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Six great dog-friendly beaches in Suffolk, from Denes Beach in Southwold to Kessingland

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The Suffolk coast is renowned for its beaches, but these are not all open to dogs - a fact some owners may be unaware of.

Local restrictions vary, and, to help, Suffolk News has put together a list of six dog-friendly sites across the county.

1. Denes Beach, Southwold

Southwold Beach and Pier.
Southwold Beach and Pier.

The Suffolk town of Southwold is home to one of the most famous piers in the UK.

Dogs are banned from the main beach during the peak season, which is April 1 to September 30, but can be walked there out of season.

During peak season, owners can instead take their pets to Denes Beach, off Ferry Road - they are welcome on the quiet shingle beach all year round.

Dogs are also allowed on the pier itself, provided they are kept on a lead.

Here, walkers can enjoy a most traditional English seaside experience, with the wooden beach huts providing a dash of colour alongside the view of the town and pier.

2. Dunwich

Once a major English port, much of Dunwich has sunk beneath the waves, beginning with a succession of devastating storms at the end of the 13th century.

Despite this turbulent history, Dunwich Beach is among the most attractive on the Suffolk coast.

The beach, like the surrounding countryside, is owned and maintained by the National Trust, and the adjacent heath - teeming with flora and fauna - rolls into the shingle.

National Trust's Dunwich Heath
National Trust's Dunwich Heath

Dogs are allowed on the beach, but if they are being walked on the heath, owners must keep them on a lead and stay on the footpaths from March 1 to August 31 to protect ground-nesting birds.

During this time, dogs can be off the lead on the beach but owners are asked to stop them chasing birds or approaching seals. Pooches can also be off the lead on the Woof Walk.

From September 1 to February 28, dogs can be off the lead as long as they are under close and effective control.

3. Thorpeness

Stretching down to Aldeburgh in the south, Thorpeness Beach is another site of potential interest to the historically-minded dog walker.

The adjacent village features a number of quaintly-styled properties, including the famous Thorpeness almshouses and faux-Tudor designs. Many of these are visible from the beach.

The beach itself is without facilities of note, but these are accessible in the town, only a short walk away.

Dog restrictions apply to clearly signposted areas of the beach at Thorpeness from May 1 to September 30.

4. Aldeburgh

Dog owners are warned that their pooches are not permitted on this scenic beach between May and September.

Aldeburgh Beach.
Aldeburgh Beach.

Nevertheless, dogs are welcome the rest of the year, and the Aldeburgh seafront makes for an unmissable day trip.

A Norman church is among the heritage items of interest to be found on the beach, as well as a scallop-shaped memorial to composer Benjamin Britten - perhaps Aldeburgh's most celebrated resident.

5. Felixstowe

The most southerly part of the Suffolk coast, Felixstowe is just a short drive along the A14 from Ipswich.

The town also boasts the largest container port in the UK.

Felixstowe Beach. Picture by Mark Westley
Felixstowe Beach. Picture by Mark Westley

While dogs are prohibited from Felixstowe beach from May to September, they can be walked along the beach - except from the Manwick Road to Arwela Road area - during the rest of the year.

6. Kessingland

Just south of Lowestoft is Kessingland beach, where dogs are allowed all year round.

While there are seasonal dog restrictions on Lowestoft beach from May to September, since a review by East Suffolk Council in 2017, there are no longer any areas of Kessingland beach where dogs are banned at any time of the year.

It's a quieter spot than its bigger neighbour where owners can bring their pooches no matter what time of year.