10 beaches to visit with your dog this summer in Suffolk and north Essex
- Credit: Julie Kemp
What beaches welcome dogs? After Felixstowe has just looked again at its rules, here’s a guide to where you can walk your pooch beside the sea in the area.
The existing rules banning dogs from around half a mile of the main Felixstowe beach between May 1 and September 30 are to stay in place, meaning you can’t walk your pet between Manwick Road and Arwela Road. However, outside this area, you can still take your dogs on other parts of the beach over the summer, in areas including Old Felixstowe and the Fludyers. So there’s plenty of scope to enjoy the seaside with your pet.
This beach in north Suffolk now allows dogs all through the year, since controls were relaxed in 2017. This is one of the few areas of East Anglia where the beach has been growing rather than receding, meaning there is lots of space for them to roam through the sand dunes. The beach tends to be quieter than nearby Lowestoft, which has restrictions on its main beaches between May and September, but still has good facilities, including shops and toilets.
In between Southwold and Lowestoft, Covehithe has just been featured in the Daily Telegraph’s list of Britain’s 40 best beaches. It has a soft, sandy beach, which has been hit by erosion. It is only accessible by foot or cycle, but you can park near the church and take your dog along a footpath to the beach. The beach does not have many facilities, but is popular with dog walkers because it is so secluded and quiet.
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Walberswick is a very popular Suffolk coastal village, with great facilities for visitors and interesting shops and places to eat. Dogs are allowed on the beach all through the year, and the seaside is very close to the village, so you can combine a visit to the beach with a wander around the area. There are also dog-friendly pubs locally, including The Anchor.
There are signposted areas of beach at Thorpeness where dog restrictions apply between May 1 and September 30, but dogs are permitted in other areas. Colourful, quirky modern homes along the beach add to the attractive appearance of this seaside resort, while other attractions include a golf course and a famous large boating lake, the Meare. There is a great coastal walk between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh.
Once a thriving city which famously disappeared beneath the waves centuries ago, Dunwich has an atmosphere all of its own. The shingle beach, in a gap between the cliffs, is much quieter than some of the surrounding beaches. The National Trust’s Dunwich Heath and Beach site welcomes dogs throughout the area, and they are also welcomed in the tearoom. However, if walking with dogs through the heathland, you do need to watch out for birds and other wildlife.
Denes Beach, Southwold
Dogs are banned from the main beach in Southwold from April 1 to September 30, in a signposted area in between the northern end of the beach huts and Gun Hill Cafe. However, dogs are allowed at Denes Beach off Ferry Road, which is just to the north of the main Southwold beach. This is a quiet shingle beach, and although facilities are limited, toilets are available. The main Southwold beach is also popular with dog-walkers out of season.
Mersea Stone Beach
On the eastern tip of Mersea Island in north Essex, this sand and shingle beach is the landing point for the St Osyth and Brightlingsea foot ferry. It is popular with walkers and dog owners. This dog-friendly beach is close to West Mersea beach. Dogs are permitted year-round on both coasts of Mersea Island, but the council does prefer owners to keep pets on a lead during the summer season.
Dogs are allowed year-round on this beach close to Lowestoft, where the main beaches do have restrictions. There is a long sandy area which is ideal for walks, and there are also good facilities for visitors and parking.
Walton on the Naze
Dogs are banned from some areas of the beach between May 1 and September 30, but there are other areas where they are allowed, so check the notices. The areas where they are not allowed are from Percival Road to Naze Park Road, and from the Pier to the end of the Parade opposite Suffolk Street. However, this is still a popular beach with dog owners using other areas.