You only have to look at the sheer number of dog friendly beaches in Dorset to know that a holiday here practically demands you keep a canine companion with you. Dog friendly hotels make holidays in Dorset all the easier – with some cooking up everything from sausages for breakfast to chicken and rice gourmet suppers for your furry family members. Yes, they’ll be spoilt, but isn’t that what holidays are about? Pamper yourself and your pooch with a few helpful hints on dog friendly Dorset stays…
Dog friendly beaches
There are plenty of paw-friendly coastlines to snuffle out on the Dorset coast. Though it pays to check before you pop your pooch in the car. Dog friendly beaches in Dorset come with some restrictions. Expect to keep your pup on a lead in places such as the coastal trails of RSPB Arne, where wildlife and nesting birds need to be kept safe. And you can only scamper across the sands of Swanage beach from October to April. For year round, lead-free romps through the waves, head to Durdle Door, Dorset’s photogenic icon and selfie magnet. Or Worbarrow Bay – an arc of golden sand with shallow waters for doggy paddling and sumptuous views for you to take in. Dogs can help you look for fossil finds at Ringstead Beach and at Chesil Beach (Abbotsbury to the Tank Teeth) too.
Dog friendly hotels
The Rose & Crown
You can book a stay in any of the three cosy B&B rooms at the Rose & Crown in Trent to access Sherborne and wider Dorset. For just a small £10 fee, your dog can stay with you in the boutique rooms that all have access to the pub’s enclosed garden. Dogs are welcome to run and play when the pub is shut – but if guests are drinking in the garden, then it’s leads on for a slightly more chilled stroll before heading out to exploring. After a long day of scampering across Dorset, it pays to check out the pub’s food and drink menu. Chockfull of Westcountry goodies, it’s an easy answer to the age old ‘where should we eat tonight’ question.
Orbzii tip: Don’t miss the chance to explore Sherborne Castle. Dogs aren’t allowed inside, but they can stroll in the gardens on a lead. The real walks start in the 42 acres surrounding the stunning the lake.
Dower House Hotel
Booking a stay at the Dower House Hotel comes with the chance to meet the four resident Great Danes that spend their days luxuriating in the surroundings of this boutique, Victorian country house. The six pet-friendly rooms might not come with the accessories that the Eastbury offers, but this Lyme Regis hotel does provide a crucial service. Recognising that dog owners may need a few hours to explore without their pooches in tow, Dower House run a dog sitting service at a reasonably priced £6 per hour. Their fully enclosed exercise area gives you chance to let your dogs let off a little steam before heading out for the day. And, while your dogs can’t join you for dinner, at breakfast, the chef’s got a pan full of sausages on the go for your pups to enjoy.
Dog friendly attractions
Dog friendly holidays in Dorset aren’t restricted to the county’s beaches and rolling countryside. Some of the region’s biggest attractions welcome four paws through their doors too. Boggle your dog’s mind with a stroll through Corfe Castle Model Village, take a peek at the whopping Ichthyosaur fossil in Dinosaurland – Lyme Regis’ fossil museum or trot around Portland Castle’s tudor kitchen and tea room. Explore the wetlands and heathlands of RSPB Weymouth and RSPB Arne or pop your pooch on a Poole Harbour cruise to see Swanage from the sea. For some family fun – and a mud trail no four paws will be able to resist, skip along to Dorset Adventure Park where dogs are welcome, as long as they stay on a lead. The only problem here? Deciding who has to hold the lead while the rest of the family takes on the aqua inflatable park.
Dog friendly pubs
The Acorn Inn
This gorgeous 16th century coaching inn is the sort of pub you hope you’ll chance upon when you’re out for an afternoon stroll. Don’t leave things to chance. Book a table at the Acorn Inn and plan a stroll in the nearby Melbury Park Estate. The sprawling seat has public footpaths which weave through open parkland, valleys, glades, broadleaf woodland, splashing streams and a smattering of rare trees. There is a deer park within the estate – so do avoid if your dog likes to chase. When your walk is done, pull up a chair by the fire for a browse of this gastropub’s next level menu. Dorset charcuterie, homemade Dorset beef patties and the Dorset lamb rump are balanced out with lighter options that include pumpkin ravioli, spicy crispy buffalo cauliflower and pan seared salmon fillet.
Orbzii tip: If you want to stay a little longer, pet friendly rooms are available – though there is a £15 a night surcharge for dogs.
The Smugglers Inn
Pair a coastal scamper with a Sunday roast at the ever popular Smugglers Inn. Their website comes with a handy PDF download for a 7 mile walk that leads you straight to the pub, where you’ll find a warm welcome for dogs. Water bowls and breakfast sausages will be lapped up, while you peruse a menu that runs the gamut from chunky cobb rolls stuffed with tasty fillings to time-honoured pub classics. The Malaysian aubergine curry is a highlight in the menu that’s peppered with a few vegan options too.
Dog friendly walks
Dog friendly holidays come with an unfortunate side effect: FOMO. The list of dog walks across this county runs into the hundreds. Expect to have some very tired paws – and human feet after tackling the hikes and strolls that lead you through ancient woodland, along curated parkland valleys, across sand shores and among gorse covered heathland. Orbzii’s pick of the walks include the trails at Garston Wood, an RSPB nature reserve, the paths lead you through ancient woodland, wildflowers and birdsong. Yes, your dogs will need to be on leads, but it’s a small price to pay to see the broadleaf trees. For a mix of coastline and woodland – on sunny days when some shade would be welcome, visit Highcliffe Beach (paying attention to the dog friendly zones). Splash all year round in the surf at Bowleaze Cove, before heading up to the coastal path on the cliffs for stunning views out over the bay.