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.
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.
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The best W-A-L-K-I-E-S 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 three of the best dog walks on offer:
For pups that like a view across the Channel - Hastings Country Park, Fairlight
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!
For hounds who love a little history on their walk - Petworth Park, Petworth
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!
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
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:
For the dog who likes playing below miles of chalky cliff - Holywell, near Eastbourne
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.
For food-lovin' pups who appreciate a beachside café - 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. 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.
For the canine who likes a solitary walk along the shoreline - 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. 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.
Sniff out the best dog-friendly days out across Sussex
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:
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.
For the vintage pup who yearns for days gone by - Kent and East Sussex Railway, Tenterden to Bodiam
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.
For the bookish dog with more than just fun on his mind - Monks House, Rodmell
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.
Let Fido take the lead to the best dog-friendly pubs in Sussex
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:
For the dog who likes to curl up in front of a roaring log fire -The Globe Inn, Rye
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!
For those canines who like a friendly village local - The George Inn, Robertsbridge
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.
For flirty dogs who like a resident canine host - The Coach and Horses, Danehill
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
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!
Best beach property with direct access to the shore - Pevensey Bay Beach Retreat, Pevensey Bay (sleeps 1 dog and 8 humans)
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!
Best property for views of the South Downs - Beacon View Apartment, Alciston (sleeps 1 dog and 2 humans)
Situated in the sleepy village of Alciston, in the heart of the South Downs National Park, the views from this property are magnificent and there is easy access to the brilliant South Downs Way National Trail to experience them for yourself. An ideal spot for a couple and an exuberant hound who loves nothing better than stepping outside the front door straight into an early morning walk.
Best property for the dog who wants to bring his chums on hols - Beach Haven, Pevensey Bay (sleeps 3 dogs and 10 humans)
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 Beach Haven in Pevensey Bay, where you are seconds from the sea and only a few miles from the resort town of Eastbourne with its shops, theatre and restaurants.
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!