The Canine guide to Kent holiday cottages


The Canine guide to Kent

Elianne Reed 16 October 2019

The Garden of England, as Kent is often known, is not just for scenery-loving humans. It also makes a great escape for those with four legs and a wet nose, who will love its impressive stretch of coastline and myriad of country walking trails. While scampering through silky dunes, running across the sands and splashing about in the surf is any canine's holiday dream, we've heard on the dogvine that they are also partial to a pretty village or seaside town with a dog-friendly pub or two for post-walkie snacks and a bowl of water. Kent has so many chocolate-box villages to discover, ancient market towns to explore and seaside resorts to take the pups to as well as a whole host of dog-friendly attractions. What's more, it's also home to a spectacular cathedral city for those hounds who would prefer a more cosmopolitan getaway. Yes, Afghans - we're talking about you!

To this end, we have compiled a list of our favourite experiences across dog-friendly Kent including walks, pet-friendly days out and places to stop and have a bite to eat, all ready to welcome you and your canine chums with open paws - have a read below to pick the perfect one for your whole tribe.

Man walking dog seafront Deal Kent
Walk alongside the seafront in Deal at sunset - the views are magnificent

What have we got to get tails wagging?

Click to fetch Kent's...
🐾 Top walkies
🏖️ Top beaches
🐶 Top days out 
🍴 Top dining spots 
🏡 Top places to stay

The best W-A-L-K-I-E-S in Kent

Kent has so much to offer those with collar and lead at the ready. A beautiful stretch of coastline snaking its way down from the Thames Estuary in the north, it passes the upmarket fishing towns of Whitstable and Seasalter and the tourist hot spots of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate, taking in the wide expanse of desert at Dungeness and coming to a halt just before the surfer's paradise at Camber Sands in East Sussex. It's not just beach, however, Kent is also home to the hilly Wealdway footpath and the great flats of Romney Marsh, as well as a number of sedate riverside strolls and fabulous park walks - there really is something for everybody.

Here are three of the best dog walks in Kent:

Dungeness, Romney Marsh

Dungeness Kent

If you've got a dog who is expecting blankets of sand to bounce through, then you may need to send them a few miles east to Camber Sands - this stunning beach is strictly for those who don't mind the feel of shingle under their paws! Famous for being the UK's only desert, it is also a National Nature Reserve with a myriad of interesting plant species and wildlife. We warn you - it is bleak but there is something truly ethereal about the almost deserted single road that leads down to the mighty power stations situated on the sea edge.

Reculver Country Park, Herne Bay

Reculver Country Park Kent

Situated on the North Kent coast between Herne Bay and Margate, Reculver offers proper coastal walking with a view. With 26 hectares to discover, dogs on leads can follow the Saxon Shore Trail along the top of the cliffs, from where they'll be able to gaze out to sea and across to the ancient ruins of Reculver Towers, perched on the edge of the cliffs. There are open spaces to let exuberant dogs off the lead but bear in mind the clifftops at all times - best to keep inquisitive canines attached until you get well inland. 

Cranbrook Walk, Kent Weald

Kent countryside

Head to the Weald to treat your pup to some of Kent's prettiest countryside. There's only so much sea air a dog can take, and this gentle circular walk in the Kentish Weald countryside is sure to delight dogs who like a slower pace of life. That said, it is a 3-mile walk so dogs need to be fit, although there's nothing stopping our older companions doing just a short part of the route. The walk takes you through historic rural villages including pretty Sissinghurst with its glorious National Trust Castle Garden, the former home of authors Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson.

Ulti-mutt dog-friendly beaches in Kent

With over 200 miles of coastline, Kent is home to more than 50 beaches, attracting thousands of dogs and their lucky humans every year to enjoy nosing through rock pools, demolishing abandoned sandcastles (abandoned sandcastles, we said, Mutley) and frolicking through the waves. While there are some restrictions in summer, as there are on many family-friendly sandy beaches across the UK, all bets are off during the winter, when leads can be tossed aside with abandon and humans left to catch up as their salty sea dogs get busy making new holiday chums.

Take a peek at our three best dog-friendly beaches:

Shakespeare Beach, near Dover

Dog carrying stick on beach

You'll find a lot of shingle beaches rather than sandy along the Kent coast - we say just go with it and enjoy them anyway! Shakespeare Beach near Dover is one such beach but as the tide goes out, huge swathes of sand are uncovered so that pups can have a proper run and enjoy making pawprints in the wet sand. This beach is also famously known as the starting point for swims across the English Channel so keep a lookout for intrepid swimmers - just make sure that Rover doesn't think it's you in the water or you may be swimming after him and setting your own world record. Just a point to be aware of re access: there are quite a few steps down to the beach (100 plus to be precise) so it's not one for the older dog or those with joint problems. 

Dumpton Gap, Broadstairs

Dumpton Gap

Despite its rather unattractive name, if you're looking for a secluded bay to take the dogs for a run, this one is a top choice. Welcoming sandy mutts all year round and with dog-friendly cafés nearby, it's a great place to set yourself up with a warming hot chocolate before walking all the way along the beach to Ramsgate at low tide (check tide timetables so that you are not cut off at high tide). It's also backed by a wide promenade which leads to Broadstairs, so if your dog prefers to do a little people-watching or cannot cope with the steep path from the clifftop, take him for a lovely seaside stroll along the prom instead.

