The continued uncertainty around international travel has prompted many of us to book UK staycations this year – certainly no bad thing, as we’re blessed with many amazing places to explore on home soil, and it doesn’t take long to realise that beauty can be found on your doorstep.
What’s more, staycations allow us to experience somewhere new with all of the family – canine companions included. It’s never been easier to take your dog along on holiday, with pup-friendly pubs, hotels and activities popping up all over the UK.
So, whether you’re eyeing up a long weekend hiking or a weeks’ R&R by the sea, 2021 is the perfect opportunity for you and your pooch to discover everything the UK has to offer.
Here are our favourite UK dog-friendly escapes to help you get going…
- The Lake District
There are walkies, and then there are Lake District walkies. This spectacular landscape is popular with keen explorers of the two- and four-legged variety, thanks to its beautiful scenery and choice of trails that cater to all levels of ability – not to mention its generous helping of dog-friendly pubs. Intrepid adventurers will make a beeline for England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, while more leisurely explorers will relish the array of lakeside walks, picnic spots and pup-friendly boat trips at Derwentwater, Buttermere and Windermere.
- The Peak District
Another popular destination with adventurous dog-owners, the Peak District boasts an impressive range of walks and hikes – one of our favourites is the area around the stunning Upper Derwent Valley Reservoirs. Afterwards, you can roam the cobbled streets of Bakewell, and indulge in the variety of dog-friendly eateries on offer. Then head to Chatsworth House, a stately home where dogs are welcome on leads.
- North Wales
From Snowdonia to Anglesey, North Wales offers some of the most dramatic scenery in the UK. Snowdonia National Park is open to dogs on leads, and offers a number of hikes, lakes and, of course, the park’s namesake peak. There are also plenty of camping options. Looking for some downtime? Look no further than Anglesey’s golden coastline. According to Tails.com, Anglesey has the most dog-friendly beaches in the UK (a whopping 17!).
For coastal walks
We can’t talk about UK staycations without mentioning Cornwall. With charming harbour towns, striking cliff walks and Mediterranean-like beaches, this popular region is a wonderful location for dog-loving families. There are some brilliant walks, including Tintagel, the Lizard Coastal Walk, and the trail from St. Ives to Padstow. And, talking of Padstow, woof on the street is there’s a shop selling dog-friendly pasties…
- Bangor, Northern Ireland
This quaint seaside town is a gateway to the dramatic Causeway Coast, from the famous Giant’s Causeway to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge – both of which are dog-friendly. Back in Bangor itself, check out the Salty Dog Hotel, which has been welcoming dogs since opening back in 2012. There’s a small charge per dog, £5 of which goes to a local animal shelter.
For city breaks
Edinburgh is steeped in culture, and your ‘dug’ can come along as you explore it – for example, in venues like the Summerhall arts centre. And, wherever you wander in the city, you’ll be overlooked by Arthur’s Seat – an ancient volcano with amazing views across Edinburgh and beyond. Naturally, it’s also a brilliant walk for you and your furry sidekick.
But don’t just take our word for it – Tails.com has recently named Edinburgh as the number one dog-friendly UK destination in their ‘Ruff’ Guide, based on the number of pup-friendly holiday rentals, restaurants and attractions available (656, if you were wondering).
For countryside escapes
- The Cotswolds
Picturesque and pet-friendly, the Cotswolds area is rich with places to explore, from the sweeping landscapes near Broadway Tower to the quaint villages at Lower and Upper Slaughter. There are also plenty of pooch-friendly pubs and hotels – psssst, we love the Hare and Hounds Hotel in Tetbury, which boasts a special dog menu at the bar.
And here's Ollie, the amazing doggo of our very own Closer Pets team member Justine, with her partner Matt at Broadway Tower to prove it!
- Berkshire and the Chiltern Hills
With beautiful walks, reservoirs and chalk streams, the Chiltern Hills are particularly popular with dog-loving Londoners, as it’s a mere 30-minute trip away. What’s more, the close-by Cliveden House offers a five-star experience for owner and pet alike. Now owned by the National Trust, Cliveden offers acres of outdoor space, plus a bespoke ‘Doggy Break’, with a welcome pack that includes a bed, bowl and mat, gourmet meal from the chef’s canine menu, and a personalised lead. Sign us up!
If a dose of sea air is just what the doctor ordered, Brighton will be right up your street. This famous dog-friendly city has something for every man and his dog – from traditional seaside attractions to the rolling countryside of the South Downs on your doorstep. Take your four-legged friend on a seafront train ride, and let them roam free on the pebble beach (bonus: no sandy paws in your car). There’s also the lovely Undercliff Walk from Brighton Marina to Saltdean, and if you arrive there at the end of the lido season, you can take part in the famous Saltdean Lido Dog Swim (Google it – you won’t regret it).
Devon is another popular seaside escape with dog owners, with its array of pup-friendly accommodation, eateries and beaches. The beautiful Thurlestone Beach is open to dogs all year round. Head inland to discover the National Parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor, and don’t forget to check out the gorgeous circular walk around Waterhead Creek in Kingswear.
For forest adventures
- Forest of Dean
Nestled on the Welsh border, the Forest of Dean is a dog’s dream. With endless woodland paths to roam, there are also plenty of activities that let you bring your canine companion along, from canoeing along the river Wye, to trekking up to the viewpoint at Symonds Yat Rock. Once you’re done exploring, why not head back to Forest Holidays? These self-catering cabins offer dog-friendly options (not to mention a hot tub for the humans).
The year of the staycation
UK staycations have always been a popular option for dog owners – however, with the majority of international destinations currently off the table, more of us are holidaying in the UK and taking our four-legged friends along for the ride.
If you’re embarking on a UK adventure this summer, don’t forget to put together a list of everything you need for you and your furry plus-one. Chances are there will be the odd occasion where you need to pop out without your dog (for example, to have dinner at an eatery that doesn’t allow four-legged friends), so why not bring along your Closer Pets automatic dog feeder to keep your dog fed and happy while you nip out for the evening? (If you do leave your dog unattended for a short period, make sure your accommodation is secure, and that it doesn’t have any rules about leaving pets unattended.)
Now, if you don’t mind, we’re off to book a staycation…