For dog lovers, there’s nothing quite like taking your dog to the beach and breathing in some fresh sea air while watching your four-legged friend cut loose along the vast expanses of sand.
However, a lot of beaches have restrictions on dog access, especially between May and September, so it can be difficult to know when you’re allowed to walk there.
We’ve trawled the coastlines of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and come up with the best dog-friendly beaches that are restriction-free all year round.
Rhosneigr Beach, Anglesey
Made up of two broad sandy beaches, award-winning Rhosneigr Beach is open to dogs all year round and offers plenty of space for long walks.
The nearby town offers several food and drink options for afterwards, especially the dog-friendly Surf Café. The beach is also handily close to Holyhead, offering a great opportunity to stretch your legs before or after a ferry journey.
Babbacombe Beach, Devon
With its golden sands and turquoise waters, you’d be forgiven for assuming Babbacombe was somewhere in the Mediterranean, rather than just east of Torquay.
The beach has a car park with a path leading down to the sand, and food and drink options are nearby. It’s a little slice of paradise to explore with your canine companion.
Lincolnshire Coastal Country Park, Lincolnshire
The Country Park is home to some of the best dog-friendly beaches in Lincolnshire. Running along the Lincolnshire Coast from Chapel Point to Sutton-on-Sea, the Park is made up of several beautifully tranquil beaches that are open to dogs all year round, including the expansive Wolla Bank.
Note that Anderby Creek and Chapel St Leonards have restrictions on dogs between 1 May and 30 September. Be careful to keep dogs on leads around the park’s nature reserves so as not to disturb the wildlife.
Camber Sands, East Sussex
Dogs aren’t allowed on the main beach at Camber Sands between May and September but even in the summer months, you can take them east along the path towards Dungeness where there’s a huge stretch of sand for them to run, jump, catch and fetch to their heart’s delight.
The Northern Irish coastline is nothing if not dramatic, hence its use as a filming location for Game Of Thrones. If that’s your thing, pretend you’re Jon Snow and your border terrier is a direwolf as you strike along Ballycastle’s 1.5km beach.
You’ll also find yourself close to two of Northern Ireland’s most famous landmarks, the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, although it might be wise to leave the dog behind for the latter as they’re not allowed to cross the bridge.
Runswick Bay, North Yorkshire
Yorkshire isn’t short of natural beauty, so when we say that Runswick Bay isn’t just the most beautiful dog-friendly beach in Yorkshire, but one of the most beautiful spots full-stop, then you know we mean business.
This idyllic town of red-roofed houses slopes down to meet the sea and looks more like a film set than a real place. You can even rent a cottage there and spend a long weekend strolling the bay with your dog in tow.
Tankerton Beach, Kent
Start out at the fashionable town of Whitstable and head east along the seafront towards Tankerton Beach.
It’s the perfect place for a leisurely seaside stroll with your dog, ending up in one of Tankerton’s great dog-friendly pubs or sitting outside the popular JoJo’s for some tasty meze overlooking the sea.
The area tends to be busy so this is one for leads rather than letting them run wild and free.
Sandymouth is one of the jewels in Cornwall’s crown, a gorgeous length of National Trust beach – two miles at low tide – surrounded by high cliffs and dotted with rock pools and even a waterfall.
It also has a seasonal cafe, toilets and a car park, although the path down is quite steep in places.
Roseisle Beach, Moray
Roseisle Beach is accessed by walking through a pine forest, offering your dog the chance to dodge through the trees before coming down the dunes and out onto the golden sand. There’s also a picnic and barbeque area for when the weather’s fine.
First published: 12/05/2017