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Top 10 Dog-Friendly Beaches in the UK

Although Britain is surrounded by beaches, many do not allow dogs. We've put together a list of some of the UK's best dog-friendly beaches, so that you can you enjoy the seaside with your canine companion!

Ainsdale Beach, Merseyside

David Crocker [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A popular beach among kite surfers and dog walkers alike, sandy Ainsdale beach is considered to be the best in Merseyside by many. Highlights include National Trust owned Formby nature reserve, which is a 1.5 hour walk south along the beach and the Ainsdale & Birkdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve. Note that while most of the beach is open to dogs, some signposted areas are designated dog-free zones. 

Chesil Beach, Dorset

By Jim (Flickr: Chesil Beach - Dorset.) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This pebbly Jurassic Coast 18-mile stretch from West Bay to Portland is particularly popular with fishing enthusiasts and fossil hunters. The area is also home to an abundance of wildlife and neighbours Abbotsbury Swannery - the world's only nesting mute swan colony. Dogs are welcome on Chesil Beach all year round.

Church Bay (Porth Swtan), Anglesey

Peter Gill / UK [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A mixture of sand and pebble, Church Bay on the island of Anglesey in Wales, is an idyllic secluded beach with plenty of rock pools to explore. Dogs are welcome on the beach all year round. 

Cullen Beach, Grampian

John Allan / Stack on Cullen Beach

Sheltered and with golden sands, Cullen Beach is famous for its rock formation, The Three Kings beach stack. The legendary tale behind the stack suggests that these four-metre-tall quartzite stacks are the graves of three Norse kings who died at the Battle of Bauds in 962. Dogs are welcome on Cullen Beach all year round.

Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire

By Rob Young from United Kingdom (Milford on Sea) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Milford-on-Sea is one of Hampshire's few seaside villages. With sweeping views of The Needles and the Isle of Wight, shingle and pebble Milford-on-Sea beach is the perfect seaside trip to combine with a visit to the marshy woodlands of the New Forest. Dogs are permitted on the beach all year round. 

Murlough Beach, County Down

By Laureljade [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

This vast golden sand beach in Northern Ireland's County Down is popular with surfers. Behind the beach, National Trust-owned Murlough National Nature Reserve is home to an abundance of wildlife. Note that while dogs are free to roam off leash on the beach, they must be kept on a lead in the nature reserve. 

Old Hunstanton Beach, Norfolk

By stavros1 [CC BY 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

With its sheltered sandy dunes, Old Hunstanton Beach is a peaceful expanse with views of a disused lighthouse. Dogs are welcome all year round and the dunes are a perfect location for picnics on the beach. 

Saltburn Beach, Yorkshire

DS Pugh / Saltburn beach

A seaside resort with a rich Victorian history, Saltburn Beach is a sand and shingle stretch offering a multitude of water sports. Saltburn is also home to the only pleasure pier in northeast of England and a cliff lift, making access to the beach possible from higher points in the town. Note that certain signposted parts of the beach are restricted to dogs at some times of the year. 

West Wittering, West Sussex

ogwen [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

With a clean environment that encourages an abundance of wildlife, sandy Blue Flag West Wittering Beach is perfect for swimming. However, please note that between 1st May and 30th September, dogs are not permitted on the main swimming beach between groynes 14a and 18 (in front of the beach huts). 

Woody Bay, Devon

Trevor Rickard / Coast path at Woody Bay

A rugged shingle and rock beach, Woody Bay is backed by dramatic wooded cliffs. Once earmarked as a potential location for a Victorian seaside resort that never came to fruition, Woody Bay is a wild and undeveloped spot. Dogs are welcome throughout the year.