If you’ve been thinking about planning a UK break and you have dogs, you will no doubt want to bring your fur kids along with you, after all they are a huge part of the family. If you’re undecided on where to go, a dog friendly holiday in Somerset could be the perfect choice - with its fantastic scenery and plenty of dog friendly places to visit. Being pooch lovers ourselves and with our knowledge of the local area, we’ve rounded up our top 5 dog friendly things to do in Somerset.
1. Explore the great outdoors
If you love the outdoors, as many dog owners do, then you will be spoilt for choice in Somerset. One of our favourite places to visit with the dogs has to be the Quantock Hills, which is 9,000 acres of glorious open moorland and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You and your dogs will love exploring the coast – be sure to stop and admire the stunning exposed limestone from the late Triassic and early Jurassic period. The colourful heathland in the Quantock Hills is home many birds and you may even be lucky enough to spot some red deer grazing in the early mornings or late evenings. There’s so much that makes the Quantock Hills the perfect place to explore with the dogs, but be sure to take a stroll through the magical, ancient woodlands which are rich in woodland wildlife.
The Great Wood at Over Stowey is ideal for walking or even cycling with the dogs. You’ll love admiring the majestic Douglas Fir trees (some of the tallest trees in England). It’s a wonderful place for wildlife watching and there’s a picnic area for you and the dogs to stop and re-relax.
If a trip to the beach is more your thing, then the dog friendly Kilve Beach should be on your list. The beach is in the heart of the Quantocks and like the Quantock Hills, it’s an area of Special Scientific Interest. Why not go fossil hunting on the beach? (Just don’t remove them) and towards low tide there will be plenty of rock pools for you and your doggies to enjoy. Prefer the sand? Then you will want to head to either Blue Ancho Beach or Dunster Beach. Both are perfect for a long walk with the dogs, with beautiful coastline views.
2. Take a journey on an old fashioned steam train
Fancy stepping back in time? Experience 20 miles of the Somerset countryside on West Somerset Railway’s dog friendly vintage steam train. You could even make a day of it, by getting unlimited travel for the whole day. There’s so much to enjoy on and off the train. There’s a bar on board, and you can book different food experiences such as tea/coffee and cake, fish and chips and cream tea - yum. The train also stops at Blue Ancho Beach and Dunster Beach, so you could hop off, enjoy a nice long walk with the dogs and take in some fresh seaside air. If you’re not stuffed from whichever food experience you choose, the ice cream shop opposite the train station in Watchet is quite possibly (in our opinion) the best ice cream in Somerset.
3. Visit the National Trust’s Dunster Castle
Dunster Castle is an ideal place to visit for a stroll with the pooches. It sits on the fringes of Exmoor and dogs are allowed anywhere on leads, except for inside the castle itself and the tea-room. The River Garden is a peaceful walk, with its stunning giant redwood trees and the River Avill passing through it, and there’s even a dog friendly working watermill. To give you that real holiday feel, the castle’s South Terrace is perfect for enjoying the palm trees and its far reaching views. Oh and don’t forget to visit the parkland, which is great for spotting wildlife including kingfishers and otters. If the dogs (and you) are not tired out from all that walking, The Keep has lots of paths which lead you to different areas around the castle, including the Victorian reservoir and Aunt Mary’s Garden which has amazing views across the Somerset countryside.
Dunster Village (surrounding the castle) is also great to explore, with medieval buildings including the iconic Yarn Market building. You can take a number of beautiful walks with the family and dogs from the village such as the ‘Dunster Hidden History Storywalk’, which is actually designed to be read out loud to get a true experience of the history of the place. If you and your doggies need to recharge, then you’ll be pleased to know that the majority of the pubs and cafés in the village are dog friendly.
4. Restaurants, cafes and pubs
Our favourite dog friendly places to eat and drink in Somerset include Chantry Tea Gardens in the Quantocks for really scrummy cream teas and a fresh bowl of water for the doggos. We also highly recommend the excellent and very dog friendly Hood Arms, a historic 17th Century coaching inn, which serves real ales, great food and has a lovely beer garden. This is the perfect place to stop if you are visiting Kilve Beach and it also happens to be just at the bottom of the lane from our luxury dog friendly cottages in Somerset.
If you are visiting the Great Wood then you may want to take a break at the quirky The Foxy Bean Café, which serves lovely food and hot and cold drinks. We especially recommend their yummy cakes. Not only is it dog friendly of course, but it offers vegan and gluten free options too. Last but not least on our recommended list of dog friendly places to eat and drink in Somerset is the excellent Quantock Brewery. If you choose to pick up the steam train at Bishops Lydeard, you will see the microbrewery opposite the station car park. You may wish to have a little thirst quench there before boarding the train and we highly recommend sampling the Quantock Ale.
5. Dog friendly Somerset accommodation
When searching for a UK holiday to take with dogs, it’s of course very important to double check that your accommodation is dog friendly. At our luxury holiday cottages in Somerset, we are so much more than that! Quantock Cottages offers a chance to escape and unwind, not just for you but for your fur babies as well. We have three beautiful self-catering cottages to choose from, each sleeping up to four guests in two bedrooms and up to three dogs (more dogs possible on request). The cottages all have their own enclosed private gardens with a covered hot tub and outdoor bar and the stunning Quantock Hills are just at the end of the garden.
Fancy the ultimate holiday treat while staying with us? You can have a spa treat in the comfort of your own holiday cottage, and your dogs can have one too. We have a Doggie Spa at the front door of all three of our cottages, which includes a bath tub, a hot and cold shower and a drying bench, perfect for when you’ve been out exploring all day. And it doesn’t stop there. We also have an on-site dedicated ¾ acre enclosed dog zone, complete with agility course and we can provide you with details to book dog food delivery during your stay. You can view our dog friendly holiday cottages here and if you’re planning on staying elsewhere in Somerset, please be sure to check what dog friendly facilities they have both inside and outside of the accommodation.