Five best dog-friendly beaches for winter
Nothing beats a brisk walk on a sunny winter’s day, when you’re wrapped up warm and have your best friend by your side. We’ve gathered up the knowledge of our resident dog owners to get their five favourite dog-friendly beaches for winter. Discover huge beaches with beautiful views, off-the-beaten-track hidden gems and some firm favourites who’ve relaxed their restrictions.
Gwithian Beach, Cornwall
With dog restrictions lifted on 31st August, dog owners now have plenty of time to make full use of one of Cornwall’s best beaches. Whether you’re staying in nearby St Ives or a little further down towards Penzance, this is the perfect spot to enjoy a walk early in the morning or at sundown. Surfers can be seen taking to the water, at low tide there are hundreds of rock pools and the three-mile stretch of sand is ideal for dogs who love a good run around.
The beach runs all the way from Hayle village and up towards Godrevy. For those who want to make a whole day of it, we can recommend taking a walk from Godrevy Point up along the cliffs and down to the beach. After a busy day exploring, you’ll both love nothing more than to retreat back to your cottage and snuggle up in front of the fire.
Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire is not short of dog-friendly beaches and walks that the whole family will love. Whilst we enjoy the likes of Broad Haven and Tenby, one of our favourites has to be Marloes Sands. The remote beach is approximately a mile long and is nestled in a remote location at the very western tip of Pembrokeshire. Its soft sand, crystal coves, dramatic cliffs and hidden caves make it a brilliant spot to while away brisk winter days.
With no immediate access, we suggest picking up the peninsular coastal path that takes you around the headland and down to the beach. The four-mile route takes approximately 2 hours in total and begins at the Marloes Sands car park. You can choose to either head straight to the beach for a walk, or use it as a stop off for a break before picking up the rest of the coastal path. Whilst dogs are welcome all year round, we particularly love visiting in winter when you can be the only person on the entire stretch of beach.
Stay at: Crug Glas, a stylish country retreat set within 600 acres.
Holkham Hall, Norfolk
A recent visit to Holkham showed us just how wonderful this stretch of coast is even in the off-season months. The beach is part of the Holkham National Nature Reserve, and is surrounded by acres of protected flora and fauna, dunes and forests making it a complete haven for dogs and their owners.
For direct access to the beach, we would suggest parking on Lady Anne’s Drive and following the boardwalk through the forest. You can even pick up a hot drink from The Lookout Café. Whilst this is a great (and easy) option, to really make the most of the coastline’s gorgeous scenery we would recommend walking to the beach from Burnham Overy Staithe, or walking from Holkham Beach over to Wells-next-the-Sea following the National Coastal Path. Do keep your eyes peeled for wildlife; the likes of seals, birds and crabs all call this area home.
Embleton Bay, Northumberland
Embleton is an idyllic village on the dramatic Northumberland coastline, known for its pretty beach and the historic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle that overlook it. It even won Countryfile’s accolade for the Best Beach in Britain in 2017.
A short walk from the village takes you to the coast, which is rarely crowded especially during the winter months. The 14th-century castle stands grandly overlooking the beach, while at the northern end white-washed cottages and a historic pub gather cosily around a village green. Dogs are welcome all year round and will love the miles and miles of sand they have to explore. Hikers will also love the numerous paths in the area, including a seven-mile circuit that takes you past Craster and Beadnell with plenty of pubs en route for you and the pooch to stop off and refuel.
Hive Beach, Dorset
With so many beaches to choose from, it can be difficult to pick where to go for a gorgeous winter stroll with the dog. Hive Beach at Burton Bradstock is usually dog-free in most parts except from November 1 when both dogs and their owners are free to make full use of it. The small beach is surrounded by Dorset’s iconic Jurassic coastline cliffs as well as miles of serene grassland and rolling hills.
Locals usually climb from the National Trust car park for far-reaching views along the coast and then head down to the shingle beach to play. Alternatively you can park at another National Trust car park at Cogden, and take a footpath across the field to access the dog-friendly Cogden beach or head along the South West Coast Path to Hive Beach. There’s no need to bring a pack lunch, either. Hive Beach Café serves fresh seafood dishes with unmatchable views.
Bantham Bay, Devon
Devon has a huge array of beaches to enjoy with your dog, but Bantham cannot be matched for its beautiful landscapes and striking views. Tucked along the South Devon coast and situated at the mouth of the Avon River, you can expect to find a large sandy expanse and plenty of waves. Out on the horizon is the iconic Burgh Island, which is reachable during low tide or via sea tractor if you’re staying at the hotel!
Despite dogs being allowed to enjoy the estuary-side part of the beach all year round, restrictions on the main beach are lifted from November 1 making winter the best time to take advantage of a long, brisk walk. If you want to explore more of the local area, we would suggest following the coastal path from Bantham over to Thurlestone. At just over 3 miles, you’ll have the chance to view surfers out at sea and admire the varied selection of birds and wildlife.
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