The Canine guide to Bournemouth holiday cottages

Towns and cities

The Canine guide to Bournemouth

Get to know this stunning Dorset town with our guide to dog-friendly Bournemouth and enjoy a relaxing trip with your happy hound by your side every step of the way. 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Bournemouth? We bet that one of them is the beach. Impressive sandy shores and dramatic white cliffs are iconic of the Dorset coastline, and this holiday destination is rife with dog-friendly adventures just waiting for you and your canine companion.

But if you look past the beaches (although, why would you want to?) you may be surprised at the sheer amount of dog-friendly places in Bournemouth – from fantastic attractions for the whole pack, cosy dog-friendly pubs in Bournemouth and windswept dog walks that criss-cross this corner of Dorset, you’ve got lots to keep everyone entertained during your retreat.

While we can’t put everything in this guide, we have done our best to narrow the selection down to a few top options for your pet-friendly holiday in Bournemouth, so you can plan an escape full of fun for all your friends, your family and your four-pawed best mate.

If you are ready to find the perfect dog-friendly cottage in Bournemouth for your next coastal getaway, begin browsing through our collection of properties. 

What have we got to get tails wagging? Discover the best of dog-friendly Bournemouth...

Best dog-friendly things to do in Bournemouth 

Moors Valley Country Park & Forest

Best day out for adventure and exploration: A fabulous place for a family adventure or day out with mates, this dog-friendly attraction in Bournemouth has play facilities, cycle hire and seemingly never-ending trails to roam.

Big kids can swing around the Go Ape course, fishermen and women can cast out a line on the Moors Lake, and anyone who loves birds will have a wonderful time taking part in a hawk walk experience. There’s a running route so joggers can make the most of this scenic destination, a permanent orienteering course to explore, and an audio trail beginning at the Visitor Centre that will lead you around Moors Lake and talk you through some of the wildlife you might be able to spot in this area.

Why your dog will love it: With a forest full of sticks for fetching, burrows hiding curious smells, and long muddy paths perfect for running back and forth, your pup will have an exciting time at this popular Dorset attraction.

Stay at: The Retreat – Avon, Christchurch | sleeps 2 dogs and 4 humans

Stanpit Marsh

Best wildlife-watching day out: A true hot spot for birdwatchers, Stanpit Marsh welcomes a wonderful range of migrating and native birds within its boundaries and is a delightful place for a day out in pet-friendly Bournemouth.

There have been over 300 bird species recorded including Brent geese, coot and egrets. Besides these enchanting winged beasts, you’ll find a wealth of other flora and fauna during your day out at this beauty spot – look out for butterflies and dragonflies during the summer and meet the semi-wild ponies who graze this landscape all year round.

Why your dog will love it: Playful pups will enjoy sniffing out wildlife trails at this serene seaside reserve, although they must be kept under tight control to protect the area’s birdlife.

Stay at: Wickfield House, Christchurch | sleeps 2 dogs and 7 humans

National Trust - Kingston Lacy

Best day out for exquisite heritage: Wander the fabulous Japanese garden, Stable Courtyard, and exceptional parkland during a day out to Kingston Lacy.

This stunning 17th-century house, cared for by the National Trust, boasts 8,500 acres of estate which includes Iron Age hill forts, heathland, water meadows and the world’s oldest pedigree herd of Ruby Red Devon cattle.

Why your dog will love it: This impressive house is best for green-pawed pups who can relax on manicured lawns while the family shares a picnic – dogs are even welcome in the Japanese garden, unusual for magnificent homes such as this.

Stay at: The Old Mill Corfe Mullen, Corfe Mullen | sleeps 4 dogs and 8 humans

Best dog-friendly beaches in Bournemouth 

Alum Chine Beach

Best family-friendly beach day out: This beautiful Blue Flag Bournemouth beach for dogs is situated to the west of the town, away from the hubbub of the bustling centre but within reach of a choice of amenities.

