The weather’s warming up, the days are long and summer’s just around the corner. With the UK in all its glory, May half term is the paw-fect time to take a break with the dog. Whichever corner of the UK you visit, here are some of our favourite May half-term activities and things to do with your family and dog.
Undertake the Three Cliffs Bay Walk, Gower Peninsula, Wales
Beat the summer crowds to enjoy one of the most popular walking trails on the Gower Peninsula. While your dog might not appreciate the views of one of the most beautiful beaches in Wales, the scenery, caves, fort and river crossing will take your breath away. And both you and your four-legged friend will love padding along the white sands as the ebbing tideline reveals the three beaches of Tor Bay, Oxwich Bay and Pobbles Bay.
Hop Aboard a Cruise in the Lake District, Cumbria
From its wooded valleys to its rugged peaks, the Lake District is one of our top dog-friendly destinations. And while there is endless Lakeland scenery to explore under foot and paw, why not kick back and get a close-up view on a boat trip with your dog? Windermere Lake Cruises welcomes dogs aboard all of its trips, so the whole family can cast away on England’s largest lake, and paws for delicious food in one of the dog-friendly waterside cafés.
Wild Walkies and Swim with your Dog, Dorset
The water’s warming up, so how good would it feel to work up a sweat on a wild walkies, then shed your layers for a dip with the dog? Wherever you head to on the coast, veer off the beaten track and seek out a quiet spot for a saltwater dip. We love the walk to Dorset’s Dancing Ledge, where you can view the iconic King Harry’s Rocks in the distance and scramble down to dip in the glassy waters off the Jurassic Coast.
Lap Up City Life with the Dog, Brighton
Buzzing city life can be dog-friendly if you head to Brighton, East Sussex, which raises its paw as one of the dog-friendliest cities in the UK. With a huge beach, South Downs on the doorstep, it’s not only great for walkies, but also brimming with dog-friendly attractions and businesses. Wander around Brighton Pavilion gardens, take your dog on a seafront train ride on the 19th-century Volk’s Electric Railway, enjoy a glamorous afternoon tea at Metrodeco, or visit the Laughing Dog Café – half café and half art gallery.
Cycle the Tarka Trail, Devon
If you and your canine companion are energetic types, why not explore some of the UK under peddle and paw power? From Cornwall’s Camel Trail to Scarborough’s Cinder Track, there are plenty of family-friendly, off-road cycle paths where you can take the dog. We love the 180-mile Tarka Trail through North Devon, taking in dramatic countryside and coastline along the backdrop of Henry Williamson’s classic children’s story Tarka the Otter. You don’t have to challenge yourself to the entire trail – many families choose to bite off the flat six miles hugging the coast from Braunton to Barnstaple, where you can Tarka-hunt along the banks of the River Taw and spot wildfowl on the mudflats.
Get Away From it All on the Isle of Muck, Scotland
Do you fancy leaving the hustle and bustle behind, being enveloped in raw beauty and spending quality time with your loved ones and the dog? Few places can rival Scotland’s offshore islands, which are home to ancient forests, white-sand beaches, glassy lakes and time-forgotten villages. Around a two-hour ferry ride from the mainland, the Isle of Muck is the perfect place to switch off from the modern world and step out into pristine paw-friendly terrain on an excellent choice of walkies including Beinn Airein (the island’s highest point at 451ft) and the Isle of Muck coastal circuit (8.5 miles).
Step Back in time at an English Heritage Castle, Warwickshire
Delve into the past with your dog at your side, when you visit one of the UK’s mighty fortresses that welcome dogs into their ramparts. Warwickshire’s Kenilworth Castle is one of Britain’s biggest medieval sites, where you can wander through 900 years of history as you climb the keep and towers, walk in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth I in the gardens, and roam the outside of the castle walls.
Visit a National Trust Property with your Dog, Somerset
If you love being in nature, many of the UK’s gardens and National Trust estates are dog-friendly, offering a great day out for the whole family. At Fyne Court, tucked away in the Quantock Hills in Somerset, there are three trails through woodland and meadows to scamper along with your four-legged friends. Once you’ve taken in the views, watched for wildlife and discovered the boathouse that hints at the property’s former glory, head back to the cosy courtyard café and browse second-hand books in The Snug.
Hop on the Scenic St Ives Bay Railway, Cornwall
Combine one of the UK’s most scenic train journeys with stunning coastal walkies. Enjoy eye-popping coastal views that have inspired many of the region’s artists, as you chug into this picture-postcard harbour on the dog-friendly St Ives Bay Railway. Once you’ve taken in the sights and paw-sed for an ice cream, pasty and a pint in picturesque St Ives, stroll back along the South West Coast Path and take in the views at a more leisurely pace with your hound at your heels. You can hop back on the train after the easy mile to Carbis Bay, or stomp all the way to back to St Erth, via Porthkidney Sands (also known by locals as Happy Dog Beach). This is an ideal day out with a four-legged friend while holidaying in Cornwall.
Scale Snowdon, Wales
If you’ve got an energetic hound and fancy a challenge, why not embrace the adventure of climbing a mountain? Wales’ highest peak is in the heart of the stunning Snowdonia National Park, and May is a superb time to take on the challenge of its peak – when the snow has melted but before the weather is too warm for the dog. Covering 827 square miles of North Wales, the Snowdonia area makes a great base for holidays and offers plenty of hikes suitable for families and dogs, whether you want to bag a mountain or take it easy.
Book A Dog Friendly Retreat For May Half Term
There’s still time to book a dog-friendly holiday cottage for May half term and enjoy an array of activities with your dog in tow. Check out our pick of last-minute availability for May half term, or use our search tool to find the paw-fect getaway for you and your family.