Border Collie

Dog friendly beaches near the Lake District

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The Lake District might have the highest peaks in England and the widest lakes, but if you stick to the national park boundary you and your pooch will be missing out on some of the area’s excellent beaches. The Lake District is home to some of Britain’s most spectacular coastline so there are plenty of seaside walkies to be had if you know the right spots.

It might not have as many hours as sunshine as the south coast or the surfable waves of Cornwall, but the west coast of Cumbria has some awe-inspiring scenery that provides the perfect backdrop to a dog walk. Neither do the beaches have classic resort-style stretches of golden sand, but your four-legged friend doesn’t care about buckets and spades, and when it comes to wide spaces, these are easily comparable to the best beaches in the UK. Here's a roundup of five of the best dog-friendly beaches near the Lake District you can enjoy together, plus some general tips which we have found useful to make sure you have a happy day at the seaside with your family's best friend.

Silecroft Beach, Millom

Silecroft Beach, Millom
Silecroft: a place for pictures

Dogs allowed: all year round

Located within the Lake District National Park, this unique beach is backed by the majestic 600-metre Black Combe Fell rising up from the otherwise flat landscape. Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man and 14 counties can be seen on a clear day from the top of Black Combe should you choose to make the ascent.

This fabulous long, empty stretch of beach is great for dog walking and horse riding as it is not subject to any restrictions. The beach is shingle at top, but it gives way to vast stretches of sand as tide goes out. There will be rivulets of water around, so you either need good waterproof boots or to take your shoes and socks off. The Cumbria Coastal Path can also be accessed from this beach for those wishing to extend walkies. As for facilities, there is free parking and toilets, but unfortunately the small beachside café is now permanently closed.

Roanhead Beach, Barrow-in-Furness

Roanhead Beach, Barrow-in-Furness
Roanhead: delightful dunes for dogs

Dogs allowed: all year round on the beach, excluding the dunes behind the main sand

Roanhead Beach (also known as Sandscale Haws) is not the sort of beach that gets covered with towels in the summer, but it is very popular with local dogwalkers due to its picturesque expanse of sand and stunning views of the Duddon Estuary and beyond. Located three miles north of Barrow-in-Furness, the beach is noted for its abundance of sand dunes and strong, often dangerous coastal currents, meaning that it is not suitable for swimming.

Roanhead Beach is a National Trust conservation area, and a two-mile stretch of the Cumbria Coastal Way runs through it. While dogs are most welcome on the Cumbria Coastal Way and the beach itself, please note that they are not allowed in the dunes to protect the diverse bird species. The beach has a pay and display car park that is operated by the National Trust while the wonderful The Red Hut serves drinks and snacks during the peak season.

Seascale Beach, Egremont

Seascale Beach, Egremont
Seascale: one of the most vast in the region

Dogs allowed: all year round

Tranquility is the keyword at Seascale, the beach is a laidback affair with far-reaching views across the sea to the Isle of Man. This long, flat, clean beach has plenty of space for your four-legged friend to let off some pent-up energy and with no restrictions this a dog haven year-round.

This beach is not far from Calder Hall Power Station, the world's first full-scale nuclear power station from 1956 which has since been decommissioned. Rest assured that the miles of shingle are still regularly tested for radiation, but they are perfectly clean, so don’t hesitate to explore the rock pools by the shoreline with your doggy. The restored wooden jetty is popular with sea-anglers and the beach is also popular for water sports. The area is not at all commercialised and even the spacious car park and toilets are free. There is also a good children’s playground and a picnic area nearby.

Seacote Beach, St Bees

Seacote Beach, St Bees
Seacote: seashells by the seashore

Dogs allowed: all year round

The stunning, sandy beach at St Bees is one of the best in the whole Western Lake District. The waves at St Bees are quite gentle meaning that you can paddle out for a fair few metres, while there is also lots of fun to be had exploring tidal rock pools and making sandcastles too. Most importantly though, St Bees is free of canine restrictions all year round and with over a mile of beach to explore, it is certainly one of the most dog friendly beaches near the Lake District.

Make sure to check the tide times as when the tide is in, it can get cold and only small pebble beach remains. However, when the tide is out, an expanse of sand is revealed as well. Plenty of seating is available on the promenade at the north end towards the red sandstone cliffs. The beach is also home to native seabirds such as guillemots, kittiwakes, and razorbills, and you may also spot peregrines and ravens soaring over the sandstone cliffs. The tea rooms and beach shop by the car park make a lovely place to while away the time after a walk with the pooch. Also make sure to sample a “Hartley's” ice cream when visiting, their range of flavours is so good even your dog will be jealous.

Silloth West Beach, Silloth

Silloth West Beach, Silloth
Silloth West: great for a four-legged stroll

Dogs allowed: all year round

Silloth is home to a huge beach that stretches all the way to Allonby near the Scottish border. It's stony and sandy, making it great for walking with the pooch in tow, especially at low tide when mile after mile of sand and dunes are revealed on the West Beach. There are no restrictions on Silloth Beach making it one of the best dog friendly beaches near the Lake District.

Silloth was once a Victorian seaside resort and has charming docks that are testament to its maritime history. There is free parking near the well-maintained promenade which gives good views across the Solway and is great for cyclists, wheelchair/mobility users.

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