With more and more holiday cottage owners welcoming dogs into their properties, it’s a great time to holiday with your four-legged pals. We appreciate that it’s hard leaving your canine pal at home when you go away as they are as much a part of the family as anybody else.
We want you and your dog to have the best possible holiday or break that you can. Read on to find the best:
DOG WALKS IN KENT & SUSSEX
Kent and Sussex are full of glorious walks, ranging from a sedate stroll on flat ground right the way through to the hilly Wealdway and the fantastic South Downs National Park with its amazing coastal views and never-ending steep climbs. Beaches are great for winter walks, and are usually quite quiet at this time of year. On the whole, most of the best dog walks in Kent and Sussex are away from livestock and traffic, and the scenery is great no matter what time of the year you visit.
Romney Marsh stretches for miles along the Sussex and Kent coastline and its flat landscapes make fantastic walking and cycling country. The marsh is home to over 100 miles of amazing landscapes, which span woodlands, wetlands and beaches. If you’re looking for coastal views, the England Coast Path runs for 20 miles through the Marsh, passing villages such as Dungeness, Lydd-on-Sea and Dymchurch along the way.
Lots of sheep graze on the Marsh throughout the year so take care with dogs near the livestock – leads are recommended. There is a Visitor Centre in New Romney if you’re looking for more handy tips.
Hastings Country Park is an absolute haven for dog walkers. It stretches across 600 acres running along the coast from Fairlight all the way to Hastings Old Town. Fabulous sea views and lots of open spaces make it a great destination for dog walks, with woodlands, lowlands carpeted with heather and large open meadows all ripe for exploring. From the cliff tops you can enjoy amazing views out over Hastings and beyond, sometimes out to as far as the South of France. Please be aware that wild Exmoor ponies do graze the park and wander unrestricted so please keep dogs under control.
Dungeness is a truly unique place to visit, found on the tip of the Romney Marsh peninsula. It’s home to one of the largest shingle landscapes in the world, and the UK’s only desert. More than 600 plant species can be found here as well as a myriad of wildlife. Dogs and their owners alike will love exploring the landscape and soaking up its unusual views. Make sure to visit Dungeness itself, decorated with boardwalks, lighthouses, and colourful cabins, a stark contrast to the bleak backdrop.
Reculver Country Park
Found on the northern Kent coast between Herne Bay and Margate, there’s much so see within Reculver Country Park’s 26 hectares. Follow the Saxon Shore Trail along the cliff tops for excellent coastal views, while the Reculver Towers are also found here and are important local landmarks which dominate the skyline. With both paths and open spaces, dogs are welcome here both on and off the lead.
Petworth Park in West Sussex is home to over 700 acres of sprawling parkland, crowned by the mansion of Petworth House. Landscaped by Capability Brown, the National Trust-owned park even inspired the classic paintings of JMW Turner, meaning that beautiful natural scenery is guaranteed. There are a variety of walks for you and your dog to enjoy, with a few ideas on the National Trust website. Part of the grounds is a deer park, where as many as 500 deer roam freely, so please take care to keep your dog on a lead and away from the deer.
With almost 350 miles of coastline, Kent and Sussex aren’t short of a variety of beaches to explore, with several being pet-friendly all year round. Here are some of our favourites, followed by a complete list of beaches that are dog-friendly all year to check out.
Holywell lies on the western end of Eastbourne’s promenade, and is a very peaceful beach typical of the area with steep shingle banks divided by wooden groynes. On one side of the beach stands a series of towering chalk cliffs – follow a path up onto the cliffs to take the walk to the famous Beachy Head.
Whitstable is a classic British seaside resort suitable for all, including dogs, thanks to the dog-friendly West Beach. Decorated with colourful beach huts and fishing boats, this shingle beach is a great place to admire some traditional seaside views, and your dog will enjoy the mile-long walk along the beach and around to neighbouring Seasalter.
