Today I am collaborating with Oliver’s Travels, who specialise in larger holiday properties, perfect for group getaways, but also have cosy cottages and luxury pet friendly cottages. Having travelled to several dog friendly UK destinations this year, I wanted to share some incredible luxury dog friendly cottages we’ve spotted in these areas.
Max the greyhound couldn’t have been more perfect for our family in many ways. Before he retired from racing he travelled the UK to race at stadiums up and down the UK, so he is a well travelled hound and manages car journeys and holidays very well.
This year we have really discovered the joys of taking him on holiday with us. Apart from the slight mishap early on, where after a late night chaotic multi family arrival at a very open plan thatched barn in Kent, he mistook an internal wooden beam for a tree, and cocked his leg, he has been beautifully behaved when we are away. Now we know to always show him the garden first. More on tips on holidaying with dogs later.
Max says – The first holiday I took with my forever family was to Wales, the coastal path was stunning to explore, but I didn’t like stiles much, I have since had more experience and biscuits always help. My owners tend to really switch off when they holiday with me, and just enjoy the countryside or dog friendly attractions. It really helps them to get back to nature and unplug, as does Valley Cottage under the Black Mountains, which has no phone signal, noise or light pollution – a true escape. There’s an enormous amount of walkable hillside and countryside straight out the door here.
Valley Cottage is a self catering cottage located in an incredibly secluded valley directly under the Black Mountains. It is near the famous book town Hay-on-Wye. There is a small stream and a very beautiful waterfall directly beside the property. Two open fires, oil fired Aga, deep down-filled duvets, cast iron baths and a shower borrowed from the Savoy Hotel, London are all luxury features.
The approach is suitably exciting. A narrow track winds its way into the property from the mountain road.
Max says – We loved being by the sea in Kent, although I was less keen on the shingle beach at Hythe and Dungeness, but the great news is this property has direct access to a sandy beach. This would be a good place to go out of season, as us dogs are not allowed on the beach 1 May to 30 September. It is an amazing property you might not want to leave much, so cooler weather wouldn’t be an issue here!
Beach Retreat has been newly refurbished to an exceptional standard with king size beds, Jacuzzi bath, marble fireplaces, cinema room, real sunlight room, “St Tropez” style living area with beach bar, full DJ and light effect setup, large gardens and direct access to the sandy beach.
Max says: You can’t get more dog friendly than the Lakes, even shop keepers came out to usher me in, and cafe owners always brought me water, and often treats. Wood Hall has extensive grounds perfect for walking us, before you venture further into the glorious Lakes.
Wood Hall sleeps 14, or 18 if you take the self contained flat too, it is also a historic building, and its gardens sit on the border of the Lake District National Park with an incomparable position on a south-facing hillside with a panoramic view of Skiddaw, Grassmoor and the Lorton and Buttermere valleys.
Max says – Vast swathes of sandy beach, dog friendly cafes, pubs and restaurants – Norfolk is an amazing place to relax with your hound. The Old Rectory House is the perfect place to test out country living. I hate the water. you won;t catch me in the pool, but perhaps not one for doggy friends who find it hard to resist a swim?
The Old Rectory House is a Georgian country house offering luxurious group accommodation near Swaffham. Built circa 1750, the family home and guest house are situated in an exceptional and idyllic rural position with an outstanding view of the lake.
Max says – they keep talking about the trip to Scotland. How amazing would it be to be Laird or Lady of the manor, your dog by your side, at majestic and fortified Fenton Tower? Mister G is named after a Scottish friend, and wonder if this is how he passes his days, striding through the heather, dog by his side. I guess we will find out when we visit.
Fenton Tower is a magnificent, fortified 16th Century tower located 18 miles East of Edinburgh near the coastal town of North Berwick. The castle’s location was originally chosen in the 11th Century because it afforded panoramic views in all directions and has had many distinguished visitors, among them being King James VI of Scotland (son of Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley) who took refuge there as he fled from the rebel army in Fife across the Firth of Forth.
Tips for travelling with your dog
We learnt our lesson, no matter how excited we are to see the gorgeous property we are staying in and unpack, we always thoroughly introduce Max to the garden first, then show him his bed and drinks, and then take him round the property on a lead.
We always monitor him very closely until he settles, to make sure he knows he can’t climb on the furniture.
Be wary of any new hazards, just as you would for children and dog proof anything you need to – I find small children and dogs always find the hazards in that window when you are oohing and ahhing about the amazing property.
We always take Max’s home dog bed with us, and his favourite soft toy, it helps him settle quickly and understand where he can and can’t sleep.
We take food, snacks, bowls as well as a travel water bottle with built in reservoir for drinks on the go.
Remember a dog towel and an old tuppaware for washes after muddy walks, you don’t want to dirty a white guest towel.
We take plenty of treats in our rucksack, Max sometimes needs extra encouragement in new situations. Lake District boat? Bridges on Norfolk salt marshes? Welsh stiles?
A small fleece blanket helps to encourage Max to settle quickly in pubs and restaurants, or grab a rest while the kids play outdoors.
What do you do to settle your dog on holiday, and do you recommend any other areas for dog holidays?