If you’re a dog-lover you may find it more relaxing to book a break that involves taking your four-legged friends rather than leaving them behind in kennels or lodgings. The anxiety of saying goodbye and worrying about them pining away can end up taking much of the pleasure out of your holiday.
To organise a successful break with your dog, it’s worth starting off by making a list of all the things you usually like to do on holiday – whether you enjoy sightseeing, spending time on the beach, or eating out at restaurants. If you research destinations carefully you will know it’s going to be suitably dog-friendly before you book, and you can avoid wasting valuable holiday time getting turned away from sights and establishments because they won’t allow dogs. Once you’ve chosen your destination you’ll also need to find accommodation that welcomes dogs. A genuinely accommodating hotel will make all the difference, going all-out to help make your canine companion welcome. They may have a dog-friendly restaurant on site, for example, offer an enclosed space for exercise, or have accessible public footpaths leading directly from the hotel grounds.
Here’s our pick of some amazing places to stay across the UK.
Wales is well known for its wild mountain and coastal landscapes, offering some superb opportunities for amazing holidays with your hound. In a very special part of Snowdonia, with Cadair Idris as its garden backdrop, Dolffanog Fawr is an 18th century farmhouse with spectacular views to Tal-y-llyn lake. Situated in beautiful Tal-y-llyn valley, it has just four ensuite rooms, each named after a local river, and with stylish, understated décor that incorporates local artwork and luxurious Melin Tregwynt throws. Kick back and relax after a day’s hiking and clean Welsh mountain air on their top quality pocket sprung mattresses with crisp Egyptian cotton bedding. Then wake up to a breakfast that champions some wonderful local produce – or reserve a place for dinner at their communal table (except Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays) to tuck into Aberdyfi salt marsh lamb or Welsh black beef washed down with some carefully-chosen wine. Well behaved dogs, by prior arrangement and with their own beds, are welcome at a cost of £10 per dog per night.
Stunning scenery at Dolfannog Fawr
Alternatively, down in Mid Wales, just two miles from idyllic beaches, the former dairy farm of Penbontbren is set in 32 acres of tranquil Ceredigion countryside. It’s about 10 minutes’ drive from the small coastal town of Aberporth, making it a Mecca for pet owners. Delicious Welsh breakfasts (which include delicious local Rhydlewis smoked salmon) are served each morning in the farmhouse’s characterful 1860s dining room, while the elegant guest rooms offer free wi-fi and have their own bright living area, making them well-suited to owners who want to relax with their dogs in their room in the evenings. Well behaved dogs are welcome with prior agreement.
In the historical county of Worcestershire, the newly refurbished 4 Star Hogarths Stone Manor has been transformed into a beautiful, nature-inspired contemporary boutique hotel that currently has 10 guest rooms plus a dining room, guest lounge with log fire, bar and drawing room. The design brings the outside into the hotel using a palette of greens, ochres and aubergines along with luxurious textiles – while in the 25 acres of landscapes gardens you’ll find a croquet lawn, a tennis court, a jogging route, and a walled garden with water fountain and semi-wild areas for wildlife. The area lends itself well to holidays with doggiez, with endless country walks, and the hotel invites you to bring along your furry friend. They can help to make your break easier – by providing pet bowls and a basket, for example – although there may be a charge, so it’s worth asking when you book.
South West England
Heading south, the elegant Georgian city of Bath is crammed with gorgeous boutique hotels – but it is harder to find somewhere special that accommodates dogs. Grosvenor Villa provides just that: a beautiful period house with hosts who will welcome your pet at no extra charge, situated in a convenient location both for dog walks and sightseeing. Pulteney Bridge is just over a mile’s walk away, for example, as are most of Bath’s spectacular sights such as Royal Crescent, Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths. Back at the B&B there’s free WiFi, free parking (which is a big bonus in Bath), and no shortage of luxurious touches such as bathrobes and toiletries.
Grosvenor Villa is a beautiful period building
In the rural Devonshire village of Milton Abbot, Hotel Endsleigh is a Grade I historic house nestled in a hundred acres of enchanting woodland, fairytale follies and grottos – all created by 18th century landscape designer Humphry Repton on behalf of the Duke of Bedford. The Duke picked out this particular spot for his fishing and hunting lodge. Set in an idyllic spot on the edge of Dartmoor, many of the property’s 18 bedrooms offer stunning views of the impressive gardens and sun terrace, the river Tamar, and even neighbouring Cornwall.
