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Pet-friendly holidays in the UK are becoming more popular with dog owners every year.

Sykes Holiday Cottages had the pleasure of accommodating 129,822 dogs, along with their owners, in 2018 alone. And why not? We are a nation of dog lovers and want our holidays to be memorable experiences that every member of the family will love – including the four-legged ones.

We delved into the details to find the top 10 best destinations for dog-friendly holidays in the UK… 

1. Cornwall

Cornwall is one of the most popular destinations for a UK break and it’s certainly sure to get your dog’s tail wagging. More dogs stayed in our Cornwall holiday cottages last year than anywhere else. 13,078 dogs went on a Cornish holiday with us in 2017, to be exact! For that very reason, Cornwall unsurprisingly features at the top of our list of destinations that dogs love.

Dog in suitcase

Why dogs love it

Not only does this part of the South West enjoy a sub-tropical climate, meaning comfortable weather conditions year-round, Cornwall is also a very accommodating destination for pets, with a large proportion of its popular attractions suitable for bringing dogs along to. 51 of its beaches welcome dogs year-round, a further 81 have some seasonal restrictions in place, and in fact, there are only 7 beaches in the entirety of Cornwall that don’t allow dogs. Find out the specifics here.

Cornwall is also the perfect out-of-season destination, with temperatures staying above 10 degrees Celsius at least seven months of the year (which are the conditions required for a sub-tropical climate classification), meaning you can enjoy a stroll at a choice of 132 beaches in pleasant conditions, out of peak season and likely away from busy crowds of tourists.

A number of Cornwall’s top attractions welcome dogs, so you can explore the best of the region with every member of the family without feeling any restrictions. Head to the Eden Project for an unforgettable experience (dogs on leads are allowed in the outdoor areas), learn about the fascinating history of Bodmin Jail that was built for King George III in 1779, take a ride on a steam train along the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, explore the grounds of the iconic Tintagel and Pendennis castles, wander the 200 acres of the Lost Gardens of Heligan, plus much more.

For more day out inspiration, take a look at our Cornwall things to do Guide.

2. North Wales & Snowdonia

Coming in second place, North Wales is a fantastic choice for a dog-friendly getaway. Enjoy a vast and varied landscape of lush countryside, imposing mountain ranges, rolling hills, pretty valleys and traditional villages. Allow your pet to accompany you to the top of North Wales’ highest peak, Snowdon, and even to the depths of the earth by visiting a copper mine. There is plenty of variety in a pet-friendly North Wales holiday.

Dogs running on the beach in North Wales

Why dogs love it

Enjoy the very best of North Wales’ scenery by climbing to its highest peak, Mount Snowdon’s summit, which impressively stands at 1085m. Snowdonia National Park welcomes dogs on a lead, as long as fitness permits, so your four-legged friend can accompany you on a trek up the magnificent mountain.

There are several different routes, with varying levels of difficulty, so you can make your choice depending on your capabilities. If the family is feeling fit and ready for the challenge of ascending the tricky terrain, rest assured you will be rewarded with some of the most spectacular, far-reaching views that the UK has to offer. Even if you don’t fancy the endurance test, there’s plenty to see and do whilst strolling through the National Park itself.

For something a little different, how about heading underground? Sygun Copper Mine is a Victorian mine that has been out of use since the early 1900s. It has been open as a tourist attraction for over 20 years and offers a fascinating day of adventure, exploring underground with your four-legged friend would certainly make for a day out with a difference. Just bear in mind that there are several metal steps to climb, which could prove tricky with larger dogs.

For more dog-friendly days out, browse through our North Wales things to do Guide.

3. Cumbria & The Lake District

The ideal destination for walkers and lovers of the great outdoors, Cumbria & the Lake District unsurprisingly features highly on our list of dog-friendly holiday destinations. It’s an extremely popular destination at any time of year; while popular resorts such as Windermere, Keswick and Ambleside are brimming with tourists in the summertime, visiting some of the quieter destinations out of season will offer you a totally different experience, where you can enjoy the quaint countryside and uncover hidden gems in peaceful bliss.

