While nothing beats a well-deserved break, planning your UK getaway can be a challenge. And if you’re travelling with dogs in tow, there’s even more to consider!
Thankfully, there are more dog-friendly holiday options than ever in the UK these days, with dog lovers increasingly refusing to leave their furry companions at home while they holiday. You no longer need to choose between leaving your beloved dog behind and compromising on your accommodation. With a bit of planning, you can enjoy a dog-friendly holiday that will leave you and your furry friend both feeling refreshed and fulfilled.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through how to find the best places to stay with dogs in the UK, the best dog-friendly activities and destinations in the UK, and tips to keep your dog safe and comfortable while you’re travelling in the UK.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation Options in the UK
Gone are the days when bringing your furry companions on holiday meant compromising on accommodation just to find somewhere that allowed dogs. Nowadays, there are endless dog-friendly accommodation options available to suit any needs, preferences and budgets.
Dog-Friendly Cottages in the UK
A dog-friendly cottage is the perfect accommodation choice if you’re after a quaint and cosy home-away-from-home, with more space than your typical hotel or campsite. There are plenty of great choices that can accommodate you and your furry friends, ranging from high-end to budget-friendly.
If you’re holidaying away from city-centres in the countryside, you can even choose a farmstay, with ample space for long walks and off-leash exploration.
Things to consider when choosing a dog-friendly cottage are whether there’s an appropriately fenced yard, non-slip flooring, and, of course, proximity to dog-friendly attractions and activities.
Dog-Friendly Caravans in the UK
While they may not be the most glamorous accommodation option, caravans are a great budget-friendly option for dog-loving holidaymakers on a budget. Dog-friendly caravans come in an array of shapes, sizes and layouts, and there is a caravan holiday out there to suit almost any budget. With a bit of online research, you’ll quickly find a caravan to suit every person and, even more importantly, every dog!
Depending on the type of holiday you’re into, you can find a range of static caravans at dedicated caravan parks. Or you can hire a mobile caravan to accommodate you and your dog’s roaming adventures! A mobile caravan can work out to be a cost-effective, comfortable, and hassle-free option for road trips.
Dog-Friendly Camping in the UK
Camping is the ultimate budget-friendly accommodation option for dog owners who love the great outdoors. If you and your dog like to stay active and “walkies” is everyone’s favourite word, camping is a great option for you.
Keep in mind that, just like us humans, dogs have become accustomed to the comforts of home, and slogging it outdoors can be a challenge! To keep your dog safe and comfortable while you’re camping, make sure they have adequate access to water, shade or blankets (depending on the season), and any little creature comforts you can bring along from home, such as a familiar toy or jacket.
Whether you’re after a beach getaway, a farmstay, a hilly retreat, or even a high-end glamping experience, there are thousands of dog-friendly camping options to choose from in the UK. Most mainstream camping booking sites provide dog-friendly filters to make finding the right campsite easy.
Dog-Friendly Hotels in the UK
Last but not least, hotels are the perfect accommodation option for dog-lovers who aren’t willing to compromise on comfort! For many of us, it just wouldn’t be a proper holiday without the luxuries that a hotel has to offer.
Hotels might not be the first option that springs to mind for accommodating furry friends, but you’d be surprised what’s out there these days! With more and more UK holidayers refusing to leave their beloved dogs behind, hotels are moving with the times and becoming increasingly open with their dog policies.
With a little bit of online research, you’ll easily find dog-friendly hotels that are perfect for your needs and budget. Even Google Maps has a dog-friendly hotel search filter nowadays!
Popular Dog-Friendly Destinations in the UK
As dog ownership becomes more and more popular in the UK, there’s really nowhere you can travel that doesn’t offer some level of dog-friendliness. Of course, there are a few UK destinations that really stand out when it comes to accommodating our furry friends!
The countryside is an obvious choice for dog-lovers, with plenty of open space for exploration and long walks. If enjoying the great outdoors is your idea of a holiday well spent, consider visiting Sheffield, the stunning Lake District, North Wales, the Scottish Highlands, or York.
For a proper dose of fresh air, nothing beats the beach. Check out our guides to some of the most dog-friendly seaside destinations in the UK, including Norfolk, Aberdeen, Exeter, Isle of Wight, Dorset, Cornwall, Devon, and Brighton & Hove.
For those with more of a taste for the city life, there are a plethora of options. Leeds, Newcastle, Dundee, Norwich, Oxford, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Manchester, Cardiff and Liverpool all offer plenty for you and your dogs to explore. An increasing number of cafes and restaurants, and even museums are opening their doors to pooches, alongside a growing number of dog friendly shops so you won’t be short of things to do and sights to see!
