Dog-friendly holidays: a UK guide

Some 1.4 million of us choose to take a staycation with our dogs. With kennels often costing up to £50 a day or more – and with a growing number of properties making their places on Airbnb dog friendly – it can also make financial sense to take your pet away with you.

We asked veteran dog vacation enthusiast Jo Hoare, author of What Your Dog’s Breed Says About You, to pick some of the best places for holidays with dogs across the UK. Just don’t forget to check prices for any dog supplements!

South West

Best hotel: Set in 55 acres of parkland and woods, Cowley Manor in the Cotswolds is the ideal place for dog owners who like a little style with their staycation. 

Doggy highlight: Take a trip to Blenheim Palace in Woodstock for a walk around the stunning lake. Dogs are welcome in most of the park, but they’ll need to be kept on a lead.

Best walk: The grounds at Cowley Manor are huge – and perfect for anything from a short stroll to an all-day explore. If you fancy something a little further afield, try the picturesque Cotswold Way. With plenty of pooch-friendly pubs along the way, this is a picturesque trail through some of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds.

Top tip: The hotel provides dog beds and bowls to make your pup feel completely at home – a great idea if you’re short on space in your car.

Your ultimate luxury doggy staycation

Scotland

Best hotel: Trigony House Hotel in Dumfries is as much a trip for your pooch as it is for you. With three resident dogs to welcome you, there’s no doubt this is an incredibly pet-friendly hotel.

Doggy highlight: If you’re up for a drive, Luce Sands beach is sheltered and is a good bet if the weather’s bad. Looking for somewhere a little closer? Head to Cream o’ Galloway Farm near Castle Douglas – it has an enclosed dog-walking area in a seven-acre wood, where you can let your pooch run free.

Best walk: Galloway Forest Park is about 45 minutes away and is famous for its unspoiled natural beauty. Your dog (and you!) will delight in the rolling glens, hills and picturesque forest trails. The hotel will also help you with a dog-friendly itinerary if you fancy a day trip in the surrounding area. 

Top tip: Although your dog can’t go into the main restaurant, you can order exactly the same food to eat in the cosy bar. And there are free sausages for all four-legged friends at breakfast.

Your ultimate luxury doggy staycation

Wales

Best hotel: The Felin Fach Griffin near Brecon is the perfect base for exploring the Brecon Beacons. Dogs are welcome in all the bedrooms here.

Doggy highlight: Check out the special Doggy Days at the National Botanic Garden of Wales – designated days when your dog is welcome in the beautiful grounds. With pet experts on hand and heaps of other dog lovers, it’s a brilliant day out.

Best walk: Offa’s Dyke Path is a 177-mile trail – you don’t have to walk it all! – along the English/Welsh border that guarantees stunning scenery, no matter how far you venture.

Top tip: When you book for dinner, mention that your dog’s coming too and the hotel will make sure your table has enough space for your pooch to be comfortable.

Your ultimate luxury doggy staycation

Ireland

Best hotel: The Mustard Seed at Echo Lodge in Ballingarry, County Limerick, is a converted 19th-century convent set in beautiful gardens.

Doggy highlight: Nearby King John’s Castle is a fun day out for all the family, including your dog (on a lead). Or take a trip to Adare, one of Ireland’s most picturesque villages, for a relaxed stroll.

Best walk: One of the most spectacular sights in all of Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast are a 20-minute ferry journey and offer a bracing coastal walk with great views.

Top tip: If your dog usually needs a late-night or early morning call of nature, then ask for a room that opens directly onto the gardens, so you can let them out in your PJs.

Your ultimate luxury doggy staycation

North

Best hotel: If you’re a fan of the Yorkshire Dales, then you’ll fall in love with Hipping Hall, near Kirkby Lonsdale in Lancashire. Dogs aren’t permitted in the main house, including the restaurant, but the terrace is a lovely spot to enjoy lunch with your four-legged friend.

Doggy highlight: If you’re a confident walker, then the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is well worth a day of your trip. This 4.3-mile hike takes in some breathtaking scenery; although your dog will need to be on a lead at some points as you will cross farmland.

Best walk: Bang in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, you’ll be spoilt for choice. If your dog finds it difficult to negotiate stiles, look out for the Miles Without Stiles routes – there are more than 40 in the Lake District National Park.

Top tip: Book room seven – it has two levels with a bath and bedroom upstairs, and a sitting room downstairs. If your dog doesn’t normally sleep in your bedroom, their routine won’t be upset and they’ll have plenty of room to stretch out. 

The ultimate luxury doggy staycation

South East

Best hotel: Fancy a trip to vibrant Brighton? Try The Oriental, just a short walk from the famous Brighton Lanes.

Doggy highlight: There are some great dog-friendly beaches between Chailey Avenue and Arundel Drive West, where your pooch can splash about in the sea. More of a pampered pup? Then spoil your pet with some seriously sassy accessories from Bone Idol in Kemptown.

Best walk: You’ll be spoilt for choice as there’s some gorgeous walks in Brighton, including Stanmer Park and Preston Park (as well as the seafront itself). For a walk with incredible sea views, follow the base of the white cliffs from Brighton to Rottingdean, where you and your furry friend can explore the front courtyard of William Wordsworth’s home. 

Top tip: : Make sure to call ahead and let your hosts know you’ll be staying with your pooch in tow (pets are not permitted in two rooms of the hotel). And while you’re there, try the aptly named Ginger Dog in Kemptown for dinner, where your dog will be served up bones free of charge. 

Your ultimate luxury doggy staycation

London

Best hotel: It can be tricky to find dog-friendly accommodation in the capital, but the stylish boutique hotel The Ampersand in South Kensington is of one the best.

Doggy highlight: Treat your pooch to a doggy afternoon tea at the nearby Egerton House Hotel. As you tuck into scones, they’ll get to enjoy a selection of treats, such as chicken and beef meatloaf, a homemade dog biscuit and some doggy-licious ice cream.

Best walk: With Hyde Park on your doorstep, you have 350 acres at your disposal. If you’re feeling energetic, the seven-mile Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk takes in four London parks. Directions are given by plaques set in the ground, so it’s an easy route to follow.

Top tip: Want to take more than one dog? The hotel are fine with that, but you’ll probably be more comfortable if you take a suite. If you want to pop out without your dog, then the hotel provides a dog-walking service whereby they’ll wear out your pup out in Hyde Park; but make sure you book this in advance.

Your ultimate luxury doggy staycation

Before you set off on your trip, make sure you’re aware of the law around pets in cars. And don’t forget there’ll be different laws if your trip is abroad – for a start, you’ll probably need a pet passport.

Whether you’re after the best dog insurance lifetime cover, or another great deal on pet insurance, use our comparison service to find cover that suits you at a price that’s right.

All prices accurate at 3 July 2017.

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