5 of the UK's best dog friendly places to stay
If you're looking to get away for a holiday or short break and want to take your dog with you, then it can be tricky finding places that tick all the boxes. Well behaved dogs are increasingly welcome in more and more places to stay, but in our experience there can be quite a considerable difference between those that 'allow' dogs and those that are genuinely dog friendly.
If you're taking your dog to a hotel you're quite likely to find yourself with a limited choice of rooms, and may end up being offered one that isn't your preferred option. You may also be asked to pay a hefty surcharge. To avoid disappointment we'd definitely recommend phoning ahead to ask a few questions. What rooms are available to guests with dogs? What public areas of the hotel will your dog be allowed in, and what arrangements can they make if you want to dine with your dog? Your four legged friend may be unimpressed with the idea of being left alone in an unfamiliar room while you head out to enjoy dinner in the restaurant!
Of course you could consider self catering accommodation instead. If you like dogs then the chances are that you probably enjoy walking too, so easy access to quiet lanes, public footpaths or wide open spaces is always a bonus, as are a good selection of local dog friendly cafés and pubs. Restaurants are usually no go areas for dogs, but many bars positively welcome our four legged friends so we'd suggest checking out the bar menus, as well as the actual location of your hotel or self catering accommodation when choosing your next get-away.
Here are some of our current favourites. All are genuinely dog friendly, places of individual character and are off the beaten track and away from the more obvious tourist destinations, which we think only adds to their appeal.
Dog Friendly Cornwall
It's a fair way to get to the end of Cornwall, but if you are looking for somewhere that mixes a seriously cool relaxed modern style with atmospheric coastal living, then Delphin is certainly worth the journey. Situated at the eastern edge of Porthleven and literally perched upon the coastal edge, with the sea crashing down below, it's a truly magical place. You really do get that reminder of the raw power of nature, just by walking to the end of the garden!
Upon arrival we were welcomed with doggy treats and some rather tasty human ones too. Delphin is the epitome of style and calmness, which obviously agreed with our dog Albert, as he spent most of the time happily lazing around on various soft rugs or curled up in cozy corners. Of course you can't not venture out. The impressive Porthleven harbour that forms the focus for the surrounding population is just a short walk away and the choice of places to eat ranges from Rick Stein's restaurant to the harbour chippy, and everything in between. We settled on a dog friendly harbour pub that served good hearty food.
Last but certainly not least to mention are the beautiful coastal walks and nearby beaches, yet another good reason to make the journey down. You really won't want to leave this magical place.
Delphin, Porthleven, Cornwall - available through Unique Home Stays.
Read our full review here.
Dog friendly Cotswolds
Whether it's street after street of stunning Georgian architecture, visiting the town's famous racecourse, or just a lazy luxury break with a few walks and the odd drink that you are looking for, No.38 in The Park is a great place to explore Cheltenham from. Located in a pleasant part of the beautiful spa town, this elegant hotel has a relaxed friendly vibe with an eye for detail that's hard to fault. Our bedroom was huge, with one of the largest and most luxurious bathrooms we've yet to encounter. The staff were really friendly and attentive too, welcoming humans and dogs equally, whilst at the same time being discreet when we just wanted to relax. The lounge areas are full of fabulous design and contemporary art, along with comfortable furniture and plenty of creative magazines to while away a spare hour or two.
Opposite the hotel is Pittville Park, which couldn't be more perfectly placed for a leisurely hour's stroll with the dog. If you fancy something a little more adventurous, then Cleeve Hill, just a few miles away to the north east, has panoramic views that go on for miles and miles. Whatever you prefer in this beautiful Cotswolds town your dog will not be disappointed!
No. 38 The Park, Cheltenham.
Dog friendly Lake District
Holbeck Ghyll is an exquisite Arts and Crafts country house hotel with the most incredible views of Lake Windermere and the imposing mountains beyond. The food is some of the best we've eaten and the equally attentive staff make this a place worth remembering. Although dogs quite understandably aren't allowed in the fine dining restaurant, the friendly staff really went out of their way to look after all 3 of us. They set up a lovely table for us in the snug area next to the beautiful inglenook fireplace, where there's so much amazing design and craftsmanship that it's a feast for the eyes too. For relaxation there's a spa for the humans, and there are plenty of walking opportunities for dogs, both around the gardens and further afield in what remains one of Britain's best landscapes.
Holbeck Ghyll, Windermere, Cumbria via Pride of Britain Hotels.
Dog friendly LANCASHIRE
Tucked away in a seriously beautiful part of the country, perched above the River Hodder, the Inn at Whitewell has charm aplenty. As soon as you step inside you realise individuality, with a touch of the eccentric, is positively welcome here. Bedrooms are fitted out with big old beds (very comfortable they are too) and the most incredible Victorian bath cabinets and many have awe inspiring views across the moors. The walls and corridors, adorned with the owner's quirky collection of Victorian objects, are an attraction in themselves. Food is hearty and good quality and dogs are very welcome in the bar too. Perhaps best of all are the great walking opportunities in a truly stunning landscape. We'd recommend the one and a half hour loop through the farm up on the hill, starting at the river's impressive stepping stones, just below the Inn.
The Inn at Whitewell, near Clitheroe, Lancashire
Read our full review here.
Dog friendly Suffolk
If wide open spaces that encourage you to slow down and appreciate the seasonal shifts of nature are your thing, then Tickety-Boo might be just what you've been looking for. It's a very well designed and fitted out luxurious modern rustic style cabin located in the heart of the Suffolk countryside, a few miles from the pretty village of Long Melford. Perfectly positioned within the landscape, it sits literally on the very edge of a large field, with no boundary fence or hedge to block your view of the vast expanse before you. Inside, all human and canine needs are well catered for. There's an amply equipped kitchen area, automatic bedroom roof windows to star gaze through, and a wood burner to curl up around after a hearty walk. The area is cross-crossed with quiet public footpaths that encourage you to explore the local arable landscape and its inter connecting hamlets and villages. Alternatively the nearby village of Lavenham offers a historical feast for the eyes, with what have to be some of the best preserved medieval streets in Britain. Plenty of pubs and bars welcome dogs too, only further adding to the easy going nature of the area. This really is a place to recharge the batteries whilst appreciating the luxury of a well designed and thoughtfully considered place to stay. We loved it.
Tickety-Boo, near Long Melford, Suffolk - available through Unique Home Stays.
Read our full review here.
Words by Graham, images by Helen and all highly recommended by Albert whippet!