The sandy beaches of Lincolnshire are one of Britain’s best-kept secrets – and with a coastline stretching for more than 50 miles, you will often have them all to yourself. The county is home to a variety of wildlife, from seals to migrating birds, and there are 99 nature reserves, many of which are dog-friendly. It’s also where you’ll find Skegness – the birthplace of the original Butlin’s holiday camp – but you don’t have to go far to escape the crowds and find some peace and quiet.
Dog-friendly Lincolnshire Coast: the must-sees
Start with a visit to the North Sea Observatory in Chapel Point. The modern building, which is right on the beach, has lots of information about the area’s natural history. It is also home to the coastguard and has a lovely dog-friendly cafe where you can soak up the sea views (keep reading to find out more).
Just up the road, in Chapel Six Marshes, you’ll find the futuristic-looking Sound Tower – just one of the pieces of artistic architecture along the coast. The tower amplifies the sound of the wind and is well worth a visit. The same can be said for the Cloud Bar in Anderby Creek. It may not serve alcohol, but it is the world’s first cloudspotting area, complete with mirrors to make the most of the open skies.
Animal lovers should head to Natureland in Skegness, which has been rescuing injured and orphaned seals from the local beaches since the 1950s. Dogs on leads are welcome to explore the majority of the family-run sanctuary. Make sure your visit coincides with feeding time, at either 11.30am or 3pm. Ernie was fascinated! Adult tickets cost £10.25 but if you visit during the winter, entry is reduced to just £6.
At this time of year, you can also see seals in their natural habitat at Donna Nook National Nature Reserve. In November and December, grey seals flock here to give birth – but be aware that dogs are not allowed onsite at any time.
There are plenty of other nature reserves where pets are welcome, however, such as Gibraltar Point. This stretch of unspoilt coastline, just outside Skegness, may be close to the hustle and bustle of the seaside town but it feels like a world away.
There are plenty of trails to explore but dogs must be kept on a lead at all times. They are also not allowed on the beach between April and September or in the Visitor Centre. Parking costs £2 for two hours.
The Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway, in Ingoldmells, is another great dog-friendly attraction. The narrow-gauge railway, which runs for three-quarters of a mile, was built using equipment from the Nocton Potato Estate railway. It opens sporadically over the summer months and tickets cost just £1. Dogs travel free.
Pets are also welcome onboard the Mablethorpe Sand Train, which has been ferrying tourists along the sandy beach since 1952. A 20-minute round trip from any of the six stops from costs £2. The train even goes into the sea, which is quite the adventure!
Dog-friendly Lincolnshire Coast: the best walks
In Lincolnshire, you can walk for miles along the beaches without seeing another soul. In 2019, a 16-mile section of the England Coast Path was unveiled in the county, running from Skegness to Mablethorpe.
The six-mile stretch of beach from Sandilands to Chapel St Leonards has been designated a Coastal Country Park, however. It’s possible to walk the entire route in just a few hours and you’ll find several dog-friendly places to refuel along the way.
To see the highlights of Skegness, take the 1.5-mile stroll through town as recommended by the BBC. It goes along the promenade and takes in eight key sights including Skegness Pier and the Victorian Pleasure Gardens.
The Poacher Line Railway Walk, which links Skegness to Wainfleet, makes for a lovely day out, too. The 9.5-mile route connects the two stations and takes you through peaceful paths and lanes, via Burgh le Marsh. At a leisurely pace, it should take around 4.5hrs to complete. For more information about where to walk your dog in Lincolnshire, click here.
Dog-friendly Lincolnshire Coast: the best pubs and cafes
If you’re looking for hearty pub grub, don’t miss a trip to The Red Lion in Mumby. Dogs are just as welcome as humans at this family-run hostelry, which serves delicious comfort food like sausage and mash. Make sure you leave room for dessert, though. With prices starting from £3, it would be rude not to!
Pets are also very welcome at the Old Chequers Inn in Croft. This historic country pub is said to be the oldest in Lincolnshire and once served as a jail. Fortunately though, the visitors today can come and go as they please. It’s a great place to try the local beers from Batemans Brewery, just a mile up the road in Wainfleet.
For coffee and cake served with spectacular views, head to the Seascape Cafe in the North Sea Observatory. This stylish space looks out over the water and often hosts special events, such as sunrise breakfasts. Dogs are allowed inside from 9am to midday then again from 3pm until close so time your visit accordingly. If you do have to sit outside though, be sure to grab one of the cafe’s complimentary hot water bottles.
The Anderby Beach Cafe is a great spot for breakfast and if you have a sweet tooth, head to Farmer Brown’s Ice Cream in Huttoft. Both venues have outdoor seating for dog owners. No trip to the coast would be complete without fish and chips though, and it’s a real treat at The Fat Seagull in Sandilands. Dogs are allowed on the veranda.
Dog-friendly Lincolnshire Coast: where to stay
Beach Cottage in Anderby Creek is, as the name suggests, perfectly placed to explore the area’s beautiful sandy beaches. It has fantastic floor-to-ceiling windows that really make the most of the spectacular views.
Nearby, you’ll also find Sand Dunes – a lovely two-bedroom holiday cottage – and Loki’s Lodge, which is on a caravan site and makes for a great budget option. Both properties are very dog-friendly and have secure enclosed gardens.
Pets will receive a warm welcome – and plenty of treats – at Riley’s Holiday Chalet in Mablethorpe, which is named after the family dog. And if you plan to visit the famous seal colony at Donna Nook, consider Ings Annex. This quiet rural retreat is just up the road in Skidbrooke.
If you’re travelling with multiple dogs, check out Pawprints Holidays, which has holiday cottages in both Hogsthorpe and Sutton-on-Sea. Their properties are truly dog-friendly, rather than just dog tolerant. In fact, they only take bookings from dog owners. There is no limit on the number of pets you can bring, either – the current record is 16!
How do I get to the Lincolnshire Coast?
Lincolnshire’s beautiful beaches are around a 3.5hr drive from London and an hour from the city of Lincoln. From the south, head to Boston and then pick up the A52, which will take you all the way to Skegness and the coast. From Lincoln, simply follow the A158.
Cross Country Trains run regularly to Skegness, where you can pick up local services as well as buses. Visit the Lincs Bus website for timetables and more information. Long-distance National Express buses also serve Lincolnshire. The nearest airport is Humberside Airport, around 40 miles from Mablethorpe.