A picture of a dog in a hotel, lying on the bed

The best places in the UK for a dogcation

Allie Simpson

From quaint seaside towns to historic villages, the UK is full of destinations for pet parents to explore with their dogs. Going away with your pup is a great chance to spend quality time together and strengthen your bond. And your dog can enjoy a new place full of exciting sights, smells, and adventures.

With summer approaching, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you plan your “dogcation”. 40 popular UK holiday destinations have been carefully reviewed and ranked based on the percentage of dog-friendly hotels, cottages, restaurants, pubs spas, and hikes. We’ve also looked at the number of vets within a 20-mile radius of each location so you could get your dog medical help if needed.

Plus, check out some top tips on packing and pet travel insurance.



The top 20 places in the UK for a dogcation

A picture of Lymington

> 1. Lymington

Taking the crown for top dogcation is Lymington, a coastal town in the New Forest, Hampshire. Lymington stands out for having the most dog-friendly hikes of all locations in the study. There are 169 trails for you and your dog to explore, including nature reserves and scenic coastal routes.

If you’re both hungry after your hike, head to one of the 19 dog-friendly restaurants in town. Fancy a post-dinner drink? You’ve got a choice of 57 pubs that will happily welcome you and your pup.

To give you peace of mind during your holiday, Lymington has 35 vet practices available within 20 miles or less. Remember to double-check the opening times of any clinic you may have to visit.


A picture of Bournemouth beach and pier

> 2. Bournemouth

Bournemouth slides into second place with over 80 routes for a dog-friendly hike, ranging from beach walks to countryside trails. Discover iconic landmarks like Hengistbury Head, a dramatic headland offering stunning coastal views.

Over a fifth of Bournemouth’s hotels, pubs, and bars welcome four-legged friends, giving you a good selection of places to rest and reset. But less than 10% of restaurants allow dogs, so you may want to also think about dining-in options during your break. The good news is that there are 58 vet clinics within reach if your pup needs to see a vet.


A picture of Tynemouth beach

> 3. Tynemouth

Tynemouth is a coastal town in northeast England that offers 25 dog-friendly hikes. Accommodation in the town is welcoming to four-legged families with half of the hotels being dog-friendly.

Tynemouth also boasts an impressive 71 vets nearby to lend a hand if your pup gets into any unexpected bumps or scrapes.


A picture of the River Dart, ideal for dog walking

> 4. Dartmouth

Dartmouth in Devon boasts 22 hiking trails to discover for you and your dog. Stroll along the River Dart or try more challenging treks in the surrounding countryside.

Just over a fifth of the town’s restaurants are dog-friendly, giving you and your dog 12 options to refuel with delicious meals. The pub scene in Dartmouth is even more accommodating for dogs with an impressive 72 dog-friendly locations.

There are 22 vets close to Dartmouth if your dog needs medical attention during your trip.


A picture of Banburgh beach

> 5. Bamburgh

Bamburgh in Northumberland ranks fifth on our list of dog-friendly destinations. Known for its iconic Bamburgh Castle and stunning ocean views, this quaint town is a beautiful place to visit with your dog.

In Bamburgh, you can pick from five dog-friendly options for accommodation, with half of the town’s restaurants also welcoming pets. And despite its small size, Bamburgh offers you a selection of 13 dog-friendly pubs and bars. If you’re looking for some R&R, you can bring your dog to three out of Bamburgh’s six spas.

On the downside, there’s only one vet within a 20-mile radius, likely due to Bamburgh’s fairly remote location. So be mindful of this if you’re wanting to visit.


> 6. Wells-next-the-Sea

Wells-next-the-Sea, a quaint seaside town on Norfolk’s north coast, offers a lovely coastal getaway thanks to its scenic harbour and wide sandy beaches.

Over a quarter of the town’s restaurants welcome dogs while three-quarters of its hotels are happy to host your pup. The pub scene is also accommodating, with 17 bars and pubs in Wells-next-the-Sea being dog-friendly. There are 13 dog-friendly cottages in the area for those who prefer self-catering.


> 7. Brighton

Brighton boasts 30 dog-friendly hikes, from leisurely strolls along the iconic Brighton Beach to adventures tackling the scenic South Downs Way National Trail.

And with over half of the city’s spas welcoming pets, you can also enjoy some pampering and bonding time with your dog by your side.

Plus, you can be confident that there’s ample support should your dog need medical attention during your stay, with 51 vets available nearby. Make sure to double-check opening hours for clinics.


> 8. Southwold

Eighth is the scenic coastal town of Southwold, Suffolk. Known for its abundance of dogs, Southwold has 45 hotels available for pet parents and their dogs.

On top of that, a quarter of restaurants and three-quarters of bars and pubs are dog-friendly, so your pup can join you for post-adventure meals and treats. There are also 15 vets available within the area, and an ample selection of 16 dog-friendly cottages.


> 9. Whitby

Whitby, a charming seaside town in North Yorkshire, boasts the highest number of dog-friendly cottages on our list.

With 87 dog-friendly cottages and over half of the town’s hotels welcoming dogs, you’ll have plenty of options for finding a comfortable place to stay.


> 10. Whitstable

Whitstable, a coastal town in Kent, rounds off our top 10 list. Nearly half of the hotels in Whitstable are dog-friendly, with 35 to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a modern boutique hotel or a classic seaside inn, you have plenty of options that cater to pet parents.

Boasting 26 hiking trails, Whitstable also gives you lots of chances for scenic walks with your dog. In terms of veterinary care, there are 26 vets available in a 20-mile radius should your pup have an accident.


A picture of a white Terrier watching their owner pack a suitcase

What to pack for a dogcation

When packing for a holiday with your dog:

  • Remember to bring essentials like a lead, harness, and collar with an ID tag (needed by law).
  • Don’t forget bowls for food and water, along with enough food and treats to last the trip, plus a bit extra (just in case).
  • Pack medications if your dog needs them, and waste bags for clean-up are must-haves.
  • Bring their bed or blanket and some favourite toys to help make your chosen accommodation more comfortable for your pup.
  • A brush, shampoo, and towels are handy for grooming post-walks, while a basic first aid kit can help you be prepped for minor accidents.


Protecting your pet on your dogcation with pet insurance

Hopefully, you and your pup will have an enjoyable trip without unexpected injuries or illness. But if something does happen, having pet insurance in place can help give you peace of mind that you’re covered for unexpected vet costs.

For emergencies or out-of-hours care, make sure to have a list of vet clinics and hospitals in the local area that offer the specific services you need. Vaccination records and microchip information are also helpful to keep close.


Sources and methodology

We compiled a seedlist of 40 towns in the UK, then ranked these based on a series of metrics to determine the best locations for a ‘dogcation’.

We used formulas to score these metrics on a scale of 1 to 10, and then applied an overall score by taking an average of those rankings.

We gathered data for the below metrics:

*Please note, this index is a weighted ranking. We have given more weighting to the number of vets in a 20 mile radius and the number of hikes, as these metrics are particularly important for dog wellbeing.

Highest weighting in the index:

  • Number of vets
  • Number of dog friendly hikes – We have included this as equal ranking with vets as it ties into pet health and wellbeing via the importance of dog walks and getting outside.

Equal weighting in the index:

  • Number of hotels
  • Number of restaurants
  • Number of dog friendly cottages
  • Number of pubs and bars

Lowest weighting in the index:

  • Number of spas
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