Holidays in the great outdoors with your dog are great for your mind, body and soul. From carefree beach walks to dog-friendly bike trails, there are so many outdoor activities that you can enjoy with your four-legged friend. Here are some of our favourite wellbeing activities to try with your dog on your next holiday in the UK.
1. Coast Walks
Waggy-tailed walks beside the sea have been clinically proven to boost your physical and mental health and lower stress levels. So while you’re on your coastal break, seek out the local walking routes where you can stroll with the sea in sight. Whether you pad barefoot along the beach, wend through woodland that emerges on pebble shores, or tackle some of the thousands of miles of coast path that the UK has to offer, make sure you paws to ponder the sea views, reap the benefits of improved fitness and circulation, and enjoy a good night’s sleep after a day in the fresh sea air. Blue health breaks are gaining in popularity, and some of the best coastal destinations to visit with a dog include Cornwall, Dorset and Pembrokeshire.
Head off for a dog walk with purpose, and learn to pluck your own ingredients from nature’s larder. Far from the plastic packages lining the shelves of our supermarkets, the coast and countryside are thriving with mushrooms, gorse flowers and wild garlic, boulders are strewn with edible seaweeds and hedgerows are bursting with all sorts of berries and herbs. Anyone can go foraging with a little help from a guidebook such as River Cottage’s Edible Seashore. After a hard day’s foraging, retreat to the comfort of your Scottish bothy or Devonshire cottage to cook up those freshly picked ingredients.
Taking your dog on holiday doesn’t mean you can’t stretch into your flow with yoga in a scenic spot. Book private yoga sessions in the comfort of your holiday home, or find out if there are any alfresco beach yoga sessions in your holiday destination where your dog can join you while you’re finding your zen on the sand or quiet countryside setting. Under the calming tutelage of your expert instructor, build strength and flexibility, while accessing mindfulness and relaxation that will reach into all areas of your life, promoting a strong, focused and calm mindset.
If you’ve got an energetic dog in tow, what better way to wear them out and get your pulse racing than by freewheeling through some of the UK’s stunning scenery by bike? As well as being great exercise, time spent pedalling along outdoors is good for the soul. While some of the mountain bike trails don’t allow dogs, there are hundreds of miles of dog-friendly cycle paths in areas of outstanding natural beauty. For dog-friendly breaks in Derbyshire, head along one of the Peak District’s easygoing cycle paths such as the Monsal or Tissington trails. Alternatively, check out the Wales Coast Path cycle trails, Cornwall’s traffic-free Camel Trail and Coast-to-Coast route, or some of Scotland’s North Coast 500.
The UK has some fantastic spots for stargazing – where the skies are pitch black and far from the light pollution of towns and cities. One of this year’s Dark Skies Festivals takes place on the North York Moors from 10-26 February – a fantastic location to head with your dog for a holiday in Yorkshire. And there are plenty of other world-class star-gazing spots where your dog can join you, including Exmoor, Dartmoor and the Galloway International Dark Sky Park in Dumfries and Galloway.
6. Wildlife spotting
You don’t have to go overseas to spot rare animals and sea life. Castaway from the shores of the UK by boat and you can come nose-to-nose with an array of wildlife, including plenty of seals, mighty basking sharks, and even puffins and golden eagles. Well-behaved dogs are welcome aboard lots of local wildlife-watching trips, including Stuart Line Cruises in Devon, Helford River Cruises and the Scillonian ferry in Cornwall, and Loch Ness cruises in Scotland.
7. Sea Dips
Frolicking in the whitewater isn’t just fun for dogs – why not join your four-legged friend for a dip in the ocean? Trust us, it’ll leave you feeling great. Even brief immersion in cold water has been proven to lower stress levels, release whopping doses of the feel-good hormone dopamine and leave your skin glowing. So next time you’re at the beach seek out a natural sea pool or sheltered cove and take the plunge.
Find a Dog-Friendly Cottage for Your Wellbeing Break
The UK offers an array of activities to boost the body and mind on your next holiday. Browse our collection of paw-friendly pads and find the perfect retreat for a wellbeing break with your dog.