The characterful Cotswold town of Tetbury is another superb destination: lined with antique shops and boutiques, and surrounded by gorgeous Gloucestershire countryside. Dating back to 1535, The Close is a contemporary yet country-styled establishment that oozes sophistication and charm. Every room is unique, some with views over the peaceful garden and others over the town’s historic high street. Guests can enjoy an evening in the lively bar, brasserie and dining room – warming up in front of a roaring fire during winter months – before heading upstairs to rooms stocked with luxury toiletries and high quality bedding.
South East England
Over in the east Tuddenham Mill Luxury Boutique Hotel, in Suffolk, is a unique establishment housed within a converted and refurbished watermill near Newmarket and Cambridge. Featuring clean, modern designs, the rooms are chic and luxurious, with generously-sized beds, feather duvets, Egyptian cotton sheets, Bose sound systems, flat screen TVs, and plenty of pampering toiletries. With exposed beams and a 17th-century water wheel, the building manages to blend historic character with modern sophistication, and the award-winning restaurant serves mouthwatering contemporary food making good use of fresh and local produce.
Unique establishment near Newmarket and Cambridge.
Situated close to Lewes in East Sussex and within easy reach of Brighton are the stunning Blue Door Barns. These charming and quirky properties date back to the 16th century and meld modern luxury with vintage to successfully create cosy boutique places to stay with glorious South Downs walks for you and your pooch right on the doorstep. A range of delicious breakfast options are available and two of the barns have kitchens and can be booked for a self catering stay
Blue Door Barns new Lewes in East Sussex
North East England
Uncrowded moorland and natural beaches galore can be found up in northern England, too – particularly Yorkshire. Perfect for relaxing and indulging, and popular with couples (especially those with dogs), the elegant Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa manages to retain a distinctly boutique feel despite having some 33 guest rooms. Nestled in a quiet spot on the edge of the wild North Yorkshire Moors, each room at this spacious Victorian hotel has been individually designed. The staff are friendly and attentive and, as the name suggests, there is an award-winning, well-equipped spa on site offering a full range of revitalising treatments – ideal after a day outdoors with your hound. There is also an outdoor heated swimming pool that is open all year round, and a cosy 2 AA-awarded restaurant for those who don’t fancy a stroll into nearby Helmsley. During their stay, dog-owners could explore the famous seaside towns of Whitby or Scarborough, or the dog-friendly grounds of Castle Howard, amongst many other attractions.
Each room at this spacious Victorian hotel has been individually designed
North West England
City breaks may be less on the radar when you’re planning to take along your pooch for company, but Liverpool‘s largely pedestrianised city centre and easy escapes to nearby sandy beaches along the North West coastline make it a viable option. The four-star Hope Street Hotel is right in the heart of the city, with stylish yet pet-friendly rooms and its own bar and award-winning restaurant – The London Carriage Works, which is Liverpool’s only 2AA rosette restaurant. If you like to stay in with your dog in the evenings, there is 24-hour room service available and each room has a flat screen TV with DVD and CD player, and you can watch films from the hotel’s own movie library. Once you’ve enjoyed some dog-friendly sightseeing in Liverpool city centre you could hop on the train to Formby for a walk through the sand dunes and along the beach, with views to Liverpool in one direction and right up to Blackpool in the other.
Hope Street Hotel is located in the heart of Liverpool
Heading over the border into Scotland, Trigony House Hotel in Dumfries and Galloway is a former shooting lodge for Closeburn Castle that today offers a laid-back atmosphere and a reputation for being extremely friendly, to guests both hound and human. They have a relaxing garden spa for guests to enjoy plus a cosy bar with an open log fire, rustic cuisine, and rooms that have each been furnished differently. This gorgeous country house is set within four acres of secluded gardens and mature woodland, and the surrounding Nithsdale valley is perfect for fishing and other outdoor pursuits – with some walking routes even starting from the hotel grounds.
Trigony House Hotel in Dumfries and Galloway
Further north in the Scottish Highlands guests will get a strong flavour of Scotland from both the décor and the tasty breakfasts at East Haugh House Hotel which is perfect for foodies. Dating back to the 1660s, this family-run, turreted stone house is just two miles from Pitlochry in an area where there are endless opportunities for outdoor activities – from peaceful woodland dogs walks and pony trekking to salmon fishing or golf. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi, free private parking and individually designed rooms – many of which have four poster beds or a luxurious spa bath to relax in at the end of a busy day. Every morning guest wake up to a full Scottish breakfast, which provides the perfect fuel for a day outdoors, then you can return in the evenings to enjoy a meal at the hotel’s restaurant, which has a seasonal menu featuring daily fresh fish.
Tell us if we missed somewhere out that you recommend!
Author: Rebecca Burns