Living in London, we’re lucky we can easily escape the capital for the day and head to the beach, with lots of dog-friendly beaches accessible within one to two hours. Last summer we had a great time exploring the best dog-friendly beaches in West Sussex, but today on the blog we’ll be sharing three dog-friendly sandy beaches in north-east Kent between Margate and Broadstairs that you can visit with your dog year-round, so without worrying about the May-September dog beach ban.
The great thing is the beaches we’ll be talking about are not far from each other, so you can beach-hop between them all in a day if you’re travelling by car. The seaside towns of Margate and Broadstairs are nearby, both of which have delights to discover for dogs – more on that in a moment.
All the beaches we visited are sandy so best enjoyed when the tide is on its way out. Check tide times at Tideschart.com to make the most of your visit.
So without further ado, let’s head to the beach…
Dog-friendly Beaches in Kent – Palm Bay
Palm Bay Beach would be the closest year-round dog-friendly beach to Margate if you wanted to combine a visit to both. When we first arrived at Palm Bay, it wasn’t immediately clear how you get down from the promenade to the beach, but once you find the pathway between the cliffs, the beach is all yours. On the beach, there’s plenty of sand to sniff around on or in the case of one overjoyed greyhound we saw, to do zoomies up and down on.
On-street parking is available for free, and there’s the Jet Ski café at the far end of the beach which is dog-friendly too.
Paws up for…
- Easy access from Margate
- Plenty of sand to run on even when the tide was in
- Dog-friendly Café nearby
- On-street Parking
Dog-friendly Beaches in Kent – Kingsgate Bay
Approximately a ten-minute drive along the coast between Margate and Broadstairs, you’ll find Kingsgate Bay, well known for its white chalk cliffs, sea caves and home to the much-photographed Kingsgate Bay Sea Arch. When we visited, the tide was still pretty high, so we didn’t get to walk through the arch, but it was still a lovely beach to visit.
Unfortunately, there’s no parking at Kingsgate Bay and the entrance to the beach is more of a blink and miss it kind of affair. The only immediate parking option is at the Captain Digby Pub (dogs allowed in the beer garden only). Apparently, it will set you back £20 if you’re not eating there immediately too.
You can drive along to the popular Joss Bay Surf Beach which has a good-sized car park and then walk to Kingsgate Bay in approx. 15 minutes. Do bear in mind that dogs are only allowed on Joss Bay Beach itself before 10:00 and after 18:00 from 1 May to 30 September.
Another option for a dog-friendly place to stop along the way is the Botany Bay Hotel, a 10-minute walk from Kingsgate beach. Dogs are welcome in the bar area and there some dog-friendly hotel rooms too if you’re planning an overnight stay.
Paws up for…
- Views and photos of the Sea Arch if you time your visit right
- Nice sandy beach
Paws down for…
- Parking options are limited, leaving the beach best accessed by walking from nearby Joss Bay which may not be practical for everyone
Dog-friendly Beaches in Kent – Dumpton Gap
Last but definitely not least was Dumpton Gap, the closest beach to Broadstairs on our list – in fact, you can walk to Broadstairs from Dumpton Gap in 15 minutes if you felt like it. Dumpton Gap was definitely the surprise favourite of the afternoon for us. Make sure to visit when the tide is heading out, and you can walk along the beach with nothing but the sand, sea and a backdrop of the steep white cliffs to accompany you which is pretty spectacular.
Parking was a breeze, with plenty of on-street parking available at the entrance to the beach. Although it wasn’t open when we visited, Sam’s Café at the entrance to the beach overlooking the sand has a great reputation for welcoming people and pups.
Paws up for…
- Peaceful and picturesque dog walks along the beach when the tide is low (note – there wouldn’t be much sand at high tide so do check tide times before visiting)
- Plenty of on-street parking
- Great for combining with a walk to Broadstairs
- Dog-friendly Café overlooking the beach
Dog-friendly Things to Do in Margate and Broadstairs
As we visited recently, not much was open in Margate and Broadstairs due to lockdown, so a dog-friendly town guide will need to be a topic for the future. However, here are two doggy must-dos that we simply have to mention if you’re in the area…
Don’t miss a visit to Hiro + Wolf in Margate…
Margate old town is home to one of our favourite pup accessory brands, Hiro + Wolf and their sister brand, Artisans & Adventures. Known for their colourful, ethical pup pieces and those fabulous hands-free leads, a visit to Margate with your four-legged friend wouldn’t be complete without popping into Hiro + Wolf. Brand namesakes Hiro and Wolfie will give you a warm welcome if you do, and in Wolfie’s case, you’ll gain a friend for life if you bring him treats.
Find Hiro + Wolf at 34 King St, Margate CT9 1DA
Or the Doggy Ice-cream at Morelli’s in Broadstairs!
A visit to the seaside wouldn’t be the same without an ice-cream treat would it now. Fortunately at Morelli’s Gelato on Broadstairs seafront, you can get both the people and pup version, with the latter being delicious judging by how quickly it was devoured. Morelli’s Gelato is usually dog-friendly inside too, but during the COVID-19 restrictions, you can get your Morelli’s fix (along with the other hounds and humans) as a takeaway.
Find Morelli’s Gelato at 14 Victoria Parade, Broadstairs CT10 1QS
With dog-friendly beaches and doggy ice-cream all ticked off the list, we ended the day very happy we’d decided to check out this little corner of the Kent coast. As South Londoners, although these dog-friendly beaches in Kent may not be as close to us as the dog-friendly beaches in West Sussex, they’re definitely worth visiting.
Palm Bay, Kingsgate Bay and Dumpton Gap are certainly not the only dog-friendly beaches in the area, but they are probably the most well-known. If you fancy exploring more dog-friendly beaches nearby, here are some handy resources which will help you plan your way around:
- An interactive map on which beaches dogs are/aren’t allowed as well as any restrictions in place
- Downloadable PDF summarising the doggy beach rules in the area
- And for those love to walk, there’s a 6.8 mile / 11k walk from Ramsgate to Margate which you can enjoy from the beaches (low tide only), the clifftops or a combination of both
Finally, here’s all the essential travel info you need to know…
By Car: If you want to beach-hop then having a car is a definite bonus and certainly a must-have for those with senior dogs like Belinha. Apart from Kingsgate Bay where the parking was difficult, you can park for free by the coast pretty much anywhere away from the centre of the main towns. Metered parking was easy to find in Broadstairs close by to Morelli’s too.
You can use the following postcodes for sat navs directions to each of the beaches we visited:
- Palm Bay: CT9 3DF
- Kingsgate Bay – Captain Digby: CT10 3QH
- Kingsgate Bay – parking at Joss Bay: CT10 3PG
- Dumpton Gap: CT10 1TA
By Public Transport: Southeastern’s high-speed service from St Pancras, takes approx 1 hour 30 minutes to Margate or 1 hour 40 minutes to Broadstairs. There is also a stopping service from Victoria (an easier option for those living in South London), taking about 1 hour 45 minutes to Margate or 1 hour 50 minutes to Broadstairs.
Local Transport: There is a regular local bus service which follows the coast road if you want to explore but need a break from walking.
My advice is to go Ramsgate rather than Margate to start your walk. Ramsgate is much more chi chi than Margate, and has a better range of restaurants – also it’s faster by train (only 75 minutes by direct train from St Pancras).
The Dumpton Gap walk from Ramsgate to Broadstairs is great, and enables you to have ice cream at Morellis in Broadstairs at the end of it.
Hi Alan, thanks for the tips, much appreciated! Teresa