Take your pup along to this dog-friendly beach in Bournemouth where they are welcome all year, although there are restrictions on part of the beach during the busy summer period. It's just the place for young families with a pirate-themed adventure playground that children will love, as well as pubs and ice cream kiosks to keep the whole pack fed during your day at the seaside.

Why your dog will love it: Dogs can have a great time paddling and splashing through the clean waters and there’s a tropical garden behind the beach where you can all enjoy a delightful stroll during your visit.

Stay at: Farley, Bournemouth | sleeps 1 dog and 6 humans 

Hengistbury Head and Mudeford Sandbank

Best for a quiet seaside stroll: East of town, this Bournemouth beach welcomes dogs all year round to its soft sandy shores. This beautiful sandy Bournemouth beach welcomes dogs and their owners and is easily reached either by foot, bike or land train from Hengistbury Head car park – the train even allows dogs to ride alongside their human companions!

After days laid in the sun or splashing through the waves, visit magnificent Hengistbury Head for a stroll. While in geological terms this headland is fairly new, only a hundred million years old, in terms of human history it boasts a settlement dating back a remarkable 12,000 years for you to discover.

Why your dog will love it: Pups can enjoy the best of both worlds – a remarkable sandy beach for digging and games of fetch on scenic Mudeford Sandbank, and a fantastic windswept walk along impressive Hengistbury Head.

Stay at: Wick Cottage, Christchurch | sleeps 2 dogs and 5 humans

Sandbanks Beach 

Best for a unique day out: To the west of Bournemouth, you’ll find this stunning coastal destination where dogs are welcome on part on the beach year-round. It’s a great place for fish and chips beside the beach, sea swims and water sports, and it’s a particular hot spot for kitesurfing.

There’s a promenade behind the beach for you and the dog to wander with crazy golf, a BBQ area and a kid’s play area. This wonderful dog-friendly beach near Bournemouth has something for everyone so you’ll have no problem keeping the whole family occupied on a day out to the coast.

Why your dog will love it: If your dog is the social sort, they’ll have a delightful time soaking up the lively atmosphere of this coastal spot, and might even be lucky enough to get a treat of fresh fish after your trip to the café.

Stay at: Heath Cottage, Studland | sleeps 1 dog and 4 humans

Best dog walks in Bournemouth

Bournemouth Parks - Lower Gardens

Best garden walk: Right beside the beach sit these scenic gardens, best enjoyed in spring and summer when the flowers are in full bloom.

There are occasional events going on during the summer at the Pine Walk bandstand, and there’s an aviary, mini-golf course and art exhibition too. Relax with a coffee in the grounds then venture down to the beach after your garden exploration.

Why your dog will love it: You dog will love sniffing their way through the fragrant flowers while you enjoy taking in the pretty flora.

Stay at: Wick Cottage, Christchurch | sleeps 2 dogs and 5 humans 

Boscombe Arts Trail

Best town walk: Beautiful Boscombe sits next door to Bournemouth, just 2 miles away, and offers a quaint arts trail for you and your pup to discover.

The fun trail includes a 3-metre high octopus and a large toy marble encased in a park bench, and it ends at Boscombe Pier where you can enjoy a well-earned ice cream while the dog flops down at your feet. Take in locally made artwork through the heart of town when you follow this wonderful dog-friendly walk near Bournemouth.

Why your dog will love it: It’s a chance for energetic dogs to stretch their legs as you both get to know this charming town on the Dorset coast.

Stay at: The Retreat – Avon, Christchurch | sleeps 2 and 4 dogs 

Bournemouth Coast Path

Best coastal dog walk: Enjoy a stroll beside the sea with a trip along the Bournemouth Coast Path. It stretches all the way from Swanage to Lymington, around 30 miles long, although the core trail to tackle runs from Sandbanks to New Milton.

You can pick and choose a beautiful section to conquer however, whichever suits you, your travel companions and your four-pawed friend – the Keyhaven Marshes and Lymington Nature Reserve is a particularly scenic place of note you might like to visit on the footpath, 17 miles from Bournemouth.

