the iconic closing scene of Shakespeare in Love was filmed and you can see why. There are no amusement arcades here, just nature in all its glory and an ice cream van in the car park. When we visited we saw a seal swimming just off the coast. The beach is backed by sand dunes and pine forests so when your pooch is tired of paddling you can walk back through the forest and let them sniff for rabbits in sandy burrows. We cut through the dunes and came across a group of nude sunbathers and it was difficult to get my dog to stop looking for picnics amongst the sea of bare bottoms! There are dog restrictions on nearby Wells beach and dog waste bins are situated along the relatively lengthy but easy walk from the pay and display car park. The Victoria Hotel, opposite the entrance to the beach car park, makes a perfect stop for refreshments and toilet facilities as it welcomes dogs in the bar, beer garden and three of its bedrooms (although a stay at the weekend is pricey).

Directions: Follow the brown tourist signs into the car park opposite the Victoria Hotel from the A149 to the west of Wells-Next-The-Sea.

Lunan Bay, Angus, Scotland

Lunan Bay is a broad east-facing beach of beautiful golden sand backed by dunes and framed by low cliffs to the north and south. From its northern end near Boddin Point, it stretches for over two miles south to Ethie Haven. Perched above the dunes is the dramatic sandstone ruin of Red Castle. The beach is well-known for its excellent bird watching opportunities and its semi-precious stones but this beach simply brings back memories of many happy family holidays to me. We squealed with delight as the cold water lapped round our legs and spent hours counting jelly fish stranded on the sands. There are no facilities here at all except the free car park so the beach tends not to get busy even in the summer months and there are no dog restrictions - just remember to bring a picnic with fresh water for you and your dog to enjoy.

Directions: Lunan Bay can be found to the north of Inverkeilor on the A92 between Arbroath and Montrose. Once in the village of Lunan turn left then right, following a sign for the beach down a private farm road.

St Bees, Cumbria

St Bees marks the start of Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk and this gently sloping sand and shingle beach backed by low cliffs is very popular. At high tide only the shingle part of the beach is exposed so it is worth timing your visit for low tide so that you can walk along the extensive sand on the North End of the beach. For a change you can also take the cliff top walk to the lighthouse. There is an RSPB nature reserve at one end, so dog owners are asked to keep their pets controlled at that end, but most of the mile long beach is perfect for walking and letting dogs run free.

Directions: Follow signs for St Bees from the A595. The beach is to the west of the village, 3 miles from Egremont and Whitehaven.

Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wales

The three mile stretch of sand at Rhossili Bay is backed by cliffs and the dramatic waves are popular with surfers. Dogs can run freely on the beach to run off some energy and there are dog waste bins. The remains of the Helvetia, a Norwegian ship that was driven onto the beach in a gale in 1887 can still be seen. The beach is backed by the rugged cliffs of Rhossili Down, a favourite launching point for hang-gliders. On a clear day there are excellent views of Lundy Island and at the southern end of the Bay is the small tidal island called the Worm's Head, which is only accessible at low tide. There's a very steep climb up the cliff steps back to the car park but the panoramic views are worth it. Both you and your dog will be panting by the time you reach the top!

Directions: From Swansea take the A4118 along the Gower Peninsula, and turn off on the B4247 for Rhossili.


Vazon Bay, Guernsey

This award-winning blue flag beach has two miles of golden sands and is one of the best and largest beaches in Guernsey. The beach is popular with surfers and families but is never crowded. There are plenty of free car parks next to the bay and the South end of the beach is open to dogs all year round, making it perfect for pooches that like to paddle. Light snacks and drinks are available from Vazon Bay Café, which has plenty of outside seating and the public toilets are always clean and tidy.

Directions: Follow the Vazon Road coastal road to the beach.


Danes Dyke, Yorkshire

Danes Dyke is reached by following a short nature trail through woodland. It is a sand and pebble beach set between Bridlington and Flamborough Head in an area designated as a Local Nature Reserve. There are many rock pools for you and your dog to explore and the beach is backed by imposing cliffs to the east and west. Panoramic views across Bridlington Bay can be enjoyed from the south side of the headland.

Directions: Signposted one mile to the west of Flamborough village on the B1255 from Bridlington.

Camber Sands, East Sussex

Camber Sands is a vast expanse of sand dunes and beach that is popular with dog owners. The beach has some restricted areas where dogs are not allowed, but there are clearly marked dog zones where they are welcome all year round with dog waste bins close by. At low tide there is a long walk to the sea so plan the timing of your visit carefully. The beach has good facilities including an ice cream kiosk, car parks and toilets.

Directions: Follow signs from the A259 to the coast road to Camber.

Branscombe, Devon

There's a perfect dog walk to this unspoilt shingle beach along a winding country lane through the village of Branscombe. Dogs are allowed off lead 50 metres in either direction of the café and car park. The beach is a real favourite with dog owners and as it's a pebble beach there's no risk of getting sand in your picnic. A popular cliff top walk is accessible from the beach, but for safety's sake keep your dog on a lead near the cliff edge.

Directions: Signposted from the A3052, between Exeterand Lyme Regis.

Lepe, Hampshire

This mile long beach is backed by cliffs and wild flower meadows. It was used for the embarkation of troops and equipment for the D-day landings in World War II but is now a relaxing place for you and your dog to enjoy. There are stunning views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight from the nearby Lepe Country Park. The park has woodlands, meadows, a children's play area, parking, toilets and café. There is a five mile circular walk along the beach, past the watch house and into the park. Dog waste bins are provided but from April to September there is a dog ban on part of the beach so follow the cliff top path to the dog friendly part.

Directions: Follow the A326 towards Lepe country park and the coast.

Formby, Merseyside

Large, flat and sandy beach close to Liverpool and Southport. A red squirrel reserve is set in pinewoods between the town and the beach car park. There are many walks signposted on the paths through the reserve so you and your dog can enjoy a picnic lunch in the wood before a long walk on the beach. Dogs must be kept on a lead in the reserve. There is usually a very popular ice cream van in the main car park. Save some of your cone for your four legged friend!

Directions: Follow the B5424 to Formby and head towards the coast.
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