If you’re planning a UK holiday with your dog in tow, then you might want to start your search in one of these areas…
Cayton Bay, North Yorkshire
- Best for: Surfing and fossil hunting
- Car Park Costs: Free parking on road side, the surf shop nearby has parking available with – charges apply
- Dogs allowed: All year-round, no restrictions
Just south of Scarborough, Cayton Bay is a quiet and peaceful cove that is hidden in the Yorkshire countryside and is perfect for your pup to get that much-needed exercise. Known for staying quiet all year round, the beach boasts some of the best waves in the region for surfing and is a great spot for fossil hunting. So if you are ready to feel that sea breeze air, grab a jacket and get exploring next time you take your dog for a walk.
Oxwich Beach, near Swansea
- Best for: Watersports including diving, sailing, and waterskiing.
- Car Park Cost: £7.00 for 2 hours
- Dogs Allowed: Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round
Located just off the south coast of Wales, Oxwich beach’s sweeping golden sand dunes have been a popular destination for families and dog walkers for years. With a whole host of activities to choose from, including jet-skiing or paddling with your pooch in the shallow waters, there is something for everyone.
For those that prefer something a bit quieter and less crowded, taking your dog to the sand dunes towards the end of the beach can be the perfect way to soak up some sun during summer.
Ogmore beach, South Wales
- Best for: Fishing, Walking, and Dog-Friendly Pubs
- Car Park Cost: Daily Cap, £6.00
- Dogs Allowed: All year-round, no restrictions
As a sand and shingle beach, Ogmore-by-the-sea has a reputation for being one of the cleanest beaches in the region and has proven popular for many thanks to the wide range of activities available.
Spend the day fishing or surfing in the waves, or if you fancy a bit of history look out towards Tusker Rock and soak up the Danish Viking heritage. For those dogs that fancy a longer run around, we recommend the coastal walk that offers stunning views out to sea from the cliff-tops.
West Angle beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales
- Best for: Rockpooling and Walking
- Car Park Cost: Free beach parking
- Dogs Allowed: All year round, no restrictions.
West Angle Bay is a quiet and sheltered beach, located close to Milford Haven. Made up of golden sandy beaches and rock headlines that offer wind protection, the beach can be the perfect place to take your dog on a warm sunny afternoon.
Discover nature in the rockpools or explore the village as part of a wider walk for you and your pup – with so much history to soak up there is something for the whole family to enjoy.
Saunton beach, North Devon
- Best for: Surfing and Swimming
- Car Park Cost: Daily Cap during high season £8
- Dogs Allowed: All year round, dog on a lead in certain zones
Saunton Sands is a key part of Devon’s coastline and is backed by the stunning Braunton Burrows, a UNESCO reserve. The long stretch of sand is perfect for those that love to swim or want to catch some waves during the summer months.
Not only that, but the beach has some famous routes with Robbie Williams having filmed his iconic ‘Angels’ video on the sands. For those that are looking for a more refreshing walk, going up to crows point can be perfect to get some exercise in with your pooch while also basking in some stunning views across the coastline.
Holywell Beach, East Sussex
- Best for: Rockpools
- Car Park Costs: Daily Cap during high season £8
- Dogs Allowed: All year round, but must be kept under control.
Holywell beach is a peaceful and quaint cove located in the west end of Eastbourne and boasts a popular cafe, beach huts and chalets. If you are looking for a way to entertain the kids, then we recommend checking out the rock pools across the coastline.
The beach has charming Italian gardens that are full of life and it’s been the backdrop for many shows and films including Eastenders, Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging and Miss Marple. Though the beach has complete freedom for pets, make sure to keep your dog under control around families and wildlife.
Fraisthorpe beach near Bridlington, East Yorkshire
- Best For: Kite Surfing
- Car Park Costs: Daily Cap, £5.00
- Dogs Allowed: All year round, no restrictions
Fraisthorpe Beach is a golden sandy beach that is located in the East of Yorkshire and forms part of Bridlington Bay that stretches for miles. As a beach that has no restrictions on dogs, its long coastline makes it the perfect place to let your dog splash along the water’s edge.
In summer, the beach is a popular spot for swimmers and is also great for kite-surfing thanks to its wide and relatively flat stretch of sand.
Horsey Beach, Norfolk
- Best for: Nature Spotting
- Car Park Costs: Daily Cap £4.00, free for National Trust Members
- Dogs Allowed: Dogs are allowed but is best to avoid in winter due to the seals
Horsey is an often deserted and unspoilt sandy beach located in Norfolk, where nature thrives. With one of the biggest sand dunes on the east coast, you won’t find it a struggle to get a space on the beach, even during the summer months.
Stroll along the sand from November to January and watch as Grey Seals take to the beach to give birth to newborns. We recommend bringing your dog during the summer months for a play on the sand so they can freely run around without disturbing other nature that occupies the coast.
Ganavan beach, Strathclyde
- Best for: Walking and stunning scenery
- Car Park Costs: £2.00 for 2 hours
- Dogs Allowed: All year round, no restrictions
If you are looking for a beach in Scotland with beautiful scenery and enough space for your dog to run around, Ganavan Beach in Oban should be at the top of your list. Walking along the coastline you will get views across the Firth of Lorn and the isles of Lismore and Mull, with so much stunning scenery you won’t be disappointed.
Looking for a good walking route? There are plenty around the area, as well as partial ruins of 13th Century Dunstaffnage Castle to explore.
Formby beach, Liverpool
- Best for: Nature and Sand dunes
- Car Park Costs: Daily cap of £7.50, free for National Trust members
- Dogs Allowed: Well behaved dogs are allowed on the beach all year round but must be on a lead through the squirrel walk.
Formby is one of the Northwest’s most loved coastlines and is backed by extensive sand dunes, giving it that extra-rural feeling. Located between Liverpool and Southport, the beach has managed to retain its nature and is one of the few homes left for red squirrels.
While your dog is able to roam freely on the beach so long as it is well behaved, make sure to keep them on a lead when walking through the pinewood to spot squirrels.
Dog-friendly beaches FAQs
With many people having bought dogs during the lockdown period, taking your dog out to the beach or driving with your pup can be a big step for owners. That’s why with the help of Wendy Kruger, Dog Behaviour & Training Specialist at Wood Green, we have the answers on how to prepare your dog for the beach:
Do you have any advice for first time dog-owners when taking their pup to the beach for the first time?
“As we approach the holiday and travel season, ensure your dog’s microchip and collar tag details are up to date – just in case. Get used to checking ground surface temperatures before you take your dog out, as dry sand can be too hot for dogs’ paws on sunny days. To check the ground temperature, place the back of your hand on the ground. If it’s too hot to hold comfortably for at least five seconds, it’s too hot for dogs’ paws.”
How can dog-owners prepare for it? What training can you practice ahead of time?
“Practising basic, reward-based training when out and about will help your dog to maintain focus and engagement on walks. Recall is also an area that needs particular attention. Even if your dog has a great recall at home, it’s not something that can be guaranteed in unfamiliar environments with exciting new distractions. Games with toys are a fantastic way to help your dog engage with you when there are other distractions around.”