10 of the Best Dog Friendly Beaches and Swimming Spots

With the UK weather heating up, pups will need some cooling down this summer. From lakes and lidos to beautiful dog-friendly beaches, check out our top UK swimming spots for your hound to take a dip this summer.

1. Hengistbury West Beach, Bournemouth

Hengistbury Head is a relatively unspoilt and south-facing pebble beach, with imposing clay and ironstone cliffs in Bournemouth. If you want more space for Fido to frolic, head down to the quieter Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve, which separates Poole Bay and Christchurch Bay. Pack a picnic and enjoy a day at this pretty stretch of Dorset coastline, plus dogs are allowed all year round with plenty of room for a run and a romp in the sea.

2. Dog Pond Hampstead Heath, London

Hampstead Heath is a doggy haven in the heart of London – and with its own dedicated dog pond for pooches to frolic in, it’s the perfect place for city hounds to chill out this summer. Head to the pond after a run around the acres of woodland and heathland – there are also plenty of dog friendly pubs and cafes in Hampstead.

 Wells Next the Sea Dog Friendly beach

Image: C Cullern

3. Wells-Next-The-Sea beach, Norfolk

Wells-Next-The-Sea beach is pooch paradise – endless sand, shallow waters for a paddle, pine forest to explore, and dunes to frolic around in. Dogs are allowed on the beach at all year round – other than a tiny stretch of sand near Wells, but with so much more beach to explore, dogs still have plenty of space to stretch their legs. The beach also extends all the way down to the sweeping beach at Holkham, with plenty of opportunities to take a dip en-route. If you have all built up a hunger, head to the Beach Café near the car park at the Wells end – dogs are allowed inside and outside, with water bowls and a doggy wash station on hand for cleaning off sandy dogs.

Camber Sands Dog Friendly Beach

Image: C Cullern

4. Camber Sands, Sussex

The beautiful dunes of Camber Sands in East Sussex is one of the nicest possible beaches for dogs in the UK, with mile upon mile of endless sand and rolling dunes to play in. When the tide is out the beach extends as far as the eye can see – and the sea is calm enough for most dogs to brave. If you have built up a hunger, stop by The Gallivant hotel with Fido for a spot of lunch or a drink on their dog-friendly terrace.

5. Ruislip Lido, Middlesex

With a beach and extensive woodland surrounding it, Ruislip Lido is canine heaven. Ruislip Lido offers a range of facilities situated around a 40 acre lake and even has its own beach area. The beach side area of the Lido is actually a dog-on-lead zone, however, there are plenty of areas around the Lido for dogs to plunge themselves in.

6. Freshwater West, Wales

Wide, sandy and covered in Dunes, Freshwater West is a favourite for dogs and their owners and is open all year round – but be sure to check the tide times so that you and Fido don’t get cut off by the incoming tide! If your dog isn’t a fan of salt water, then they can take a dip in the freshwater stream as well as taking a walk along the spectacular coastal path.

7. Shorne Country Park, Kent

As well as a dedicated pond for dogs to swim in (including a jetty for those that love to practice their diving skills), Shorne Country Park in Kent also has an eco-friendly visitor centre and café (dogs are welcome to accompany owners in the outside seating), and 292 acres of rolling woodlands, wetlands and meadows that can be explored via a variety of waymarked trails.

8. Sandymouth, Cornwall

This National Trust beach boasts a huge expanse of sandy beach and welcomes dog’s year round. There is a great café, as well as parking and toilets if you want to make a day of it with your furry friend. As well as the sea, there are plenty of rock pools for paddling warm paws and exploring the sea life.

9. Lepe Country Park, Hampshire

Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Lepe Country Park in Hampshire offers acres of beautiful beach and woodland walks for you and your dog. Take a walk along the cliffs or beach for fantastic views towards the Isle of Wight, before heading to the dog friendly section of the beach for a cooling dip.

10. K9 Aqua, Various locations

For an alternative watery adventure why not get your dog to try their paws at a spot of K9 Dock Diving? Water-loving dogs will adore plunging themselves off a specially made dock into a cooling pool of water after a tennis ball – usually splashing the surrounding spectators to great amusement. Fast becoming a popular canine sport in the UK, K9 Aqua is available as various events around the country.

Do you know some great dog friendly swimming spots? Tell us about them in the comments below!

Caroline is a writer and marketer, currently working as the Digital Marketing Manager for the UK Kennel Club. Caroline has previously contributed to publications including Time Out Dubai, Wallpaper* and the World Travel Guide. In her spare time she combines her love of dogs and travel, taking her two rescue dogs Kipper and Rudi on as many pooch adventures as possible, whether it’s a weekend break in Paris or seeking out the most dog-friendly pub in London.

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