Why your dog will love it: Your canine companion won’t get enough of that salty sea air, endless flora to potter through, and glistening beaches along the way.

Stay at: Daisy Cottage – Barton, Barton on Sea | sleeps 1 and 4 dogs 

Towns and cities near Bournemouth 


Best for family days out: Bursting with fun things to do for hounds and their human companions, the vibrant holiday destination of Poole has a natural harbour where you can watch boats bobbing about, more serene gardens and parkland for dogs to wander, and a host of dog-friendly pubs and cafes where you and the dog can grab a bite to eat.

Poole is just 6 miles from Bournemouth and offers Georgian houses you could pass on dog walks through the Old Town, and boat trips out to Brownsea Island – dogs are welcome aboard a few of the boats for wildlife spotting trips but unfortunately cannot step paw on the National Trust-managed island itself.

Why your dog will love it: There’s plenty to take in as you walk past the beautiful architecture and harbour of Poole, Dorset.

Stay at: The Old Mill Corfe Mullen, Corfe Mullen | sleeps 4 dogs and 8 humans 


Best for iconic Dorset: An enchanting coastal town set on the very edge of the Purbeck Peninsula, Swanage is a wonderful place for a day out with delightful dog-friendly attractions for you to drop by including Swanage Pier, Agglestone Rock, and the Swanage Steam Railway which can take you for a trip over to ancient Corfe Castle.

Best of all, it’s a simple 4-mile walk or drive from the heart of Swanage town to the area’s famed Old Harry Rocks, cared for by the National Trust. Venture over to see this iconic Dorset coast landmark and snap a photo of you and you doggo with this phenomenal backdrop.

Why your dog will love it: Fido can gaze out over the coastline and survey this impressive territory – just make sure you keep him on a lead when you get close to those high cliffs!

Stay at: Crabstones, Swanage | sleeps 1 dog and 5 humans 


Best for tranquillity and natural beauty: With Hengistbury Head, Avon Beach and the New Forest National Park all within 5 miles, there’s plenty of opportunity to get out and about exploring this beautiful part of the UK.

The town itself is a quiet, idyllic escape from bustling Bournemouth where you can slow the pace down as you wander the local area, strolling around the natural harbour lined by reeds that rustle in the wind, dinghies floating close to shore, and small sandbanks where your pup can cool off in the shallows.

Why your dog will love it: With lots of trails crisscrossing the region, your hound will be pleased with the fantastic range of walks you can enjoy together.

Stay at: Wick Cottage, Christchurch | sleeps 2 dogs and 5 humans

Dog-friendly pubs, restaurants and cafes in Bournemouth 

The Grasshopper

Best dog-friendly pub: This contemporary venue offers a stylish dog-friendly pub in Bournemouth for dinner with the whole family. Warm wood panelling and a checkerboard floor welcome you into this atmospheric, olde-worlde pub that’s been brought up to date with lashings of style ensuring comfort for all its guests.

Grab a pint before settling down for an evening in sumptuous surroundings, and dine on steak pie or a classic Sunday roast. Dogs are restricted to seating in the elegant bar area.

Why your dog will love it: If your pup is lucky enough to get scraps and happy to relax under the table while your family dines, the mouth-watering titbits of steaks and beef will be worth waiting for.

Stay at: Coachmans Cottage – Avon, Christchurch | sleeps 1 dog and 2 humans

Flirt Café Bar 

Best dog-friendly café: Set at the southern end of Bournemouth Upper Gardens, this eclectic dog-friendly café in Bournemouth is filled with colourful furniture and art that adorns the walls, a delightful pitstop as you wind your way through Bournemouth.

Sit outside on bright days and watch the world pass by as your sip your cappuccino or huddle up inside with a hot chocolate on chillier afternoons. It’s close to a few shops and boutiques too so you could seek out a couple of holiday mementoes after you’ve refreshed and refuelled at this wonderful dog-friendly place to eat in Bournemouth.

