It’s true what they say; there’s nothing like a day out at the beach. The soul is revitalised, the batteries recharged, and the lungs are filled with fresh, salty sea air. Just the thought of fish and chips on a dog-friendly Brighton beach is enough to warm the coldest of cockles. We love Brighton, because Brighton loves dogs. Both you and your four-legged chum can paddle around in the waves, and experience all things colourful and fun, in what must be the UK’s most buzzing beach destination. Pack your bathers – we’re off!
Every Londoner will jump at the chance to tell you Brighton is just one hour from the Big Smoke. If you are travelling from London, you can take your dog on the train for free (2 dogs per person, for more information see our guide to travelling with your dog). Brighton is also easily accessible by car, and is a popular spot for those living in the Sussex region.
And there’s wonderful news! From 1st October to 30th April, you can take your dog on any Brighton beach. During the summer, from 1st May to 30th September, there are, however, a few restrictions, as the beaches get crowded. Fear not – there are plenty of dog-friendly spots on a few beaches open to our furry friends all year round; the beaches between the West Marina Wall and Rottingdean slope are summertime dog-friendly (the local Ovingdean Café is too), as are the beaches between the west of the Brighton Marina and up to Volks Railway Aquarium station, the beach opposite Holland Road, the beach to the west of the King Alfred Park and the beach opposite Berridale/Welback – which is particularly lovely, as it leads through to a lagoon.
There are plenty of great sleeping spots, too. The Hotel du Vin & Bistro is lovely; a luxurious Tudor/Gothic hotel that is effortlessly cosy and a stone’s throw from the promenade, nestled in the oldest part of the city, The Lanes. There’s a small paw fee here, but in exchange you receive a lovely bowl and a comfy bed. Dogs are allowed in all rooms and all areas of the hotel except the bistro, but bar dining is perfectly fine.
If you fancy something on the quirkier side, look no further than the Malmaison Brighton. This is a lovely, art-filled, super contemporary hotel, that focuses on creating a distinctive look and feel for every room – with a special focus on Brighton-inspired pieces. While the whole hotel is dog-friendly (except the dining area, so you’ll have to dine out), it’s worth noting on your booking form that you’d like to nab a sea-view room – they’re seriously special.
One of our favourite places to stay is The Grand Brighton, a 5* Victorian hotel that boasts a prime seafront location. The interiors are magnificent, and the lounges and terrace areas are great. Dogs are not permitted in the dining area but are invited in the rooms, where they’ll receive food and water bowls, and you can dine with them in the lounge if you fancy dining in.
Dog-friendly Brighton is also known for its marvellously unique guest houses, and if you want to experience one of Brighton’s original (and best!), head to The Oriental. This is a charming place to stay, and dogs are welcome in rooms with wooden flooring (we recommend you call to book). The Oriental also accepts cats!
If you’re staying in the Hotel du Vin, then you must try eating at the Pub du Vin, located next door in the old Sussex Arts Club. The pub is beautiful inside and incredibly smart, decorated with paintings and lovely deco-style light fixtures. The menu is superb – classic, but well-executed, bistro food – and it’s worth putting the wine list aside in favour of trying the local ales and guest beers here. Happily, dogs are welcome throughout the restaurant. The Ginger Dog is another pup friendly Brighton gem. Situated in Kemptown, a lively village with a flamboyant mix of grand seafront views and elegant squares, the restaurant prides itself on seasonality, focusing on high-quality gastronomy that blends perfectly with its location – fabulous if you love fish. The menu is broad, and the desserts are totally yummy.
On the subject of sweet treats, and if you’re already in Kemptown, Metrodeco is a lovely art-deco style café that welcomes all pups and pooches. The interiors are worth a quick click and upload to Instagram, and the cakes are even better. Pair with a speciality tea, and you may never want to leave this very different little café. They’ve even hosted doggy tea parties… get planning now!
And don’t feel like you just have to stick to the beaches in Brighton. It’s possible to take dogs to a range of activities, including the fascinating Brighton Fishing Museum (which is free) and you could – if you dare – try one of the popular Brighton Ghost Walks. With plenty to do, this southern gem is a win-win for human and hound. Scampi on the beach, anyone? Sign us up!
For more dog-friendly delights in Sussex, don’t miss our guide on where to sleep, eat and play in the county.
Updated June 2019