Dog playing at Harbour cove beach

Best beach walks for dogs this autumn and winter

Summer is over and the sunbathers have gone – it’s time for dogs to reclaim the beaches! We asked Blue Cross dogs to recommend their favourite places to bark at the waves across the UK. 

Here's our list of the top dog friendly beaches with restrictions lifted for the autumn and winter months.

Top tips: Best beach walks for dogs this autumn and winter

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  • Remember! Always clean up after your dog.
  • Some areas, including promenades, may ask you to keep your dog on a lead.
  • Many beaches have restrictions on dogs from around Easter time to the end of September. Check the council’s website for up to date information before you travel.

Beach: Cleethorpes beach, North East Lincolnshire

Nominated by: Alfie, a collie

Facilities: Dogs are not allowed on the beach all year round. Restrictions are in place from Good Friday to 30 September each year. Plenty of free parking nearby, and lots of dog bins. Nice cafe next to the leisure centre that welcomes dogs all year round for coffee or breakfast.

Why Alfie loves this beach: There are dunes and lovely walks alongside the marsh area. We love it, especially out of season when not so many people are about! Christmas Day and Boxing Day see hundreds of people walking with their dogs!

View Cleethorpes beach on Google maps or visit the north east Lincolnshire website.

Beach walks for dogs: Whitley Bay (south beach), Tyne and Wear

Nominated by: Bramble, an Irish wolfhound and Blue Cross education dog

Facilities: Annual summer beach restrictions run from May 1 to September 30. Just at the point where the dog and no dog beaches clash, there is the Rendezvous cafe and the Links Art Gallery in a fantastic 1930s building overlooking the sea. It has been run by the same family for 60 years and, although dogs aren’t allowed inside, there are plenty of outdoor tables and chairs to be served at with your best friend. Toilets can be found here and if anyone fancies it, there’s a mini golf course on the cliffs behind.

Why Bramble loves this beach: There are loads of dogs there – always someone to play with – but the beach is so huge that it still manages to look empty. It’s one of my favourite places to be – if you want a good clean dog beach with plenty of near-by facilities and the opportunity to nosey around rock pools next to the island, then you can’t beat Whitley Bay!

View Whitley Bay (south beach) on Google maps.

Beach walks for dogs: Widemouth Bay, near Bude, Cornwall

Dog splashing about on the beach

Nominated by: Buster, a lurcher who now lives happily in his third (and final) home

Facilities: Car parks at either end and cafes at both ends too. Special mention goes to the Widemouth Bay Cafe, which is happy to have dogs inside. They do good food and have a lovely view over the beach, so even if the weather is awful you can still appreciate the sight of the crashing waves. There are also public toilets and showers, and a beach shop and surf hire. Also lifeguards.

This beach operates a seasonal dog ban between 15 May and 30 September from 10am until 6pm.

Why Buster loves this beach: It’s a very long beach which is great for a lovely walk and a good run. It’s very popular with families and dog walkers, so I have lots of other dogs to play with. There’s a mixture of sand and stones and lots of rock pools, so lots of interesting smells and places to explore. Plus, its on the South West Coast Path if you fancy a longer walk.

View Widemouth Bay on Google maps and visit Cornwall council's website.

Beach: Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock, Dorset

Nominated by: Kaspar, a Pomeranian rehomed by our Tiverton rehoming centre

Facilities: Hive Beach cafe is fabulous, with views out to sea and the best crab my owner has ever tasted. Dogs are welcome in the cafe. Toilets are next door to the cafe. Loads of pubs nearby, but our favourite was a bit further away.

Dogs are not allowed on the main beach in front of the cafe between 1 June and the 30 September, but you can walk your dog at other points on the seafront. There are also lots of countryside walks around. Find out more on the National Trust's website.

Why Kaspar loves this beach: It’s great for meeting other dogs, paddling and running around. Plus, there’s a fantastic view from the beach, cafe and cliffs.

View Hive Beach on Google maps.

Beach: Westward Ho! (north end), Devon

Nominated by: Pippin, a seven-year-old springer spaniel

Facilities: There is ample car parking and disabled parking close to the beach itself. There are an array of restaurants, bars, traditional amusement arcades and shops. At the Pier House Seafront Bar and Bistro I am allowed in the bar and on the sun terrace which has lovely views of Lundy Island. There are some dog restrictions in place between May and September, but dogs are allowed all year around at the Northam Burrows end.

Why Pippin loves this beach: This is a picture of me on my favourite beach at Westward Ho ! North Devon. I am allowed on the whole beach from October to April and all year round at the Northam Burrows end. You can get close to nature and explore the South West Coast path which passes through the village and beyond. There are also lots of dunes to run up and down and explore.

View Westward Ho! on Google maps.

Beach: West Wittering, East Sussex

Nominated by: Millie, who went from rags (stray) to riches (I’m allowed on the sofa!)

