The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex To Visit With Your Dog

If you dream of escaping to the coast with your dog this summer, then our guide to the best dog-friendly beaches in West Sussex is just what you need. Nestled on the south coast, between East Sussex on one side and Hampshire on the other, West Sussex is one of the most accessible coastal areas from London and home to many beaches that are dog-friendly all year round, even in summer. This means you can enjoy a beach day out with your dog from London in under two hours whenever you want.

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Dogs on Climping Beach

For many of the beaches we visited, you could have imagined you were abroad as the beach stretched against a backdrop of bright blue sky with the blue-green sea sparkling in the sun! Beaches in West Sussex are generally shingle beaches but when the tide goes out, miles of compact sand is just waiting for pups to play. And let’s be honest, from a dog’s perspective, they probably don’t care if the tide is in or out – they’re just happy to be on an adventure that involves the sea with their human!

I grew up in West Sussex, so it’s an area that I know and love. Although, I never would have guessed that I would be back many years later visiting old haunts, not to find the best sunbathing spots as I would have done years ago but to find the best beaches where dogs are allowed and humans can hang out with their hound. 

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Moleque on Climping Beach

We’ve been busy visiting many of Sussex’s beaches (someone’s got to do it) and when putting together this list, we considered several factors…the beach itself, any dog restrictions in place, how easy it was to get there from London and any dog-friendly amenities nearby. Even if the beach has dog-friendly facilities, always make sure to take water with you for your dog so they can stay hydrated and even a cooling coat or bandana if you think they’ll need it.

So here are some of our favourite dog-friendly beaches in West Sussex and the essential info you need to know to make the most of your dog day out at the beach.

Top tip: when planning your beach day out, don’t forget to check tide times which you can do on this website – if your pup is not yet used the sea, then visiting at low tide is best. Rest assured that whether you visit at low tide or high tide and the beach is shingle or sand, there’s a feeling you just can’t beat when you’re ‘beside the seaside’….with your dog, obviously.

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex To Visit With Your Dog… 

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex -Littlehampton West Beach - Belinha on the sandy Beach


Littlehampton West Beach

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Littlehampton West Beach Sand dunes

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex -Littlehampton West Beach 1

Littlehampton West Beach is one of the few places where you will find sand dunes in West Sussex (the best sand dunes we’ve found so far were at dog-friendly Camber Sands in East Sussex). Located next to the River Arun, West beach stretches for miles until you get to Climping (more on that below). There are actually two beaches at Littlehampton – East and West beach, one either side of the river. East Beach is reserved for bathers in the summer which is only fair enough seeing as dogs get a beach reserved for them too over at West Beach. You can get to the beach by either walking past West Beach Café or taking the wooden walkway through the sand dunes around the back of the café (our preference). 

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex -Littlehampton West Beach - Dog on the wooden walkway

  • Beach Type:  Shingle and Sand
  • Dog Restrictions:  None
  • Dog-friendly Facilities: There’s a small colourful dog-friendly café – West Beach Café just as you enter the beach.
  • Getting there by public transport:  1 hour 45 minutes on a direct train to Littlehampton from London Victoria. From the train station, it’s a 20-minute walk to the beach which can be sped up by taking the Littlehampton Ferry to cross the marina instead of the footbridge (£2 adults, dogs go free).
  • Getting there by car: Approx. 1 hour 50 minutes drive. Use the postcode BN17 5DL and there’s a pay and display car park just in front of the beach. Although there aren’t many spaces (29 pay and display), we had no trouble parking on a sunny weekend.

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Littlehampton West Beach

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Littlehampton West Beach Cafe


Lancing Beach

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex Near London - Moleque on Lancing Beach

Perhaps not so well known as some of the others but a great beach to visit with your dog thanks to the wide beach, cool wooden beachfront café Perch on Lancing Beach and the large green area behind the beach for dogs to run around on. Perch have a resident dog Harry, plenty of seating indoors and out for humans and hounds and a varied menu for lunch or dinner (dinner available in Summer).

