Since April is National Pet Month, who better to write this summary of pet-friendly stays than an unusually well-travelled cat?
That’s me, by the way!
Miso’s the name. I’m the furry bundle of feline loveliness who resides with Host Unusual’s co-founder Alex – though it might be more accurate to say that Alex resides with me. As such, I know more than most cats do about quirky holidays.
I even went on my very own cat-cation in the Surrey Hills back in 2020… more on that later!
All of this makes me the purrfect author to guide you through these unique pet-friendly stays, even if I do say so myself.
You don’t have to worry if you’re not a ‘cat’ person (as strange as you may be), since I’ll be telling you all about retreats that are suitable for dogs, and even horses, too.
I know. I’m nothing if not generous… unless we’re on the subject of food, treats, and toys, of course.
So, if you’re ready to press ‘paws’ on daily life with your best four-legged friend, let us begin!
The Merry Harriers Shepherd’s Huts, Surrey (Dogs and Cats)
How could I not begin with this wonderful place?
The setting for my first cat-cation, I was welcomed with open paws by the kind owners at The Merry Harriers, a historic inn that’s full of charm.
It certainly helped that their shepherd’s huts occupy such a gorgeous location… the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, to be exact.
Set in a dreamy field, opposite a pond (no fish, unfortunately!) the huts are beautifully equipped, luxuriously furnished, and are almost as cute as me.
There’s plenty to do, too. I spent some time lazing by the pond, and Alex went off on a guided llama trek – one of the Merry Harriers’ signature on-site experiences.
Later, we all met up for a drink in the inn’s lovely garden, where I ignored some dogs as I basked in the evening sun. Ah, memories!
Hoe Grange Holidays, Derbyshire (Dogs and Horses)
How many retreats allow you to ‘Bring Your Own Horse’?
I’ve certainly not heard of many, but since Hoe Grange Holidays offers stabling, grazing, straw bedding and hay – not to mention 250 acres of farm fields that lead onto the High Peak Trail bridleway – you can give your faithful steed a well-deserved holiday.
You, meanwhile, get to rest your human (and canine) heads in a luxurious, eco-friendly glamping pod or family-sized log cabin.
Feed the friendly farm animals, or book a relaxing session in the wood-fired Swedish hot tub or barrel sauna for an extra treat… your choice!
Tom’s Eco Lodge, Isle of Wight (Dogs and Cats)
This one is definitely on my cat-cation list, because it’s just so much fun.
Set on a friendly farm with sandy beaches on the doorstep, there are family activities in almost every direction, from pedal go-karting to archery and clay pigeon shooting… my only request is for real pigeons to be included in future!
Accommodation-wise, you can choose from a sustainable range that spans adventurous Safari tents, cosy pods, exclusive Modulogs, and the brand-new Dome Meadow.
Dogs are permitted not only in your accommodation, but in the on-site restaurant, and they’ll also get a welcome bag of homemade dog treats on arrival.
North Vat, Kent (Dogs)
This is one for those who enjoy serious style (which is completely wasted on dogs, if you ask me.)
A former fisherman’s cottage on the nature-steeped shingle beach at Dungeness, this is an award-winning retreat that was re-designed by a team of renowned architects. Clad in black timber, windows track the movement of the sun throughout the day, so there’s always plenty of natural light.
My top tip? Claim the master bedroom on the mezzanine, as it has a gorgeous glass gallery balustrade with views across the sea to France!
Your pampered pooch, meanwhile, will have their very own ‘doggy drawer’, filled with treats, towels, cushions, walking water bowls, and much more.
RiverBeds Luxury Wee Lodges and SeaBeds, Scottish Highlands (Dogs and Cats)
The lovely owners at RiverBeds and SeaBeds are my kind of people – welcoming all pets with impeccable manners, much like myself.
They also firmly believe that humans shouldn’t have all the fun, so they provide treats, bowls, poo bags and wee holders, and a towel for drying off after a splash around in Loch Ness (watch out for the monster!)
You’ll get to stay in a dreamy woodland RiverBed that feels like a ‘castle in a cabin’, or a design-led SeaBed, with its own bubbling infinity hot tub and sweeping sea-and-mountain views, so everybody wins.
The Roost Glamping, Gloucestershire (Dogs and Cats)
The word ‘roost’ makes me picture a cosy and welcoming place for pets like me, which is exactly what The Roost Glamping is.
Luckily, you’ll be welcomed too, with a choice of two bespoke-crafted cedar cabins – The Nook and The Nest. Each comes complete with its own Japanese soaking tub, fluffy robes, and tasty homemade scones and jam to devour on arrival!
Doggy guests get their very own truckle bed with a memory foam mattress, plus a fluffy blanket, a towel, and a treat – as well as the practical stuff, bowls and poo bags.
(There’s even a doggy wash area outside, since they must insist on rolling around in the forest mud…)
Cherry Pickers Cabin, Kent (Dogs and Cats)
I’ve always fancied living the simple, charmed life of a country cat, and Cherry Pickers Cabin, set in the idyllic village of Lynsted, could be just the place!
Once famous for its sweet-scented cherry orchards, visitors would travel to Lynsted in their droves to join the picking season.
Filled with vintage 1940s style and character, a stay at the cosy cabin will make you feel like you’re one of the crew… yet you won’t have to do any actual picking.
If you have to take your dog for a walk, there’s a paddock and eight private acres of orchard for them to explore. Your cat, meanwhile, can laze with you in the sun, as you enjoy a well-deserved drink.
Den by the Stream, Ceredigion (Dogs, Other Small Pets Considered)
This is an escape that could easily be described as ‘doggy heaven’.
The owners have set aside an exclusive, securely fenced three-acre meadow with tracks for guests to play with and exercise their dogs, filled with glorious scents, hay bales, logs, and even a fallen tree to climb on and explore.
Meanwhile, the stream is a glorious place for dogs to cool off in the sun!
The den itself is a lovingly hand-built cabin, off-grid and completely surrounded by woodland and birdsong… with no distracting TV or Wi-Fi, you can all relax and reconnect in peace.
Huxham Hideaway, Devon (Dogs)
Perfect for quirky studio stays, Huxham Hideaway is a shipping container that’s been expertly re-designed and converted by friendly owner Callum himself.
Unique, thoughtful treats for you include a handcrafted reading chair (bliss!) and plenty of well-chosen books to curl up in it with… as well as books, games, and a Bluetooth speaker – a perfect companion for those rolling Devon country views.
Meanwhile, your canine companion gets to relax and be pampered in the on-site doggy daycare centre, while you get on with the important business of exploring the local area.
Peddler’s Den Bunkhouse, North Yorkshire (Horses)
Sleeping up to 14 guests, you can arrange the sleepover of your lives at Peddler’s Den, a luxuriously transformed granary and barn that comes complete with a hot tub.
Set on a 150-acre family-run farm, you can expect simple, stylish décor with plenty of relaxed character… ideal for giggling into the night from the comfort of the granary bedroom, which contains 12 handcrafted beds.
There’s also an en-suite double room downstairs, while sumptuous communal treats include a luxurious high-ceilinged lounge, and a sun-drenched outdoor terrace.
Oh, and there are also dedicated stables that can be hired for your horsey friends, complete with a tack room and a hot horse shower!
So there you have it, some of the finest pet-friendly stays the UK has to offer.