With many cottages now welcoming our four-legged friends, it’s easier than ever to include the most important family member when you go away! The glorious county of Sussex has a whole host of historic towns and places of interest where your dog is welcome, as well as beautiful gardens and villages with canine-friendly pubs and gardens.
In this beautiful county with its golden stretches of beach, acres of delightful unspoilt countryside and vast nature reserves, you will be sure to find the perfect place to take your pooch. Whether they fancy a lovely long muddy walk, a snooze in front of a roaring pub fire or hopping aboard a vintage steam train, Sussex has something to offer them. Have a peek at our top five favourite walks, best beaches, fun places to visit and pooch-friendly pubs below.
TOP FIVE WALKIES
Sussex is bursting with glorious walks – from bracing walks along our vast stretches of beach to bluebell-filled woods, you can also opt for a hill walk over Wealdway or across the rolling slopes of the South Downs. Here, dogs will be able to feel the wind in their fur while their lucky owners will be met with some of the most wonderful views in the country. Most walks are well away from trafficky roads and livestock, so you should be able to find some prime off-lead walks to enjoy.
This public footpath links the North Downs Way from Gravesend in Kent to the South Downs Way above Eastbourne in East Sussex, just three kilometres north of Beachy Head. It is connected to other lovely walks such as the Sussex Border Path which makes for wonderful coastal walking. There are many places from which you can see the coastline of France on a clear day, and inquisitive pooches will love to see the ferries going backwards and forwards!
Stretching across 600 acres of coast from the village of Fairlight to Hastings Old Town, this park is an absolute haven for dogs and humans alike. Spectacular sea views greet you from the Firehills at Fairlight where there is also a very dog-friendly café. You will pass through woodland, lowlands bursting with heather and large open meadows filled with beautiful flowers and if you get to the Old Town, there are lots of pubs where you can take your dog for a well-earned bowl of water and a treat. There are Exmoor ponies grazing in the park so make sure inquisitive canines are kept under control.
Home to the magnificent Petworth House which houses the finest art collection in the possession of the National Trust, it is also home to over 700 acres of parkland, some of which was landscaped by Capability Brown. There are lots of different trails that you and your pooch can take, but do be mindful of the many deer which roam freely around the deer park.
This beautiful stretch of coastline where the South Downs meets the sea is one of the best places on the south coast for fabulous views. Situated in between Seaford and Eastbourne, it is also home to the renowned Beachy Head, whose high point and coastguard cottages are featured in images all around the globe. As always with cliffs, do keep dogs on leads, especially near the edges.
With over 1600km2 of rolling hills and trails, the South Downs is a dog walker’s paradise. Miles of chalky cliffs (keep dogs on leads), forests and open grassland await you and your pooches – you can easily spend a whole day walking the Downs, only stopping for respite at one of the dog-friendly pubs or tea rooms en route.
TOP FIVE DOGGY DAYS OUT
Taking a dog on holiday doesn’t mean leaving them at home on family days out - there are some great things to do that will welcome waggy tails as well. From hopping aboard a vintage steam train and visiting a heritage museum, to adventures around one of the biggest stretches of water in the South, your pooch will have his diary full in no time!
Dogs are allowed everywhere in this fun-packed day out for all the family. Learn about the industrial heritage of Sussex, hop aboard the narrow-gauge railway and visit the old wheelwright’s shop! Dogs will love the 36-acre site and can even enjoy the craft demonstrations with you. They aren’t allowed in the cafes but there is a local pooch-friendly tearoom, Amberley Village Tearoom, nearby, where you an enjoy a lovely cream tea with your faithful friend.
Make your pooch feel extra special by buying his very own ticket and board the old steam trains of this charming steam railway. Hop on at Sheffield Park and wind your way through the villages and towns of Sussex down to East Grinstead. Even better, you can dismount at Horsted Keynes and walk the six miles back across the fields home, extra special when bluebells fill the woods in springtime. The Sloop Inn alongside the River Ouse is great for your dog to enjoy a scrumptious pub lunch in the flower-filled beer garden.
When you have a dog who likes to do more human things than canine, head to this pooch-friendly steam railway which will allow both you and your dog to sample the delights of the Kent and East Sussex countryside. Leaving from Tenterden, the train travels down to the magnificent Bodiam Castle in East Sussex where you can hop off and see the ruins of the castle. Dogs are not allowed in the castle but are welcome in the grounds as well as on the guided walks.
