The beaches along the coastline of the Lake District and the rest of Cumbria are not your typical holiday bucket and spade resorts - they tend to be quieter, hidden, more remote. Whatever time of year you visit, you'll find the Cumbrian coastline a haven of tranquillity, away from the popular lakes and mountains that the Lakes are so famous for.
Hunt out the most sheltered spots in warmer months, and brave the winter weather to take bracing walks along vast stretches of dog-friendly beach with your favourite hound. For something different, discover the coastline on horseback, while the canine and less adventurous members of your party relax on the sands to watch. Whatever you choose to do, the beaches in the Lake District and Cumbria provide the background.
Here are our suggestions for the 5 beaches in the Lake District and Cumbria your dog would pick for their holiday if they could:
Our personal favourite:
Situated to the south of the Lake District, this lush green island blanketed in 11 miles of sand dunes and white sands leading down to tranquil azure waters, has to be our favourite. Cross the bridge from Barrow-in-Furness to the dunes in the north of the island for excellent dog walks or head down to the nature reserve in the south where lucky visitors can spot grey seals frolicking in the surf. If crossing a bridge is too commonplace, fly into the island's airport by private plane or take the Beechcraft B200 King Air from Farnborough, Bristol or the East Midlands.
For the sat nav: LA14 3BP
Any restrictions? Summer dog restrictions may apply, dogs on leads at nature reserve
Parking: Car park to access the nature reserve and at various points along the dunes
Facilities: Toilets (including accessible) at the nature reserve, visitor cabin with self-serve refreshments, picnic area
Best dog-friendly beach for rockpooling:
St Bees Bay extends in a long glorious sweep from the promenade at the bottom of the South Head to Sea Mill Lane, about a mile in length. While there’s a long stretch of stunning red sand, it’s the rock pools underneath the sandstone cliffs that are the real selling point of this beach. For an interesting coastal walk, take the clifftop path to the pebbly beach of Fleswick Bay and onto St. Bees Lighthouse and discover the RSPB sea bird reserve. The beach is gently sloping and generally safe, but avoid swimming at the rocks of the South Head.
For the sat nav: CA27 0AA
Any restrictions? None known, dogs on leads at nature reserve
Parking: Yes, large car parks
Facilities: Public toilets, beach café and shop, tearooms, kids play park with Spanish Galleon and twin zip wires
If you want to explore inland, have a browse through our guide to the best dog-friendly walks with a view in the Lake District.
Best dog-friendly beach for families:
Sitting at the mouth of the Duddon Estuary, just outside the Lake District and with wonderful views of the Lakes, this pet-friendly beach makes the perfect family day out for those with dogs at foot. Scamper over the dunes, watch boats in the little lake, fly kites, paddle and build sandcastles to your heart's content. Hire a mount from the nearby stables to experience the spectacular sunsets on horseback (just make sure somebody will look after Fido) or walk along the beach to Silecroft or along the former sea wall to Millom. This walk passes the remains of disused iron ore mines which have been filled with water, creating a lagoon - now the Hodbarrow RSPB Reserve.
For the sat nav: LA18 4GY
Any restrictions? None but dogs must be kept on leads in the nature reserve. There may be seasonal restrictions.
Parking: Lots of free beach parking
Facilities: Beach café, children's play park
Best dog-friendly beach for adventurers:
This large sandy beach on the edge of the Lake District National Park is home to the impressive 600-metre Black Combe Fell and its amazing views. It's said that on a clear day you can see Wales, Scotland and the Isle of Man but we'll leave that for you to try! The completely dog-free beach is also a popular kitesurfing and kayaking spot while the horse trekking centre at Silecroft will show you the sights in comfort atop a trusty steed. If you can, ride out in the early evening when the summer sunsets are simply to die for - if there's nobody to keep an eye on your pup, walk along instead and watch the sun set into the ocean as Fido splashes through the waves.
For the sat nav: LA18 4NY
Any restrictions? None but dogs should be kept on lead in the nature reserve
Facilities: Beach café, toilets, shop, mobile ice-cream van, pub in village 0.5 miles, playground
Most scenic dog-friendly beach:
With the beautiful area of the Eskdale and Wasdale Fells approximately 6 miles away, this beach is the perfect spot to settle back after a long country walk. Settle down in front of the former fishermen’s cottages which run along the seafront and drink in the sea views, pup at your side. On cooler days, try the circular walk which takes in the impressive Roman Bath House, visit Muncaster Castle or hop aboard the Ravenglass & Eskdale narrow-gauge vintage railway which runs across 7 miles of breathtaking countryside to the beautiful glacial valley of Eskdale.
For the sat nav: CA18 1SN
Any restrictions? None known
Parking: Available in the village
Facilities: Café/restaurant and pub nearby
Come and stay with us in the Lake District!
When abandoned sandcastles have all been demolished, when waves have all been jumped and when the frisbee has lost its magic, bring your hound back to one of our dog-friendly cottages for a hose down and a special supper. We have a superb collection of self-catering holiday cottages in the Lake District, where you can base yourself as you and your favourite four legs discover the beautiful beaches of the Cumbrian coastline.
Book your Lake District escape and browse some of our fantastic dog-friendly cottages in the Lake District.
You can also check out the Lake District's best dog-friendly attractions, restaurants, walks and places to stay in our Canine guide to the Lake District.