Cooden Beach, near Bexhill
Cooden Beach consists of a long stretch of shingle, though at low tide vast expanses of sand are exposed making it great for your pet to run around on. It’s also incredibly easy to reach as not only is there free parking available on the beachfront, but there is also a train station right next door for those using public transport.
Shakespeare Beach, near Dover
Famous for being the starting point for many swims across the English Channel, Shakespeare Beach is a shingle beach tucked away within a secluded bay. After the hundred steps down to the beach itself, there’s plenty of open space for your dog to run around in as well as rockpools exposed at low tide to explore.
Dumpton Gap, Broadstairs
Located just outside of the popular resort of Broadstairs, Dumpton Gap is a nice sandy beach featuring some of Kent’s signature white chalky cliffs. The beach can be followed right the way round the coast to Ramsgate, making it a great place for a longer dog walk too.
All dog-friendly beaches
These are all the beaches across Kent and Sussex which have no dog restrictions all year round:
DOGGY DAYS OUT
There are plenty of wonderful attractions and places to visit across Kent and Sussex, and fortunately many of these places also welcome dogs too. From railways to historic castles and abbeys, here’s some of our favourite doggy days out if you’re looking for where to head to.
Dogs are welcome aboard the Kent and East Sussex Railway, which makes a charge of £3 for dogs. It’s a great attraction allowing you to see the countryside scenery of both counties, starting in Tenterden and passing through Rolvenden, Wittersham and Northiam before reaching Bodiam.
One of the many vineyards that has sprouted up in Kent in recent years, you can explore on a self-guided tour with your dog on a lead. Stroll between the vines at your leisure before heading to the shop for free tastings and the chance to purchase some of the products made on site.
Explore historic Canterbury by boat and hear tale after fascinating tale about the city’s history with a Canterbury Historic River Tours. Bring your dog on board the boat and soak up the sights during this memorable 45-minute boat ride.
Explore the very site where William the Conqueror defeated King Harold in 1066 and changed British history forever at this English Heritage-owned site found in the town of Battle. You can visit the abbey ruins and the battlefield where all the action took place. Dogs are welcome throughout the attraction apart from in the visitor centre café.
This national pinetum is home to one of the world’s finest collections of conifer trees, and is a great spot to enjoy a woodland walk or a picnic. Dogs on leads are welcome in the Pinetum, bins and bags are provided for you to pick up any mess too. Sadly, dogs are not allowed inside the visitor centre or cafe, with the exception of guide dogs. The forest trails are the only areas where you are permitted to let your dog off the lead.
After all that exploring, you and your pet are sure to want to head somewhere nice for a bite to eat and something to drink! Try these fantastic pubs across Kent and Sussex where dogs are just as welcome as humans.
Even the name is dog-friendly at this lovely 500-year-old village pub, which serves homecooked food and has a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
A lovely country pub in the heart of the Sussex countryside, The Coach and Horses prides itself on serving ales, ciders and wines from local breweries, farms and vineyards. Dougal the resident golden retriever may also be on hand for an extra-special doggy welcome.
The Sportsman has been a holder of a Michelin Star since 2008 but, fine dining aside, it’s also a great place to bring your dog and enjoy the coastal views its location benefits from. Fruit and vegetables are grown on site meaning that you really are enjoying the freshest of produce in their meals.
Everyone is welcome at this quirky marine-themed pub in the heart of Rye. On a cold day, there’s nothing better than coming in here to relax by the roaring fire before tucking into some freshly prepared seafood. They’re even open for breakfast between Monday and Thursday if you’re looking to fill up for the day!
This former 18th century coaching inn is at the heart of 1066 country, close to Hastings, Battle and Tunbridge Wells. Home to an award-winning restaurant, the dog-friendly George Inn offers handpicked wines from around the world, a varied menu sampling local produce, delicious deserts and regional ales.
If you’ve been inspired to have your next doggy holiday in this wonderful corner of England, check out our complete range of pet-friendly cottages across Kent and Sussex and find your perfect place to stay.