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Top Dog-Friendly Beaches

Sandy leg stretches with your four legged friend... By Cotswold Outdoor
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With award-winning beaches from coast to coast, the UK hosts some of the world’s most beautiful sandscapes. Unfortunately though, not all of them welcome our four-legged friends in the summer months.

From the weathered coast of Scotland to the white sands of Cornwall, here are ten dog-friendly beaches guaranteed to get tails wagging and tongues lolling this summer.

1. South Wales – Three Cliffs Bay, Gower

The Gower Peninsula has an abundance of stunning coastline. But of all its gems, the wild and remote Three Cliffs Bay really has it all. With tall tumbling sand dunes, vast sandy stretches, a long winding river and panoramic views from the ancient ruins of Pennard castle – you and your pup could happily explore this beach all day long.

Dog at 3 cliffs bay


2. Cornwall – Watergate Bay

With Atlantic-swells crashing against picturesque shores, it’s easy to see why this beach is so popular with surfers and dog-owners alike. After a long game of fetch on surf-boot-trodden Cornish sands, head up to The Beach Hut café or Watergate Bay Hotel, where dogs aren’t just welcomed – they’re adored.

3. Norfolk – Holkham Bay

In 2011, it was named the best beach in Britain. Gwyneth Paltrow graced its shores in the closing scenes of ‘Shakespeare in Love’. And back in 2000, it became the set for All Saints’ ‘Pure Shores’ music video. Okay, your dog won’t care about any of that – but they’re bound to enjoy the countless sights and smells this massive sandy beach has to offer, from its shady pinewoods to salty tidelines.

© Tim Kington

4. Devon – Thurlestone

With limited facilities and bumpy access, this beach offers dog-walkers the chance to absorb Devon’s natural beauty without the summer crowds. While your mutt’s bounding about in the award-winning, clean waters, you can cast your eyes out to the ancient Thurlestone Rock (best seen at high tide). To maintain its pristine condition, this beach has strict fouling laws, so don’t forget your black bags.

Spaniel on a beach

5. South Wales – Pwll Du, Gower

There’s something about this quiet, pebbly cove that makes you feel like you’ve stumbled across one of Wales’ best-kept secrets. Private and secluded, this attractive bay rarely sees many visitors at a time, even at the height of summer. Nonetheless, it’s actually one of the safest beaches in Gower to swim, with its Western rock formation protecting the beach from rough currents. It’s the perfect place for a peaceful paddle with your pup.

6. Scotland – Golspie

This award-winning Blue Flag beach has a fine mixture of sand and shingle to unleash your excited pooch upon.

For those who like a scenic stroll, the Golspie to Brora coast path walk offers amazing views. Along the way, look out for hidden harbours, a well-preserved iron-age broch and Dunrobin Castle – the grandest house in the Highlands. And when you reach Brora, Linda’s Café is a perfect refuelling stop, with water bowls at the ready for thirsty mutts.


7. Northern Ireland (County Antrim) – Ballycastle

Stretching from the popular fishing spot of Pans Rocks, to the town’s attractive marina, Ballycastle Beach is over a mile of Blue Flag beauty.  This popular North Antrim surf spot is safe for swimming, so dogs can join the neoprene swell-seekers, rolling in the waves to their hearts’ content.

9. Cornwall – Porthkidney

The vast shore of Porthkidney is the stuff pups dream of as they twitch in their baskets. In fact, locals fondly know it as ‘Happy Dog Beach’. Less accessible than the nearby tourist attraction of St. Ives Bay, it rewards those in the know. To set foot upon this elusive doggy haven, turn off the coast road between Hayle and St. Ives. Approach the beach from Lelant, across the golf course and over the sand dunes.

10. Merseyside – Blundellsands

An open expanse with sand dunes to the north, Blundellsands is widely known for its permanent art installation by Antony Gormley – ‘Another Place’. Gormley claims the cast-iron figures ‘expose to light and time the nakedness of a particular and peculiar body.’ Although for your lolloping pooch, they’re just another exciting feature to sniff as they explore this vast, dog-friendly beach.

© Tim Kington

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