Every dog has his day out: Treat your faithful friend to a fantastic staycation with the 21 best pet-friendly walks (and places to curl up) in Britain

  • Walk the grounds of Blickling Estate in Norfolk and take in its woodland and stunning views across the lake
  • The full lap of Buttermere in the Lake District has an adventurous feel with stretches in damp, rocky tunnels
  • Sycamore Gap in Northumberland is one of the most dramatic parts of the Hadrian’s Wall Path

Nothing is more invigorating than heading out for a walk in the countryside to explore new areas. 

And if you’re one of the nine million dog owners in the UK, there’s no need to leave them behind, as plenty of places welcome pooches as guests. 

Here are 21 of the best walks for you and your dog, plus fabulous places to stay nearby.

The South East

Take in the ruins of Camber Castle, built by Henry VIII, then continue across salt marshes to the dunes at Camber Sands

Watlington Hill: Red kites, buzzards and ravens fly overhead on rambles around Watlington Hill, where you can take your dog along dozens of grassy paths looking out over the wide Oxfordshire plain. If it rains, shelter amid wildflowers under beech and ash trees and gaze at the Chiltern Escarpment. Butterflies abound, including chalkhill blues, silver spotted skippers and the dark green fritillary (0.64 miles).

Rye Harbour and Camber Sands: Start by the sea in East Sussex’s Rye Harbour, then head south along the river Rother, famous for its colonies of sandwich terns. Follow the path to the beach before doubling back to take in the ruins of Camber Castle, built by Henry VIII. Continue across salt marshes to the dunes at Camber Sands, which stretch over the border into Kent (10.5 miles).

Litlington White Horse: They say it took just one long night for a local farmer’s son and his friends to etch the Litlington White Horse into the South Downs chalk in 1836. This circular walk in the National Park explores mixed woodland with views of the carving. As you walk through the woodland, you’ll enjoy far-reaching views of East Sussex (1.6 miles).

Stay: The Greyhound Inn in the Oxfordshire village of Letcombe Regis is a lovingly refurbished Grade II listed Georgian property with eight stylish rooms and a proper pub serving top-notch food.

The Warrens is a white clapboard single-storey house at the foot of Camber Sands dunes which sleeps ten in five bedrooms. Short breaks are available for £700-£1,200.

Fair Oak Farm on a 12-acre country estate offers self-catering cottages, barns and lodges. The super-stylish rustic barnhouse sleeps up to 12 and the whole estate can handle 36 guests, from £4,695-£7,995.

The South West

The cool and quirky Artist Residence in Penzance is a boutique hotel converted from a Georgian townhouse

There are plenty of beaches to take your dog for a walk in the South West (stock image)

Holnicote Estate: This beautiful walk delivers great views across the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate in Exmoor, Somerset.

Head from Webber’s Post car park down through the wooded valley. Pack a picnic and eat amid panoramic views or under ancient, moss-covered trees. The estate has about 150 miles of footpaths, and this modest walk makes a great introduction to Exmoor (2.6 miles).

The Lizard: Explore the southern tip of the Lizard Peninsula, taking in the coves and rocks of the coast and pretty inland villages.

Stories of pirates, shipwrecks and smugglers abound, and if you look across the coves you may spot dolphins, porpoises and even whales. It makes for a lovely day’s walk, although there is the odd steep stretch (12 miles).

Holywell and Crantock beach: Start in the village of Holywell in North Cornwall and head east to take in a trio of golden beaches for a memorable circular stroll.

After following the first of the trio, Holywell Bay Beach, walk through the wildflowers of Kelsey Head towards Polly Joke cove to find the second. Continue on the South West Coast Path towards Pentire Point West and on to dog-friendly Crantock Beach to complete the set (5.2 miles).

Stay: Set in five acres, Moreton House is a family-owned Grade II listed mansion converted into luxury two-bedroom apartments. From £900 per week, per apartment.

The cool and quirky Artist Residence in Penzance is a boutique hotel converted from a Georgian townhouse. Each of the 22 rooms is decorated by a different artist, many of them Cornish locals. From £75 per night, dogs £15.

Smuggler’s Cove Cottages on the beach at Portreath each sleep eight people, from £995-£4,495 per week. Dogs £30 per week.

East Anglia

Grand: The imposing Blickling Hall in Norfolk is a National Trust property with magnificent gardens

Blickling Estate Walk: Blickling Hall is a National Trust property with magnificent gardens. The walk takes in its woodland with stunning views across the lake back to the hall (3 miles).

Blakeney Point: Walking on shingle beaches is tough, so expect a workout on the trek from Cley Beach to the Lifeboat House at Blakeney Point in Norfolk. There are seals aplenty on the sands, so dogs need to be on leads (7.5 miles).

Stour Valley and Dedham Vale: Explore the area made famous by 19th Century landscape painter John Constable. This flat, circular walk goes past Flatford Mill, through hedgerows and wildflower meadows (7 miles).

Stay: The 15th Century Fritton Arms on the edge of the Norfolk Broads has eight comfortable rooms. From £110 per night, dogs £15 per night.

The White House is a luxurious mansion just outside Burnham Market with 12 rooms which include dog treats. From £150 per night, dogs £10 per night.

Milsoms hotel has 15 rooms, a buzzy bar and restaurant. From £150 per night, dogs free.

