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Dog Walks – Hastings – Winchelsea Beach – Rye – Camber

PET CHECK UK Hastings, East Sussex, view from East Cliff

\\\ Dog Walks

\\\ updated 1 October 2021

The Funicular Railway At Hastings Like Dogs

Dog Walks – East Sussex – St Leonards-On-Sea – Hastings – Winchelsea Beach – Rye – Camber Sands

Taking Your Dog On A Funicular Railway

Perfect Autumn Winter And Spring Time Dog Walking

If you are looking for a day out, a few days away, or a staycation break, the South East Coast Of England holds some very special treasures, including St Leonards-On-Sea, Hastings, Winchelsea, Rye and Camber Sands, East Sussex. 5 very different places providing you with a range of activities where your dog can accompany you and enjoy the local dog-friendly hospitality.


St Leonards-On-Sea and Hastings are typical British seaside towns, made popular at the height of the new Victorian tourism era offering piers, theatres, wide promenades, and grand homes with balconies ‘to take in the sea air’ overlooking the beaches.

Both are towns that kind of ‘blend into each other’ with no real definitive boundary or differences, however, locals will tell you otherwise!

St Leonards-On-Sea allows dog walking on its beaches all year round and is great alternative to Hastings beaches which do operate the PSPO’s restrictive policy during the summer months, 1 May until 30 September. Hastings council have an informative map which highlights the prohibited zones which really are the main parts of the beach. Signs are posted up around the beach the ‘no dogs on this beach’ by beach promenades and nearby car parks.

The Pelham area is not restricted, the older part of Hastings, towards the east, where you’re find the famous black, tall, traditional smoking houses, left over from the town’s fishing industry days.

Both St Leonards-On-Sea and Hastings beaches are really quite pebbly at the backshore, by the wide, easy to access promenades, but wait a little while for the tides to go out and a shingle and part sandy beach will be exposed. Work your beach activities around the tides going out, to get the longest and best time spent on the beach with your dog.

There are plenty of cafes and restaurants along the seafront where you can take your dog with you. The recent pandemic may mean they can be under restrictions sometimes and shorter opening times during winter months.


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Car parking is fairly good and easy, using town centre car parks at St Leonards-On-Sea, or car parking spaces around the squares and up the side roads, but follow the restrictive advice. Sometimes there’s metered spaces you can find when travelling along the coastal road, A259, through from St Leonards-On-Sea to Hastings, which follows along the seaside promenades and beach, useful if you are just visiting the beach for less than an hour, in some areas, two hours maximum.

Public transport offers frequent train links and you can travel to St Leonards-On-Sea, and Hastings by train from London, London Bridge Station, and Charing Cross terminal.

Rye is accessible using the faster service from Blackfriars and London St. Pancreas International, taking just over the hour, via changing at the Ashford International station. The coastal train services link St-Leonards-On-Sea, Hastings, a small station at Winchelsea, and Rye.

Well behaved dogs travel for free on English trains as long as they are on a collar and lead (and ID tag) with their owner; do check the operators terms and conditions for any special restrictions, and social media for delays or events that may occur delaying your intended train journey.

Hastings is home to not just one, but two fabulous funicular railways, East and West Hill Cliff Railways, two of the dwindling few still working, left across Britain. Splendid Victorian ingenuity lifting pedestrians from ground level up a steep cliff face, a 78% incline, to see the beautiful views from the hills overlooking Hastings. Taking your dog is free. Just watch their faces as the railway starts travelling upwards – or downwards!

The views are spectacular as you travel up and down and there’s room once you reach the top for your dog to romp on open ground. The recent pandemic has caused certain restrictions, so do check in advance Hastings Funicular opening times.

Travelling onto Rye, one passes through one of the smallest, smartest little towns in England, granted Town status but with a population of around 600 people, Winchelsea. This area is steeped with so much history dating back to the 11th Century, and later playing it’s part with coastal fortifications during the 19th Century.

Winchelsea Beach is 1.5 miles away, along Sea Road, leading you to the small village and beach which overlooks part of Rye Bay. The beach is perfect for dog walking with no restrictions, mostly deserted and unknown, and where there are few amenities, so a picnic hamper is highly recommended to take with you unless you plan refreshments when visiting nearby Rye. If you park at Pett Level, this beach does have restrictions where dogs are prohibited from 1 May to 30 September on Pett Level beach – 150m west from the church.

