On the Isle of Wight, you are never all that far from a beach. This is true of most small islands yet it resonates louder with those that are seeking a fun dog-friendly holiday here. The Isle of Wight has many great dog-friendly beaches, whereas some are restriction-free, others do have zones where your furry pals cannot go. In the main, these requirements are seasonal and are in place for environmental or conservation reasons and not because the island authorities dislike dogs! You don’t have to look very far for a patch where you and your four-legged buddy can enjoy some coastal action together. There’s room for everybody!
Hit the beaches of the Isle of Wight with your dog and stay at one of our self-catering pet-friendly holiday cottages. We have many superb and welcoming properties for you and your hound to enjoy – many are within sniffing distance of the beaches and other dog-friendly attractions on the island. Our holiday homes that welcome dogs have some handy features that your pets will adore like large enclosed gardens where they can exercise, dog blankets and beds, cosy log burners to curl up in front of, and for pampered pooches, there could even be a bag of treats to demolish!
So, where are the very best beaches to head to with your dog on the Isle of Wight? There are 37 beaches on the island to visit; yet we have selected our own favourite sandy stretches for all your energetic adolescents, puppies, trusty old pals - from Great Danes to teacup terriers and every breed in between!
Winner of the 2019’s ‘Beach of the Year’ award from BBC Countryfile Magazine, Sandown really is everything to all men, women, children and dogs! Situated on the east coast of the Isle of Wight with unbroken views out across the English Channel, there is a lovely sandy beach with a wide esplanade running alongside. Especially popular with young families and older visitors, Sandown is a ‘bucket and spade’ destination; those that love all the trappings of a good old-fashioned British seaside holiday will not be disappointed. The beach is home to a traditional seaside pier, colourful beach huts, deckchairs, sun loungers, stripy windbreakers, fairground rides, bodegas selling ice cream and candy floss and the gourmet staple, the chippy.
For dog owners, you only have to consider a zone close to the pier where you can’t take your dog – this is enforced during the late spring and summer (May – September). Head to the Yaverland end or the Dunroamin Beach end during these periods. If you have a ‘jones’ for yesteryear and a day at a family beach, Sandown is our top pick. It’s brilliant.
Why your dog will love it: Quality time with the family. Big fun at the beach!
Good to know: Shops, WCs, deckchair hire, parking, pier, good parking
Stay at: Two Mead Cottage | Sleeps: 3 dogs and 4 humans
Seaview and Spring Vale are adjoining villages found a few miles east of Ryde on the north coast of the Isle of Wight. Looking over The Solent with big views back to the impressive skyline of Portsmouth on the mainland. The main beach is in Spring Vale and it’s a nice, wide shingle and sandy expanse with rockpools. Close to the water is the centre of the village with its small collection of pleasant eateries and pubs. In the summer, people come to Seaview and Spring Vale to go sailing, often in small boats, or a spot of swimming.
There is a concrete boardwalk at the bottom of the High Street that skirts the coastline to the south of the village, which affords good views down to Bembridge Pier and the arc of the coast. There is also a very pleasant open space close to the sea at Puckpool Park, which is located on the site of a former Victorian-era battery. At high tide, the sea comes right up to the esplanade, but it also retreats a long way during low tides to give you and your furry buddy lots of room.
Why your dog will love it: At low tide, there are rock pools to clamber amongst. Brave dogs may love the opportunity to go boating!
Good to know: Seaview is an upmarket escape from the crowds – it has good dog-friendly pubs with lovely outdoor places to eat too when the weather is sunny!
Stay at: Bay View Cottage | Sleeps: 2 dogs and 8 humans
The southwest coast of the Isle of Wight is wild, remote and full of nature. Unlike the populated areas around the more sheltered parts of the coastline, the area around Compton Bay gives visitors a front-row seat to the pure majesty of the sea. The English Channel widens out at this point and you can enjoy the clearest views of open water here. This stretch of the coast is starkly beautiful, at sunset you feel transported to North California or New Zealand, it’s wild and golden.
Compton Bay is favoured by surfers and fossil hunters, so take your dog down to enjoy one of the Isle of Wight’s best unspoiled spots. Enjoy a drive along the Military Road travelling into the west, one of our very favourite drives in the British Isles. Only the rigours of time and erosion shape Compton Beach, there are no buildings here beyond the utilities block. It’s pure beach!
