A Dog’s Day Out

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Everyone deserves a holiday – and as far as we’re concerned, that includes our four-legged friends too. Yes, they may drive us crazy with their barking, endless requests for ball throwing, and many a strange pong. But, as the saying goes, ‘a dog is a man’s best friend’ and best friends make perfect holiday companions. So if you’re thinking about holidaying with your canine companion, here’s our pick of the top dog-friendly holiday destinations in the UK.

1. Yorkshire

If you’re used to living in an urban area, give your dog a taste of the good life with a trip to Yorkshire. It’s got countryside that rolls on for miles, beaches that stretch into the distance, and plenty of dog-friendly places to eat too.

For a great dog-friendly beach, head to the gorgeous old smuggler’s haunt of Robin Hood’s Bay. The beach is a mix of sand and – when the tide’s fully out – plenty of rock pools too. Up the coast is Whitby where dogs have year-round access to a sandy and sheltered beach on the east of the River Esk. A little further up the coast again you’ll find Staithes. It’s home of CBeebies hit ‘Old Jack’s Boat’, and its beach welcomes dogs all year round. Back in Whitby, when the time comes for a snack, head into town to Marie Antoinette’s Patisserie, where dogs are made especially welcome and given gravy bones as treats. You’ll find it at 139 Church Street.

Head inland to the North Yorkshire Moors and you’ll have all manner of bracing country walks at your fingertips. For something a little different, hop on a steam train at Grosmont and alight at Goathland, then walk back along the rail trail. Make a stop at Beck Hole for a spot of light refreshment (you’ll find great beers and homemade pies and sandwiches at the Birch Hall Inn), and your dog can enjoy a splash in the beck. This walk is mainly flat, covers about three and a half miles, and can even be done with a pushchair if you’ve got little ones as well.

2. Hampshire

You want enchanting forests, picturesque heath land, and easy-walking for the whole family? It’s got to be the New Forest. This is great walking territory and dogs will love exploring all the new sights and smells to be found here. There are scores of walking routes with minimal restrictions for dogs, and you’ll find plenty of dog-friendly watering holes to relax at too. The Drift Inn in Beaulieu, the Sir Walter Tyrell in Cadnam, and the Hare and Hounds in Lymington are just for starters on the pub front – but all make dogs feel welcome. If you’re looking for attractions that will welcome your dog too, make sure you visit the New Forest Centre in Lymhurst and Exbury Gardens on the outskirts of Beaulieu. There’ll be no need to keep your dog hemmed up in the car as they’re welcome at both of these locations.

3. The Lake District

It’s a walker’s heaven, so it makes sense that our furry friends will fit right in here too. As well as stack loads of glorious walks, there are also a whole host of attractions in the Lake District to enjoy with your dog too. Muncaster Castle has gardens that you can walk round with your dog. Grizedale Forest has walks for all abilities and a sculpture trail too, while the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway makes a great day out and offers a welcome break from all that walking.

4. Cornwall

Rugged coastlines, windswept scenery, and plenty of places for a pooch to mooch. First off, head to Holywell Bay Beach. It’s about five miles outside the famous surfing town of Newquay. Holywell Bay beach offers a year-round welcome to dogs and their companions. Plus, humans will be especially pleased with the Pirans Inn pub, which overlooks the beach and offers a perfect place to sup a pint. Holywell Bay is a beautiful spot to walk the dogs, with the accolade of ‘best beach in England’ as voted for by the National Trust.

Elsewhere, soak up some culture at a couple of dog-friendly art galleries. The Newlyn Art Gallery and Exchange Art Gallery in Penzance have both recently opened their dogs to our four-legged friends too. Now, there’s no saying your Jack Russell will leave as a connoisseur of Cubism, but it makes for a welcome change of scene – especially as most galleries are strictly out of bounds for dogs.

So, those are our top doggie destinations in the UK. Have we missed anywhere out? Or do you have a secret location you’d like to share with your fellow holidaying dog owners? If so, let us know – because we want to see dogs enjoying their holidays as much as their owners!

Remember!

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Just a quick reminder to say that the clocks go back an hour this weekend, so on Saturday night we’ll all get an extra hour in bed – hooray!  Then again if you’re lucky enough to be on holiday for half term week you might not notice.