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Lancing Beach and Perch

Perch’s resident dog Harry on Lancing Beach with Perch in the background. Photo: Perch on the Beach

  • Beach Type:  Shingle 
  • Dog Restrictions:  None
  • Dog-friendly Facilities: Perch is a large, bright and trendy dog-friendly café, right on the beach – we couldn’t believe they served Acai, one of our favourite smoothies from Brazil! There’s also a large green area, aptly called ‘Beach Green’ just behind the beach so dogs can have some grass time too. 
  • Getting there by public transport: 1 hour 25 minutes on a direct train to Lancing from London Victoria. From the train station, it’s a 15-minute walk to the beach.
  • Getting there by car: 1 hour 30 minutes drive. Use the postcode BN15 8RA and there’s a pay and display car park just in front of the beach.

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Moleque on Lancing Beach

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Belinha on Lancing Beach


Ferring Beach

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Ferring Beach and Bluebird Cafe

Another ample stretch of dog-friendly beach with a very popular dog-friendly café that we came especially to check out…The Bluebird Café. The café has a real beach feel and is colourful and welcoming to both humans and hounds throughout. You’ll also find a nice row of coloured beach huts set back from the sand slightly  – not quite of the West Wittering Beach Huts calibre but great for photos.

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Ferring Beach Huts

  • Beach Type:  Shingle 
  • Dog Restrictions:  None
  • Dog-friendly Facilities: It’s pretty much dog central at the dog-friendly cafe just off the beach, Bluebird Café. They even have their own doggie etiquette cards handed out with the menus and pet station signs. The fish and chips were very tasty and the outdoor seating area is well organised although the area is quite narrow. So if your dog needs some extra space then grabbing a takeaway to go sit on the beach could be the way to go.
  • Getting there by public transport: 1 hour 30 minutes on a direct train to Goring-by-Sea from London Victoria. From the train station, it’s either a 10 bus ride (No.8 to South Ferring Florida Road) or a 30-minute walk to the beach.
  • Getting there by car: Approx. 1 hour 50 minutes drive. Use the postcode BN12 5QU and there’s a car park just in front of the beach next to The Bluebird Café.

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Ferring Beach

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex Near London 22


Shoreham-by-Sea Beach

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Shoreham by Sea 1

The quickest beach to reach from London by train and like all it’s West Sussex counterparts it offers miles of shingle beach that is dog-friendly year round. However post-beach time we always look for a dog-friendly café and as there isn’t one right on the beach, we’d recommend going one stop further on the train to Lancing beach, see #2 above.

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Shoreham by Sea 2

  • Beach Type:  Shingle 
  • Dog Restrictions:  None
  • Dog-friendly Facilities: Not directly on the beach but you can walk back to Shoreham town. Alternatively, it’s a 40-minute walk along the beach to Lancing where pups can hang out at Perch on Lancing Beach, see above.
  • Getting there by public transport: 1 hour 15 minutes on a direct train to Shoreham-by-Sea from London Victoria. From the train station, it’s a 15-minute walk to the beach.
  • Getting there by car: Approx 1 hour 40 minutes drive. Street parking is the way to go here (don’t worry, it’s not as restrictive as London).

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Shoreham by Sea 3


Climping Beach

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Climping Beach 2

Climping Beach is the beach to come to if you want to get away from it all. It feels peaceful and remote even though it’s the next beach along from Littlehampton’s West Beach which you can walk to in an hour (just remember you will have to walk back too if you’ve left your car at Climping). We pretty much had the beach to ourselves apart from a couple of other swimmers and dog walkers, so it’s a good beach to come to if your dog needs some space.

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Climping Beach

When you arrive, dogs even have their own ‘dog-friendly car park’ which we thought was great! In reality, this is because the car park and beach area to the left as you arrive is where dogs can be off lead and the car park and beach area to the right is where dogs need to be on a lead. Lots of parking is available and there’s a small café housed in a converted shipping container with plenty of seating on the grass area outside.

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Climping Beach 4

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Climping Beach 3

  • Beach Type:  Shingle 
  • Dog Restrictions:  None
  • Dog-friendly Facilities: A small café with green space to run around.
  • Getting there by public transport: Honestly, this beach is best reached by car. If you want to get there by public transport, get the train to Littlehampton from London Victoria (1 hour 45 minutes), then the 700 bus to Chichester for 4 stops to get off at The Oystercatcher and then it’s a 15-minute walk. Overall journey time from London Victoria 2 hours 20 minutes.
  • Getting there by car: Approx. 1 hour 40 minutes drive. Use the postcode BN17 5RN and there’s a dog-friendly car park (complete with its own sign) to the left as you go in which will mean you park at the side where dogs can go off lead. 

