Travel Staycation: Travel guide author Alastair Sawday shares his pick of cozy dog-friendly cottages
Paws & Stay is a collection of the ‘best places to take your dog’, from the teams behind Sawday’s and Canopy & Stars (file photo)
Dogs are often forgotten. And for a country like ours, whose people love their pooches with a devotion that knows no bounds, it’s a sad situation. A holiday “home” often involves an outdoor kennel, a string and miserly cracker, or a small, windowless back room.
But the dogs, who treat us like emperors, deserve better: a scratch behind their ears, a decent meal, a bed and above all a sense of humor. If your hosts don’t find your dog funny, they should pack it. Those rare and unwanted carpet marks are to be forgiven and laughed at.
Paws & Stay is a collection of the best places to take your dog, from the teams behind Sawday’s and Canopy & Stars, which I founded 28 years ago. The result is a triumph of friendliness and comfort for dogs and their lovable owners. Here is my pick from across the country.
DREAMS OF DREAMS
The campaign around the Stargazer trailer in Holne, Devon is made for walking. Pictured is the area’s Holne Bridge over the River Dart
Stargazer Trailer in Holne, Devon is an original iconic Airstream from the 1970s, but the interior and outdoor shower have a border feel. There is enclosed grounds as well as dog treats and towels so you can stay quietly there, but the countryside around you is made for walking. The owners have trail maps and suggestions for local destinations and dog-friendly pubs, so take your pick, hit the hills and come back to lay on the deck.
TO STAY: From £128 a night, sleeps two humans and a dog.
BEAUTY OF THE BEACH
Pack a ball you can throw from the deck while you doze in the sun, because it’s a beach house more than worthy of its name. Sandy Toes in Shellness, Kent is a secluded location, so stock up and really relax into the beach lifestyle.
The enclosed terrace means your dog is safe outside, but with the huge stretch of beach and nearby nature reserve to explore, he’ll be too tired to run away anyway. Well, you can hope.
TO STAY: From £285 a night, sleeps five humans and three dogs.
If your dog wasn’t dragging you outside, it would be easy to spend all day sitting on the balcony of the Douglas Boathouse in Argyll & Bute, Scotland. The sunsets are spectacular, the seals and seabirds are worth watching, or you can retreat to the living room and the corner sofa by the wood burning stove.
When the dog demands a walk, you have plenty of options, from the shore of the loch to the deep forests of Puck’s Glen or the trails around Lachlan Castle.
TO STAY: From £135 a night, sleeps four humans and three dogs.
CLASSIC IN CORNWALL
Comfort: Treat your dog to Round House East (pictured right) in Cornwall, where you’ll find towels and an outside tap for washing boots and paws
Round House East in Truro, Cornwall has a bit of all the best elements of Cornwall: history, scenery, adventure and culture. The building dates from the 1820s but decorated with a contemporary flair and the nearby secluded coves of Great and Little Molunan allow dogs. You are expected to come home covered in sand and mud, so there are towels and an outside tap to wash boots and paws.
TO STAY: From £105 a night, sleeps two humans and three dogs.
Come relax and discover the region on long walks with your dog. It’s a hike from Top Lodge Cottage to Longtown, Cumbria to nearest…anything so stock up on food, cookies and books.
Once installed, you will be in no hurry to choose between the indoor bathtub on wheels and the outdoor one, in the woods behind the chalet. There is a garden where dogs can be let out in the morning and evening, or taken to Hadrian’s Wall or one of the many routes through the estate.
TO STAY: From £105 a night, sleeps two humans and two dogs.
WALKS IN THE WOODS
Orchard Cottage in Presteigne, Herefordshire, is run by the Sidney Nolan Trust, which works with local schoolchildren and visiting artists from around the world.
Your stay contributes to their work, but it is also an opportunity for you and your dog to enjoy the gardens and the woods. There are treats and blankets, as well as the boot room for post-hike downtime and the veranda for naps, while humans can stretch out on the sofa by the wood-burning stove.
TO STAY: From £95 a night, sleeps two humans and two dogs.
SUSSEX SEA VIEW
Breath of fresh air: Take your dog on a paw and stay at Harbor View House, Chichester, pictured above
The water views from the upstairs living room and the colorful nautical theme of the beautiful Harbor View House in Chichester, Sussex will have you grabbing your chunky turtleneck and pipe.
The enclosed garden is perfect for letting the dog out in the morning and inside there is plenty of space for him to stretch out, although he always chooses the middle of a hallway to sleep. Lure him away with the provided treat jar.
TO STAY: From £244 a night, sleeps eight humans and three dogs.
WALK IN WALES
You’ll sit surrounded by birdsong and natural beauty for a few days relaxing in the woods at Penffynnon Cottage in Llandysul, Ceredigion. Pets will love being able to wander through the woods and there are great hikes right outside the door, with something for every ability. The glass veranda is perfect for naps after the walk and if you leave the windows open in the loft bedroom you will be awakened by a chorus of dawn.
TO STAY: From £97 a night, sleeps two humans and two dogs.
The ‘quiet and dreamlike’ Asphodel Cottage is located just outside Cirencester (pictured) – and there’s a great dog-friendly pub a 20-minute walk away
With its pretty thatched roof, exposed beams and open fireplace, Asphodel Cottage is the kind of quiet, dreamy place where you could spend a few days not really knowing where time has gone.
Just outside Cirencester in Gloucestershire, there’s a great dog-friendly pub a 20-minute walk away if you don’t fancy cooking, and the surrounding countryside keeps the vibe going, with gentle walks through the Cotswolds and along the shores to keep you and your pet happy.
TO STAY: From £149 per night, sleeps two humans and three dogs.
PUPPIES AND ADVERTS
Walden in Bromyard, Herefordshire, is one for puppies who aren’t afraid of heights, but staying in a tree house is something the two of you will never forget.
Everything at Walden has been beautifully designed and built. There are also miles of wooded trails to explore, including a pleasant walk to the dog-friendly Green Dragon pub.
The roll-top tub on the deck is such a charming spot that even the most shy dog might be tempted, but you’ll probably want to keep it to yourself.
TO STAY: From £170 a night, sleeps two humans and two dogs.
PARADISE IN DEVON
Hill’s Cross Hide in Honiton, Devon not only gives you access to beautiful coastline and countryside, it puts you right in the middle.
Let your dog run wild in the garden and field and let nature into your life. Have lunch at the outdoor beechwood bar, spend the day on the beach, hike the coast or the moors, then head to the local dog-friendly pub (The Kings Arms) for dinner.
TO STAY: From £140 a night, sleeps three humans and two dogs.