Now this isn’t just an excuse to post some cute dog pictures…oh, OK, maybe just a few. More and more hotels and cottages are throwing open their doors these days to our canine companions which means we get the pleasure of taking a doggie holiday with them – yay! Here are some that have recently caught my eye – establishments where dogs are not just allowed, but positively encouraged.
Go posh with pooch
You might be surprised how many lovely hotels allow dogs across their thresholds. In fact, at some, you get the distinct impression that your dog is allowing you along on his holiday! Trigony House in the beautiful Dumfries and Galloway area of Scotland is one such place. Dogs are welcomed everywhere in the hotel except the dining room – although you can eat in the bar with him snoozing contentedly by the fire. The simple but splendid food draws much praise.
When you arrive, you’ll find homemade shortbread for you and a doggie welcome pack, including some treats for him and maps of great walks you can do straight from the door. Roxy, Kit and Lola, the resident Golden Retriever, Miniature Daschund and Yorkie Pug cross will happily show you the way! Washing facilities and towels are on hand should your friend come back muddy and wet.
Jump in your car and there are even more amazing and varied walks nearby – over lush hills, along sandstone gorges and tumbling rivers, through woods and along the dramatic cliff tops of the Solway Coast. Doggie heaven, in fact…
* Double rooms at Trigony House Hotel cost from £120 per night, including breakfast, the Garden Suite costs from £165. Up to two extra beds can be put into superior rooms to accommodate children for £15 per bed, including breakfast. Dogs cost £9.50 per night. Visit www.trigonyhotel.co.uk
Some new tricks
Spend some time on holiday teaching good dog etiquette. The beautiful Old Swan & Minster Mill is a five star inn beside the River Windrush in the Cotswolds, owned by the De Savary family. They are running Canine Country Etiquette classes on selected dates between May and November. In an hour long session, in the wildflower meadow behind the hotel, you will cover general obedience training and behaviour as well as specific advice for your pet.
The hotel also runs Canine Traveller Trips which include accommodation in a pooch friendly room, a dog bed and bowl and welcome pack (stylish bandana included!), three course dinner for two people and a ‘dogs dinner’, a packed ‘Walkers Lunch’ and complimentary local walks guide. Make sure you build in some time for relaxing in the gardens and 70 acres of grounds.
* Canine Traveller Trips, as detailed above, start from £245 per night for two people (minimum two night stay). Canine Country Etiquette classes run on the following dates in 2016: 21st May, 18th June, 23rd July, 20th August, 24th September and 19th November. They last an hour and cost from £15 per dog. Visit www.oldswanandminstermill.com
Helsbury Park’s three highly rated cottages in Cornwall’s Camel Valley were designed with dogs in mind. Anything you might need can be provided, from blankets and bowls to your dog’s favourite food plus there’s an outdoor kennel at each cottage – handy if you want to go out and leave them outside. A dog sitter can also be arranged.
A rather unique selling point here is the renowned local ‘dog whisperer’ who can come to your cottage and help you out with behavourial problems (doesn’t work on husbands unfortunately!).
The facilities on site are good. There’s a beautiful indoor pool complex with sauna and gym – spa therapists can also be booked to give indulgent spa treatments in the privacy of your cottage.
The cottages are in the Camel Valley. It’s prime walking territory, with rivers, meadows and woodland on the doorstep plus the delights of Bodmin Moor, the South West Coastal Path and scores of sandy beaches, too. Maps can show you walking routes locally.
* Each of the three cottages sleeps up to six people and cost from £799 for one week or from £559 for a short break. Visit www.helsburypark.co.uk
Hopefully some ideas to inspire here. If you know of any other great dog welcoming venues, do let us know!