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Beagle puppy playing with a Frisbee on the beach

We’ve roamed the UK for the top dog-friendly beaches you need to visit in 2021, from the Scottish Highlands to Salcombe.

Whether you’re looking for local dog-friendly beaches, dog walking beaches or UK holiday destinations that offer beaches the whole family can enjoy, including your canine companion, then look no further.

Discover our guide to the top 10 UK dog-friendly beaches for 2021…

1. Bossiney Cove, near Tintagel, Cornwall

Bossiney Cove

Bossiney Cove is one of many dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall, and we love the seclusion this scenic cove provides, only being accessible at low tide.

Situated on the North Cornwall coast, right on the South West Coast Path, this dog-friendly beach is a bit of a Cornish hidden gem and is usually less populated than some of the more renowned north coast beaches.

Discover clear water that’s ideal for swimming, glistening golden sand for sunbathing and sandcastle building, as well as a rocky headland providing a dramatic backdrop.

Enjoy this dog-friendly beach as part of the Tintagel clifftop coastal walk, encompassing spectacular views and points of interest, including castle ruins linked to King Arthur, the headland of Barras Nose and the Grade I listed cliff-top church of St Materiana’s.

When are dogs allowed on the beach? All year round

Type of beach: Sandy

Postcode: PL34 0BA

Parking: Just off the main Tintagel to Bossiney road

Other facilities: Access via a steep path from the car park, not suitable for pushchairs

Find a host of fascinating things to do during our next visit with our Cornwall Travel Guide.

2. Runswick Bay Beach, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire

Runswick Bay

One of the most idyllic spots on the North Yorkshire coastline, Runswick Bay Beach is the second dog-friendly beach to feature on our list.

Runswick Bay is a former fishing village – less than 10 miles from Whitby – nestled beneath cliffs in dramatic and striking fashion, populated with picture-perfect stone cottages.

Extremely popular with dog walkers, your four-legged friend can be rewarded with a refreshing dip in the sea after a lengthy walk along the nearby Cleveland Way, a National trail spanning 109 miles between Helmsley and Filey Brigg, encompassing spectacular coastal scenery with pristine heather-clad moorland.

When the tide goes out at this dog-friendly Yorkshire beach, it reveals lots of fossilised rocks that will make for a fascinating afternoon of discovery for any keen fossil hunters!

When are dogs allowed on the beach? All year round

Type of beach: Sandy with rocky areas

Postcode: TS13 5HT

Parking: Bank Bottom car park offers 24-hour parking for £6

Other facilities: Cafés and restaurants close by, including The Cliffemount Hotel, which boasts panoramic views and award-winning food

Browse our North Yorkshire Travel Guide for more wonderful things to do during your next North Yorkshire holiday.

3. Horsey Gap, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Horsey Gap

This Great Yarmouth beach is one of Norfolk’s finest dog-friendly beaches. Horsey Gap had to be included on our list because it offers the unique opportunity to see Grey Seal colonies making their way onto the sand during the winter months to birth their pups, a world-class wildlife encounter experience in our book!

While it’s not advised that dogs are taken too close to the seals in case they cause a disturbance, it’s still a spectacular sight to behold from afar; enjoy wonderful dog walks along the sand and keep an eye out for spot seals bobbing in the water away from shore!

Whilst holidaying in this lovely part of Norfolk. you can also walk up to the National Trust’s Horsey Windpump windmill and learn about its fascinating history, hop on a boat to explore the fascinating Norfolk Broads in true fashion, and enjoy seeing the birdlife and wildlife that inhabits the Martham Broad National Nature Reserve, managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

When are dogs allowed on the beach? All year round (advised that they are kept off the beach during winter when the seals are present)

Type of beach: Sandy

Postcode: NR29 4EF

Parking: Horsey Gap car park has pay and display and is right by the beach

Other facilities: Restaurant and tea room a short walk away

Gain more things to do inspiration for your next visit with our Norfolk Travel Guide

4. Compton Bay, Freshwater, Isle of Wight

Compton Bay

This dog-friendly beach offering can be found on the pretty Isle of Wight, adjacent to Freshwater Bay and within the Isle of Wight’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

It may have a seasonal dog restriction, but it’s well worth a visit at any time of year; surrounded by Freshwater’s eye-catching white chalk cliffs, this sandy Isle of Wight beach is extremely popular with watersports enthusiasts, who flock here to enjoy surfing and windsurfing opportunities.

