With more and more canny canines going on holiday with their families, it’s more important than ever to find things to do to keep them entertained – after all, your holiday is their holiday! While fantastic walkies across huge stretches of sand, over rolling hills and through muddy forests are a given, you’ll also want to be able to take them on doggy days out with you. After all, no hound wants to be left at home on holiday!
We have compiled a list of our favourite dog-friendly experiences across Sussex - have a read below to pick the perfect one for you and your furry friend.
- The best dog walking country
- Beaches to run and play on
- The most fun doggy days out
- Pubs for both humans and canines
DOG WALKS IN SUSSEX
Sussex offers some of the most wonderful walkies on the South Coast. From clifftop walks along chalky cliffs leading down to the sea (keep dogs on leads) and sprawling parkland where you can spot deer grazing peacefully (still on leads), there's a tranquillity that’s hard to explain. Perhaps it’s the light or the proximity to the great expanse of ocean - we don't know what it is, but it really is a magical dog-walking country. Here are some of our favourites:
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 to sniff, lowlands carpeted with heather to run through and large open meadows all ripe for exploring. From the clifftops, 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 keep inquisitive canines under control!
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. If your dog isn’t interested in the landscape, there are a variety of walks to enjoy, with a few ideas on the National Trust website. Part of the grounds include a deer park, where as many as 500 deer roam freely. As much as we are sure that your dog is only trying to make friends, best to keep them on a lead to remove the doubt.
A wonderful spot to take well-behaved dogs, this nature reserve just 3 miles out of the ancient Cinque Ports town of Rye is one of the loveliest places to spot a variety of wildlife in a myriad of coastal habitats. From shingle and saltmarsh to saline lagoons and freshwater gravel pits, you can enjoy spectacular sea views across the channel and discover the area's military history as you walk along. Dog bins are provided for the essentials and as always, four legs should be kept on leads when they are near to livestock.
With almost 80 miles of coastline, Sussex has some lovely sandy and shingle beaches to explore, with several being pet-friendly all year round. You might find that stones are too much for some delicate paws so try to go at low tide when huge expanses of sand appear: just the spot for a long run. Some beaches are accessed from country parks so do be aware of cliff edges and make sure that you have planned a dog-friendly way down!
For the dog who enjoys a traditional holiday resort, Holywell lies on the western end of Eastbourne’s promenade and is a very peaceful beach typical of the area. Steep shingle banks are divided by wooden groynes, the perfect spot for a canine selfie at low tide. 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 – this really is a wonderful area, but the cliffs have a steep drop so keep all dogs all leads here, even ones who are on their best behaviour.
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, feeling the wind in their fur. It’s also incredibly easy to reach as not only is there free parking available on the beachfront, great for older dogs who can’t do a long walk, there's also a train station right next door for those using public transport.
Pett Level Beach, near Rye
This super stretch of coastline leading from Winchelsea Beach down to Cliff End, runs adjacent to the Military Canal. Though pebbly, there are huge swathes of sand leading out to the ocean at low tide. You can also walk along the narrow path at the top of the beach if you want a view of both coast and country as you walk along; you can even cross over the road to join the Military Canal path at certain points. Keep dogs on leads here though as you are near to both road and livestock.
DOGGY DAYS OUT
Lots of our fabulous attractions are dog-friendly places to visit too. From historic castles and abbeys to vintage steam trains showcasing breathtaking scenery, you will always find a place where your pooch is as welcome as you are.
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. Historically-minded dogs are welcome throughout the attraction apart from in the visitor centre café where their overexuberance over the cream cakes isn’t welcome.
Train-spotting hounds are welcome aboard the Kent and East Sussex Railway, which makes a charge of £3 for a special doggy ticket. 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. Disembark at this beautiful Sussex moated castle where you can explore the grounds and stop off for a pint and bowl of water at the village's dog-friendly pub.
All sorts of dogs are welcomed at Monks House, but spaniels will feel particularly at home as the famed author Virginia Woolf lived here with her husband and adored spaniels, Sally and Pinka. Dogs aren't allowed in the house, but they can walk around the delightful garden with you as well as discovering the lodge where she wrote some of her most popular novels.
Whether you’re looking to rest weary paws after a long windswept beach walk, enjoy a relaxed lunch or stop off for dinner after a day of shopping and exploring, these are some of the best places to eat when you have a dog onboard:
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. He has a long list of girlfriends however so make sure that your pooch makes her presence known.
Everyone is welcome at this quirky marine-themed pub in the heart of Rye, including those with four legs and muddy paws. On a cold day, there’s nothing better than coming in here to stretch in front of the roaring fire (your dog) before tucking into some freshly prepared seafood (you). 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 in 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 desserts and regional ales. There are some great walks around Robertsbridge to work off lunch so make sure that you pack your dog’s favourite lead and water bottle.
If you are looking for a holiday for you and your favourite family member, check out our complete range of pet-friendly cottages across Sussex to discover which paw-friendly pads are best for you.