Midlands

Exquisite: The Heart of Gold Yurt at Walcot Hall in Shropshire is fitted out in a rustic but comfortable style

Monsal Trail: Following the old Midland Railway line, the Monsal Trail in Derbyshire is relatively flat but offers spectacular limestone scenery. Start in the pretty village of Hassop and the first treat is Headstone Tunnel – dogs best kept on leads. Then, as you step blinking into the light, you get to walk over Headstone Viaduct (2 miles).

Hambleton Peninsula: The first ospreys to breed in England in 150 years swoop over Rutland Water. If you get lucky, you’ll see them on this circular walk past farms and churchyards (4.8 miles).

Hathersage: This circular walk – gentle by Peak District standards – takes in beautiful countryside around Hathersage, which inspired Bronte’s Jane Eyre (6 miles).

Stay: The Peacock at Rowsley is a clever mix of ancient and modern with an elegant restaurant. There are 14 rooms and one suite, from £215 per night, dogs £15.

The honey-stoned Barnsdale Lodge Hotel comes with a dog-friendly bar. Double rooms from £89-£149 per night, dogs £10 per night. 

History abounds at Georgian gem Walcot Hall in Shropshire. From £400-£750 for short breaks in 15 self-catering cottages. Glamping is £120-£200 for a weekend. Yurts are exquisitely fitted out in a rustic but comfortable style with double beds. 

Yorkshire and the North East

Pooch perfect: The dramatic scenery around Hadrian’s Wall in Sycamore Gap

Picturesque: The waterfall at Janet’s Foss in Yorkshire, which is part of the Malham Tarn Estate 

Malham Cove: A mile out from Malham in North Yorkshire, follow a stream until you see the incredible limestone cliff of Malham Cove. It’s a steep climb up stone steps before a walk to the canyon of Gordale Scar with peregrine falcons above. Circle back past the waterfall at Janet’s Foss (8 miles).

Roseberry Topping: This circular walks starts in the village of Great Ayton and climbs to the obelisk commemorating local boy Captain Cook. Follow the Cleveland Way to Roseberry Topping – known as the Yorkshire Matterhorn (6.3 miles).

Sycamore Gap and Hotbank Crags: One of the most dramatic parts of the Hadrian’s Wall Path. Start at Haltwhistle in Northumberland for a walk that takes in a host of old kilns and ruined Roman settlements and forts (7 miles).

Stay: Stow House in Leyburn is in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. Nearby is the dog-friendly Kings Arms, famous as The Drovers Arms in All Creatures Great And Small. From £115-£185 per night, dogs free. 

St Valery has four dog-friendly rooms. From £150 per night, dogs £20.

The North West

Stunning: This full lap of Buttermere Lake has an adventurous feel with stretches in damp, rocky tunnels and dark woodlands 

Buttermere: This full lap of Buttermere Lake has an adventurous feel. A series of stunning views will be broken up by stretches in damp, rocky tunnels and dark woodlands (4.4 miles).

Tarn Hows: Considered one of the loveliest Lake District beauty spots, near the village of Coniston, try this easy circular walk around the tarn, or small lake. If you want more, walk on to Beatrix Potter’s old home in Hawkshead (2 miles).

Stay: Lodore Falls offers cosy bedrooms and all sorts of doggy treats from ‘dogs dinners’ to post-walk towels. From £190 per night, dogs £10.

Randy Pike, once a hunting lodge, is today a boutique bolthole just north of Windermere with three luxury suites. From £200 per night, dogs free. 

Wales

The Slate Shed’s breakfasts have won rave reviews, as have the breakfast hampers delivered to those who prefer to stay in their rooms

Aberporth Cliff Path: Aberporth is a pretty coastal village clinging to the hillside, and this cliff path has stunning views and a variety of dog-friendly cafes and pubs (1.3 miles).

Foel Ispri: This easy walk cuts into a valley with superb views of the Mawddach estuary in Snowdonia. The path follows an old tramway that led along the hillside to the gold mines at Foel Ispri, and the ruins of some mine buildings still remain (0.5 miles).

Stay: Surrounded by bluebell woods and grassy meadows, Y Granar is an open-beamed studio with a four-poster bed that offers a doggy welcome pack. Sleeps two from £448-£695 per week.

Five glorious bedrooms have been carved out of what was once a Victorian slate-cutting mill in Snowdonia. The Slate Shed’s breakfasts have won rave reviews, as have the breakfast hampers delivered to those who prefer to stay in their rooms. From £90-£130 per night, dogs £10. 

Scotland

Follow the Caledonian Canal through some of Scotland’s most majestic scenery, passing Loch Oich and Loch Ness

Loch Lomond: Hop on a water bus from Balmaha to Inchcailloch Island. There’s a low path rolling through woodlands or choose the steep climb of the summit path. Either way, the views are terrific (4 miles).

Great Glen Way: This is a lovely path and most stretches are relatively flat, offering 77 miles of wonderful walks from Fort William to Inverness. Most of the route follows the Caledonian Canal through some of Scotland’s most majestic scenery, passing Loch Oich and Loch Ness (77 miles).

Stay: Back in 1964, The Beatles stayed at The Four Seasons in Loch Lomond National Park, where great views are on offer. Stay in the main building or a chalet in forested hillside. From £85 per night, dogs free.

Forest Holidays Strathyre in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park just outside Callander offers 45 well-equipped cabins, some with log-burners and hot tubs on the deck. From £515 for seven nights, dogs £15. 

Martin Dunford’s Dog Friendly Britain: Cool Places To Stay With Your Dog is published by Cool Places (coolplaces.co.uk) at £18.99.

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