Eastbourne has gained a bronze award in the national Dog Friendly Awards 2023.

The awards ceremony was held at the Kennel Club’s Headquarters in London, and organised by DogFriendly.co.uk, to recognise destinations across the country that offer outstanding services and are welcoming to both pooches and their owners.

The winner of the City/Town category was Girvan in Scotland followed by Bury St Edmunds in second place and Eastbourne in third.

The bronze award follows an initiative to make Eastbourne one of the top destinations for dog owners and their pets. The result of partnership working, a series of projects in recent months has seen the launch of a new Dog Friendly Guide informing people about dog friendly facilities – from hotels and restaurants to kennels and groomers – along with a Dog Friendly Eastbourne recognition scheme using window stickers.

The initiatives were made possible after the volunteer-led Friends of Eastbourne Seafront group was awarded money from the VisitEastbourne Tourism Development Fund, a funding scheme designed to increase footfall and visitor spend in the town. 

Last month another new initiative funded by VisitEastbourne– a Dog Fayre – was held at the Chatsworth Hotel on Eastbourne seafront attended by dog owners and their four-legged friends and hailed an enormous success.

Gaynor Sedgewick from the Friends of Eastbourne Seafront accepted the award at the ceremony on behalf of VisitEastbourne.

The event was broadcast live via Facebook Live and YouTube on the day.

Gaynor said, “The Friends of Eastbourne Seafront were delighted to have accepted the bronze award for the Dog Friendly Town category at the Kennel Club in London recently.

“The awards ceremony was organised by Dog Friendly magazine, and Eastbourne is featured in the latest edition of the magazine. Friends of Eastbourne Seafront with funding from Visit Eastbourne recently produced a Dog Friendly Eastbourne Guide, written by Karey Whitmore and Amanda Ripley, and window stickers for dog friendly businesses.

“The Friends of Eastbourne Seafront would like to thank everyone who voted for Eastbourne and the businesses which participated in the scheme and welcome dogs and their humans. Special thanks to Visit Eastbourne for funding and supporting this initiative.”

Jack Brownell, Eastbourne Borough Council’s Tourism Manager, said, “We all know that Eastbourne is a first-class destination for dog lovers and their pets, and to be recognised with a bronze award is amazing and testament to everyone’s hard work.

“Particular mention must go to Karey and Amanda for all their work in producing the guide, the Friends of Eastbourne Seafront and the Chatsworth Hotel.”

The Dog Friendly Guide is available to pick up from Eastbourne Visitor Centre, Friends of Eastbourne Seafront volunteers and selected venues, or online at www.visiteastbourne.com/pet-friendly