If your dog is anything like mine, the moment you step foot onto some sand they just want to run and run with the wind in their ears and the sound of water crashing onto the shore. One time we let him off the lead and we thought he was going to run to the end of the beach until the sand ran out. He was having such a great time that we were instantly forgiven for the car journey that he endured to get there.
Whether you are looking for dog-friendly holiday inspiration or a new home location with the beach on your doorstep, there are a wonderful array of beaches across the UK to choose from. Here are some of the best beach getaways for dog lovers to enjoy as we say goodbye to winter and hello to some spring sunshine.
Castlerock Beach, Derry – Northern Ireland
Anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route will have noticed the stunning beaches on offer. Less frequented than other parts of the UK, Northern Ireland provides visitors with jaw-dropping views and fewer crowds than you would expect in busier regions.
In truth, you can pick from any of the wonderful sandy beaches along the Causeway Coastal Route but our choice would be Castlerock Beach. This secluded beach is the perfect starting point to enjoy a long dog walk that spans for miles to the west.
When the tide is right the beach leads to celebrated spots such as Downhill and Benone through to Magilligan Beach which puts you within touching distance of Donegal. Dogs are allowed on the beach until June, and you may even spot horse riders putting their trusty steeds through their paces.
Camber Sands, East Sussex – England
If you find yourself in the South East there are few beach walks for dogs that match up to Camber Sands. One of the only sandy beaches in the region, dog walkers can enjoy up to five miles of big skies and sandy dunes.
Camber Sands visitors also benefit from the beach’s proximity to the historic town of Rye, with its cobbled streets, collection of cafes and eateries, art galleries and antique stores.
At low tide, Camber Sands becomes a vast expanse of sand that is perfect for dog walks, playing fetch with a ball or stick or wading into the water without fear of being swept by the current. Camber Sands also boasts plenty of dunes which are great if your dog likes to follow their nose and explore, or if you fancy mixing up your route.
Seamill Beach, West Kilbride – Scotland
Seamill Beach in West Kilbride offers a mixture of sandy and rocky stretches to ensure that your stroll with your dog remains interesting throughout. With dogs able to visit Seamill Beach all year round, spring is the perfect time to make a trip to this picturesque spot on the Ayrshire Coastal Path
If you are looking to stay active then Seamill Beach allows visitors to trek along the coast and into the village of Seamill. But if your idea of visiting the beach is lying back and listening to the waves breaking on the shore then Seamill Beach is great for that too as there are plenty of rock pools and dunes to keep the kids and dog entertained for hours.
Llantwit Major Beach, Glamorgan – Wales
The UK might sometimes feel like a gloomy place but the truth is that no matter which member of the Union you are in, you can find a beautiful sandy beach. Wales is no exception to the rule and our pick of the bunch is Llantwit Major Beach in the county of Glamorgan.
Part of the nine-mile stretch of Glamorgan Heritage Coast, Llantwit Major Beach offers plenty of variety for you and your dog. There are rock pools ready to be explored and sniffed for their seaweed and marine life, and while the beach is rugged and rocky it also provides glorious sand for sprinting sessions.
With proximity to Cwm Colhuw nature reserve, ancient churches, cafes and a quaint village to explore, this is one beach that’s well worth the road trip. Dogs are welcome to roam freely across the beach until May when some restrictions apply.
Porthkidney, Cornwall – England
If your dog has plenty of energy then the spacious yet quiet Porthkidney beach in Cornwall could be the perfect spot for you. When the tide is low there is a vastly expansive beach to explore, helped by the fact the mouth of the River Hayle seamlessly begins here and tricks your eyes into thinking Porthkidney goes on forever.
In truth there is about a mile of sandy beach to enjoy at Porthkidney but at the lowest tide you can also take a walk to the popular Carbis Bay Beach – if you want a challenging Cornish walk you can descend steep cliff steps to the bay but it’s not a route suitable for everyone. Cornwall’s coast is famed for its surfing opportunities and Porthkidney Beach will provide a chance to get on your board but due to the unpredictable currents swimming is not advised.
Beach dog walking etiquette
Many beaches only welcome our four-legged friends at certain points of the year while others are more than happy to have them visit all year round. Most will have clear signage to indicate when and where they welcome dogs and what is expected of them and their owners.
Typically, there isn’t much expected of dog walkers at the beach other than to pick up any mess their pets leave, keep them out of protected or restricted areas and ensure their dogs aren’t impacting anyone else’s enjoyment of the beach. You may be asked to keep your dog on a lead on paths, promenades and piers, while some beaches unfortunately don’t allow dogs on at any time of the year.