*All the beaches below are recommended by Attlee, pictured, from Battersea Dogs and Cats. They are dog-friendly all year round and dogs are allowed to run off-lead.
Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wales
Regularly voted Britain’s dog-friendliest beach, it certainly is striking – three miles of golden sand, banked by cliffs and the Worm’s Head, a mile-long rocky promontory stretching out into the Atlantic swells. It’s just a shame that the cafe next to the cliff path down to the beach and the pub in the hamlet of Rhossili don’t allow dogs inside, but the gorgeous setting more than compensates.
Rhossili Bay, Swansea, SA3; nationaltrust.org.uk/rhossili-and-south-gower-coast/
Brancaster Beach, Norfolk
This unspoilt stretch of sand has a bracing beauty when the North Sea wind buffets the dunes and a shipwreck is revealed at low tide. From Easter until November there’s a cute little kiosk selling ice creams and buckets and spades, and dogs are also allowed a romp along the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club, which borders the beach and has an imposing club house on the sand.
Brancaster Beach, Beach Road, Brancaster, Norfolk, PE31 8BW; nationaltrust.org.uk/brancaster-estate/
Northumberland’s beaches – all bar one of which are dog-friendly– are spectacular, and, even in the height of July, relatively quiet, meaning there’s always lots of space for dogs to run. The beach at Low Newton-by-Sea is a gently curving sway of sand with boats bobbing in the waves and rolling grassy dunes. The ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle loom dramatically in the distance, and the celebrated The Ship Inn, which has its own micro-brewery, is hidden away among the white-painted traditional cottages in the village square, just 500 yards away.
Low Newton-by-Sea, Northumberland
The Ship Inn, Low Newton-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, NE66 3EL, 01665 576262; shipinnnewton.co.uk
Watergate Bay, North Cornwall
Cornwall is promoting itself as Britain’s dog-friendliest county this summer, with the launch of its Dogs Love Cornwall campaign, and it certainly has the beaches to back up that boast. Watergate Bay in North Cornwall is a two-mile stretch of sand framed by rugged cliffs on one side and crashing waves, beloved of surfers, on the other. Stride along the sands – then walk the South West Coast Path along the cliffs to the nearby village of Mawgan Porth where a perfect crescent beach, above, shimmers in the sun.
Watergate Bay, North Cornwall, visitcornwall.com/dogslovecornwall
Bellochantuy Beach, Kintyre Peninsula, Scotland
Seek splendid isolation on the remote Kintyre Peninsula on the west coast of Scotland. Bellochantuy beach stretches for six miles – long enough to tire out even the most athletic of hounds’ legs – and has views across the sea to the islands of Jura, Gigha and Islay. Most of the time it’s rare to meet another soul on the sand, although if you and your dog do fancy some company, the Argyll Hotel, sitting on the beach, is a friendly spot with locals and tourists alike.
Bellochantuy Beach, Kintyre Peninsula, Scotland, visitscotland.com
Argyll Hotel, Bellochantuy, Campbeltown, Argyll and Bute, PA26 6QE, 01583 421212; argyllhotelkintyre.co.uk
Phileas Dogg’s Guide to Dog-Friendly Holidays in Britain, by Jane Common, RRP £12.99, is published by Constable and available on Amazon and from all good bookstores.