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - Climping Beach Dog-Friendly Car Park


West Wittering Beach

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - West Wittering Beach

As far as dog-friendly beaches in West Sussex go, West Wittering Beach is West Sussex’s equivalent of Camber Sands despite being the furthest away from London of those in this guide and the hardest to get to on public transport. However, in summer dogs are not allowed between groynes 14a to 18 which is the part where the pretty beach huts are. There is still plenty of space for dogs to enjoy on the beach all year round on East Head, walking right away from the beach huts and around the corner. However, in general, the beach does get very busy on a hot summers day with reports of lengthy queues to get into the car park. Maybe one to do on a summer weekday or at the end of Summer.

West Wittering Beach - Where are dogs allowed

Map: West Wittering Beach Estate

  • Beach Type:  Sand
  • Dog Restrictions: Dogs aren’t allowed in the Blue Flag bathing zone between groynes 14a to 18 (the area in front of the colourful beach huts) from May to October but that still leaves a good part of the beach for dogs to enjoy.
  • Dog-friendly Facilities: There is a Beach Café on the spacious green behind the beach. Also plenty of water taps along the beach for washing sandy paws.
  • Getting there by public transport: Take a train from London Victoria to Chichester then the No.53 bus to Old House at Home followed by a 15-minute walk – overall journey time, 2 hours 10 minutes.
  • Getting there by car: Approx. 2 hours drive. Park at the far end of the car park (postcode PO20 8AJ) closest to the part of the beach where dogs are allowed. There is plenty of parking but on sunny weekends it can get super busy with long queues to park. Best visited during the week in summer to avoid the crowds.

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex - West Wittering Beach Huts


Do you have a favourite dog-friendly beach in West Sussex? Let us know in the comments below if you do…

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in West Sussex Near London

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21 Comments

  1. Alison Wood
    29th June 2019 / 12:41 pm

    Thankyou, this was the perfect post for a summers day. I hadn’t heard of most of these beaches – great to have so many options close to London

    • 29th June 2019 / 1:54 pm

      You’re welcome Alison hope you enjoy trying them out! Teresa

  2. 29th June 2019 / 5:45 pm

    I live close to all of those beaches mentioned and one is nicer than the next, so come on down and enjoy 🙂

    • 29th June 2019 / 5:58 pm

      Hi Viola, lucky you living close by! Some lovely ones to choose from

      • 29th June 2019 / 6:04 pm

        I know, we do live in an awesome area. We have everything here. And my Dalmatian LOVES to have a long swim. PERFECT beaches 🙂 AND we love the cafes too 🙂

  3. Julie james
    30th June 2019 / 7:40 am

    Thanks Theresa this is such a great guide! I’ll be using it in the future!

  4. Jackie dean
    15th July 2019 / 4:42 pm

    I would also very much recommend Goring beach which has a great cafe called the Sea Lane cafe, which has a large outdoor seating area so you can sit with your dog. Thank you for the other recommendations, would love to try them over the summer.

    • 15th July 2019 / 4:47 pm

      Hi Jackie, great thank you for the tip about the Sea Lane Cafe at Goring, will check it out next time we come down! Teresa

  5. 15th July 2019 / 4:53 pm

    It’s one of my favs cafe’s also, BUT you cannot take your dog inside, so if you go alone it’s an issue. And it is a VERY busy place, so early does it 🙂

  6. 15th July 2019 / 4:56 pm

    I have to say too, I go to Rustington Beach most days. My dog loves a swim. There is a lovely green also. So bring a take away coffee/tea/smoothie and sit on one of the benches and watch the world go by. I love it 🙂

    • 15th July 2019 / 7:13 pm

      Wish we lived close enough to come by every day!

    • 16th July 2019 / 12:06 am

      South-West London (so not too far) but grew up in Worthing / Lancing

      • 16th July 2019 / 6:48 am

        Well you can always come over and meet up for a walk. You are not to far away.

        • 16th July 2019 / 8:20 am

          Indeed! Will let you know if heading your way

          • 16th July 2019 / 9:40 am

            Awesome. Looking forward to it. I have a 15 months old Dalmatian puppy called Quito

          • 16th July 2019 / 8:54 pm

            Aww, bet he’s gorgeous and what s great name!

  7. 17th July 2019 / 6:05 pm

    He is simply amazing. A very chilled, responsive Dalmatian. I am feeling LUCKY 🙂

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