If you’re like many dog owners across the world, the thought of leaving Fido can be too hard to bear. Most of us would rather bring our pooches along too and have the whole family enjoy a good break.
And who can blame you. I’m pretty sure my separation anxiety is worse than Loki’s when we’re apart!
With 67% of us planning to go away with our dogs this year and 57% saying they’d enjoy their holiday more if Fido was around, it’s clear we can’t get enough of our pups.
And the great thing is, the travel industry is taking note. Today, there are countless dog friendly holiday breaks made specifically for those who are inseparable from their pooches. Hurrah for us! The research I’ve put into this post is as much for me as it is for you. We’re looking for memorable adventures we can share with Loki too.
So if you’re stuck for a few good ideas, here’s a handy guide to help you decide how to spend your holiday with all the family this summer. Strap yourselves in!
Please note: I’m not affiliated with any of the below holiday suggestions. These are simply ideas I’ve researched and feel would benefit my readers.
Country cottage break
If you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing retreat to take strolls with Fido across the stunning countryside, nothing beats a cottage break. Explore the local woodlands and wildlife, stop off for a pub lunch in a quaint country pub, and kick back at the cottage with a glass of wine and a game of cards. Now that sounds idyllic!
Here’s a selection of budget and luxury range cottages I think look the bee’s knees for this kind of break:
The Cottage at Baxterley – Warwickshire
Bryndias – Pembrokeshire
Crooked Oak Cottage – Devon
Brook Lodge – Suffolk
Silver Birch at Wallops Wood cottages – Hampshire
Tree House at Tree Top Escape – Devon
Luxury spa break
I honestly would never have thought you’d be allowed to take a dog into a luxury hotel. So I was delighted to find a range of luxury spa breaks that not only accept, but welcome our pooches with open arms.
Some spa hotels have off-leash areas where Fido can let their fur down and romp around freely. They usually provide a dog bed, bowls, towels and blankets. Some even have a canine menu so your dog can join you for dinner.
Most spa hotels are either situated next to a beach, woodland or parkland so you and your dog can explore the beautiful scenery too. With spa treatments, gourmet food and perks for Fido, what’s not to like!
Here are a few options I think look utterly gorgeous:
Cliveden House – Berkshire
There’s a chef’s canine menu to spoil your dog, a comfy dog bed, yummy treats, access to 250 acres of National Trust woodland, as well as dog walking and sitting services available. And for us humans, there’s six treatment rooms, hot tubs, a heated outdoor pool and indoor pool, sauna, steam room and a whirlpool for the ultimate relaxing break with your furry friend.
Summer Lodge Hotel – Dorset
The Mount Royale Hotel & Spa – York
Chewton Glen Hotel and Spa – Hampshire
Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa – Cheshire
Dog friendly festivals
If you love soaking up festival life and wish your dog could come too, now they can. I wouldn’t suggest taking your dog to a festival if they’re prone to feeling stressed or anxious in busy environments. It’s best to choose a more relaxing holiday vibe if that’s the case.
But for outgoing pups there are plenty of options to choose from as you satisfy the music lover in you. Most festivals will ask you to keep your dog on a short lead and have strict policies on cleaning up after your dog. But that’s just a no brainer with so many people in one space, I’d say.
Here’s the best dog friendly festivals in the UK.
A three-day festival from the 9th – 11th of August and welcomes both kids and dogs. With 20,000 music lovers, there are food stalls on the camp sites with both toilets and showers available. It offers a real family-oriented vibe, and it goes without saying, dogs must be kept on a short lead and bring plenty of poop bags.
Shrewsbury Folk Festival
With a great mix of folk and roots music, this is one of Britain’s favourite folk festivals. Plenty of activities for the kids to enjoy, and there are free poop bags available from the campsite warden if you’re caught short.
Catering for a variety of music tastes, Standon Calling is said to be one of the most dog-friendly festivals in the UK. Dog parents can even enter their pooch into the dog show and be in with a chance of winning a rosette.
Weyfest is all about fine food, upcoming music artists, an eclectic mix of stalls and fun activities for the whole family. You can even have a massage and relax with a cocktail. Dogs are welcome but need to be kept on a lead and away from the café and some eating areas.
Farmer Phil’s Music Festival
A great family friendly event with over 40 live music acts over 3 days. As an added entertainment bonus, the festival also hosts a range of comedy acts and magic shows.
Camping in the great outdoors
Whether you’re wild camping or heading to one of the established campsites in the UK, you can’t beat the healing embrace of Mother Nature. Head out for the day exploring coastlines, parklands and woodlands, then break out your deck chairs and chill while Fido curls up by the fire.
If you’re wild camping, there are a few legal concerns to bear in mind. All land in England and Wales is owned so it’s best to get permission from the land owner first. In Scotland, wild camping is legal anywhere as long as you don’t pick a spot near homes or roads. This rule applies to both Devon and Dartmoor areas too.
A good rule of thumb if you’re in doubt, is find a remote location, arrive late and leave early. Be respectful of the land – don’t make too much noise and pick up after you when you leave.
If you’d rather the comforts of a holiday park with toilets and showers, here are a few great options to choose from:
Old Oaks – Somerset
With a fully fenced 300m doggy area to let your pooch play off lead, you can stroll the campsite or admire the views of the Mendip Hills. There are plenty of footpaths and fields directly off the campsite to explore with Fido too. There’s a handy poop dispenser, a dog shower, dedicated washing machines for Fido’s bedding and blankets and plenty of dog stops along the way.
