The Canine guide to Sussex holiday cottages


The Canine guide to Sussex

Elianne Reed 05 March 2021

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! Fantastic walkies across huge stretches of sand, over rolling hills and through muddy forests, fun dog-friendly days out at local attractions and, of course somewhere to take the weight off your paws and have a bite to eat: it can all be found in dog-friendly Sussex.

dog day out

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.

What have we got to get tails wagging?

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

If you've got a specific destination in mind, take a look at our guides to:

• Rye

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

dog on autumn walk

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 three of the best dog walks on offer:

Hastings Country Park, Fairlight

Hastings Country Park

For pups that like a view across the Channel: 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 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, Petworth

Petworth Park

For hounds who love a little history on their walk: 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 includes 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 any doubt!

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, Rye Harbour

Rye Nature Reserve

For the wildlife-loving canine: 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. 

Ulti-mutt dog-friendly beaches in Sussex

dog on beach at camber sands east sussex

With almost 80 miles of coastline along the South Coast, dog-friendly Sussex has some lovely sand 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. Here are our top three:

Holywell, near Eastbourne

small dog playing with ball on sandy beach

For the dog who likes playing below miles of chalky cliff: Perfect 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

Girl and dog on pebbly beach

For food-lovin' pups who appreciate a beachside café: 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. The Cooden Beach Hotel is right on the beach too, and has a fabulous outdoor terrace where the views across to Pevensey Bay are simply sublime.

Pett Level Beach, near Rye

pett level beach

For the canine who likes a solitary walk along the shoreline: 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. Walk along the narrow path at the top of the beach if you want a view of both coast and country; 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.

Click the button below for an even bigger selection of our favourite dog-friendly beaches in Sussex!

Sniff out the best dog-friendly days out across Sussex

Dog day 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. Here are three of the best:

1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield, Battle

Battle Abbey

For the historical hound who likes a good battle story: 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.

Kent and East Sussex Railway, Tenterden to Bodiam

Kent East Sussex Railway

For the vintage pup who yearns for days gone by: 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.

Monks House, Rodmell

spaniel reading a book

For the bookish dog with more than just fun on his mind: 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.  

If these top attractions have piqued your interest, we have even more top dog-friendly days out in Sussex to add to your holiday plans.

Let Fido take the lead to the best dog-friendly pubs in Sussex

Dog sitting in pub

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 three of the best places to eat when you have a dog aboard:

The Globe Inn, Rye

Globe Inn Rye
From Instagram: @frau_deutsch


For the dog who likes to curl up in front of a roaring log fire: 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!

The George Inn, Robertsbridge

dog in front of fire

For those canines who like a friendly village local: 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.

The Coach and Horses, Danehill

Coach and Horses Danehill
From Instagram: @robfendick


For flirty dogs who like a resident canine host: 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.

Sit, stay and lie down in Sussex's most dog-friendly cottages

Dog and family in front of fire

When paws can walk no more, and tummies are rumbling, you'll need a dog-friendly pad where you can all sit back and relax, ready for another day of fun adventures. We have a superb variety of self-catering pet-friendly holiday cottages across Sussex who not only welcome our furry friends but welcome them with open arms. Some even leave toys and treats - we can't say fairer than that!

Stones Throw Beach Retreat, Pevensey Bay (sleeps 1 dog and 8 humans)

Pevensey Bay Beach Retreat

Best beach property with direct access to the shore: For those who love a contemporary beachy feel with a relaxed vibe, this house really fits the bill. The stunning kitchen has huge glass doors which you can throw open, making the house and ocean appear as one. Relax out on the deck, and watch the sparkling sea from the comfort of your very own deck chair as the kids take Fido down to the shore. A stylish maritime theme runs throughout the beach house, as well as wooden floors throughout, perfect for those sandy feet and paws!

The Lady Stella, Bodiam (sleeps 2 dogs and 2 humans)

Best property for a unique retreat - The Lady Stella, Bodiam (sleeps 2 dogs and 2 humans)

Best property for a unique retreat: Situated in the sleepy Sussex countryside, in the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the private, peaceful atmosphere is perfect for a romantic getaway, Enjoy evening dips in the hot tub and dine beneath the beautiful pergola that overhangs the decked platform. An ideal spot for a couple and their two outdoor-loving hounds who'll enjoy walks down peaceful country lanes.

Badger Beach House, Camber (sleeps 5 dogs and 6 humans)

Badger Beach House

Best property for the dog who wants to bring his chums on hols: There's nothing more fun than bringing a pal or two on holiday, and if that's near a beach, then all the better. Mornings frolicking in the waves, afternoons snoozing in the garden, and evening sunset walks with your best buds. Whether canine or human, we think you'll agree: this sounds like a dream holiday! Bring the whole gang to Badger Beach House, just half a mile from the windswept dunes and golden beach at Camber Sands, for a canine coastal getaway.

For even more brilliant places to stay on the Sussex coast, check out our dog-friendly cottages in West Sussex to find a place for you and your canine family member to rest your heads. 

Come and stay with us in Sussex!

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.

Whether you want to cosy up in a vintage railway carriage overlooking apple orchards, enjoy sea views at a beach property with a gate that leads you straight down to the sea, or celebrate a sparkling occasion in a fabulous country house, we will have the perfect property that won't leave your pooch behind. After all, no hound wants to be left at home when it's holiday time!

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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