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!

6 tips for Travelling with your Dog

 

Make the perfect pet-friendly break.

Make the perfect pet-friendly break

Nothing beats the feeling of finishing work for a well deserved holiday. However, often that feeling is tarnished by the realisation that you will be leaving your beloved pooch behind. Putting up with two weeks away from your fluffy companion for the sake of a relaxing holiday doesn’t have to be the case! It doesn’t matter whether your break is in the UK or a little further afield, there’s always the option to take your pet away with you. There are a number of things that you must consider, however, so that your dog remains safe, comfortable and, in some cases, legal! Here are our top tips for a happy trip away with your pet dog.

1. Crate your dog to ensure safety and comfort in the car

Some dog owners feel bad about keeping their dog in a crate, especially on long journeys. The truth is, the majority of dogs are quite happy inside their crate – it’s their happy place. Placing your dog inside a crate for car journeys is essential – it keeps them safe, prevents them from distracting the driver, and ensures a comfortable journey for all members of the family.

If your dog already has a crate, and is used to being locked inside it, fantastic! You don’t need to do much other than moving the crate into the car and following your usual commands to get the dog inside. However, if your dog isn’t used to being inside a crate, it’s a good idea to start preparing them for the trip a few weeks in advance. Allow the dog to spend some time in there, with the door closed, and build a positive association. Speak to your canine friend with a happy, positive voice – they need to understand that it’s a safe, comfortable environment for them to spend time in. Most dogs adapt well to crate training, but there are plenty of detailed guides online if you encounter any difficulties.

2. Go for a long walk before embarking on your journey

If your dog is well exercised before you set off, it’s likely they’ll be tired enough to just curl up and go to sleep for much of the journey. It’s important to do this, as a restless dog is more likely to feel stressed and agitated throughout the journey. It also provides them with the opportunity to use the toilet before the trip – just as we do – particularly important if you’re embarking on a long journey without many stops!

3. Keep your dog relaxed and comfortable

There are many things you can do to keep your dog comfortable whilst in the car. Firstly, don’t feed them immediately before you depart. Whilst this can be tempting, especially if they’re not going to eat for a while, many dogs are prone to motion sickness and eating straight before you leave will only make the problem worse. It’s also a good idea to take any dog blankets or toys in the car with you. If they have a favourite toy, place it in the crate to comfort them. However, ensure that there’s no risk of strangulation or injury to the dog first – some toys aren’t suitable. If it’s warm in the car, use the air conditioning. Remember that it might not be as cool in the dog’s crate, particularly if they’re in the boot, so you might need to pack an extra jumper for yourself!

4. Take regular breaks

If you’re making a long journey, take regular breaks to allow your dog to stretch their legs, have a drink, and get some attention. Never leave your dog unattended in the car, particularly during summer. The temperature inside the car can increase rapidly, and is extremely dangerous.

5. Maintain a normal routine

Dogs are used to their routine, so it’s important not to disrupt it too much while you’re away. Try to stick to their regular meal times – they know when they’re due to be fed, and will be hungry! Also make sure that you take your dog for regular walks and give them lots of attention. Being away from home can be strange and confusing for dogs, particularly during the first couple of days, so make it your priority to ensure they’re feeling happy and comfortable.

6. Be prepared

Before you go, be prepared and get to know the local area. Find out the nearest vets to your accommodation, and write down their address and phone number. That way, if anything were to happen whilst you’re away, you’ll be able to get there straight away. If you intend on eating out, research dog friendly pubs and restaurants before you leave to avoid disappointment.

Following these tips will ensure a memorable and fun trip for the entire family!

Take a look at our Pets Page for more info and to search our special range of pet-friendly properties.

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.

Ghostly goings on

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We recently received what appeared to be complaint from a customer saying that the property they were staying in was haunted. Customer satisfaction is very important to us so we took their word that the mysterious owl-like noises they heard were not in fact from an owl but from a ghost…possibly doing an impression of an owl.