Why your dog will love it: Your hound can keep an eye on passers-by and rest weary legs during your busy Bournemouth day of adventure.

Stay at: Beaumont, Bournemouth | sleeps 2 and 4 humans

Urban Reef

Best for a big celebration dinner: This dog-friendly restaurant in Bournemouth is a cool, coastal hub, perfect for relaxed group dinners with all your favourite people during a big group getaway.

The stunning panoramas of the bay with views of the Isle of Wight are what makes this restaurant such an unforgettable place for a big dinner. Gaze out over the sea while you tuck into fresh fish or crab at Urban Reef, an ideal place to celebrate a special occasion or just enjoy a dinner with all your friends and family.

Why your dog will love it: Besides the excitement of having all their favourite humans under one roof, you and your canine companion can enjoy stepping outside between courses for a little fresh sea air.

Stay at: Haven Villa, Bournemouth | sleeps 3 dogs and 27 humans

Our favourite dog-friendly cottages in Bournemouth 

Shire Cottage – Avon, Christchurch | sleeps 1 dog and 2 humans

Best for a romantic break: This stylish, contemporary escape is the ideal place for two people and their pooch to enjoy a couples’ break by the beautiful Dorset coast.

Minimal décor with white and grey tones creates a soothing space where you can truly unwind during your trip. Ensure you take a moment to relax in the bubbling hot tub under starry skies after days full of adventure out about exploring this fantastic holiday destination.

Why your dog will love it: The enclosed garden offers your dog a delightful space to potter about to their heart’s content while you lounge in the hot tub.

What our guests say: 

‘We've discovered a gem on the edge of the new forest, well equipped with some lovely extra additions to make your stay special.’ – Jenny 

Mudeford Beach Cottage, Christchurch | sleeps 2 and 4 humans 

Best for a family holiday: This pretty cottage filled with charm and character is a quaint place for you to lay your head. With a garden for dogs and youngsters to race about in, storage for bikes and water sports equipment, and a toasty wood burner for cosy evenings in, it is the ideal dog-friendly cottage in Bournemouth for a family break.

As it’s within half a mile from a pub, shops and Steamer Point Nature Reserve, you can be sure of a wonderful time even on days when you don’t want to travel far.

Why your dog will love it: A fluffy rug by the wood burner will be the go-to spot for your sleepy dog when you return from long rambling walks and visiting exciting attractions.

What our guests say: 

‘Absolutely wonderful cottage could not fault it at all, the best place we have stayed in by far and we have stayed in some nice places. Only problem is it is booked up so much but understandably because it's just perfect. Such a lovely area. If you manage to book it you certainly will not be disappointed.’ – Jackie

Knole House, Bournemouth | sleeps 3 dogs and 33 humans 

Best for a big get-together: This Victorian villa offers space and convenience for a big group getaway to Dorset – with the dogs in tow of course! Come together with old friends for a reunion and catch up while lounging in stylish sofas in the sitting room, or head here to celebrate a birthday or special occasion – you could have your celebratory meal in the dining room with a beautiful bay window.

The games room has to be the real highlight of this magnificent escape, where you can challenge each other at pool, while an enclosed garden provides a place for dogs to greet the day each morning or venture outside in the evening before bed.

Why your dog will love it: The picnic benches in the enclosed garden offers the chance for happy hounds and their owners to hang out a scenic setting, while the coast is half a mile away and the perfect place for morning walks while the world wakes up around you.  

What our guests say: 

This property is new to our collection and has no reviews yet. If you decide to stay in this beautiful holiday cottage, please let us know what you thought! 

If you’d like to get to know Dorset better, read through our guides below and discover more wonderful places for days out or towns and villages where you could stay during your holiday. 

Continue planning an unforgettable dog-friendly holiday to Bournemouth by finding your ideal holiday cottage that the whole pack will fall head over heels for. Take a look through our collection and see which of these charming escapes captures your imagination.

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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