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5 important things to consider when planning a dog friendly UK self-catering holiday

If you are thinking of taking a self-catering holiday in the UK, we think it’s a fantastic idea as it means you can easily take your beloved fur babies with you. With our experience of owning three extremely dog friendly, luxury holiday cottages in Somerset and being dog owners and dog lovers ourselves, we wanted to write this blog to help you plan and choose the best holiday for you and your doggos.

1. Is the accommodation truly dog friendly inside?

We are starting with accommodation as it’s so important, it will be your home away from home and can make or break a holiday. If you are still at the browsing stage, it’s a great time to learn what truly dog friendly accommodation means, so you can really begin to narrow down your options. A great place to start is perhaps the ‘about’ section of the website or to see if they have a ‘dogs’ page, where you will hopefully find that the owners are dog lovers and have dogs of their own. This is a great indication that they will really understand what it’s like to take dogs on holiday, and how important it is that the accommodation is welcoming for pooches and not just ‘dog tolerant’. Here’s some things to think about that we offer our own canine guests at Quantock Cottages, to help you to find some fantastic accommodation options:

  • Do they allow any breed of dog? We do at our luxury cottages, it’s important to us that any dog is welcome and we can also sleep up to three dogs per cottage (with more possible upon request). That’s another thing to look out for as there’s nothing more frustrating than finding the perfect accommodation, only to realise that your dog’s breed is not welcome or that they can’t accommodate the amount of fur babies that you have

  • Are dogs allowed in every room of the property? You don’t want to be worried about closing doors and having to keep your pooches out of certain rooms while you are on a relaxing break

  • Are dogs allowed on the furniture including the sofas and bed? (If they are it will usually be with blankets and your own bedding to keep them clean for other guests). If not, you may find this part particularly hard work if your dog is used to sitting on the sofa or snuggling up in bed with you at home. You want your holiday to be as stress free as possible for you and your fur babies, so this is something important to find out before you book

  • Is the accommodation set up for dogs? For example is there a food and water station and have the owners left some lovely treats out for your dogs’ arrival?

  • Do they offer anything special for your doggies? This could be providing details of how to book a pet food delivery service, a dog siting service or even a dog photo shoot (like we do). It’s added ‘treats’ like these that separates truly dog friendly accommodation in the UK from those that are just ‘dog tolerant’.

2. Is the accommodation dog friendly outside?

So we’ve discussed what you should be looking for inside the property, but the outside is very important as well. You want your dogs to be safe and secure and to have everything they need outside as well as in. The main thing to check for is are the gardens secure and if yes are they genuinely doggie proof. You want to feel relaxed, knowing that they can’t run off if you let them outside. Each one of our luxury cottages has its own private, enclosed dog safe garden (with a covered hot tub, outside bar and fire pit for our human guests). Another good thing to have outside your accommodation is an enclosed exercise area for dogs. We have three on-site at our cottages, and our guests love knowing that their pooches can run wild whilst being completely safe in the dedicated enclosed dog zones. Lastly, is there a wash station outside (or Doggie Spa as we like to call ours) for muddy paws and sandy coats? Not only is this convenient for washing off your dogs after a nice long walk, but it means you can keep your accommodation inside clean too and don’t have to worry about walking muddy dogs through to the bathroom.

3. Are there good walks nearby?

Anyone that takes a holiday with their doggies will know that good dog friendly walks nearby are a must. We are so lucky that our guests can walk out of their enclosed cottage garden straight onto the magnificent Quantock Hills (AONB), and while you may not find something quite that close by to your accommodation, it’s great if you don’t need to take a car journey to reach a good walking spot. Another thing to look out for if you love a beach walk is to see if there are any dog friendly beaches nearby, and if so make sure to check if dogs are allowed on the beach at that particular time of year. Close-by woodland walks are great finds too. We think strolling through the woods and being in nature with the dogs is such a peaceful thing to do while on holiday.

4. Can you find dog friendly places close by to eat and drink?

Even if you are planning a self-catering holiday, there will be times when you want to eat out, whether that’s for a special meal, a trip to the pub or a pit stop at a café while out exploring the local area. So we do recommend that you have a look in advance of making your booking, so you know you can definitely find somewhere lovely to eat and drink with the doggos in tow. It may be that the accommodation’s website lists their recommendations, which they will likely do if they are very dog friendly to save you searching around. Look out for a helpful page like this on their website, or even better, check out if they have blog posts which will help you to find great dog friendly places to eat and drink as there’s nothing better than local recommendations. If you are planning a Somerset holiday with the dogs you will find these blogs very useful: The best places to eat and drink in Somerset and The top 5 dog friendly things to do in Somerset, which also includes our top picks for dog friendly cafés, pubs and restaurants. If there is no dedicated page on the accommodation’s website, why not give the owners a ring? If they are truly dog friendly, we are sure they will be more than happy to give you their recommendations.

5. Are there dog friendly attractions in the area?

Now what would a holiday be without experiencing a local attraction or two to make some fantastic memories? When you have dogs it’s a good idea to look in advance so you don’t have to waste precious holiday time searching when you get there. In Somerset for example we have West Somerset Railway’s dog friendly vintage steam train, where you can get a day pass and hop on and off at different stops including some great walking spots such as dog friendly beaches. They also offer food experiences on board such as cream tea and fish and chips and fun events, so you can have a wonderful day out travelling and exploring the local area with you dogs. We know that there are many dog friendly steam trains across the country including South Devon Railway, Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway (Lake District), Epping Ongar Railway (Essex) and Lincolnshire Wolds Railway to name just a few.

We hope you found this blog helpful and wish you the best of luck with planning your very dog friendly UK self-catering holiday. If you are interested in taking a look at our luxury self-catering cottages with enclosed gardens and covered Bali inspired hot tubs in the stunning Quantock Hills, please visit our website.

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