Editor’s Choice

Doggy heaven: our Top Ten Paw-fect Getaways for your four legged friends

29 September 2017

Don’t you just love a family getaway, or how about a friends’ reunion instead, out in the countryside? Miles of green pasture to roam through in the fresh air…oh, or maybe the beach instead, with those luxurious stretches of golden sand to play games and relax on?

You choose your ideal location, pack everyone in the car, turn the CD player up loud, and away you all go!


…haven’t you forgotten someone? Someone who’s in just as much need of abreak; a faithful friend who’s always fabulous company?

If you struggle to leave your dog behind when you go away, you might be pleased to know that there are plenty of amazing escapes that promise totreat your four-legged friends in the luxurious manner they’ve become accustomed to! Better still, there’ll be no need to haul your dog off tothe nearest passport photo booth, as these fabulous places are all right here in the UK.

Here at Host Unusual, we know that man’s best friends are a pretty discerning bunch, meaning they’ll want to know exactly what they can expect from the UK’s top dog-friendly holiday locations. So, just for them, here’s the lowdown on ten of the very best.


We begin our fur-friendly journey on the Wessex Ridgeway, at Loose Reins to be exact, set within the breathtaking Dorset countryside that is Blackmore Vale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Arrive at this Wild West-inspired family adventure with the feeling that time has slowed blissfully down, for you to enjoy the very best that nature has to offer.

Stay in a cedar cabin for four, or a canvas lodge for six, and then get out and enjoy all that natural luxury while your best friend enjoys tasty treats, soft towels and his very own bed and bowl – all for just £25 per dog.

(Oh – and if bringing the dog isn’t enough, the horse can even tag along for this break, too!).


Meanwhile, a heavenly stay awaits you and your canine companions at Dreamcatcher, an exquisitely converted Cornish chapel.

A spacious and spectacular three-storey building sleeping up to eight people, you’ll be able to view St. Michael’s Mount from the sunny windows, while the exhilarating coastal path is your setting for plenty of scenic rambles. Luxury is the order of service here, with in-church beauty treatments and catering easily arranged.  

Up to two pampered pooches can accompany you on your Dreamcatcher experience for £30 each – and if they’re so pampered that they’d rather stay in than go out, dog sitting can be organised.


Fancy something even more out of the ordinary? Then get your ticket to ride at Pigeon Door – a tranquil Shropshire smallholding that houses three quirkily converted double-decker buses!

Choose from Betsy Blue, Billie or Beetie – all family-sized, equipped with their own private garden and hot tub, and achingly close to the Shropshire Hills, ideal for the more energetic hound. Towels, blanket, spare lead, poop bags and holiday dog tag are provided, and furry friends will have an enclosed private paddock of 3/4 of an acre each perbus to roam in. A dog-friendly pubnearby makes for the perfect pit stop for everybody, and better still, four-legged guests are welcome at Pigeon Door completely free of charge (and you can even bring your horse along from Spring – Autumn inclusive!).


If your tastes are for something more traditionally indulgent, multiple award-winning Knoydart Hide, sumptuously secluded in the Scottish Highlands, has the answer.

Complete with its own hot tub and sauna,you’ll experience unrivalled luxury both inside and out of your wilderness location, with antique furnishings and a majestic mountain landscape view that overlooks Loch Nevis.

Arrive by water taxi, then set about organising your pampering programme, which includes in-house catering and massage services. Two small doggy companions can join in all the indulgence, complete with their very own bowls, fluffy towels and treats, for £30 each.


Staying in Scotland for a moment, canine castaways in waiting will adore the Isle of Carna – a family-run private island surrounded by the coastal waters of Loch Sunart.  

With no roads, no traffic and just three houses (two of which are available for you to stay in) on the digital-free 600-acre island, this is a true pooches’ paradise!

Teeming with wildlife and thriving with foliage, wildflowers, heather moorland and fresh meadows, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to roam free. You’ll even be supplied with your own boat, for exploring, shopping and indulging on the mainland, too.

Up to three dogs can experience this level of private luxury and abundant space to run around in, at just £15 each.


Set along the sweeping south coast of Cornwall, we travel to Harbour Lights, the former Loo with a View and recent ‘Amazing Space’ that presenter George Clarke found himself completely captivated by!

Built in 1771 as a fish and net cellar, the building then became a public convenience before being elegantly restored into a pet-friendly clifftop hideaway for up to four people.  

Explore the beautiful village port of Charlestown, the setting for famous figures from Poldark to Alice in Wonderland, take a sandy stroll on the beach, and then why not treat your faithful friend with a trip tonearby Falmouth Bay Seafood Café, another of the owner’s stylish dog-friendly retreats?


Set on the border of Exmoor National Park and along the beautiful North Devon coast, award-winning Longlands perfectly represents the simplicity of outdoor living…at its most magnificent.

Enjoy babbling streams and a flowing private lake with waterfalls in this scenic eco-friendly sanctuary, with plenty of friendly wildlife to acquaint yourselves with along the way.  

Stay in one of five well-equipped safari lodges, and get ready to indulge in plenty of entertainment on site, from watersports to nature trails. Devoted doggies can enjoy exploring nearby Woolacombe beach, then return to their very own cosy beds, towels and bowls at just £25 each.


Refreshingly rural Aberdeenshire is our next dog-friendly location, Boutique Farm Bothies – two hand-crafted, eco-friendly boltholes found in rich, rolling farmland.

Switch off from the stresses of everyday life, with miles of meadow views from your lovingly hand-crafted tin accommodation (sleeping four or two people), filled with eclectic design features, upcycled furnishings and cosy décor.

Luxuriate in the walking, fishing and whisky tasting on offer all aroundyou, take a dip in the wood-fired hot tub back on site, or take your canine companion for a ramble through Cairngorns National Park. A doggieessentials pack, including a towel, blanket, bowl, lead – and not forgetting a few delicious gravy bones! – comes in at just £5 per dog, for up to three.


Award-winning Secret Meadows, owned by a registered wildlife charity and offering glowing green credentials, is no ordinary glamping site!

With its accommodation inspired by the Great Outdoors and with miles of unspoilt Suffolk countryside all around, you’ll discover soothing wildflower meadows, ancient trees and ponds…and even a turf labyrinth to get lost in. In short, this is a refreshing haven for hounds and humans alike!  

Choose your accommodation from luxury lodge tents, a romantic gypsy caravan or a Hobbit-style converted horsebox, then head off to sample all the on-site activity on offer! Guided walks, den building and bushcraft are all on hand to enjoy, along with hot tub sessions and on-site pampering.  

Luxury breakfast and barbecue hampers can be arranged if your dog is partial to a sizzling sausage or two! – and at just £29 she can also enjoy a few treats, along with her own basket, bowl and towel.


We finish our list with a wondrous watery break! Twee Gebroeders to be exact, a Dutch barge on a half-tide mooring at Woodbridge, Suffolk.  

Set for plenty of adventure, the two-bedroomed nineteenth-century barge is packed with nautical charm and comes complete with portholes, oil lamps, and refreshing riverside views from the decking.

Up to three dogs are welcome aboard – though you may need to distract them from the tempting welcome basket, packed with fresh local produce! Take them for an energetic stroll along the quayside and the banks of the River Deben – an ideal setting for wading birds and spotting the occasional seal.

Have we whetted your appetite for a canine-accompanied escape?  If so, take a peek at our Dog Friendlyholidays category, featuring more first-class doggy holidays than you can shake astick at  (you can even go along too, if you feel so inclined!)


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