Whitstable West, Whitstable

Whitstable Beach

This superb stretch of shingle, divided by wooden groynes jutting out into the ocean, runs south of Whitstable Harbour to neighbouring Seasalter. The mile-long walk will take you to one of this part of Kent's coolest areas - home to the Michelin-starred Sportsman pub - and back again. The quintessentially English seaside resort that is Whitstable is a superb choice for those who like their beach holidays quirky and charming rather than packed with amusements and fairground rides. Best of all, it's extremely dog friendly.

Hit the button below for even more of our favourite, paw-sonally approved dog-friendly beaches in Kent.

Sniff out the best attractions across Kent

A large number of Kent's attractions are more than happy to welcome those with four legs as well as two. From walking around romantic moated castles and vineyards to boat trips and vintage steam trains that show off the best of Kent's breathtaking scenery, you'll always find a place where your pooch is as welcome as you are.

Here are three of the best dog-friendly places to visit when you've got a pup at foot:

Biddenden Vineyard, Biddenden

Vineyard Kent

While we're not suggesting that our canine friends would enjoy an afternoon sampling the excellent wines at Biddenden Vineyard, they will like the fact that they can accompany their humans on this exciting excursion. If they are lucky, it may even be followed by a walk in the beautiful surrounding countryside! Start by exploring the vines on a self-guided tour, then head to the shop for a tasting and finish off with a purchase or two in the shop. When you've put the cases of wine safely in the boot, head off to explore the pretty village with your patient pup or enjoy a pint and bowl of water in the pet-friendly Three Chimney's Pub just out of the village.

Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, New Romney

vintage steam train

Train-loving hounds should jump aboard this cute-as-can-be 15in narrow-gauge light steam miniature railway, where they'll receive a free doggy day pass to see the charming Kent countryside at their leisure. The train will take you along the southern Kent coastline from Hythe, slowly choo-chooing across the plains of Romney Marsh, to finish at Dungeness where you can stop off for a walk on the beach and some fish and chips at the pup-friendly Brittania pub. 

Dover Castle, Dover

Dover Castle Kent

Dogs on leads are welcome at the famous White Cliffs of Dover, and in the grounds of Dover Castle too. Venture behind the battlements and take a leisurely stroll under the watchful gaze of this most magnificent of English fortresses. Buy an ice cream from the café in nice weather and sit awhile up on the cliffs with your canine chum, watching the ferries gliding to and fro across the English Channel. If you want to extend your day out, pop along to Shakespeare Beach afterwards and see if you can spot any swimmers practising for a cross-channel swim.

Hit the button below for even more of our favourite, paw-sonally approved dog-friendly days out in Kent.

Let Fido take the lead to the best places to eat across Kent

You won't have to go far to find a quintessentially English country pub with roses around the door, a traditional seaside café serving the best pre-walk breakfast or a dog-friendly restaurant which allows well-behaved hounds in for dinner. You and your pups won't have rumbling tummies for long when you come to Kent - that we can promise you! 

Check out three of the best dog-friendly pubs and restaurants to grab a bite to eat:

The Sportsman, Seasalter

Sportsman Seasalter
From Instagram: @sometimessheflies

Whitstable and Seasalter are well-known for their pet-friendly establishments - dotted across the town and on the beach, you'll always find a place to dine with your four-legged chum after a long beach walk. The Michelin-starred Sportsman in Seasalter is one such establishment - an iconic upmarket seaside gastropub, it's as down to earth as they come, welcoming everybody from local farmers to food writers who come down from London to see what all the fuss is about. The chefs use the best fresh produce including locally-caught seafood from along the North Kent coastline and they even have their own homemade salt. If that's not commitment, we don't know what is! 

The Fitzwalter Arms, Goodnestone

Fitzwalter Arms Kent
From Instagram: @integralimagesphotos


Bookish dogs will love an evening out at this exquisite 16th-century pub nestled in the pretty village of Goodnestone, on the Goodnestone Estate. One of Jane Austin's favourite places to visit, it's a great place to rest weary paws, whether sitting beside the roaring fire in the colder months or stretching out in the pretty gardens on warmer summer nights. Have a stroll around the pretty village if you've time before.

The Tiger Inn, Stowting

Dog in pub garden

Canines taking their humans for a hike across the North or Wye Downs, a day out in Canterbury or a long run along the beach at Folkestone, should make it their mission to get to this atmospheric 17th-century pub for a post-walk dinner. With crackling log fires, dried hops hanging down from the ceiling and antique furniture, this traditional pub will make you feel as though you have stepped back in time. Locally-sourced dishes from surrounding farms are lovingly prepared by the pub's chef and dogs are welcome to join their humans in the bar to try them out. 

Come and stay with us in Kent!

If you are looking for a holiday for you and your favourite family member, check out our complete range of dog-friendly accommodation across Kent to discover which paw-friendly pads are best for you.

We have everything for the holidaying hound, from cute country retreats for just the three of you to huge farmhouses and country manors for sparkling family reunions where everybody should be included. Check out our collection of dog-friendly properties all over Kent to find your perfect holiday to the south.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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