Holidays in the UK – dog friendly accommodation?
I do not like going away; holidays are too difficult and stressful. I’ve never liked beaches or the seaside much, preferring mountains and countryside far more. As a child, my family went to the same farm every year in Dorset, staying with an old school friend of my mum’s. I loved it, as I enjoyed watching the cows being milked. I also had the chance of riding a pony belonging to one of the girls from the farm.
As a teenager and into my twenties I went camping and inter-railing, which I suppose is why I find the idea of all holidays so traumatic and challenging. When my sons were younger we were forever driving the length and breadth of the country to visit family, which was lovely in its way. We then had a period of around ten years where we were fortunate enough to have amazing holidays; Florida, Australia, adventure holidays in Europe and finally Canada and back to Florida (Harry Potter World!) More recently we have finally succumbed to middle age, returning to the same hotel in Portugal to lie by the pool and read piles of books.
Staying in a hotel
Dogs have always come along to our holidays in this country. I don’t like going away without them, although I confess it is quite nice not having to get up to let them out at the same time every single day! Of course if we are staying with family, we expect to take them with us, although now I have five this is a challenge. We usually persuade someone to have one or more so that we only take a ‘manageable amount’ with us.
Last year was the first time we attempted to find somewhere to stay with the dogs. We wanted to sample the delights of the Lake District and my husband chose a hotel in Keswick. This is the most dog-friendly town in Great Britain, apparently. It was great, being able to have a couple of dogs with us and stay in a hotel. The town was completely overrun with dogs and everyone was certainly dog friendly. The only problem was that there was absolutely no garden with the hotel, so to take them to the toilet I had to get dressed, go down with them in the lift, out the back of the hotel, across the car park, up the hill, across the bridge… We won’t be going back there.
Renting a cottage
Much more sensible as an idea, right? Yes it was. I was instructed to book something in the Peak District for a meet up with the (grown-up) kids and I chose George Mine Barn. It was in a lovely setting, very peaceful, but with a footpath across fields to a great choice of pubs and restaurants, all dog friendly and with vegan options available!
It was just outside the Peak District National Park itself, but it was a short drive to Matlock, Bakewell and Chatsworth House. Of course we had chosen to go away for a boiling hot Bank Holiday weekend, but despite this it was possible to park the car, order food and have peaceful walks in the countryside.
What to take away
I swear I took as much stuff for the dogs as you take when you go away with a baby for the first time! I have already written about packing for your dog. I also covered what to remember for those left behind.
Other options for holidays with your dog
I’d love to tell you about staying in a caravan with your dog, as that is what all my friends do. I’m not going to though, as I’ve only done it once…
What did I learn?
Despite getting lost and walking far too far in terrible midday heat, we had a good time away. I think I learnt that it can be done. Dogs are adaptable and in this country we are truly a nation of dog lovers, so it is easy to get around.
The dogs themselves love to explore new places and most of all they love to be with you. They coped really well with going to pubs and changes to their routine. They were even fine wandering round the grounds of Chatsworth House, on lead, amongst thousands of people and other dogs.
Spending time with the family is invaluable and should be done as often as possible. It is not until you are a parent yourself and your children are grown and gone that you realise just how precious those moments are. Please try to set aside time with your parents, even when it seems like a boring hassle? They will treasure it more than you know.
Ask for help?
You are very welcome to contact me to ask for my advice. I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues. Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my new service.
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