The Best Destinations for a Dog Friendly Staycation in 2023

Dog in beach trolley on a holiday by the sea

It’s no secret that staycations are all the rage for 2023. Great for the planet and great for your pocket, holidaying closer to home is also the best option for dog lovers. Besides, with the soaring cost of living and flights, there’s no better time to step out and discover the beauty of Britain with your four-legged friend at your heels. With that in mind, here are 10 top destinations for a dog-friendly staycation in 2023. 

1. Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Wales

Best for: Sandy paws

With hundreds of miles of sandy shoreline for frolicking in the sea foam, Britain presents a tough choice for the best dog-friendly beach. However, having been described as the ‘supermodel of British beaches’ and often nominated as the UK’s number one dog-friendly beach, Rhossili Bay still sits at the top of our list for 2023. Stretching across the UK’s first dedicated AONB on the Gower Peninsula, its miles of surf-lashed sands are a veritable playground for humans and dogs, where wave-jumping, jaw-dropping views and a low-tide walk across the causeway to Worms Head are all part of the sandy-pawed adventure. And did we mention there are plenty of dog-welcoming eateries on the Gower to boot? 

2. Camber Sands, Sussex

Camber Sands in Sussex

Best for: Water sports with your dog 

Recently voted the most dog-friendly place to visit in the UK by the RAC, Camber Sands is most famous for its seven-mile beach backed by sand dunes. Not only does this East Sussex beach offer a seemingly endless stretch of golden sand for walking the dog, but it’s also a haven for a range of activities from kitesurfing to swimming. And you’re not relegated to the beach with your pooch. You can take a walk to the historic ruins of Camber Castle, wander through the wetlands and woodland of the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, and make a pit stop in one of the many dog-friendly cafés and restaurants lining Rye’s cobbled streets.

3. Coniston, Lake District, Cumbria

Coniston water

Best for: Hill walking and boat trips

An all-time favourite, the Lake District’s Coniston area boasts paw-friendly terrain for the most energetic hounds and their owners. However, you don’t have to scramble up its highest peaks to be rewarded by eye-popping scenery and spectacular strolls. Set off from Goats Water tarn for an easier, family-friendly ascent up the Old Man of Coniston, or follow one of the lower Miles Without Stiles routes, which are perfect for tired paws and little legs. You can also hitch a ride on the outer decks of the Coniston Water gondola, or savour the views from the paw-friendly playground of Grizedale forest. And there are plenty of pooch-friendly places in this part of the Lake District for a well-earned refuel beside a roaring fire.

4. Whitby, Yorkshire

Whitby in Yorkshire

Best for: Coast and Countryside

With its connections to Captain Cook and Dracula, Whitby is much more than a former fishing town boasting the quintessential British seaside experience of beach huts and smoked kippers. Perfectly positioned between the coast and countryside, it’s bang on the doorstep of miles of pristine paw-friendly beaches and over 800km of trails weaving through the North York Moors. One of the most accessible areas in the country for a pooch-friendly getaway, it boasts an ever-changing backdrop of sandy shoreline, rugged moorland and wild woodland. So whether you step out along Robin Hood’s Bay, wander through Kilburn Woods or climb the 199 steps to the Gothic ruins of Whitby Abbey, no two waggy-tailed walks will be the same.

5. Padstow, North Cornwall

Padstow Dog

Best for: Foodies and their dogs

It’s no secret that Padstow flies the flag as one of the UK’s top foodie destinations, flaunting a plethora of award-winning restaurants serving up seafood freshly landed by its fishing fleet. What’s more, from Prawn on the Lawn in the heart of town, to Paul Ainsworth’s waterside Mariners in Rock, there are plenty of places to indulge in finger-licking dishes with your four-legged friend at your side. However, what really makes this town in Cornwall one of the best destinations for a dog-friendly holiday, is that it also happens to sit on one of the most stunning parts of the UK coastline for walkies. So you can work up an appetite stomping along the South West Coast Path to Stepper Point and The Rumps, step out onto the white-sand beaches fringing the mouth of the estuary, or strike out along the 18-mile Camel Trail with your hound in tow. 

6: Isle Of Muck, Inner Hebrides, Scotland

Isle of Muck

Best for: Remote, romantic escapes

If you’re looking to get away from it all and be enveloped in raw beauty and natural diversity, few places can rival Scotland for a dog-friendly break. And of more than 900 offshore islands that are home to ancient forests, white-sand beaches, glassy lakes and time-forgotten villages, the Isle of Muck is a real paradise for a romantic escape. Around a 2-hour ferry ride from the mainland, it’s 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).

7: Brighton And Hove, East Sussex

Best for: City life beside the sea

On the flip side of the coin, if you prefer buzzing city life just a short hop from London, Brighton and Hove boasts the title of one of the dog-friendliest cities in the UK. With a huge beach, South Downs on the doorstep, and reputedly the most dog meet-up groups per population than any other city in Britain, 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. You could also time your visit to coincide with the city’s many pup-friendly events – like Saltdean Lido Dog Swim or the annual Pride Dog Show.

8. Lymington, New Forest, Hampshire

Lymington Marshes

Best for: Dog-friendly days out 

In the top ten most searched places for a dog-friendly holiday in 2022, the New Forest has over 140 miles of paw-friendly paths as well as a host of dog-friendly attractions and events. The pretty seaside town of Lymington is a great base to enjoy boat rides along the Beaulieu River with your pooch at your side, a day out to the historic Hurst Castle guarding the entrance to the Solent and a visit to the New Forest Reptile Centre. As well as the riverside rambles, woodland walks and marches across marshland, there are also plenty of dog-friendly parks and gardens, so there’s no need to leave the pooch behind on any day out.  

9. Dartmoor National Park, Devon

Best for: Budget breaks

As soon as you head away from the coast, you’ll find a wider selection of paw-friendly pads at a snip of the price to those near the beaches. This makes Dartmoor one of the UK’s more affordable locations to book your dog-friendly staycation for 2023. Not only can you bag the likes of a four-person cottage for less than £500 per week and step out into hundreds of miles of rolling moorland, rugged tors and magical forests for wild walks that don’t cost a penny, but you’re also not far from Devon’s south coast if you do fancy a bit of beach life, too. And if you’re really trying to keep costs down, check out our tips for saving money on your dog-friendly holiday.

10. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh skyline

Best for: City breaks

Crowned the UK’s top location for dog-friendly holidays by, Edinburgh boasts the winning combination of green spaces, paw-fect accommodation, eateries, attractions, dog sitters and even hairdressers for your pooch. And while you can trot around the city enjoying all the trimmings of theatres, restaurants and events with your dog in tow, the climb to the top of Arthur’s Seat – the dormant volcano at the edge of the city centre – would probably be voted the dogs’ favourite day out if Fido and his friends could have their say.

Find the Ideal Cottage For a Dog Friendly Staycation In 2023

Whether you prefer city life with your pooch at your heels or a week in the wild for waggy-tailed walks, Dog Friendly Retreats offers a huge range of holiday cottages throughout the UK. Start your search today!

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