Ruff Guide to… Brighton & Hove

UK cities don’t come much cooler – or more liberal – than Brighton. From traditional seaside attractions to the quirky shops in The Lanes, this notoriously dog-friendly city is a treat. There’s always something new to discover on the sunny South Coast – and more often than not, you can do it with your four-legged friend by your side. So whether you’re hankering for fish and chips on the seafront or ice cream on the pier, head to Brighton. It gets top barks from us!

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton at sunset
The Royal Pavilion at sunset © VisitBrighton

Dog-friendly Brighton & Hove: the must-sees

One of Brighton’s best-known sights is the Royal Pavilion. This exotic “pleasure palace” in the centre of the city was built for the Prince Regent – later King George IV – more than 200 years ago. Lavishly decorated both inside and out, the building has a colourful history and it’s well worth the £13.50 entry fee.

Dogs can explore the Royal Pavilion Garden, which is open to the public. You’ll have to keep your pet on a lead while exploring the estate but it makes for a lovely stroll. Interestingly, the garden is managed using organic principles so you won’t find any pesticides or weed killers here.

Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier © VisitBrighton

Brighton Pier, which is not dog-friendly, dominates the seafront. But you can see some of the less well-known attractions nearby from Volk’s Electric Railway. Created by Victorian engineer Magnus Volks, it is the oldest continuously-running electric railway in the world.

Today, the little train runs along the seafront from the Aquarium Station near Brighton Pier to Black Rock Station, a short walk from Brighton Marina. Journeys take around 12 minutes and dogs are welcome onboard. Trains run from Easter to October.

Volks Electric Railway runs alongside the beach in Brighton
Volk’s Electric Railway

If you’re interested in the city’s seafaring heritage, visit the Brighton Fishing Museum, under the arches on the seafront. It’s only small but the museum is packed full of fishing artefacts and interactive displays. Dogs are welcome inside the museum – and best of all, entry is free.

When you’ve had your culture fix, hit the shops. After all, Brighton is renowned for its funky stores and independent boutiques. Start by exploring the historic maze of alleyways known as The Lanes. You can also find all the high street favourites but North Laine is home to many of the coolest places, in my opinion. Dogs are welcome inside most stores but ask first, just to be sure.

People eat at outdoor tables in North Laine, Brighton
North Laine © VisitBrighton

Dog-friendly Brighton & Hove: the best walks

Start with the South Downs National Park. Covering an area of more than 995 square miles, the park – which blankets the South Coast from Winchester to Eastbourne – has plenty to keep visitors occupied.

From Brighton, it’s a hop and a skip to Devil’s Dyke, a deep, V-shaped valley that’s almost a mile long. According to legend, the devil himself dug the chasm, which attracted a lot of gawking tourists in the 19th Century. Today, however, the beauty spot is managed by the National Trust. You can explore the area by following one of their recommended walking trails.

Sussex countryside
The Sussex countryside © VisitBrighton

A stroll along the seafront is a must, whether it’s to take in the fresh sea air or admire the Regency architecture. If you’re feeling energetic, follow the city council’s four-mile “Seafront Healthwalk”. It is clearly signposted between Hove Lagoon – where you’ll find the dog-friendly Fatboy Slim favourite, Big Beach Cafe – and Brighton Marina. Visit the council website for more information about dog-friendly beaches during the summer.

Preston Park and Queens Park are both great for dog walks. And in Hove, there’s a lovely three-mile walk you can do from Hangleton Manor that takes in Benfield Hill Nature Reserve. Read on for more information about the pub, or visit its website to download a map of the route.

Ernie and dad Nick at the Bison Beach Bar in Brighton
Ernie and dad Nick at the Bison Beach Bar in Brighton

Dog-friendly Brighton & Hove: the best pubs and cafes

If your kind of pub welcomes dogs but not children, check out The Camelford Arms. This laid-back boozer, on Camelford Street, is billed as the Most Dog-Friendly Pub in Brighton and has won awards for its food. You’re sure to bump into plenty of dogs here, whether they’re enjoying the open fire in the bar or soaking up the sun on the Moroccan-style patio.

The pub isn’t far from the Bison Beach Bar either, which is well worth a visit during the summer months. As the name suggests, this hip hangout is right on the beach, at Sea Lanes, and is a great place to grab a beer, coffee or pizza.

Nearby, in the Kemptown area, you’ll also find the Sidewinder pub, on Upper St James’s Street, which has a couple of great beer gardens. And for coffee and cake served with a side of gourmet dog treats, head to Metrodeco, a few doors up. Famed for its afternoon teas, this 1930s-style cafe is super dog-friendly. It even hosts doggy birthday parties.

Vegan pesto pizza from Purezza in Brighton
One of Purezza’s Pesto Manifesto pizzas

Pets are also very welcome at Purezza. This vegan pizza joint in St James’s Street even has a page on its website dedicated to four-legged fans.  But for die-hard carnivores, doggy heaven can be found at the Shakespeare’s Head in Chatham Place. This great little pub, near Brighton station, serves fabulous Sunday roasts and a mind-boggling selection of sausage and mash. Diners can choose from ten varieties of sausage, ten types of mash and four tasty gravies.

Dogs are allowed both inside and out at Starfish & Coffee, in Egremont Place. This cute neighbourhood joint, opposite Queens Park, loves dogs and was named Best Cafe in the 2020 Brighton Restaurant Awards. And veggies and vegans will love The Hope & Ruin in Queens Road. This live music pub only serves great plant-based food from Beelzebab.

And for a slice of history with your meal, try The Hangleton Manor in Hove. This Hall & Woodhouse pub is housed in one of the city’s oldest buildings and dates back to the 1500s. It serves up a range of food from pub grub to super salads but I can particularly recommend the pies. Dogs are welcome in the cosy bar area and the beer garden.

Neon sign above the bed at Seaside HQ, Brighton
The bedroom at Seaside HQ, complete with neon sign

Dog-friendly Brighton & Hove: where to stay

There’s a whole host of dog-friendly accommodation on offer in Brighton. The Oriental – a funky boutique hotel by the seafront – is very pet-friendly, while the Hotel du Vin will satisfy even the poshest pooch. The Malmaison, in Brighton Marina, also welcomes dogs.

If it’s self-catering accommodation you’re after, Seaside HQ, in trendy Kemptown, has a fantastic courtyard garden and is just moments from Brighton Pier. You can find a whole host of other trendy flats and houses on websites such as Airbnb.

And even if you’re travelling on a budget, you will still find plenty of places to rest your head in Brighton. Several of the big hotel chains, such as the Ibis, Holiday Inn and Travelodge, happily welcome dogs for a small additional fee.

People on Brighton Beach on a sunny day
Brighton beach during the busy summer months

How do I get to Brighton & Hove?

The city is just under an hour by rail from London and a mere 30 minutes from Gatwick Airport. It is also accessible from all the major ports on the South Coast.

Where can I find out more?

The Visit Brighton website is packed with information about things to see and do locally, as well as upcoming events. It also recommends plenty more dog-friendly pub and restaurants in Brighton.

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