Let’s face it, the best holiday is a holiday shared with the family pet. No worrying about whether the poor blighter who has been left in charge of the dog is inadvertently undoing months’ worth of training (no feeding at the table!); whether they are giving them enough water; whether the beloved pooch is actually getting proper walks; whether they are sleeping ok (the dog AND the carer); whether asking a woman you met once at a hairdresser was really the best person to leave your dog with for a weekend? It’s OK, we KNOW you wouldn’t…
We have scoured the internet, asked all our friends, consulted the experts, and collared a few unsuspecting people in the dog park and have come up with a number of suggestions for you for the upcoming Bank Holidays. All top ideas for a fun, away/day trip with your beloved hound on our own shores. You’re welcome! If we have missed any, feel free to get in touch – we would love to hear from you.
A Day at the Beach
Most dogs love being by the sea, and, as an island nation, we are blessed with many beaches around our copious coastline. However, only a relatively small proportion allow dogs all year round. The good news is that the vast majority of beaches welcome responsible dog owners outside of the summer (1 October to 30 April). The bad news is that the August Bank Holidays fall into this non-dog-friendly time period. It is therefore essential that you check before hauling the whole family on a fruitless trip down the M5, whether your beach is open to dogs this holiday. The brilliant website https://www.thebeachguide.co.uk does just this for you. Broken down first into counties, and then into individual beaches, the site categorises the beaches for you via an excellent interactive map. It also provides additional helpful info like current sea temperature (quick dip anyone?) and photographs and detailed descriptions of all of the beaches listed to help you best choose your destination.
Take a Walk on the Wild (Country)side
There’s something so special about being in The Great Outdoors with your dog: the sun shining, the breeze in your hair, and your dog running wild and free. There are many options to choose from: Dartmoor to The Lake District; The Wye Valley to the Quantock Hills. All you need to take is a picnic and a sense of adventure. So why not lace-up your walking boots this holiday and take the family and dog out into the countryside. Enjoyment guaranteed!
Carry on Camping
Taking the sense of adventure a step further, there are lots of campsites that are dog friendly. And, with the weather looking promising (DISCLAIMER: JCHQ takes no responsibility for any rainfall in the month of August!) a camping holiday with the dog is a great option to get back to nature and reconnect with your inner – er – camper?
The website www.freedomtogo.co.uk allows you to search for dog-friendly campsites in the UK. You can search by location, or use the interactive map to find the best destination for you and your family; you just need to use the filter to make sure you are checking for the dog-friendly options. All the holiday parks and campsites featured on the site are either NCC Members or Caravan and Motorhome Club, or Camping and Caravanning Club sites. Pack up, tent pegs down, have fun!
Pub Lunches with Pooches
Sometimes, especially if you are a bit short on time, it is nice to stay a little closer to home. Why not book a lovely pub lunch at a local dog-friendly pub and take a long walk where you end up at the pub? Not only will you have earned your apple crumble and custard by the time you get there, but the dog will appreciate the extra exercise. Here at JCHQ, we live by the maxim: A pudding earned is a pudding enjoyed. (But then again, we also live by the maxim: You only live once, so eat the trifle. Truth is that we have a lot of maxims – one to fit every situation, if we’re honest.)
You may well already have a pub in mind, but, if you want to try something new and venture out of your comfort zone, there are some great resources out there to help you find dog-friendly pubs you may not have been aware of. One of these is: http://www.doggiepubs.org.uk which is a non-commercial guide to happy eating out with your dog. They have over 5000 pubs listed throughout the UK which get included by recommendation - they can't pay to be listed. The website states: “Eager publicans earn their listings by being dog-friendly enough to welcome dogs into their pub, that's all. Our reward is knowing how much this site is liked and discovering more places where Border Terrier Millie will be welcome.” Easy to navigate, this site also uses an interactive map to guide you to your best option.
A great way to discover a city is by foot – an activity that is even more fun with your dog as company. Many of the UK’s largest, most accessible cities have large green spaces for dog walking, and – as cities are becoming increasingly canine-friendly – more and more bars and restaurants are welcoming dogs. A city break with your dog is therefore an increasingly appealing option. If you travel to London, there are even activities you and your dog can enjoy together! How about dog yoga http://dogayoga.fit, or a trip to a luxury pet spa in Chelsea http://www.petspalondon.com ?
There is always the question of where to stay. If you are looking for dog-friendly hotels, the website: www.dogfriendly.co.uk is a huge help. Dog Friendly started in early 2002, but has now built with the help of their members, what is now the largest database of businesses where your dogs will be made as welcome as you. You can search for places to stay, play and visit in all parts of the UK. A team of scouts research every venue, ensuring that the hotel you choose will be truly a relaxing stay for you and your dog.
So, take your dog away with you on your Bank Holiday break. It saves a lot of guilt and heartache on the dog-care front, and lets him know that he really is part of the family. Even if he can’t play eye-spy in the car, or join in the renditions of 10 Green Bottles, he will benefit from the time away just as much as you will.