Facilities: There is parking available, but the website recommends booking in advance. There's a dog-friendly cafe and toilet facilities. Although there are some summer dog restrictions in place on part of the beach, from mid-September to April dogs are welcome everywhere.

Why Millie loves this beach: It’s huge! This is a sandy beach where I can run around, go for a paddle in the shallows – or a swim if I’m feeling brave – and best of all, play with my ball. It bounces really high! There are also sandy dunes to sniff around in and explore on the East Head spit (but I’m not allowed on the dunes during ground-nesting bird season).

View West Wittering on Google maps.

Beach: Clachan Sands, North Uist, Outer Hebrides

Nominated by: Stan, a working cocker spaniel

Facilities: There is a campsite nearby and dogs are allowed all year round.

Why Stan loves this beach: The beaches are long easy walks with crystal clear waters and clean sands with beautiful scenery all around you. Clachan Sands makes a true outdoor holiday full of walks and fun for dogs like me.

View Clachan Sands on Google maps.

Beach: Harbour Cove, near Padstow Harbour, Cornwall

Dg chasing ball on harbour cove beach

Nominated by: Billy (formally known as Willy Woo), a springer spaniel

Facilities: There is a carpark nearby but Harbour Cove is also only a short walk from Padstow; a bustling harbour, but very dog friendly. All amenities can be found here, including lots of dog friendly places to eat or drink. Padstow is very dog friendly. As well as the amazing beaches there is also the Camel Trail, a dis-used railway line which is now a cycle path along the Camel estuary. It allows miles of traffic-free walking or cycling, and access to beautiful scenery and wildlife. Dogs are allowed on the route and many of the cycle hire places rent out dog trailers with the bikes too!

Why Billy loves this beach: Harbour Cove is a huge expanse of sand, at low tide almost a mile and a half, plus it is relatively quiet even in summer – plenty of space for running and playing ball! The water is great for swimming and at low tide there are sometimes pools of water on the beach to explore too.

View Harbour Cove on Google maps and visit the Cornwall council website.

Beach: Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

Nominated by: Gordon, a jack russell terrier being cared for at our Burford rehoming centre

Facilities: Public toilets are 20p to use on the front. Enjoy a drink in one of the many dog-friendly cafes. Dogs are allowed anytime between The Grand Pier and Knightstone Island, and between Royal Sands and Uphill beach. The visit Weston-super-Mare website has details of dog restrictions in other areas.

Why Gordon loves this beach: Boy this beach trip was fun! Clarissa, who works at Blue Cross, took me for a day out on her day off, and we had such a great time. There was lots of space to run about and play ball, and I got to say hello to other dogs. I paddled in the sea (I didn’t go in very deep, but braver dogs could if they wanted to). Clarissa thinks it was the first time I’ve been on sand, as I walked on my tippy toes at first before getting very excited and running around in circles!

View Weston-super-Mare on Google maps.

Beach: Shaldon beach, near Teignmouth, Devon

Nominated by: Penny, a two-year-old rescue Lab

Facilities: Lots of cafes and pubs in the town, as well as a good sized car park and public loos. Dogs are not allowed along the seashore between the Clipper Quay and the steps to the beach between 1 April and 30 September.

Why Penny loves this beach: I love this beach! I love to swim and I get to meets lots of dogs to play with here. There is an awesome view overlooking Teignmouth, and if you come down of a morning can get an amazing breakfast from Cafe Ode which is located in the car park – my owner likes to do that.

View Shaldon beach on Google maps and find out more on the Teignbridge district council's website.

Beach: Barmouth beach, Gwynedd

Nominated by: Oscar, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel who works in our Shrewsbury charity shop

Facilities: There are car parks nearby and along the promenade. Enjoy a trip to a cafe or a wander round the harbour, too. Dogs are not allowed on the area of beach between the leisure centre and the river (1 April to 30 September), but there's a stretch of beach which is dog-friendly all year. Find out more on the Visit Mid Wales website.

Why Oscar loves this beach: I love nothing more than rolling over and over in the sand! I am nine years old but I always feel like a puppy again when I have sand between my paws.

View Barmouth beach on Google maps.

Beach: Holkham beach, north Norfolk

Nominated by: Sunny, a sheltie rehomed from Blue Cross, and Annie, a border collie

Facilities: Various art galleries, pubs, cafes etc. Holkham Hall estate is worth a visit.

Why Sunny and Annie love this beach: There’s so much space for running! Even on a busy day there is always room as the beach is a mile wide from edge of woods to where sea is (when tide is out). Pine woods, next to the beach, is also great to explore. It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty and is great for spotting wildlife, seals, birds and plants.

Plan your visit to Holkham and view Holkham beach on Google maps.

— Page last updated 14/12/2022