This huge stretch of water is wonderful for dogs and humans alike. With over 12 miles of walking, it is very dog friendly and dogs are even allowed on the Bewl Belle Ferry which will take you across the water. Suitable for slower pooches who prefer a serene stroll, as well as for more energetic hounds who love a good ramble, you can grab a hot chocolate from the on-site café (please note dogs are not allowed inside) to warm your hands up when cold. There are some algaes in the reservoir that could be bad for tummies, so be careful to not let your dog drink out of the lake.
Dogs on leads are welcome at this National Trust property, in the landscape garden after 1.30pm, also in the parkland. If your dog wants a proper run, you can release the hound in East park at all times. The views across the lake back to the garden are wonderful, especially at autumn time when the array of colours is a real sight for weary eyes. More importantly, dogs are welcome in the garden room of the Coach House tea room, just make sure you pack some bonios in your backpack for your furry friend!
TOP FIVE DOG-FRIENDLY PUBS
Whether you are looking for somewhere to stop off mid-walkies or a place to spend a relaxing evening, our top five dog-friendly pubs are the perfect excuse. Bear in mind that dogs are not allowed in some dining sections, so always best to check beforehand whether you can take Rover with you into the bar or beer garden instead.
A great local pub in the medieval Cinque Ports town of Rye and popular with both locals and visitors, this pub with a taste of the sea will welcome both you and your canine with open arms. Curl up in front of the open fire on winter days or sit in the lovely beer garden in the summer, local cider in hand as you rest weary legs and paws after a day exploring the cobbled streets of this lovely town.
A former 18th century coaching inn, this pub in the middle of the traditional English village of Robertsbridge has an award-winning restaurant and a great wine list. Only five miles from the majestic Bodiam Castle and ten miles from the doggy paradise that is Bewl Water, this friendly pub will even bring a bowl of water over for thirsty pooches.
Just down the road from Cowdray if you fancy an afternoon of polo, this dog-friendly 18th century inn not only welcomes dogs, but also their humans with a great menu including vegetarian options. Chocolate box pretty, with roaring fires, old beams and a cosy snug, you will find it hard to leave.
On the edge of the Ashdown Forest, home of Winnie-the-Pooh, this charming country pub not only has a great locally sourced menu, but also a resident dog who will welcome your canine to his patch. Local ales and ciders can be sampled in the cosy traditional bar and you can tuck into some hearty food too.
Situated in the medieval Cinque Ports town of Rye, this pub is perfect for all the family, including its most important furry member! It offers a great brunch after a lovely walk in Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and is the perfect place to stop for a spot of lunch if you are having a day out in the town. The building, which dates back to 1592 was originally a warehouse for contraband seized from smugglers, so you may want to warn cowardly canines before you go!
TOP FIVE BEAUTIFUL BEACHES
Offering some great opportunities for dog walking, our beaches cannot be beaten for their wonderful views and vast expanses of sand and shingle. Though restrictions apply on some beaches during the summer, you will always be able to find somewhere to take your dog for a run and a splash about in the water!
A long stretch of pebble and shingle beach in between Hastings and Eastbourne, there is a huge area of pooch-friendly sand when the tide goes out, perfect for running about in the shallow water or chasing a ball! Amazing views across to Beachy Head and France will greet you as you walk along and there is a dog-friendly café right on the beach to stop for a snack. There is parking on the seafront and also a train station very near for public transport pooches.
One of the best beaches in the South, this vast expanse of golden sand is just waiting for dogs to come and play. Huge sand dunes take you down across the sand and when the tide is out you can walk out for miles. There is also a flat entrance from the main car park for wobblier pooches, plus a café and a few little shops. Please note that there is a parking charge at this car park.
Take your four-legged friend to enjoy the sand dunes and salt marsh of East Head, you may even spot a seal or two in the water! During the winter, dogs are allowed on the adjacent West Wittering beach where you can park and then head west to walk all the way around the vast sandy spit. If the weather is nice, why not stop to have a splash around in the shallows?
Over 450 acres of salt marsh, beach and woodland await you at this renowned nature reserve. Stretching along to Winchelsea Beach and Pett Level, there is a handy little path above sea level that you can also walk along if the pebbles are too hard for little paws!
A great place to let your dog run and run, you can go all the way to Bexhill at low tide if you are up for it! There is also a promenade that stretches to Hastings Old Town in the other direction, great for dogs who prefer a more civilised walk. There are dog friendly cafes that you can stop at along the way and also two wonderful hills, the East and West Hills, where you can take a picnic and enjoy the spectacular views of the channel across to France on a clear day. The paw-fect day out!
We hope that you and your dog love our great days out while you are on holiday in Sussex. All you need to do now is pack your favourite lead and head down! Check out our selection of dog-friendly properties in Sussex to find the perfect holiday cottage for you and your four-pawed family member!