One of the perks of an island like the UK is the huge number of beaches along the coastline. You never have to drive too far to reach the sparkling blue sea. But, unfortunately, not all beaches allow dogs, so sometimes you have to do some research to find beaches where dogs are allowed.
Well, we’re going to make it easier than ever with a list of the most dog-friendly beaches in the UK. With options across the UK, you can visit these gorgeous beaches with your pup for a sandy day out.
1. Bamburgh Beach (Northumberland)
Okay, let’s start this list of dog-friendly beaches off strong with one of our favourites. Bamburgh Beach is a stunning beach, made all the more spectacular by the majestic Bamburgh Castle at the end of it. If you can get your pup to sit still long enough, you can take incredible photos of them against the backdrop of the castle. The water will be cold, but your pup won’t mind nearly as much as you do. Dogs are welcome all year round, so you can tire them out enough to ensure they’re well-behaved while you walk through the nearby castle grounds.
2. Runswick Bay (Yorkshire)
Located in the stunning North York Moors National Park, this pup-friendly beach stretches between Whitby and Staithes. The bay curls around and is bordered by a dog-friendly pub and a jumble of cottages. There are absolutely no restrictions on dogs here, so your pup can run around to their heart’s content. This beach is also part of the Cleveland Way National Trail, so you could make this a stop on a larger walk.
3. Brean Beach (Somerset)
This might be the only one on our list of dog beaches in the UK that features truly golden sand. Brean Beach always feels warm as a result, even in chilly autumn or freezing winter. Your dog will be wagging their tail as soon as they spot the three miles of golden sands, and you’ll have them truly tired out by the end of this walk. If you like history, you can also visit the Iron Age fort near the beach. We do recommend keeping less trained dogs on a leash here.
4. Par Sands (St Austell, Cornwall)
We can’t discuss the best dog beaches in England without tipping at least one in Cornwall, now can we? Par Sands is a lovely sandy beach tucked away in Cornwall. It is surrounded by sand dunes, which your pup will surely adore sprinting across — and you’ll enjoy a good chuckle whenever they slip. Your dog can tire themselves out paddling in the sea and playing in the sane. It’s dog-friendly all year round, which is especially useful if you’re enjoying a summer holiday in Cornwall. Just keep in mind that if you’re going for a long walk away from the beach, you might want to keep your pup on the leash, as you might encounter wildlife. You could combine this with staying at some of the best campsites in Cornwall.
5. Lunan Bay (Angus, Scotland)
If you can, aim to visit Lunan Bay during sunrise or sunset, when the entire beach is bathed in a warm, rosy glow. This gorgeous beach is backed by sand dunes, and features a cave and a ruined castle you can explore. Lunan Bay is accessible to dogs all year round, but keep in mind that it is also very popular with surfers and horse riders.
6. Seacliff Beach (East Lothian)
This is an ideal weekend trip from Edinburgh with your pup. Seacliff Beach is perched at the mouth of the Firth of Froth — what a mouthful! As your dog splashes in the rockpools and runs across endless stretches of sand, you can enjoy the view of Bass Rock, a chunk of volcanic rock rising from the waters. You can also visit the nearby Tantallon Castle, which dates back to the 14th century.
7. Balnakeil Beach (Scottish Highlands)
No trip to Scotland is complete without visiting the Highlands. They’re known for their breathtaking beautiful, dramatic mountain ranges, and clear waters. It was difficult to choose just one of the many incredible beaches here, but Balnakeil Beach is the clear winner. You’d easily mistake this beach for somewhere more tropical than Scotland, like Thailand, thanks to the white sands, sheltered bay and azure coastline. The water is gentle on the bay, making it ideal for slightly more timid pups. It’s overlooked by church ruins, which you can explore once you and your dog have had enough of the beach.
8. Monkstone Beach (Tenby, Wales)
Not only is this beach in Wales dog-friendly, but it is also beautiful. The water somehow looks a brighter blue than elsewhere in the country, we can’t explain it. Monkstone stretches between Tenby and Saundersfoot, so during low tide, you can walk between the two great towns with your pup loose beside you. Dogs are welcome all year round, and they’ll love the packed sand of this beach.
9. Marloes Sands (Pembrokeshire, Wales)
This is perfectly combined with our Pembrokeshire road trip itinerary. This dog-friendly beach sticks out of Wales’ south-western shore, and is unlike anything you’ve seen before. You’ll see blackened, volcanic formations out to sea, and the nearby Stockholm Island. Your dog will have a great time sniffing around the rock pools and exploring Gateholm, a tidal island with the remains of an ancient settlement.
10. Rhossili Bay (Swansea)
This dog-friendly beach is located in the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK, the Gower Peninsula — your pup better appreciate that! You can let them off the lead to roam free here, and walk along the long stretch of coast together. At low tide, you can even cross the causeway all the way to Worms Head. Just make sure to time it right so you can also get back before high tide comes in!
11. Ballycastle Beach (Ballycastle)
Ballycastle Beach is beloved for surfing and swimming. At one end, there is a promenade you can take further to get a better view of the coast. This beach is also close to town, so you can warm up afterwards with a cup of tea in a cafe. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you might even spot some familiar filming locations near the beach, perfect for photos of your pup!
12. Rossglass (Down)
This is one of the most beautiful dog-friendly beaches in Northern Ireland. It stretches for over a mile, filled with soft sand and edged with shrubs. While your dog digs holes and splashes in the cold water, you can take in the majestic backdrop of snow-topped mountains in the distance. You’ll feel like you’re in a film set of your own.
It never feels fair to leave your furry friend at home, when dogs enjoy beaches just as much as us, or maybe even more! Now you can enjoy your day out at the beach even more, as your pup will be splashing around in the water and getting sand absolutely everywhere. Plan your next holiday to include stops at these great dog beaches across the UK.