With overseas travel looking distinctly unlikely this year, now is the time to embrace a dog-friendly holiday in the UK. Your dog will be delighted to be included in your plans and you will be surprised to find just how many of our own homegrown destinations are equally as lovely, if not more so, that their overseas equivalents. We have contrasted the attractions of some of these holiday hot spots like the Caribbean, South of France and Italian Lakes with some of our favourite PetsPyjamas dog-friendly destinations which have striking similarities and have wonderful dog-friendly hotels with exclusive packages where your dog will be as welcome as you are!
1) Bath instead of Budapest
Budapest is famous for its fabulous thermal baths but for a similar experience that is much closer to home why not visit the city of Bath – a famous Spa town with thermal baths as well as a wealth of other attractions to delight you and your dog. Bath’s Thermae Bath Spa provides warm, mineral-rich waters as the Celts and Romans experienced over 2,000 years ago with spectacular views of the city from the rooftop pool. But the city’s wonderful Georgian architecture is most definitely experienced on foot with your four-legged friend in tow. There are numerous dog-friendly cafes and restaurants and plenty of green spaces to walk like the lovely Royal Victoria Park to explore plus Bath’s Skyline walk with stunning views across the city.
We recommend a stay at Homewood Hotel close to Bath because its super dog-friendly! Winner of our 2020 Top Luxe Hotel Award, expect a waggy welcome with treat box, special doggie menu, comfy bed and wonderful walks from the doorstep.
2) St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall instead of Normandy’s Mont Saint-Michel
Whilst Normandy’s Mont St Michel is rightly famous and one of France’s best-known attractions, St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall is less well known – yet a secret definitely worth knowing, Both are small islands with hilltop castles. St Michael’s Mount is just 500 metres from Marazion and can be approached on foot or by boat but better still take your dog on a walk around Mount’s Bay with some of the best beaches in Cornwall and where you have stunning views of the island. The walk follows Mount’s Bay from Marazion to Mousehole. You can walk the whole way or split the walk between walking and driving. The views around the bay are fantastic and you might even spot a dolphin or two. There are numerous dog-friendly cafes and restaurants along the way.
We recommend The Godolphin Arms which offers a wonderful four-legged welcome and sits right on the seafront overlooking St Michael’s Mount with endless beaches for your dog to play.
3) Lake Windermere instead of Lake Garda
Whilst Lake Garda may offer fairytale castles, delightful villages and mountain views but we believe that Lake Windemere is just as beautiful with a backdrop of stunning fells. There are 10 miles of lakeside strolls around the lake which is England’s longest and largest natural lake. Make your way to the top of Orrest Head for wonderful views of Scafell Pike and Great Gable as well as the jagged outline of the Langdale Pikes, The walk is 2.5 miles long and can be completed in an hour. You and your dog can enjoy a mixture of short and longer circular walks around the Lake with fabulous views. You can even take your dog on a cruise across Lake Windermere where dogs get their own ticket as well as a trip on the dog-friendly Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway close by.
Stay at The Swan at Newby Bridge – another PetsPyjamas 2020 award winner which offers a big welcome to furry friends with a pet information pack with a list of walks, acres of space and walks on the doorstep.
4) Holkham Beach, Norfolk instead of South Africa
Like the vast beaches of South Africa with gorgeous dunes and long stretches of sand, Holkham beach is one of our all-time favourite beaches in the UK and every bit as fabulous!
Your furry friend will love it here. It has four miles of white sand dotted with sand dunes and backed by pine woods and is part of one of the largest nature reserves in the country. Perfect for a dog-friendly escape – you dog will enjoy scampering across the sand, walking in the woods as well as splashing in the sea. While you are here you can also visit dog-friendly Holkham Hall as well as some of the other lovely beaches and seaside villages in North Norfolk like Brancaster and Wells-next-to-Sea which can be reached by walking from Holkham on a lovely 2 and a half mile pine walk, part of the Norfolk Coastal path.
We recommend The Chequers Inn, in Thornham is a stylish pub with rooms just a short walk from the North Norfolk beaches and where you can dine with your dog in the super cosy snug bar.
5) Surrey instead of Provence
If you are yearning for the lavender fields of France you can enjoy the same experience but much closer to home by a visit to the Mayfield Lavender Farm in Surrey. And even better you can bring your favourite four-legged friend along too! The 25-acre farm in Banstead grows three sorts of organic lavender and you can explore the fields wandering through a sea of lavender with your dog by foot or in the tractor which also allows dogs. An Instagrammer’s dream, the lavender fields are breathtaking and there is also a lavender shop where you can buy bunches of lavender and an alfresco cafe – try the lavender afternoon tea! The lavender normally starts to bloom in June with July and August the peak time for visits
Stay at The White Horse, Surrey – wonderfully positioned just five minutes walk from the Surrey Hills with endless woodland and heathland trails and just 20 minutes drive to the Mayfield Lavender Farm.
6) The Isles of Scilly, Cornwall instead of the Caribbean
If you are dreaming of a trip to the Caribbean then this might be the year to visit the Scilly Islands instead. Officially offering the warmest weather in the UK and equally exotic with wonderful spring flowers, tropical fauna plus long sweeping white beaches and hidden coves its absolute heaven and perfect for an away from it all dog-friendly holiday. There are five inhabited islands – St Mary’s, Tresco, St Martin’s, Bryher and St Agnes with numerous uninhabited islands to explore. St Martins with its rocky coves and cobbled cottages is especially enchanting. Your dog will love the freedom to roam across great swathes of sand, fabulous walks while you can enjoy kayaking, diving or swimming with the seals. Paradise for you and your pet!
Stay at the Karma St Martin’s Hotel which is luxurious yet relaxed and very dog-friendly offering a welcome pack, bowls, blankets and treats and is just a bone’s throw from the sandy beach.