Wolverley Club Site – Kidderminster
Surrounded by countryside with canal-side walks just 60 metres from the campsite and vast fields for your dog to roam around off lead. There’s a dog-friendly pub nearby to unwind with a drink and a bite to eat at the end of the day.
Great Langdale – Ambleside
Rivendale – Peak District
Bala Club Site – Wales
If you’ve always wanted to take your pooch on a boating holiday, now’s your chance. Many canal boats are dog friendly, so you can sail the glorious UK canals while Fido gets a healthy dose of fresh air. You can easily moor up and hop off to explore a new woodland area and stretch those legs along the way. Most waterside pubs are dog friendly too – the perfect opportunity to stop off for lunch and take in the surroundings.
If you’re looking for something different this summer, a barge holiday is a great option. And I speak from personal experience!
Here are a few excellent options to consider:
Explore the stunning canals of the Yorkshire waterways while your pooch takes in all that glorious scenery.
Take a narrowboat holiday along the scenic canal routes of England, Scotland or Wales. Hop off your boat and explore a new walking route every day.
Sail along the renowned Norfolk Broads with your pooch by your side.
Cabin in the woods
What could be more idyllic than a relaxing break in a charming cabin nestled in the woods… A real treat for the soul – immersed in a wildlife haven and opportunity to explore vast acres of new woodland. The ultimate way to detach from everyday life and become one with nature.
For a special touch, there are usually options for a hot tub on the decking, so you can really kick back and soak everything in with a glass of wine in the evening.
A few gems to consider are:
Woodland Lodges – Carmarthen
Set in 15 acres of stunning woodland, including a picnic area and a pond, you can get lost in nature and explore a new area every day. Woodland Lodges offers a magnificent base to uncover the breath-taking landscapes and scenery in West Wales, the Pembrokeshire Coast, National Park and the Brecon Beacons. With so much to explore, Fido won’t know where to sniff first!
Forest Holidays – UK wide
The ultimate relaxing, luxury break with hot tubs, log burners and hammocks for a cosy retreat surrounded by luscious woodland. With locations across the UK, you’ll simply be spoilt for choice.
Darwin Forest – Derbyshire Peak District
With cosy log cabins and numerous country walks to choose from, Fido will be in doggy heaven. Rather than being isolated in the woods, Darwin Forest is more of a log cabin park in the middle of the woods, so friends for your pooch are never too far away.
Dog training holiday
Your dog will never be bored on a dog training holiday. There’ll be plenty of opportunity for you and your pooch to explore the countryside and the coast while you’re away. But if you think Fido could be better trained, why not book yourself in to a dog training package. These specific holiday packages can help you work on your dog’s behaviour issues, life skills or even introduce them to an agility course.
And with all that fun and training, you can guarantee your pup will be snoozing the night away while you relax over some food and drink.
Bowerland Cottage Holidays – Devon
Choose from one of two Bowerland cottages in the Devon countryside and take advantage of the purpose-built dog training barn on site. They offer a range of training packages to suit your dog’s needs, all within the stunning Dartmoor countryside.
Log House Holidays – Cotswolds
Unwind with lakeside views from a secluded log cabin. You can enjoy 2.5 miles of lakeside and woodland walks and let Fido explore the 4-acre playing field. Their standard dog training packages include 4 hours of training spread over 2 days. So if you’re staying for the week, there’s plenty of opportunity to put what you’ve learnt into practice, explore the area, or take a dip in your lakeside hot tub.
Kelford Dog Training Centre – North Wales
A more intensive training holiday with a splash of luxury for you and your pooch. You’ll work with a world class dog trainer one-on-one and stay in a luxury cottage in a woodland area with views across Berwyn mountain range. You’ll get a program you can take with you and use back at home, and an optional personal chef throughout your stay.
Exploring a new city can be exhilarating for both you and your dog. There are so many new sights, sounds and places to explore. City breaks are perfect for a weekend/midweek break, or even a week or two.
A few years ago, finding a dog friendly hotel would have been near impossible. But now they’re popping up all over the place, taking your furry friend has never been easier.
Here are a few fabulous dog friendly hotels I love the look of:
The Arch – London
A gorgeous boutique hotel close to Marble Arch and Hyde Park in London. The hotel promises the ultimate relaxing break to pamper your pooch with samples of luxurious treats, extra comfy dog beds, and a delicious range of pet food cooked to order by their first-class chefs. They also offer a pet day spa with many treatments available.
The Abbey Hotel – Bath
A comfortable home-from-home vibe and situated in the heart of Bath, there’s plenty to see and do with Fido. Explore the most popular sights in the city and take a stroll through the local parks just minutes away from the hotel. Fido will get a bed and bowl for the room, or you’re welcome to bring your own from home. Dogs are welcome in the bar and lounge area, and you get access to the full restaurant menu so you’re not missing out.
The Hari – London
A luxury boutique hotel just a short walk from Hyde Park for Fido to stretch their legs. All breed sizes are welcome at The Hari. Your pooch can join you on the sofas in the bar or garden terrace for a light meal or even a cocktail.
As more owners hit the roads with their furry friends, there’s more choice than ever. You certainly don’t have to leave your dog at home if being apart is too agonising.
The world is your oyster, as they say!
If these 8 holiday ideas don’t prick your ears, how about finding a caravan by the beach or arranging a hiking holiday with your pooch. There really is something for everyone. For us, we’ve got our eye on a cosy cabin in the woods this year.
Where are you heading with Fido this summer? We’d love to hear your ideas for great dog friendly getaways in the UK. Let us know in the comments below…
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