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6 of the best dog-friendly Christmas breaks in the UK

Country-wide options for a festive stay with your furry friend

Chris Wilson
Thursday 09 November 2023 17:06 GMT
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Families and friends across the country are finalising Christmas plans, whether that means spending the day at home or travelling further afield. And one family member who’ll likely enjoy the day no matter what is the four-legged variety.

For those looking for a festive staycation, finding somewhere dog-friendly to stay so they can travel with their beloved pet will be key.

Fortunately, the UK is home to a plethora of accommodation options that welcome furry friends, catering to the reported 13 million-strong dog population in the UK.

Beloved favourites like the Cotswolds or the Lake District are a paradise for energetic dogs and a scenic choice for their owners, while coastal destinations such as Pembrokeshire and Cornwall are blissfully calm at Christmas, with your pet able to have the sands practically to themselves.

From magnificent hotels to cosy B&Bs, there’s plenty of choice, so read on for a selection of the best breaks.

Bourton-on-the-Water, Cotswolds

All of the cottages at The Lansdowne have enclosed outdoor spaces for your pooch

One of the UK’s most idyllic regions is a great option for a Christmas stay thanks to a range of charming market towns, honey-hued villages, a plethora of scenic walking trails and a distinct air of calm. Bourton-on-the-Water is a quintessential Cotswold town, straddling the River Windrush and full of stone houses and riverside walks. The ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ has plenty to keep you busy, but you’d be missing out if you didn’t explore nearby Bibury or Cheltenham.

While The Lansdowne itself is a pet-free B&B, they have 12 pet-friendly options across the area, with five in Bourton-on-the-Water. These self-catered cottages, set in or very near the town, sleep between four and eight people, with plenty of space in the bedrooms and sitting rooms. Oakey Cottage is a ‘classic’ Cotswolds cottage, with a yellow stone facade and plenty of period features in the interior, finished with modern decor and offering guests complimentary breakfast at The Lansdowne each morning.

From £500 per night if arriving on 23 December, B&B.

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St Ives, Cornwall

The Lifeboat Inn sits by St Ives’ harbour

This picturesque Cornish seaside town is a perennial summer favourite, when the pasty shops have queues out the door and the narrow streets are full of weekend tourists. Christmas means fewer crowds and festooned streets, making the town a tranquil option for a festive retreat. Beaches like Porthmeor and Carbis Bay remain blissfully empty and ideal for a long dog walk, with the delightful harbour, an abundance of independent shops and attractions such as the Tate St Ives offering cosy evening meals, last-minute shopping opportunities and plenty to do during the day.

B&B the Lifeboat Inn offers some dog-friendly accommodation in its ‘Family View’ rooms overlooking the beach. You’ll be right in the heart of St Ives on the picturesque harbour, staying in a maritime-themed room that sleeps four and welcomes pets at a charge of £15 per night. There’s the option to add a three-course Christmas dinner for £90 per person, though you can alternatively eat somewhere else in town if you book ahead.

From £205, B&B.

Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District

The Ro Hotel is less than 10 minutes’ walk from the lakeside

Imposing mountains, frosty hikes, vast lakes and light dustings of snow make the Lake District a particularly picturesque place to spend the holidays, while the market towns and villages provide an oasis of activity (and warmth) with a variety of pubs, cafes, restaurants and shops. Bowness-on-Windermere is one such town, sat on the shores of the park’s most famed lake and providing plenty of winter activities alongside the usual pub visits and fell climbs.

The two-night package from the Ro Hotel offers a festive getaway for two on the shores of Lake Windermere. It includes a Christmas Eve dinner and a long lunch on the day, with two breakfasts and mulled wine and mince pies on arrival. 10 of their rooms are dog-friendly – as is the bar area – with pets charged at £25 per stay, a price which includes bowls, treats and a dog bed.

From £750 per room, including all meals and drinks.

Peebles, Scottish Borders

The Macdonald Cardrona boasts a championship golf course

Peebles is a small town in the Scottish Borders, located on the banks of the River Tweed. It’s blessed with striking mountain scenery, dozens of walking options and plenty of countryside activities, ranging from a gin distillery visit to a trip to Neidpath Castle. And Edinburgh is only an hour away if you fancy a day trip to the capital and its Christmas markets.

The Macdonald Cardrona sits on 200-acre grounds among the Peebles hills and provides contemporary, comfortable accommodation with a series of Scottish twists. Their three-night package includes mulled wine on arrival before a four-course dinner, with a full Christmas dinner and supper on the day itself and breakfast on each morning of your stay. Dogs are welcome for an extra charge of £20 per night, and the hotel provides dog bowls and treats.

From £900 per room, including all meals and drinks.

Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Winter in Tenby provides plenty of crowd-free beaches

Those who want a taste of the seaside at Christmas could opt for one of Pembrokeshire’s best seaside towns, Tenby. It’s centred around the harbour, backed by a network of cobbled streets and surrounded by four excellent beaches. A true beach lover’s paradise even in winter, the mile-long sands of South Beach welcome brave dog walkers, while the Harbour Beach remains heavenly despite potential rain. North Beach, just off the harbour, is another peaceful option, where the rising cliffs provide some shelter from the wind.

For something a little different, stay at the Little Red Rooster Rest and Spa. Located around 15 minutes from Tenby’s beaches, this unique, affordable retreat offers a range of rooms – some with en-suite spa facilities ranging from a jacuzzi to a two-person hydro spa – and makes a concerted effort to cater to dogs. Rooms are traditional and cosy, with spacious common areas and plenty of complimentary snacks and drinks.

From £115 per room, with the option to add breakfast.

Buxton, Derbyshire

The Crescent Hotel is located within Buxton’s famous Georgian Crescent building

Buxton is a spa town famed for both its bathing and drinking waters. It sits on the edge of the Peak District, perched at 1,000ft, and has been known for its ‘healing’ spa waters since Roman times. Today, this bustling market town is known for an array of impressive Georgian and Victorian architecture, its own thermal baths and the 23-acre Pavilion Gardens, an area your pooch is guaranteed to enjoy.

The Buxton Crescent Hotel is found within one of the town’s landmark Georgian buildings, offering top-quality Christmas luxury in a magnificent contemporary setting. Their three-night Christmas package begins on Christmas Eve with afternoon tea and a three-course dinner, before the day itself starts with a full breakfast and plenty of time to rest before the six-course Christmas lunch. A lighter buffet is served in the evening, before a Boxing Day pantomime and the opportunity to enjoy a 50-minute spa treatment. Dogs are welcome for an additional £20 per night.

From £698 per room per night, including all meals, drinks and the mentioned activities including a spa treatment.

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