The restrictions at Winchelsea Beach are actually around Dogs Hill (public conveniences) and play areas.

Winchelsea beach is pebbly, leading to shingle and sand, and wide. There’s some smaller posts sticking out of the ground which are old beach erosion defences, but these don’t impede as the tides goes out further, the beach shelving gently.

Looking Towards

Winchelsea Beach

From Petts level

You can carry on walking east, and behind you is The Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. This was where the old community of Rye was actually located hundreds of years ago.

You’ll also come across the Mary Stanhope abandoned lifeboat house serving as monument to rescue crew killed in the 1928 disaster, and then you’ll come to the mouth of the River Rother. The other side of the river is the start of the famous Camber Sands which you can read more about in our Pet Check blog ‘Camber Sands’. You’ll need to turn back here as there is no bridge over to the other side of the river.


Rye is a quaint old place, always welcoming for a weekend or day out visit all year round. In fact, many an enjoyable winter weekend has been spent here.

Rye was a fishing community but the sea has long receded leaving the town now 2 miles inland from the original harbour and sea with the River Rother partly meandering around it.

The walled small town has an enormous history including for a short while being under Normandy control during the 13th Century, situated on a small hill. Once returned to the Crown, the town became heavily fortified and this adds to the attraction for the visitor along with preserved medieval properties and cobbled roads. There are several well-signed car parks at Rye and no where is really a distance to walk into the centre of the town.

PET CHECK UK Dog-Friendly properties to hire in Rye

There’s a selection of hotels and eateries to suit everyone’s tastes and pockets. There’s no large shopping chains but some eclectic shopping treats.

You can hire this dog-friendly stunning Grade II* listed Tudor cottage (featured picture) in the heart of Rye such as Flushing House, pictured, from Sykes Holiday Cottages who offer thousands of pet-friendly luxury holiday cottages across the UK, the largest holiday cottage rental specialist with lots of helpful online guides to areas. #Ad.

The nearest lifeboat station is at Hastings Old Town, and lifeguards patrol both Hastings beaches and Camber Sands during the busy summer months. Veterinary practices are mostly based around Hastings should you need veterinary emergency care.

There are several Hotels, B&B accommodation which makes Rye a delightful weekend getaway, taking you back into some old-fashioned charm. There’s a useful local Rye tourist website.


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Useful tips before leaving home

  • Check if your preferred beach has any local issues flagged up on social media. This is normally the quickest way to check if anything unusual may prevent you from dog walking on that day.
  • Check tide times for the beach.
  • Take a look at the RNLI local website for any news about the beach.
  • Prepare by taking plenty of freshwater for your dog and a collapsible bowl for the end of the walk.
  • Take lots of drying towels particularly to help remove excess salty sand from your dog’s coat and paws.
  • Take dog poop bags.
  • Take short and long leads ( and muzzle which may be needed).
  • Check your dog have their ID tag and collar, and GPS tracker when worn.
  • Remember your mobile phone.
  • You may consider buying a buoyancy dog jacket if your pet loves swimming. Particularly useful if your pet tires in the water helping your dog to swim back to you.

Tips on the beach

  • To take lots (more than usual) of fresh water and a collapsible bowl for your thirsty dog. Seawater is salty and will make your dog even more thirsty.
  • Be considerate of others.
  • Stay clear of crowded areas.
  • Have old towels to dry your dog if they’ve been swimming. Provide them with towels to sit on, rather than the sand and shingle, and towels help to clean off the sand before going home!
  • A sun canopy or umbrella shade is important, not just for you, but also for your dog who can catch sunburn as much as you can. Check out Pet Check Shop for supplies.
  • You may need to use a short and/or long dog lead during restriction times, and take a dog muzzle if you prefer your dog to wear one on busier beaches. Dogs can act out character in new, unknown places often feeling anxious.
  • Please remember to take your rubbish home with you. That includes dog poop which is your responsibility to clean up at all times. 

The recent pandemic has bought about new changes to the ways we do things. Post lockdown restrictions may require households not to travel in certain areas of the UK. Read latest government advice. It’s advisable to check with your local council and social media websites before making special journeys. You may find that you are required to pre-book vehicle entry into popular UK beaches during the summer months.

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