You won’t find any illuminations here and the beach is in fact of fine shingle, but Blackpool Sands is one of the best beaches on the beautiful south Devon coast. The Blue Flag-rated waters are clean and inviting and there are good facilities in summer, including sand pits, and kayak and board hire.
An organic café serves locally sourced food on this privately run beach that is always spotlessly clean. Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach from March to October, but the wooded hills behind are fantastic canine country.
Compton Bay is unspoiled, with down-land behind a flat sandy beach that surfers love. The iconic chalky cliffs loom up beyond the beach, and youngsters will love looking for dinosaur fossils and sharks teeth. The beach and surrounding countryside is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, managed by the National Trust, providing good paths and parking. Nearby Brook Beach is a good place to let your pooch off the lead.
The east coast is getting more fashionable these days, and Walberswick Beach is just the sort of idyllic setting weekending Londoners are looking for. The village itself – once an international port - is beautiful enough, but cross over the little wooden bridge towards the sea and discover fantastic wetlands, dunes, and a fine sandy, dog-friendly beach that’s often peacefully empty. Many artists have been attracted by its light and views, no doubt tucking into the famous local crab.
Easily the equal of other more famous Welsh beaches, Newborough is a huge expanse of flat sand, backed by gently sloping pine woods that turn into dunes towards the sea. And then there’s the view, straight across the Menai Straits to Snowdonia’s majestic peaks. Keep your eyes peeled out to sea and you might catch sight of a pod of dolphins. On shore, restrictions on dogs help protect the local wildlife.
A TripAdvisor top-10 UK beach, Filey Beach is massive, and made for exploring. Soft flat sands extend for miles in both directions. To the south is the Heritage Coast of Flamborough Head, to the north the fine old resort of Scarborough. Filey Brigg, the thin, rocky peninsula at the north end of the beach is home to nationally important numbers of rare seabirds in winter.
Stay inland at beautiful Nidd Hall Hotel, outside the elegant spa town of Harrogate, for access to the whole of this wonderful section of coast.
This place is the reason why Newquay is packed with kids in surf gear. Its westerly orientation keeps the waves rolling in, but you don’t need to know your way into a wetsuit to enjoy Fistral. It’s long and sandy, with rocky cliffs rising behind and European standard clean water. It’s dog friendly all year round with lovely walks on the local cliffs. The steady stream of surfers mean there are shops and cafes aplenty.
Rhossili Beach is consistently listed among the best beaches in the world, never mind the UK, and it’s easy to see why. Wonderfully set at the western end of the beautiful Gower Peninsula, and a great centrepiece for walks on the Wales Coastal Path, it is a three-mile length of perfect, flat golden sand. Surfers love the strong Atlantic surges, and walkers can tackle the modest challenges of the Gower’s highest point, The Beacon, through the dunes. It’s Britain’s top dog-friendly beach according to The Times.
To best enjoy this gorgeous beach, book a room through Booking.com, which lists hundreds of sea front properties and has 131 hotels near Rhossili.
Cape Wrath, on which you’ll find Sandwood Bay, doesn’t make you think of a balmy day on the sands, but this beach, with its clear, shallow waters close to shore is a wonderful spot on a sunny day. Reached by trekking over beautiful moorland, the beach is backed by dunes with stormy cliffs to the side and stunning views of the sea stack (a pillar of rock out in the water) of Am Buachaille.
Mystical, magical and rarely busy, Sandwood Bay makes for a spectacular British beach holiday. Booking.com lists properties across the UK, hundreds with beachfront access in Scotland.
This much photographed and filmed beach is hardly a hidden gem, but it’s never a bad time to sing the praises of Bamburgh Beach. One of the most striking anywhere in the world, brooded over by the magnificent castle, it’s dog friendly, with long stretches of sand giving way to rock pools at the northern end. It has the highest UK rating for water cleanliness, you can access Holy Island at low tide, and the coast is a seal and seabird hotspot.
Blackpool might provide the bright lights, but Lancashire’s coast is also one of stunning natural beauties. Formby Beach’s flat sands are backed by huge protected dunes that are worth scaling for clear views of Lakeland and the Blackpool Tower. The beautiful pinewoods behind are one of the last strongholds of the native red squirrel, and spotters of older wildlife will want to scan the sands for prehistoric footprints. It’s also one of the few protected beaches with no dog restrictions.