Camber Sands – dog friendly beach in East Sussex

Picture this – soft yellow sand, sand dunes with coastal grasses and an azure blue shimmering sea…

You might think we have managed to escape the pandemic, hopped aboard a plane and be sunning it up in the Bahamas. It might surprise you but we have found a gem of a beach on the south coast that is absolutely beautiful. If you are looking for a dog friendly beach on the south coast we have found a little piece of paradise that I would love to share.

Camber Sands in East Sussex is a beautiful sandy dog friendly beach.

Have you been to Camber Sands before? Well I certainly hadn’t, but after googling ‘sandy beach near me’ this was one of the results. Although there has been some quite a lot of negative press lately about people being irresponsible visiting beaches during the coronavirus pandemic, with images of crowded beaches in Bournemouth, Brighton and other popular places, we made the decision to take a day out to a beach last September. Being the start of a new school term our theory was that the beaches should be relatively quiet. Plus the fact that I unashamedly love the summer and needed to cling on to glorious summery days for as long as I could until the following summer.

Sandy beaches on the south coast are few and far between; most of them are shingle or pebble. Looking for a day out with the dogs and particularly a sandy beach brought up a few matches however. Camber Sands in East Sussex won our vote completely after we realised that the whole beach is abundantly sandy and with a low tide time of lunchtime, this would be the perfect time for arrival, giving us an expanse of beautiful golden sand for the dogs to enjoy and race around on.

We had a quick look on Trip Advisor too and the majority of reviews were pretty positive. Bags packed with towels, dog bags, anti-bacterial gel, baby wipes and face masks (just in case) and we were on our way! It took us about an hour and a half to make the journey and then we were on a quest to find a car park close to the beach. We discovered that not all of the beaches were dog friendly when we drove into a car park and spotted a large sign saying “no dogs on this beach, please ask attendant.” Thankfully there was an attendant in the car park kiosk who advised that we just needed to drive to the end of the road and there was a car park next to a dog-friendly beach. We drove about a minute or so to this car park and easily parked.

Honestly what a stunning view greeted us! I took my shoes off in the car as the short uphill trek to the beach was through an avenue of sand dunes topped by pretty swaying grasses, leading us to a stunning vision of an azure blue sea, topped by a stunning blue sky.

We padded across the beautiful beach to the sea that, considering it was September, felt so welcoming and warm. Both dogs were happy to bound in for a splash and a paddle until we bought out the frisbee which encouraged lots of play. It was wonderful watching them in the water – jumping the waves and with encouragement swimming doggy paddle. This was such a far cry from the dogs we took to Paws in the Park last year who were so reluctant to jump into the dog swimming pool – even with the enticement of a tennis ball. To be fair, I think that last May when we visited Paws in the Park at the South of England Showground at Ardingly, neither dog had much experience at swimming. We had not long rescued Ellie and for sure I know that Duke had not had much experience at swimming. On this glorious day though they were both a pair of natural water babes and it was lovely to experience Perhaps they felt more confident because we were in the water with them. Hmm yes shorts and all. Note to self – try and remember that denim shorts and the sea are not a great combination, especially when you have a little sit down on the sand afterwards, do you get my drift?

Dogs playing on the beach at Camber Sands. If you visit when the tide is quite far out there is a huge expanse of sand to play on.

If we go to Paws in the Park again – assuming we have a little more normal life than ‘the new normal’ I reckon these two spaniels will be great contenders to be granted access to the big pool!

Paws in the Park

A bit of a side track here but – have you been to Paws in the Park before? Paws in the Park is a dog-friendly event where your dogs can have a go at activities such as gun dog scurries, fly ball, agility, search and rescue and swimming. There are also many stalls selling dog accessories. If you are looking for a fun day out with your dogs I would definitely recommend a visit. The events are held at The South of England Showground at Ardingly, West Sussex and also at the Kent Showground, Detling, Kent. You can find current up to date information on the Paws in the Park website

At Camber Sands beach the dogs had a brilliant time chasing the frisbee in the sea and on the shore, they enjoyed jumping the waves and running in and out of the water. It truly was such a lovely day. It probably helped that the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the beach really wasn’t that busy. A perfect dog friendly day out at any time of the year. Choosing to go on a week day in September, so not a school day, was a pretty good call too. If you don’t have kids at school then I would recommend visiting the beach during term time as there will be lot quieter. There weren’t that many people on the beach and those that were there were practising social distancing.

I would definitely recommend this beach and look forward to visiting Camber Sands again!

What you need to know:

  • Camber is located east of the ancient town of Rye, East Sussex.
  • Camber Sands is the only sand dune system in East Sussex so is understandably popular and therefore busy at peak times.
  • Check the tide times before you go – we prefer to visit the beach when the tide is on it’s way in. You get the largest area of beach, although you have further to walk to reach the sea. A tide on it’s way out can pose problems and as a result you or your dog could get swept out to sea. Additionally you could end up further out and deeper than you intended. You can check the tide times here
  • Observe the signs. If you are taking your dog to the beach, ensure that you visit the part of the beach that allows dogs. Dogs are prohibited on some beaches between May and September.
  • There are toilets in the car park at the dog friendly beach.
  • The beach is a very short walk from the car park.
  • Remember to take some fresh water for your dog. Dogs should not drink sea water. You can buy some brilliant dog water bottles that incorporate a cup for drinking out of.
Fun in the sea at Camber Sands. Doesn’t the sea look inviting on a hot day.

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