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.
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.
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.
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!