But it turned out that the customer wasn’t complaining, they were actually delighted to be sharing their holiday cottage with owls ghosts.  So with Halloween fast approaching we thought there might be more of you who’d like to explore the ghoulish side of UK history on a Halloween break.

So sit tight and keep a light on as we explore some of the UK’s most haunted regions….

Chillingham Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland

Some might say Sir Humphry Wakefield was asking for trouble by naming his castle ‘Chillingham’, he might as well have called it ‘Ghostville’ or ‘Polterhouse’. And if attracting ghosts was his plan, it seemed to work. As well as the ghost of Lady Berkely, who walks the corridors looking for wayward lover, there are stories of a spook that leaps out of a painting at night. Unfortunately, for those of a nervous disposition, the picture is not of a group of dogs playing snooker.

The castle’s library allegedly houses a pair of ghosts who talk loudly, making the position of librarian at Chillingham Castle one of the least satisfying jobs in the UK. And if you’re thinking of escaping the ghouls outside the castle…think again! Even the lake in the castle’s grounds is said to be haunted, presumably by the ghosts of spurned goldfish…

The Tower of London

With the ghosts of Sir Walter Raleigh, Queen Ann Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey allegedly roaming its corridors late at night, the Tower of London is not only one of the most haunted places in the UK but also like a supernatural version of Hello magazine.

But it’s not just notable historic figures who are rumoured to haunt its darkened corridors late at night; in 1816, one sentry stationed outside the jewel room, reported seeing a bear advancing towards him. The lack of physical evidence (such as an actual giant bear) caused some cynics to question the story’s legitimacy, so in return the sentry offered that it must have been the ghost of bear. Although it’s entirely possible he may have been exposed to other kinds of spirits at the time.

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The Red Lion Inn, Avebury, Wiltshire

And speaking of spirits of one kind and another, The Red Lion Inn seems to have both in abundance. One of the most famous ghosts is that of Florrie, a 17th century lady who is rumoured to appear from the well in the bar area. Unfortunately for the owners of the pub, Florrie seems to be a bit of a troublemaker and there have been reports of items being mysteriously thrown around the bar area – though we can’t confirm that this only happens at last orders.

Guests staying at The Red Lion are rumoured to have left in the middle of the night and there are reports of rooms feeling freezing, even in summer. And when you consider that one of the ghosts has a ‘thing’ for men with beards, those of a nervous disposition or an excess of facial hair might prefer to stay in a holiday cottage nearby and leave The Red Lion well before closing time!

Okehampton, Devonshire

Okehampton seems to be a commuter town for spirits, a bit like Ipswich but for the supernatural. One of the most impressive tales is that of Lady Howard, who lived in the town’s castle and reportedly married wealthy men before murdering them for their fortune.

Lady Howard’s ghostly penance is to visit the castle every night to pick one blade of grass before returning to her family home. And when you consider the fact that she supposedly does this in a carriage made of bones pulled by a black dog with flaming eyes, even the most unobservant ghost hunter should be able to spot this spook!

Bodelwyddan Castle, Rhyl, Wales

Bodelwyddan Castle is now home to the National Portrait Gallery, so even if you’d rather not be on the lookout for spooks, you can still see some beautiful works of art. But you may not be alone when you do! The castle used to be used as a hospital for soldiers from the First World War and visitors have reported seeing the ghostly figure of a soldier admiring the pieces of art hanging throughout the galleries.

If paintings and ghosts of soldiers aren’t really your thing, then you can always pay a visit to Sculpture Gallery, which is rumoured to be haunted by the spectral shape of a lady. And if you decide to escape the art, you may still find yourself sat with the ghost of a lady in blue in the tearoom! So if your interests are both art and ghosts, you could do worse than pay a visit to Bodelwyddan Castle.

Have you had any spooky experiences on your travels around the UK that you’d care to share? Leave a comment below and have a great halloween!

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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Great Holiday Park Accommodation in Europe – from Landal

Landal Green parksLandal GreenParks is the leader in chalet-park management and rental, with 62 fantastic holiday parks and a total of approximately 11,000 chalets. Visit their site at www.landal.co.uk to browse beautiful holiday park resorts in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

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!

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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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