In the UK, just over one quarter of households own a dog. While everyone looks forward to their holidays, leaving man’s best friend behind can be difficult. Not only are kennels expensive, but there is often a nagging feeling that they should be there with you – they are an important family member after all!
So, this year, why not plan a UK break that your four-legged friend can join you on? This article looks at some of the best pet-friendly holiday locations the whole family can enjoy.
Many beaches have a mixed opinion about dogs, with most not allowing them during peak season (April to October) to ensure the beaches can be awarded Blue Flag status. It can be confusing to identify which beaches allow dogs and when. Thankfully, lists of dog-friendly beaches are available that can help you to include some time on the beach when planning your trip, no matter where in the country you decide to visit.
Some excellent dog-friendly beaches include the golden sands of Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland and Newgale Sands in Pembrokeshire. This three-mile beach is split, with the southern section open to dogs all year round and the northernmost mile restricted in peak season, allowing it to hold Blue Flag status.
With more beaches available in the off-season for dog walkers, Cornwall becomes the ideal location for coastal walks. Not only does it have a vast number of beaches, but the subtropical climate means that the temperature remains mild yearlong.
- On the water
Despite being famous for its combination of natural beauty and historical locations, there is more to Norfolk than charming villages and the city of Norwich. Possibly the most famous area for visitors to the region are the Norfolk Broads.
Designated a national park in 2015, the network consists of over 200 kilometres of loch-free, navigable waterways and is the largest protected wetland in the country. Thanks to careful conservation, it is known worldwide as a haven for diverse and rare wildlife, including marsh harriers, cranes and the Norfolk hawker, a type of dragonfly.
While there are countless places to enjoy a walk, the only way to really enjoy the Broads is by hiring a boat, allowing you to get close to nature and explore off the beaten path.
Back on land, Norfolk has plenty to discover, with countless historic buildings and beaches just minutes away. Potter Heigham and Wroxham are popular locations to stop off and enjoy an afternoon exploring with your dog before taking a well-earned rest at a local pub.
If you love walking breaks then there is no better companion than a dog to accompany your hikes or rambling expeditions, and Britain is home to some of the finest walking locations in the world.
Famous for Snowdonia National Park and its 1,000m high mountain, North Wales is a perfect example of this. The park allows dogs on leads, meaning your whole family can enjoy the adventure. There are a number of routes to the summit for walkers of varying ability, with a remarkable view that is hard to beat as your reward for making it to the top.
If you prefer a view closer to ground level, the park offers beautiful surrounds for low-difficulty walks and plenty of opportunities to explore.
In 2018, Dartmoor National Park won the 2018 Dog Friendly Great Outdoors award, beating the Lake District into second place. Both are diverse, historic landscapes offering natural walks that are idyllic.
Dog-friendly campsites are becoming increasingly popular and can be found all across the UK. By choosing one close to local attractions, such as national parks and walking routes, you can ensure that your dog will have a great time off the lead running, swimming and exploring. Just be sure they are kept on a lead in situations when they are likely to come into contact with other animals, especially livestock and other dogs.
On the campsite, bringing a familiar travel cage and blankets will help to keep your dog relaxed and happy. For safety make sure they have a tag with your contact details and are kept on a lead at all times while on the campsite. As they are likely to be off the lead and exploring at numerous points during the holiday, be sure to check that their vaccinations are all up to date.
Great dog-friendly locations to camp include Old Oaks in Somerset or Setthorns in the New Forest.