<p><img src="https://azure.wgp-cdn.co.uk/app-yourdog/posts/sun-sea-and-sand.jpg" alt="dog friendly beaches" /></p><p>Skegness has all the elements for a great day out with your dog. Dog trainer Lucy Heath tests it out with her six dogs...</p>
Life has been incredibly busy for Lucy Heath and Trip Hazard since they first appeared on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. A summer of demos, competitions, TV work, and teaching has been followed by pantomime rehearsals, so it’s little wonder that Lucy enjoys getting away from everything as often as possible.
“I have six dogs now, as I recently took on a new puppy called Dizzy, who is Trip’s niece, and is incredibly clever and very cute,” explained Lucy. “All of my bigger dogs are obsessed with water and my favourite place to walk them is at the seaside. I live about an hour from Skegness, and absolutely love going there with my dogs. I’ll often just wake up, see the sun is shining, and decide to go.”
The perfect day out
Lucy added: “In my opinion, Skegness ticks all the boxes for a perfect day out. I can walk the dogs on the beach and let them play off-lead, then they can swim in the sea and, afterwards, my friends and I will have fish and chips and take the dogs into one of the dog-friendly amusement arcades near the pier, before heading back out on to the beach again. I love the fact that, throughout the entire day, there is nothing the dogs have to be excluded from. It’s just how I like it!"
“My friends and I must look quite a sight as we walk along the seafront with all our dogs, but the dogs are all well trained and have a great recall so I feel confident about letting them off-lead on the beach, and love to see them racing around just enjoying being dogs."
“At Skegness, no matter what time of the year it is, there is always some part of the beach that is open for dogs, although there are certain restrictions in some areas during the summer months, where you may have to keep them on leads or avoid certain places.”
Fun and games
“On arrival, we tend to park in the North Parade car park, which is next to the XSite Skate Park and is right on the seafront,” Lucy continued. “I always buy some cheap tennis balls from one of the shops, then let the dogs off-lead and just watch them have lots of fun, chasing the balls and splashing in the sea."
“After about an hour, we dry the dogs off, give them some fresh water and find somewhere to sit and eat lunch on the seafront. Fish and chips always taste amazing at the seaside! The dogs are also quite partial to a lick of an ice cream. I’ve found a dog-friendly amusement arcade near the pier and I love going in there with the dogs. This also provides great socialisation opportunities, as all the noise, lights, and people help to prepare the dogs for some of the sights and sounds that they might hear and see while I am working at demos or competing somewhere like Crufts."
“I see training opportunities everywhere, so, for example, I might ask Trip to jump into one of the little children’s ride cars, or pose on some of the equipment in the arcade. I’ve got a great photograph of Foxy, my young Border Collie, who looks as if she’s working the ‘grab a toy’ machine!”
Tired and happy
“After all that, I might have a hot chocolate with marshmallows (delicious!) in the dog-friendly cafe at the arcade, before heading back to the beach for a final walk and another swim. “When I get back home, the dogs are all really happy and nicely tired out, but I have to brush the sand out of their coats and shake all their beds clean, otherwise there would be sand everywhere. “All my dogs get thoroughly dirty, muddy, and sandy when they are out and about, and I’m always bathing and grooming them, but it’s worth it — I love them all to bits!”
If you prefer a quieter seaside walk in Lincolnshire, you could take your dogs to Anderby Creek, which is just a few miles from Skegness. This hidden coastal gem has a preservation order on it, so there are no amusement parks or other attractions, although there is a car park, toilets and a dog-friendly cafe. Anderby Creek has restrictions for dogs between March and September, but some areas of the beach are dog friendly all year round. It is also home to the UK’s first permanent cloud bar, complete with seats specially designed for cloud watching, and mirrors to ‘magic’ the sky down to Earth. For more information, visit the Anderby Creek website.
“My dogs all walk on harnesses and leads so I’ve always got those with me,” said Lucy. “I also take fresh water, poo bags, and lots of treats, as I like to reward the dogs for things they do, such as checking in with me on a walk or posing to have their photographs taken! My favourite dry treats are Four Friends dog treats, which are quite meaty and break up easily".
Lincolnshire coastal country park
The Lincolnshire Coastal Country Park has several beautiful and peaceful beaches that are dog friendly all year round. They are situated along the east coast between the more famous seaside resorts of Skegness and Mablethorpe. For more information, visit their website.
A trip to Skegness beach also gives Lucy the chance to practise one of her other hobbies. “I absolutely love taking photographs of my dogs,” she said. “Last summer, I waded right out into the sea up to my shoulders and then called them all to me, so I could take pictures of the dogs swimming towards me, with the beach in the background!”
Skegness is the largest seaside town on the Lincolnshire coast by the North Sea. It is a popular family holiday resort, with beaches, a pier, promenade and plenty of amusement arcades and other attractions. It has been a popular holiday destination for over a hundred years and many establishments welcome dogs as part of the family.
Location: Skegness is located on the east coast of England and is 43 miles from the ancient city of Lincoln.
Nearest towns or villages: Ingoldmells, Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve, Chapel St Leonards.
Distance: Walks can be as long or as short as you like.
Time: Leave at least an hour to walk the dogs on the beach, wash their feet off afterwards, and enjoy a stroll along the seafront.
Parking: There are numerous long and short stay attended car parks close to the beach. Prices vary according to the season — from £7 per day in summer, and £2.50 per day from October to March.
Facilities: Toilets and dog poo bins are situated on the seafront. Dogs are allowed on the pier if they are on leads, and a water bowl has been placed outside the main entrance for them.
Suitable for: There are toilets with baby changing and disabled facilities near the seafront, and a slipway to the beach, suitable for wheelchair users.
Restrictions: Each year, between May 1 and September 30, dogs are banned from the busiest part of Skegness beach. The embargoed section runs parallel to the seafront from the lifeboat house on Tower Esplanade, all the way to the X-Site Skate Park at the end of North Parade.