Dog in the Lake District

Why dogs love it

Cumbria has 20 fascinating English Heritage Sites that accept dogs, so you can explore a number of fascinating ruins, remains and fantastically preserved buildings, including: Ambleside’s ancient Roman Fort, which dates back to the 2nd century; the public park and remains of the 14th century Penrith Castle; admire the impressive remains and medieval gems of Furness Abbey and 13th century Brougham Castle, which sits along the banks of the pretty River Eamont.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the 16 beautiful bodies of water that encompass the Lake District, providing the perfect backdrop to a gentle afternoon stroll or a family picnic. Windermere is perhaps the most widely-known stretch of water, and the largest, here you can take a quaint boat tour and explore the area from a different perspective.  You can enjoy a similar experience at Coniston Water, where dogs can join the lake cruise free of charge. Be sure to try and visit as many of these unique bodies of water as you can, including Derwentwater, Bassinthwaite Lake, and Buttermere.

After a day of exploring this spectacular region, what better way to relax and re-energise than a trip to a Lakeland pub? Take a look at our selection of dog-friendly pubs in Keswick, dog-friendly pubs in Ambleside and dog-friendly pubs in Coniston that your pet will love just as much as you.

Find more day out ideas with our Lake District things to do guide.

4. North York Moors & Coast

Sleeping dog

Why dogs love it

The North York Moors and Coast is one of the most accessible areas in the UK for pet-friendly holidays. Our highest concentration of pet friendly properties (61.5%) can be found in this part of the UK, meaning you can take your pick of more than 375 pet-friendly North York Moors holiday cottages to find the accommodation that’s perfect for you.

North Yorkshire’s coastal resorts have been holidaymaker’s havens for centuries; Whitby and Scarborough are the quintessential traditional English seaside towns with many landmarks and attractions to admire. Climb Whitby’s 199 Steps and visit its stunning abbey, whilst in Scarborough you’ll be spoilt for choice by an array of sandy beaches.

A holiday to this region offers the perfect mix of rural moorland and beautiful coastline, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. No two walks will be the same, with plenty of varying backdrops to enjoy. Wander through Kilburn Woods, exploring enchanting woodland and admiring the breath-taking views of the Vale of York that are on offer, explore the coast around Robin Hood’s Bay and appreciate the variety of flora and fauna you will encounter, and learn about the extensive 900-year history of English Heritage-owned Helmsley Castle.

5. Peak District

Dog friendly pub

Why dogs love it

If you fancy a pint of your favourite tipple, owners and pets alike will appreciate that there are more than 100 dog-friendly pubs in the Peak District area, perfect for a spot of lunch or a refreshing beverage after a long country walk exploring your lovely rural location.

Visit the national park for a great selection of walking routes; try the Monsal Trail between Chee Dale and Bakewell, and admire some stunning limestone dales along the way. Wander the grounds of Chatsworth House, the stately home that has belonged to the Cavendish family since the 16th century, where dogs are welcome to wander the gardens, provided they are on a lead. Take the challenge of walking Kinder Scout and admire some fascinating points of interest along the way, including Mermaid’s Pool and Pym’s Chair.

Whatever walking pursuit you decide to embark upon, there is no better way to conclude the adventure than with a refreshing beverage or a hearty, traditional meal by a roaring log fire. With more than 100 pubs alone welcoming dogs in the area, you will be sure to find a spot where the entire family can relax and unwind.

View some of our favourite pet friendly pubs in the Peak District.

6. Devon

Dog in Devon

Why dogs love it

Devon is another firm favourite amongst UK holidaymakers, who flock to the South coast for pleasant weather, magnificent coastal walks along the South West Coast Path, fascinating architecture and more.

Those with pets will find plenty to do on a Devonshire holiday; some of its most popular attractions and areas of interest welcome canines.

In fact, 29 of the top attractions in the region, including The Donkey Sanctuary, the Miniature Pony Centre, the countryside and informal garden areas of Castle Drogo, the majority of the grounds of Powderham Castle (all but the Deer Park and the Walled Garden allow dogs on leads), the Devon Railway Centre, the fascinating stately home of Killerton and many more will allow your four-legged friend to accompany you on a visit, meaning plenty of fascinating days out that the whole family can experience.

