To many people, the dog is as much a member of the family as any human relative – perhaps more so in some cases! Unfortunately, dogs are not always viewed with the same enthusiasm by the owners of holiday accommodation and problems can arise when planning a holiday.
A significant proportion of hotels, lodges and holiday parks will not tolerate family pets of any description (although teenagers somehow pass scrutiny). It is possible, however, to find dog friendly holiday cottages throughout the UK and Ireland, allowing you to explore the British countryside this winter alongside your canine companion.
Before discussing the various places in Britain that welcome pets on holiday, it may be worth highlighting the fact that some destinations, while generally accommodating of four-legged guests, usually impose a limit on the number of pets that can travel with a particular person or group. If Ms de Ville were to attempt to bring her army of Dalmatians on holiday with her, it is highly probable that the accommodation owner would send her away in disbelief. If a holiday destination imposes a specific limit, guests can expect to be allowed no more than three dogs by their side but numbers vary significantly from one place to another.
Cornwall is a traditionally dog-loving corner of England, evidenced by the number of dog-friendly holiday cottages in the area. A wide selection of properties are available to rent in Mevagissey, Tintagel, Lostwithiel, Redruth, St Austell and Launceston, but there are plenty more cottages available in Cornwall that provide accommodation for people and their pets. The hospitality here is not really surprising; with so many beaches, cliffs and coves to explore, dog owners have good reason to visit this south-western tip of England. Dogs can also run wild further inland, especially on the rolling landscapes of Bodmin Moor.
Scotland is another popular destination for dog lovers. Winter holiday cottages are perhaps no better enjoyed than in the Cairngorms National Park, which is home to some of the most rugged and beautiful territory in the Highlands. With Scottish weather tending to be rather chilly and wild in the winter, holiday cottages provide the ultimate in comfort, warmth and security amid truly wintry conditions. Holidaymakers can usually let their dogs roam free in some of Scotland’s most isolated areas, but care should always be taken to ensure that dog mess is cleaned up in populated regions.
Dog lovers can also take their four-legged friends on a winter holiday to the Isle of Wight, which boasts some of the finest scenery in Britain. Yarmouth, Yafford, Cowes and Shanklin are particularly popular among visitors, many of whom choose to stay in detached holiday cottages for the comfort, luxury and freedom they can provide.
Finally, while many caravan parks permit a certain number of pets, the holiday cottage is perhaps the only form of accommodation that really allows guests to live in harmony with their animals. Rather than keeping the family dog locked up in a kennel or at a neighbour’s house this winter, why not bring him or her along for the ride. Dogs can certainly enjoy a holiday in Britain, not least because they are offered the chance to run free, as nature intended, through forests, mountains, beaches and moorland: doggy heaven!