‘There are even surfing lessons for pooches’: readers’ favourite dog-friendly places in the UK | United Kingdom holidays

Surf dogs, north Devon

Woolacombe Beach is where soft sand meets the wild Atlantic and is perfect for our pooches. It consists of a wide, three-mile long sandy stretch from Barricane Beach down to Baggy Point, but dogs are restricted in certain areas. Parts of it are surfing areas and some kiosks even offered boards and lessons for dogs, though I didn’t want to embarrass Bob and Bertrand – our lovely Beagles – by insisting they try. Other pet owners were not so bashful. There are lots of dog bins and the cafes have bowls of water for four-legged friends. The Barricane Beach cafe is run by animal lovers, has great coffee and great-value curry nights.
Gayle

Break for the border (collie), Highlands

Border collies are in their element in the Highlands. Photograph: Jacobs Stock Photography/Getty Images

Oban is a true doggie delight. We stayed a night there with our lovely Evie, a border collie. At the Lorne Bar dogs are not only welcome, but they have their own menu! After local walks and a stroll through the harbour, which Evie found had a lot of interesting smells, we popped in for a drink and a bite. Dog options include sausages and butchers’ dry food and can be accompanied by Belgium doggy beer or “paw” secco (0% alcohol). Evie opted for the sausages and found there was even more to enjoy in the town than her morning walk by the harbour, with all its interesting smells, suggested.
Hannah Kay

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Walkies on the beach, Ceredigion

Aberporth.
Aberporth. Photograph: Travelib Europe/Alamy

The coastal walk between the beautiful beaches of Aberporth to Tresaith, west Wales is spectacular. Both beaches allow dogs without restrictions between September and May, but in summer there are some areas of sand where they are not permitted. Both beaches have soft golden sand, beautiful views and, often, sightings of dolphins – the largest population in Europe. Tresaith is home to a waterfall where the River Saith flows over the cliff top. Many pubs and restaurants in Ceredigion are dog-friendly and we’d recommend The Ship Inn, Tresaith, which has a terrace with panoramic views, and the Driftwood Cafe, Aberporth, which has treats for furry ones.
Sinead Evans

Panting on the peninsula, Argyll and Bute

Stonefield Castle Hotel.
Stonefield Castle Hotel. Photograph: Bildagentur-online BAO/Alamy

Stonefield Castle Hotel, near Tarbert on the shore of Loch Fyne, was everything we wished for – dogs are made very welcome and there are 24 hectares (60 acres) of woodland gardens to explore. Our room had a stunning view of the loch and a full Scottish breakfast set us up for a day spent exploring the Kintyre peninsula. At night we relaxed in the bar, where it’s OK for dogs to eat too – we all thought the food was delicious!
Susanna C

Beach walking in Cornwall

Porthcurno Bay and Logan Rock, Cornwall.
Porthcurno Bay and Logan Rock, Cornwall. Photograph: Louise Heusinkveld/Alamy

We try to take our dog Tito for a break straight after our summer holidays, to say sorry for leaving him at home. The best so far has been Porthcurno, Cornwall. A fantastic, dog-friendly beach in a bay you have to clamber down to, with spectacular cliff walks. There’s also the Museum of Global Communications, which allows dogs, and the Minack theatre, where dogs can visit on the lead when a show’s not on. He had a great time.
Julie

Canines at Camber, East Sussex

A cocker spaniel in sand dunes in Camber Sands.
A cocker spaniel in sand dunes in Camber Sands. Photograph: Peter Cripps/Alamy

Jeakes’ House in Rye, East Sussex is a beautiful 17th-century house set on a cobbled street right in the centre of town, and round the corner from Lamb House, which was home to novelist Henry James in the early 20th century. It has an interesting history and has hosted guests such as social reformer Elizabeth Fry and poet TS Eliot. Dogs are welcomed and will thoroughly enjoy romping around the nearby Camber Sands. The layout is charmingly labyrinthine, the food is wonderful and the well-stocked honesty bar is an unexpected delight.
Lindsay

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Hound Tor, Dartmoor

Hound Tor.
Hound Tor. Photograph: Steve Vidler/Alamy

Staying at the Mill End Hotel, with its dog-friendly rooms, is a delight for us and pooch. The River Teign is magical, with a wooded path, great for spotting dippers, kingfishers and labradors. The hotel has a boot room with towels and doggie treats. We have been many times and highly recommend it, and of course every dog owner has to make a beeline for Hound Tor.
Sharon Lewis

Pods for pooches, Cumbria

Dog and owner on a beach in UK
Photograph: robertharding/Alamy

While most of the Lake District is heaving with tourists, there are some lesser-known parts towards the south which are fantastic for a dog-friendly holiday. The vast expanse of Haverigg beach is spectacular for dogs (but keep them on the lead near the RSPB Hodbarrow reserve); along the coastline there are a number of secluded beaches (often completely empty) where responsible dog owners can let their pets run freely. We have stayed in dog-friendly Harbour Lights’ glamping pods (standard pod £68 per night, sleeps four) and can attest to their comfort and cleanliness – there’s also a family-run ice cream parlour on site.
Laura Garry

Bay of dogs, Gower, near Swansea

Three Cliffs Bay, Gower.
Three Cliffs Bay, Gower. Photograph: Getty Images

The Gower Peninsula is a perfect place for dogs and dog owners. The coastal path from the Mumbles, near Swansea, has wide open trails with green grass and fresh air where you can let your four-legged friends run around, before heading down to huge beaches like Three Cliffs Bay for a final bit of exercise or chilling out time – for your mutts and you. Further west, in Pembrokeshire, the town of Tenby is a pretty, dog-friendly place, I’ve found. The late afternoon is like promenade time for pooches. Stroll around the warren of streets with an ice-cream with the dog on a lead, before unleashing it on the South Beach for a swim in the sea to end the day.
Check Swansea council’s list of dog-friendly beaches on the Gower, and those where dogs are not permitted. In Tenby, dogs are not permitted on several beaches during the summer
Neil

Winning tip: Muddy mutts, near Glasgow

Mugdock East Dunbartonshire
Photograph: Alan Oliver/Alamy

For a prized canine experience that’s just as good for humans, look no further than Mugdock country park (free entry). With 270 hectares (666 acres) of open countryside, crisscrossing paths and an “away from it all” feel, it’s a treasured resource. Whether they’re chasing smells in the woods, getting muddy in streams or making friends in the outdoor cafe area, there’s plenty of dog entertainments and space to enjoy them. For everyone else, there are ruined castles, a loch, picnic spots and nature. Just 10 miles north of Glasgow, with car parking and a visitor centre, it’s an oasis for everyone. Dog owners are asked to keep their animals on the lead in certain areas of the park.
Kate

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