For more ways to spend a day out in Devon, read or Devon things to do Guide.

7. South Wales & Pembrokeshire

Dogs running on the beach

Why dogs love it

South Wales is home to Wales’ number one beach, Rhossili Bay. Regularly featured amongst the best beaches in Europe lists, as well as Suitcase’s Top 10 Beaches in the World 2017, Rhossili Bay is a dog-friendly beach in a fantastic location that the whole family will love.

Part of Swansea’s Gower Peninsula, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Rhossili Bay has three miles of glorious coastline to explore. The coast encompasses the iconic landmark of Worms Head, given its name due to its serpent-like shape. Perfect for a spot of fetch, a run along the sand, or perhaps a steady walk, complete with a magnificent view, there is something for everyone to appreciate at Rhossili Bay.

View our Wales things to do Guide for more day out inspiration.

8. Yorkshire Dales

Dog overlooking North York Moors National Park

Why dogs love it

A visit to the Yorkshire Dales will leave you spoilt for choice when it comes to scenic outdoor walking routes, admiring some of the UK’s finest rural landscape along the way.

Miles without Stiles are a collection of walking routes accessible to all abilities and suitable for wheelchair users, families with pushchairs and those with limited mobility. There are 17 of these routes in the Yorkshire Dales, and each of them are dog-friendly. Take the whole family and enjoy a relaxed walk around Malham Cove, Buckden, Aysgarth Falls, the River Rawthey and more.

Discover more day out ideas with our Yorkshire Dales things to do Guide.

9. Northumberland

Those who enjoy the challenge of long distance outdoor pursuits will be spoilt for choice in Northumberland. Grab your four-legged friend and head out and explore the North East’s countryside, where you’ll be greeted by ever-changing scenery and unique walking experiences.

Dog at Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland

Why dogs love it

Northumberland’s long distance trails can be separated into lots of smaller (more sizeable routes) and often can be intersected by numerous shorter paths. This results in a massive amount of variety and the opportunity for dogs and owners alike to experience the same area from many different perspectives; walking along the river bank one day then through the hills above the next.

The eight Long Distance Trails that either start, finish or pass through the county of Northumberland take in the many facets of its expressive landscape, often on the one trail. St. Oswald’s Way, for example, begins at the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, passes along the River Coquet and also climbs the Simonside Hills, offering dogs and their owners a taste of each of these environments.

Find other dog-friendly days out with our Northumberland things to do Guide.

 10. Anglesey

Dog and owner walking along Anglesey's coast

Why dogs love it

Coastal trails are a haven for dogs of all ages, whether they are a puppy on their first seaside excursion, or a veteran explorer. As previously mentioned, Anglesey has over 125 miles of coastal paths to explore, many of which leading through fishing villages, woodlands, over cliff tops and past open sandy beaches – many of which are dog-friendly all year round.

Coastal trails such as these will appeal to all five of your dog’s hyper-intuitive senses, immersing them in a fascinating and fun experience. The curious scents of freshly beached seaweed and a fisherman’s catch of the day in a seaside village’s harbour, the feeling of the sea breeze and damp sand beneath their paws, the sounds of unfamiliar sea birds squawking overhead and the waves breaking on the rocks below, the sight of large open expanses of sandy beach and the thriving wildlife of its heathland, plus the taste of salty seawater and of a pilfered bite of fish and chips, all of which will delight even the most reserved of four-legged friends.

Find more day out inspiration by browsing through our Anglesey things to do Guide.

Did you know you can now book your holiday up to 24 months in advance? View our collection of pet-friendly properties, download our handy Pet Packing Guide in preparation for your next dog-friendly holiday and for some fantastic ideas of how to enjoy your time away, take a look at our very own Travel Guide.

Give a dog a break infographic

Take a look at our full range of cottages that accept pets for free!

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Image credits: Charlie HindhaughCC BY 2.0

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