Britain is without doubt a nation of dog-lovers, and as such it’s a fab way to see the country; you’d be surprised by how easy it is to get chatting to people when you have a hound in tow. As publisher of the UK travel site Cool Places, Martin Dunford has spent some time seeking out the best places to stay, walk, eat and of course drink with dogs. Here are some of his top tips for holidaying with the hound in Britain.
The Castle Hotel, Shropshire
It’s not only the warmth of the welcome from Millie, the hotel’s resident dachshund, that makes me love this place, it’s also the air of no-fuss country comfort throughout, plus the fact that it’s in such a beautiful part of the country.
Rose & Crown, Durham
In the heart of some fabulous walking country, this traditional old coaching inn is not only a great place to eat but a fine place to stay – and they’ll welcome the pooch too.
Bull & Swan, Lincolnshire
On the edge of the Burghley estate in the elegant market town of Stamford, this is another place where you can stay and eat as well, with a downstairs restaurant that serves good, hearty food and comfy upstairs bedrooms that have a room service menu just for dogs.
Not everyone’s cup of tea perhaps, but you’re in the heart of trendy East London in this fab boutique B&B, and they love dogs, including their own rather handsome whippet.
Kittiwake Cottage, Devon
Of course there are plenty of self-catering places that will accept pets. I mention this one because it is particularly nice, accepts dogs, and is right on the Southwest Coast Path, which ought to make you and your hound very happy indeed.
Winterton-on-Sea to Horsey, Norfolk
A favourite walk of mine, not only because it takes in the glorious dog-friendly beach and dunes at Winterton, but also because whichever way you do it you can end up at a dog-friendly pub – the Fisherman’s Return in Winterton or the Nelson Head in Horsey.
Holywell Bay to Crantock, Cornwall
This six-mile walk near Newquay is not only a wonderfully scenic stretch of the Southwest Coast Path but also connects a trio of fabulous dog-friendly beaches.
Aldeburgh to Walberswick, Suffolk
A glorious coastal walk that you can either do in an easy one-day hike or as a series of shorter strolls. Again, the nice thing is the pubs on the way – the Ship at Dunwich and the Anchor in Walberswick are dog-friendly, and the latter has comfortable rooms for both you and the pup. As does the excellent Westleton Crown, which which requires a slight detour.
Ogmore-by-Sea to Nash Point, Wales
This 14-mile stretch of golden bays, Jurassic rocks and limestone cliffs is a show-stopping part of the mighty Wales Coast Path. You’ll definitely need a pint and bowl of water for the dog on the way, so be sure to detour at the fourteenth-century Plough & Harrow in Monknash for local ales and fantastic home-cooked pub grub.
George & Dragon, West Sussex
A foodie pub if ever there was one, with high-end gastropub fare that draws people from miles around, but one that’s still a proper pub, used by locals and welcoming to that essential feature of the British boozer – dogs.
Mason’s Arms, Devon
The hub of life in Branscombe, serving great food and drink to hungry locals and tourists alike, and very welcoming to dogs, who can usually be found making themselves comfy in front of the main bar’s roaring fire.
DJ Chris Evans owns this country pub with rooms in Surrey, and very nice it is too, with great food and lovely rooms upstairs – all of which will only be enhanced by the presence of your four-legged friend.
Cornish Arms, Cornwall
We were worried when this place was taken over by the ubiquitous Stein empire, but actually it just means the food got better – otherwise it remains a proper pub, serving great local ales and with dogs more than welcome at all times.
Bull & Last, Hampstead, London
Yomping on the Heath? It won’t be complete without a visit to the wonderful Bull & Last to share a Scotch egg with your hound.
Pig’s Nose Inn, Devon
There are great walks to be had around this iconic south Devon boozer. Plus they serve a wide range of local ales and do great pub grub, which includes a menu just for dogs.
With the holiday cottage company Marsdens, Martin has also put together an interactive map of the best dog-friendly places in the southwest. Book hostels for your trip, and don't forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.