Dog-friendly beach, Sidmouth

Sidmouth Is One Of East Devon’s Dog-friendly Gems

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Last Updated on 28/03/2024 by Claire Coney

Sidmouth is a hidden gem and the picturesque town oozes west-country charm. It lies in a rural valley surrounded by an area of outstanding beauty. Sidmouth is considered the gateway to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and has an impressive coastline. Sidmouth’s beaches have been awarded Blue Flag awards for their clean waters. What’s more, it is a dog-friendly town with many activities where Fido will be welcome.   

Claire and Abbie in Sidmouth.
Me and Abbie in Sidmouth on a sunny winter’s day.

Sidmouth Town    

Georgian houses line the attractive seafront at Sidmouth. It has a flat esplanade that runs the length of the town beach. This gives a good level of disabled access and there are plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants to enjoy.   A wide variety of shops can be found in the High Street and winding alleyways. Many of these shops are independent retailers and chain-branded stores. One of the things that I love about Sidmouth is it’s a dog-friendly town. Well-behaved dogs are welcome in a lot of shops and cafes and friendly staff offer dog biscuits.     

Sidmouth’s Beaches    

East beach Sidmouth
East beach, Sidmouth is dog-friendly all year round.

Sidmouth’s Beaches are pebble and have a wide sandy strip at low tide. The main town beach extends east to Chit Rock. To access the beach, cross the footbridge over the River Sid. Nearer to town, at the east end of the beach, there is a slipway for boats to access the sea. Dogs are allowed on this beach all year round.   

Jacobs Ladder    

To the west end of Sidmouth lays Jacob’s ladder. This beach is backed by red cliffs that make the beach feel secluded. Your family can explore the many interesting rock pools along the coast. Jacobs Ladder gets its name from the steps that lead down from the top of the cliffs. This beach is accessible via a flat route from the seafront.     

Jacobs Ladder beach is dog-friendly. 100 yards along the beach is a signpost stating, dogs are allowed. From this point, you can let your dog off the lead. Your dog can enjoy the large expanse of sand exposed at low tide. At the western end of the esplanade, you can hire kayaks and canoes.    

On the cliffs above Jacobs Ladder, you will find Connaught Gardens. The beautiful garden is a wonderful place to sit and admire the spectacular view of the bay.    

Jacobs Ladder - Sidmouth - Dog-Friendly Beach
Jacobs Ladder – Sidmouth – Dog-Friendly Beach

History of Sidmouth    

Traces of bronze age settlements lay in the area surrounding Sidmouth. Roman coins have been swept up on the local beaches. Like many villages in the area, Sidmouth appeared in the doomsday book and was a fishing village.    

By the 1200s Sidmouth had expanded into a market town and generated an income for the Abbot of Otterton. After Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, Sidmouth was sold off. It changed hands several times. New owners built and tried to expand a harbour. This failed to grow due to the lack of shelter from the sea.   

During the 1400s smugglers frequented local inns. Jack Rattenbury was a famous smuggler in the area. He was in leagues with the Mutter family from Ladrum bay. Together they hid their swag in local caves.   

In the Georgian period, Sidmouth became a fashionable resort. Queen Victoria came to stay at Woolbrook which is now the Royal Glen Hotel.   

Dog-friendly Things to Do in Sidmouth    

There are many dog-friendly things to do in Sidmouth. Here are some things for you to try;    

Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary

 The Donkey Sanctuary is dog-friendly and makes for a lovely day out. You can meet some of the 500 donkeys that live there.   

Each of the donkeys has its story to tell. From the main yard, you can explore the farm and discover the stunning tranquil surroundings. You can explore the maze and outdoor play area and learn about wildlife in the nature centre.    

Well-behaved dogs are welcome at the centre. But you must keep them on a lead. There is information about various scenic walks in the visitor centre and gift shop. Dogs are allowed in the café. Admission and parking are free although donations are welcome.   

Sidmouth Toy and Model Museum

 The Museum houses a collection of vintage toys and models such as railways. Well-behaved dogs welcome.   

Pecorama Light Train Ride

Enjoy a train ride on the light railway. Visit the gardens and model train exhibition. Dogs allowed.   

Walks Around Sidmouth    

Sidmouth is a great place for a dog walk. Here are some walks that you are your dog might like to try;

Sid Valley Ring Route

This is a 13-mile circular walking route around Sidmouth. The route is signposted and allows you to discover the area’s local history. You can visit 30 of the region’s top attractions.    

Salcombe Hill Circular Walk

 There is a circular walk from Sidmouth to Salcombe Hill. You might be able to see some wildlife along the way.    

The Byes Park and Riverwalk

 Walk along the river Sid and stroll around the beautiful parklands.   

The River Sid, Sidmouth.
The River Sid runs through The Byes at Sidmouth.

The Southwest Coastal Path:

To the east of Sidmouth, you will find Peak Hill and Mutters Moor. The path takes you through Ladrum Bay to Budleigh Salterton.    

The west path takes you to Weston Mouth, through Branscombe, Beer and on to Seaton.    

Weston Mouth Walk

 Weston Mouth Dog-friendly beach is off the beaten track. Take the footpath for 3/4 of a mile from Weston village to the beach.   

 This shingle beach is halfway between Sidmouth and Seaton.    

The high cliffs of lower Dunster sheltered the beach from north winds. But there is no shade from the sun. The beach doesn’t have any facilities, so you will have to bring your own refreshments. Don’t forget to pack a pet travel water bottle and a cooling mat for dogs

The water is deep at high tide and you will soon be out of your depth when swimming. At low tide, the beach has a gentler slope into the sea and exposes patches of sand.    

Given the beach’s location, it has become popular with many naturists. It is one of nineteen in the UK. However, families can also use this beach.    

You can walk along the coastal path to Sidmouth in the west and Branscombe in the east. 

Views of Ladrum beach part of the Otterton to Budleigh Salterton Walk.
Views of Ladrum Beach part of the Otterton to Budleigh Salterton Walk.

Circular Walk Otterton to Budleigh Salterton

This is a breathtaking walk that starts at the village of Otterton. It follows the Otter River to Budleigh Salterton and Southwest Coastal before returning to the start point of the walk.

Car Parking: Various in the town. 
Dog-Friendly Beaches: Dogs are allowed on the East and West beaches all year round. Restrictions apply on the main beach from 1st May – 30th September. Dog bins are provided. 
Facilities: Numerous shops, cafés, pubs, restaurants, and fish and chip bars.  
Attractions: Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary, The Toy and Model Museum, Pecorama light train ride. 
Information about Sidmouth Town

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