At low tide, you can uncover Prehistoric fossilised rocks, and even join a guided tour to see dinosaur footprints only visible at low tide.

Stop off at Compton Bay along the coastal path walk, which spans the length of the isle in both directions. At the far western end of the coast, the National Trust’s The Needles Old Battery & New Battery, a fascinating 19th-century coastal fort, proudly perches above the Needles Rocks and is a must-see.

When are dogs allowed on the beach? Seasonal ban between 1st June and 30th September

Type of beach: Sandy

Postcode: PO30 4HF

Parking: Hanover Point National Trust car park (access to steep steps that lead down onto the beach)

Other facilities: Toilets, fresh water tap

Use our Isle of Wight Travel Guide for more holiday inspiration

5. Barafundle Bay, Stackpole, Pembrokeshire

Barafundle Bay

Barafundle Bay in Pembrokeshire is a picturesque haven for canines. This dog-friendly beach was undoubtedly one of South Wales’ best hidden gems, until finding Blue Flag award fame, and is now consistently ranked amongst Britain’s best beaches.

It has become increasingly popular with tourists, who flock here to discover its unspoilt beauty, while canines can visit all year round too! Best accessed at low tide when more of the beach is exposed, Barafundle Bay provides sparkling sand and Caribbean-esque waters, backed by sand dunes.

This picturesque beach is owned by the Stackpole Estate and managed by the National Trust, so it’s no wonder it is in such pristine condition.

Join the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, which runs alongside Barafundle Bay, and move along the limestone cliffs towards the peninsula at Stackpole Head, where you can appreciate the dramatic coastal landscape, as well as the variety of wildlife that inhabits the area.

When are dogs allowed on the beach? All year round

Type of beach: Sandy

Postcode: SA71 5LS

Parking: Closest car park is 0.5 miles away in Stackpole

Other facilities: Toilets, café/restaurant

Looking for more from your next Pemrokeshire holiday? Try browsing our Wales Travel Guide

6. Durdle Door Beach, Lulworth, Dorset

Durdle Door Beach

Durdle Door’s instantly recognisable limestone arch, emerging from the turquoise water, has formed naturally over thousands of years due to the impact of the waves crashing against the headland and is just one of the reasons this Dorset beach is so appealing.

This dog-friendly Dorset offering is backed by the dramatic cliffs of the Jurassic Coast and boasts one of the UK’s most spectacular landscapes. What’s more, it welcomes dogs all year round!

Join the iconic South West Coast Path and explore the ancient rock formations that make up the Jurassic Coast, undoubtedly one of the best places to find fossils in the UK, taking in the spectacular sea views and stunning sandy beaches that are sprinkled along the coastline.

When are dogs allowed on the beach? All year round

Type of beach: Sand and shingle

Postcode: BH20 5PU

Parking: Clifftop at Durdle Door Holiday Park (20-minute walk down a steep path and large set of steps to the beach)

Other facilities: Toilets, café/restaurant. There are no rubbish bins at this beach

Get inspired for your next getaway with our Dorset Travel Guide.

7. Morar Beach, near Morar, Fort William, Scottish Highlands

Morar Beach

You could easily be mistaken for thinking you’re on an exotic beach on a secluded Caribbean island, as you wade through the crystal clear turquoise water and feel the pearly white sand between your toes, when in fact Morar Beach is one of the Scottish Highland’s treasures.

Morar Beach is one of a collection of pristine sandy beaches peppered along the coastline that makes up the Silver Sands of Morar.