If you are going away next week just be aware that the roads will probably be busier – which could be more of a problem with less daylight. But hopefully you’ll get some good weather when the sun comes out. We’ll keep our fingers crossed!

If you fancy taking a break next week, why not check the availability on some of our fantastic holiday cottages? And if you’re not going away then enjoy your extra hour and have a fantastic weekend.

Share your holiday highlights!

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We all love holidays, the excitement and the opportunity to explore somewhere new or rediscover a favourite place in the UK. And the beauty of a cottage holiday is that it gives you the complete freedom to seek out and sample the very best local cuisine and attractions.

We want to hear about your finds and that’s why we’re launching our search for the nation’s favourite hidden holiday gems. We want to know about that perfect independent supplier or local attraction that made your holiday truly memorable.

It could be a local bakery that made the best Cornish pasties, or the village corner cafe that served the tastiest morning bacon sandwiches. Or what about that great local brew you tried in the fantastic pub with beer garden. It doesn’t have to be food and drink that made your holiday memorable, it could be somewhere you visited or something you saw that was the highlight of your holiday, for example that stunning view or working farm the kids loved.

Martin Dunford, publisher of the Rough Guide to Britain and co-founder of Rough Guides said:

Britain has so much to offer, with a wealth of undiscovered places and hidden gems. This is a great opportunity for the British public to get involved by exploring their own back yard and championing the best that the country has to offer.

Whatever it is we want to hear about it and share with others. To recommend your holiday gems please click here and complete the short form. We’ll be collecting all your nominations throughout summer and publish the findings in September, so keep those memories alive and get voting!

For further information on Rough Guides, travel guides, gift-books, maps, phrasebooks, bespoke custom publishing guides and digital products, visit www.roughguides.com. Rough Guide is also offering all cottages4you visitors 20% off the latest Rough Guide to Britain. To redeem your discount, simply enter the code ‘rough’ in the coupon code box when you go to buy the product online.

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Your guide to Beach Cricket – the unofficial rules

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With play just about to start on The Second Test of the summer 09 Ashes Series at Lords, our thoughts turn to cricket. If you haven’t already heard it’s an Ashes Summer! And if you’ve been inspired by the heroics of “Freddie”, “KP” and “Monty” to name but a few, why not re-enact or re-write some great test matches with a spot of beach cricket! It’s the perfect game to involve the whole family, meet new friends, and, as the equipment needed is minimal (a bat, a ball and 4 piece of wood) any spot on the beach can be your Cardiff, Lords, Edgbaston, Headingley or Oval!

He's in

He's in

To help get you started we’ve compiled the cottages4you unofficial guide to beach cricket with some basic rules, hints and tips to make the game more enjoyable! Please feel free to download it and take it with you on your next holiday. (tip – if possible, ‘beach proof’ it by laminating it).

Once you’ve had a game we’d love to hear how you got on. Have you compiled a mammoth innings (if so how much), hit the biggest six (if so, how far?), taken a great catch or got a brilliant “5-for”?  If so, tell us about it! Share any funny stories with us -  did a dog steal the ball, did Dad get out first ball or a Seagull stop play? We want to hear all your stories throughout this Ashes summer, add a comment to this post!

In the meantime, enjoy your cricket, enjoy the summer and as the Umpire would say “play”!…..

Download your free guide here : PDF 1.2MB

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Two great new features – launched today

We’ve added two great new features to the cottages4you website today.

Search with Maps

Search using a map

Search using a map

Using the ever popular Google Maps we’ve added map searching onto the site. Pick a spot that you’re interested in on the map and get results for properties within a 10 to 100 mile radius. You can also search by a place or town name. For example, tap in something like  ‘The Lake District’ or ‘Whitby’ to retrieve all the available properties that match your requirements in or nearby your desired location. What’s more, if you select ‘see results on a map’ you’ll be presented with a  map with ‘pushpins’ indicating where relevant properties are. Give it a go! Search with maps>>

Extras

extras page

Extras page

To make sure you enjoy your holiday as much as possible we have developed some great additional benefits including access to a wide range of offers including theatre tickets, restaurants, local attractions from lastminute.com and commission free home delivered  foreign currency for your trips abroad from the International Currency Exchange. Visit the extras page>>

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