Dec 7, 2023 7:40:55 AM
With the cost of living crisis many families are choosing to stay in the UK. Also our dogs have become quite used to having us around 24/7 so you might feel less able to leave them behind this year. So if you are looking to enjoy a break in the UK with your dogs, what are your options and considerations?
If you’re driving, you’ll need to secure your dog in your vehicle. This might be through the use of a crate, seat harness or other approved piece of kit that makes sure that your dog is safe, relaxed and comfortable throughout the journey.
Plan ahead and take plenty of rest stops for your pet to stretch, move about, have a drink and go to the toilet. We’d advise limiting food on a long journey and feed a couple of hours before you set out. A very useful reference site is https://www.drivingwithdogs.co.uk who helpfully provide information on lovely dog walks close to main roads and motorways - invaluable knowledge for route planning. It is a members’ organisation but there is still plenty of free information available.
Make sure your car is well ventilated or enjoys air conditioning to keep your pet’s temperature at a safe level. Never leave your dog alone in the car - see our previous article: https://www.trophypetfoods.co.uk/blog/caring-for-our-dogs-in-the-heat-of-the-british-summer.
Well-behaved dogs on a lead are generally accepted on all forms of public transport and require no special ticket to travel. Coach journeys usually only accept assistance dogs by arrangement.
What floats your boat?
To narrow down your search it’s a good idea to decide what kind of holiday suits you all. Ideas for dog-friendly holidays vary according to your family’s preferences. For example, you might like the idea of a barge holiday but if you have a water-averse, giant breed it might not be ideal in practice!
Other types of break include destinations where coastal walks are a popular feature – perfect if you have an energetic breed that is happy to walk for long periods of time.
If you’re looking for a city break, make sure your pet is happy in busy places and that there are plenty of dog-friendly cafés and restaurants if you plan to eat out. http://www.doggiepubs.org.uk is a useful website although a few of the entries are quite old so it’s advisable to call ahead as an extra check.
https://www.airbnb.co.uk has a ‘pets allowed’ filter you can apply to search for somewhere to stay.
If you’re looking for a more pampered reception, check out this guide to dog-friendly stays by Country and Townhouse magazine: https://www.countryandtownhouse.co.uk/travel/dog-friendly-hotels-uk/. From South Kensington to a castle in Scotland, these holidays place your dog’s needs right at the top of the agenda. It does warn you to clear up after your dog though, especially on the croquet lawn!
Consider holiday destination kennels
We know of a family who use wonderful kennels in Devon every year which are very close to their hotel. This kind of arrangement has the advantage of you being able to involve your pet whenever you can, with the added bonus of having a home-from-home kennels for your dog to enjoy when you are unable to have him with you. It means you can enjoy coastal walks and fun times on the beach but you can also have a day at the water park or enjoy a Michelin star evening meal where your dog may not be so welcome!
You only have to watch a dog off-lead on a wide expanse of sandy beach to see how fantastic it is for them. They absolutely love the freedom and fun it offers. First time visits are well worth recording as you see them discover the texture of sand and the thrill of the sea. It’s very special.
We have many beaches in the UK that operate quite strict dog policies and they change across the seasons with the summer being the most limiting time. This generally applies to popular resorts but there are others, a little less obvious, that can accommodate you all year round. It’s worth doing some research in the areas you are visiting to see what’s available. Local Facebook pages are useful for this.
It goes without saying that you should take plenty of water and provide shade if you’re spending time on the beach on a warm day. If it’s a scorcher, leave your dog at home.
Beaches with few, if any, dog restrictions are listed here:
[Source: Condé Nast Traveller, 2020]
UK holiday parks
There are many holiday parks in the UK that welcome dogs. Most of the main operators offer at least some of their accommodation for this exact purpose: Centerparcs, Haven, Hoseasons, Park Holidays - to name just a few.
https://www.holidayparkguru.co.uk/10-best-dog-friendly-holiday-parks.html offers a useful guide to ten of the best caravan holidays in the UK for families with dogs, from Cornwall to Skegness. Some of these options have onsite dog walking fields which are a good idea.
With 9 million pet dogs between us, the entire UK is fairly dog-friendly but it’s sound advice to check on specific facilities if you’re making a special trip. Wales and Snowdonia are popular; along with the Lake District; and Devon and Cornwall. Cornwall is so welcoming it has its own guide for visiting dogs (although you might have to read it to them!): https://www.visitcornwall.com/dogslovecornwall. Scotland also has many suitable places for holidays with dogs including Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
In fact, a good rule of thumb is to think of places you might go walking and you’ll find dog paradise.
Send us a postcard
Let us know how you get on if you are taking your dog away with you this year – we’d love to see your adventures. Email your dog’s holiday snaps to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add them to Facebook and Instagram. Or post them directly to our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/officialtrophypetfoods, or Instagram via https://www.instagram.com/trophypetfoodsltd/.
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