Why your dog will love it: It’s wild!
Good to know: Steep steps, car park, WC, ice cream van in the summer.
Stay at: The Wendy House | Sleeps: 2 dogs and 2 humans
On the south coast of the Isle of Wight is the lovely resort of Ventnor. It’s the largest settlement on this side of the island, it’s almost as if the place has turned its back to the rest of the British Isles. Looking out to sea, the crescent-shaped beach is small but absolutely perfect for dog lovers that have come to the Island outside the summer.
During summer, there is a large park just above the beach that affords all the same luxuries and views, so nobody loses out. The word Ventnor is spelt out in large stones on the hillside! Follow the coast path around the pedestrianised village of Steephill Cove too, which has a small dog-friendly beach. Facilities at Ventnor are very good, and there are dog-friendly places to eat and drink along the waterfront including Ventnor pierhead, where you can buy seafood straight off the fishing boats that moor up here.
Why your dog will love it: The choice of a beach and a park! Great for exploring. Lots of scope for tasty food scraps.
Good to know: WCs, dog-friendly eateries, disabled beach access, swimming, fishing, lots of parking
Stay at: Haviland Cottage | Sleeps: 2 dogs and 7 humans
Bembridge has some lovely, natural beaches to visit with your dog. At low tide it is has a sandy stretch, yet it is mainly pebbly. A great place for a walk, it offers good spots for swimming and to watch boats as they come and go from Bembridge Harbour. Kids will love trying their hand at shrimping or surveying the rockpools’ weird and wonderful life forms. The coast here is distinguished by the village’s distinctive, modern pier which is home to a lifeboat launch, and it also provides a pleasant stroll for old and small dogs. There are no restrictions on access for hounds at Bembridge.
Why your dog will love it: There’s much to explore for dogs young and old.
Good to know: WCs, parking, disabled beach access, level easy walk on the pier and prom, swimming, rock pooling.
Stay at: Beach Haven | Sleeps: 2 dogs and 6 humans
Next door to Sandown is Shanklin. Characterised by the large cliffs that tower above the buildings on the promenade, Shanklin is one of three major seaside resorts in the ‘traditional’ sense that is left on the Isle of Wight (along with Sandown and Ryde). The pier has gone now, but the long golden sands and the mystery of Shanklin Chine, at the southern end, remain.
Dogs love the long beach and promenade for their daily exercise and it’s also a great place to take in a lively bit of beach fun with the family. Young children and dogs will love playing in the shallows and you won’t be short of places to eat and drink either because there’s a good choice of dog-friendly eateries along the seafront at Shanklin. There are restrictions during the warmer months but dogs can play unhindered at the end of the beach closest to Shanklin Chine.
Why your dog will love it: The chippy at Shanklin is really good! Dogs love the odd scrap of fish!
Good to know: WCs, parking, disabled access, level promenade, dog-friendly place to eat
Stay at: Boniface Cliff Villa | Sleeps: 2 dogs and 8 guests
Other great dog-friendly beaches on the Isle of Wight:
Steephill Cove: The secluded Steephill Cove is a stylish little beach with a few pubs that is a short walk along the coast from Ventnor.
Ryde: Ryde is a huge beach with a large unrestricted section for dogs to tear down to the east of the pier.
Colwell Bay: Turn right off the slipway to enjoy an unlimited dog heaven of a beach. The other half is humans only during the summertime.
Freshwater Bay: Most of the beach is open to dogs all year round. The no dogs zone is pretty small here.
Cowes Promenade: This is a great flat walk where you can observe the sailing boats and yachts out on The Solent. Old dogs and pups who need to be on the lead will like this. And there are a few small beaches along the way at low tide too.
Dog-friendly Isle of Wight holidays
Stay at one of our self-catering dog-friendly cottages on the Isle of Wight. Whether you are looking for somewhere to stay with your partner or with a larger group for a family gathering or a reunion of friends, we have a great collection of holiday homes where your dog is made to feel just as welcome as you are.
Dogs love a change of scenery, so give them a wonderful treat with a trip to the Isle of Wight this season - take a look our full guide for everything you need to know.