Adjacent to the Moray Coast Trail, a waymarked 50-mile-long trail that runs from Findhorn to Cullen and encompasses some exceptional natural beauty along the way, this dog-friendly beach in Scotland is the perfect stop-off point for a refreshing swim or a picnic with a view.

Discover the whole collection and make multiple stops as you enjoy views out towards the isles of Rum, Eigg, Canna and more; you may even be lucky enough to spot dolphins leaping majestically between the waves!

When are dogs allowed on the beach? All year round

Type of beach: Sandy

Postcode: PH39 4NT

Parking: Morar Beach car park has a path straight onto the beach

Other facilities: Toilets

Find more holiday inspiration with our Scotland Travel Guide

8. North Sands, Salcombe, Devon

North Sands, Salcombe

This impressive Salcombe beach is backed by the dramatic ruins of Fort Charles castle and is regarded as one of Devon’s most dog-friendly beaches.

North Sands is one of many beaches dotted along Salcombe’s impressive harbour but stands out from the competition thanks to its pristine sand and azure waters.

Popular with families, this dog-friendly beach is filled with rockpools to explore, plus a picnic area for alfresco dining, as well as being close to attractions like the Maritime Museum and impressive 20th century Edwardian stately home of Overbeck’s. Meanwhile, Salcombe town centre is only a 15-minute walk away, home to a host of shops and eateries.

When are dogs allowed on the beach? All year round

Type of beach: Sandy (only accessible at low tide)

Postcode: TQ8 8LD

Parking: North Sands car park on Cliff Road

Other facilities: Toilets, picnic area, seafood restaurant

Our Devon Travel Guide can help you discover even more fascinating days out on your next Salcombe visit

9. Murlough Beach, near Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland

Murlough Beach

This wonderful Northern Ireland dog-friendly beach boasts a five-mile stretch of golden sand, as well as striking mountain views.

Murlough Beach rests beside the National Trust’s Murlough National Nature Reserve, home to an array of flora and fauna, including several butterfly and bird species, perfect for wildlife enthusiasts.

Visit this idyllic beach after a morning spent hiking through the nearby Mourne Mountains – Northern Ireland’s most dramatic mountain range – boasting impressive lough, forest and countryside views.

The town of Newcastle is just two miles away, boasting a promenade and ice cream parlour, where you can treat yourselves to a refreshing sweet treat.

When are dogs allowed on the beach? All year round

Type of beach: Sandy

Postcode: BT33 0LW

Parking: Murlough National Nature Reserve Car Park, a few hundred metres from the beach

Other facilities: Toilets at car park café

Explore Northern Ireland further with our handy Ireland Travel Guide

10. Haverigg Beach, near Barrow-in-Furness, Lake District

Haverigg Beach

Enjoying fell and estuary views in South Lakeland, on the fringes of the Lake District National Park, is Haverigg Beach, our final dog-friendly beach offering.

This sand and shingle beach is best visited at low tide, when miles of sand are revealed, providing plenty of opportunities for scenic dog walks, looking out to the Irish Sea.

Walk along the sea wall towards Millom, passing Hodbarrow Haverigg Lighthouse and the RSPB Nature Reserve, with a viewing hub, where you can observe protected species of nearly extinct birdlife.

When are dogs allowed on the beach? All year round

Type of beach: Sand & shingle

Postcode: LA18 4GY

Parking: Lots of free parking places nearby

Other facilities: Children’s play area, café, nature reserve and pub

Find plenty of ways to keep yourself entertained on your next getaway with our Lake District Travel Guide

Take a look at our full range of cottages that accept pets for free!

pets go free banner

Discover our top dog-friendly destinations for 2021 and secure your next UK getaway with a stay at one of these fantastic dog-friendly coastal cottages, and find more useful beaches and walking inspiration by browsing our handy UK Travel Guide.

Image credits: ArdfernCC BY-SA 3.0; Steve FarehamCC BY-SA 2.0

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