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Things to do in Brighton with your dog

By March 6, 2019May 22nd, 20192 Comments

Brighton is a convenient destination if you are looking for an easy dog-friendly day trip on the coast. It is quite dog-friendly and it takes just an hour from London by train or between 1 h 40 minutes and 3 hours by car depending on the traffic to get there. Today we tell you about some great things to do with your dog in Brighton to make the most of your day out.

7 things to do in Brighton with your dog

German Shepherd dog sits near a beach house looking at the sea in Brighton

Brighton is a quite dog-friendly town and a nice place where to enjoy the seaside on a sunny day in Spring to Autumn and a dog splash in the sea. We visited a few times, the last one in occasion of the Saltdean Lido Dog Swim back in September, and found that there are some nice dog-friendly things to do to spend the day.

#1. Taking your dog to the beach

Dog on Brighton beach investigates the water

Good or bad season, it always good to have a stop at the beach with your dog. Brighton has a massive pebbles beach and pebbles have the advantage the that your dog won’t get home (or in your car) covered in sand after rolling.

Dogs are allowed on any beach in Brighton and Hove from 1st October to 1st April, while there are some dog bans in place from April to September. You can find a map showing the dog-friendly beaches here and a description of the dog-friendly areas here (Brighton & Hove City Council’s official website). In general, you will find signs on the beach indicating where dogs are allowed and where they are not.

Also keep in mind that on the promenade dogs must be on a leash at all times.

#2. Enjoying the dog-friendly Volk’s Electric Railway

Small dog rides on volks electric railway sitting on his owner's lap

The Volk’s Electric Railway is the oldest running electric railway, built by Magnus Volk in 1883, which runs on Brighton seafront from near the Brighton Palace Pier to Black Rock near the Marina with a halfway station, and it is dog-friendly. We went with Argo, Gus and Glitch back in September and it was fun. At the Aquarium Station near Brighton Palace Pier, there is also a Visitors Centre with a small exhibition where you can also try on a railway hat and clothes. Gus was a perfect model for the hat.

Dog waits to get on Volks' Electric Railway on a sunny day

Trains normally run from March to October and this year the reopening date is set for 10 April 2019. Tickets cost £3.90 one way or £4.90 return (adult fare or £2.30-3.00 child). Trains are quite frequent. A piece of advice: as it it pretty busy, best to arrive early to get a good seat.

#3. Having a picnic at the Royal Pavilion Garden

three dogs at the Royal Pavilion Garden on the grass

The beautiful Indian style Royal Pavilion was designed by architect John Nash for King George IV and it is a very exotic place, that will make you forget where you are. While you can’t visit the Royal Pavilion with your dog (unless it’s an assistance dog), you can have a stroll at the Royal Pavilion Garden and stop for a picnic. We visited the Royal Pavilion Garden back in September with Gustavito and Glitch and it was lovely. Just remember that according to the byelaws dogs must be kept on lead while at the Garden.

#4. Visiting an enclosed dog park in Brighton

If your dog can’t go off-leash, there is an enclosed dog park where you can bring them for a run. Withdean Park has a fenced off dog walking area and, apparently, the Withdean Park Dog Walking Community takes great care of the area. If you are looking for fenced dog fields for hire in the area, you can also check Dog Walking Fields’ listings.

#5. Walking on the coastal path

Small dog on pebbles beach in Brighton

There are a host of walks and hikes you can do from Brighton. Brighton and Hove’s Council has a few guides which can be of help for your dog adventure.

One of these, which you can do with your dog, is the Undercliff Walk from Brighton Marina to Saltdean, which you can combine with a ride on Volks’ Electric Raiway. You will find yourself under the majestic white cliffs, far from the traffic, and what a best chance for a dog swim or play on the beach.

#6. Have a stroll in town and find dog-friendly eateries and shops in Brighton

large dog on the Brighton promenade on a sunny day

Brighton is not a tentacular town, in fact, if you want to the see best part have a stroll at the historic quarter known as The Lanes, not far from the Royal Pavilion. The North Laine is also full of eateries.

If you are looking for the best dog-friendly restaurants in Brighton, there is an annual award for restaurants called BRAVO and you can find the winners at this page (a very popular one is the Laughing Dog Brighton, a cafe, art gallery and studio in the Marina, with its own resident dog, Bandit, who got the first place in 2018). In addition, you can join a Facebook Group called Dog Friendly Brighton where you will be able to find or ask for tips about dog-friendly eateries and shops to the Brighton dog community. Also follow Dog Friendly Brighton on Instagram if you are looking for dog-friendly eateries, to choose by the looks of them.

For any futher local chat you can also join Brighton Dog Owners Facebook group.

#7. Taking part in a dog event in Brighton

Dog Swim paddling poolSaltdean Lido Dog Swim

After discovering Saltdean Lido Dog Swim in 2017, last year we visited with Argo and our friends Gustavito and Glitch, and had an awesome time (check out the video Gus’ mum on Youtube here). The event is extremely popular and tickets sell out very quickly, so you need to be fast in booking your spot. Following the success of the past editions, Saltdean Lido has planned two weekends instead of one, this year, on 14-15 September and 21-22 September. Tickets will go on sale shortly, so stay tuned!