Dog-Friendly Activities in the UK
Whether your idea of a good holiday is packing in as much adventure as possible, or taking your time to mosey about at a much slower pace, there’s no shortage of dog-friendly activities to suit any mood.
Dog-friendly Hikes in the UK
For active dogs and their owners, you can’t go past a scenic hike. England’s stunning Lakes District offers some of the most popular, dog-friendly hikes in the UK, including the Aira Force hike, which is open to on-leash dogs.
You can’t go past North Wales for sprawling countryside: Erddig Parkland, Wrexham and Belgian Promenade, Anglesey are two scenic and beginner-friendly options.
And if you’re heading to the Scottish Highlands, you won’t be disappointed by the multitude of woodland routes that are open to dogs: Anagach Woods and Glen Affric are two of the most popular.
Dog-Friendly Beaches in the UK
A frolic on the beach is the perfect way for you and your pooch to get your sillies out if you’re road-tripping around the UK. While many beaches in the UK allow dogs to run off-leash, you should always check whether there are any restrictions before letting your dog loose – some destinations are on-leash only or have changing seasonal regulations.
Dog-Friendly Pubs in the UK
It wouldn’t be a UK holiday without a visit to a local pub (or a few!) The good news for dog-lovers is that most UK pubs have at least a designated area where dogs are allowed to join you for a meal and a pint. Sometimes the dog-friendly areas are outdoors only though, so it pays to call ahead to check if the weather is looking inclement.
Be aware of restrictions
The UK is increasingly opening up to be more inclusive of dogs, but you should be aware of restrictions and rules in some areas. It always pays to call ahead or check online to confirm that your companion is welcome, especially if you’re visiting destinations with food service, or museums and galleries. As mentioned, even where dogs are allowed, there may be rules restricting off-leash roaming, so be ready to keep your dog on-leash if necessary.
Tips for Travelling with Dogs
As fun and exciting as it is, we all know that travelling can easily become stressful and anxiety-inducing.
For some dogs, new sights, sounds and smells, along with the changed routines of a holiday, can be overwhelming. With a bit of planning and preparation, there are things you can do to make your travels comfortable and stress-free for you and your dogs.
Pack a dog-friendly travel kit
Creating a stress-free holiday for you and your dogs starts before you hit the road. Plan ahead to put together a kit of all the things you know your dog will need.
If possible, you should try to pack enough food for your dog to last the trip. Sudden changes in diet can upset your dog’s stomach, which is something neither of you want to deal with on holiday! You’ll also need to bring along any regular medications.
If you’re road-tripping, hiking, or camping, make sure to bring along plenty of water for both you and your dogs – even in cold weather, dehydration can quickly become dangerous.
Even the most dog-friendly accommodation options usually won’t supply things like water and food bowls, leashes and bedding, so be sure to bring along all these everyday items.
Lastly, your dog-friendly travel kit should also include your furry friend’s favourite comfort treats and toys. With all the changed sights, smells and sounds, your dog will appreciate the sense of familiarity and routine.
If you know your dog is a particularly anxious traveller, you might consider providing them with a sedative to keep them calm and safe while you travel.
Keep in mind that this is not safe in every circumstance. For instance, you definitely don’t want to give your dog any new medications if they’ll be travelling away from you in the hold of an aeroplane, where you won’t be able to monitor them.
So, make sure you plan ahead and book in to see your vet before you head off, and discuss the best option for your precious cargo.
Be aware of regulations and requirements for travelling with dogs
While there aren’t too many restrictions on moving around with your dogs within the UK, there are regulations that you need to be aware of if you are entering the UK from Europe or elsewhere, including vaccination, microchipping and passport requirements. Check the government website for the most up-to-date advice.
If you’re relying on public transport to get around, the great news is that dogs are generally welcome to ride with you, and they can usually travel free of charge. In general, you will be required to keep your dog on a leash or in an enclosed carrier, and ensure that they are not inconveniencing other passengers. You will also need to carry your dog on any escalators. Rules vary between transport providers, so be sure to check their websites before you ride.
For those of us who truly love our dogs, it wouldn’t be a proper holiday without our furry companions by our side. Thankfully, the days of choosing between forgoing a getaway to stay home with your dogs and taking a holiday are well and truly over.
With more and more people choosing to holiday with their dogs, the range of dog-friendly holiday and accommodation options in the UK has never been broader. All it takes is a bit of research and planning, and you and your dog are guaranteed to have a whale of a time on your UK holiday!