Paddle Dogs

Also for 2019 there will be an attempt to break the world record for the most people and their dogs on paddleboards at the Paddle Round The Pier beach festival. The Paddle Dogs event will take place on Sunday 7th July and everyone is invited (all about the event here).

Brighton Open Theatre dog-friendly shows

The Brighton Open Theatre does not generally allow dogs, but occasionally hosts special dog-friendly events (clearly identified on their website as such).    In 2019 this will be the case of The Pop Bingo Disco Doggy  Style on Sunday 14th July 2019, a … from the Edinburgh Fringe …

Fun dog shows

Scruffs’ Dog Show. An annual fun dog show in Brighton is the Scruffs’ Dog Show, with the next edition taking place on 11th August 2019, as part of the Rural Day at St Ann’s Well Garden, part of the Brunswick Festival (check out some photos of the previous editions of the dog show here). In 2018, classes included: Most Handsome Dog, Best Veteran, Prettiest Bitch, Junior Party Trick, Waggiest tail, Dog that Looks Most Like its Owner, Best in Show.

Pride Dog Show Brighton. You can also join the annual Pride Dog Show hosted by Pride in Brighton, featuring awards for numerous categories, stalls, a catwalk doggy fashion show, bar and refreshments. Last year it was held in October at Preston Park in Brighton.

Large dog sits in car of Volks Electric Railway with beach on the background

Doggie meetups

If you are looking for something social, there is a Meetup group called Canine Conundrum UK which is based in Worthing, but organiseses doggie meet-ups in Brighton as well, including dog plays at the beach at Saltdean.

Brighton is also the location of some annual breed-specific meet-ups: for instance, the  Schnauzerfest Brighton edition which is due to take place on 12th October 2019 in Stanmer Park, calling all Schnauzers.

Past events

The DOG SHOW is an initiative which has been running for the last three years, created by artist Joanna Osborne, within Brighton Open Houses and Brighton Festival. You can visit the house and view an exhibition of dog artpieces from sculptures to felted dogs, to the beautiful dog portraits by Sally Muir and more. The exhibition, which in 2018 lasted for a few weekends in May, also featured three events: On the Spot Dog Drawing by Sally Muir, the Real Dog Show and The Dog Photobooth by Alma Haser. There will be no DOG SHOW in 2019, but it will be back in 2020.

In July 2018, Brighton also saw some original dog events taking place, organised by dog media and events agency Pet-fi, a dog-friendly magic show The Great Houdini.

Dog sport clubs

If you are dog sports obsessed and can’t do without during your stay, there are some clubs that may be for you. There is a flyball club, Brighton Flyball and fun Dog Agility classes provided by The Dog Club.

For lost and found dogs, you can find the dog warden contacts here. There is also Brighton Dogwatch Facebook group.

Getting to and around Brighton with a dog on public transport

Brighton station roof and windows

Trains London to Brighton

From London, you can get the train to Brighton from Victoria (Southern Railway), St Pancras International, London Bridge or Blackfriars (Thameslink). Direct services take an hour from London Bridge or 1 hour and 17 minutes from Blackfriars. We were advised that trains tend to be pretty packed at the weekend. Luckily the times we went we didn’t find the crowds!

Three rescue dogs on a double deckerbus in Brighton

Taking the bus with a dog

When in Brighton you can take your dog on the bus at no extra charge. Dogs must be well-behaved and sit on the floor or on your lap (not on seats please) and you can bring up to two dogs (if you have more than two dogs you need to check with the driver. You can find more dos and don’ts on the official page here. You can find Brighton and Hove’s bus routes and maps here and information about fares and tickets here.

Selected dog-friendly hotels and cottages in Brighton for a longer stay

If you want to make it a longer stay for a weekend, there are a number of dog-friendly hotels and cottages in the area. If you are travelling by public transport and are looking for a convenient very dog-friendly hotel in town, check out the Artist Residence and the Old Ship Hotel Brighton on PetsPyjamas, which have a Bow Wow factor and dog perks.

If you prefer a cottage in the area, we picked three alternatives available at these affiliate links:

  • Cherrystone Barn, in Ripe, near Lewis, sleeps 2 people and allows up to 3 dogs, has an enclosed garden and according to the listing is not far from the Cuckoo Trail for a walk (minimum 3 night stay).
  • Cherry Cottage, also located in Ripe near Lewis, sleeps 6 people, allows up to 2 dogs, has a large enclosed garden (minimum 3 night stay)
  • Starlings in Saltdean, which has a small enclosed garden and is conveniently located not far from the beach, sleeps 5 people and one dog.

You can find all the hacks to find the best dog-friendly holiday accomodation for you and your dog in our latest guide.

German Shepherd dog sits near a beach house looking at the sea in Brighton


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