Holidays abroad may be out of our reach, but there are still plenty of incredible places to visit this summer, right on your doorstep — and it’s no different for dog owners.
Holidays with our furry friends used to be more complicated, but these days, travelling with your pooch has never been easier. The UK is an ideal place to explore with your dog — from rolling hills to endless beaches, there are plenty of dog-friendly destinations. Plus, it’s easy enough to find holiday accommodation that will take pets, and eat out (plenty of pubs and cafes love our four-legged friends). So what better way to properly explore the British countryside than jumping in the car and taking a road trip?
We take a look at some of the best dog-friendly road trip ideas around the UK.
Preparing for your road trip
Before you head out on your road trip adventure you need to do a little bit of planning and preparation:
- First off, decide on your route — you need to have a clear idea of where you’re going, how long it will take, and where you need to stop off to rest or fill up your car.
- Check your car is in good nick. You don’t want to set off on a road trip — potentially doing hundreds of miles — if your tyres aren’t pumped up or your oil is low. Do your checks, make sure you’ve got breakdown cover, and book into a garage if you need to.
- Pack snacks! Our cars aren’t the only things that need fuel. Bring food (and water) on your trip to keep your energy levels and your concentration high.
- If you’re doing a mega trip, set yourself up with a fuel card so that you can cut the cost of filling up on your road trips. Fuel cards are credit cards that are used exclusively to pay for fuel, and many of them offer discounts as well as making it easier for you to track what you’re spending.
- You don’t want to find yourself lost down a small country lane when it’s getting dark with no phone service and an unreliable GPS. Install a navigation app and download offline maps of the area you’re heading to so you can check your route wherever you are.
- Bring a first aid kit. You never know.
Ticked off all of those? Then you’re ready to hit the road!
The Lake District
The Lake District is one of the best places in the UK for a dog-friendly road trip. It’s been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site and has a wide range of different landscapes from mountains, woods, and vast lakes that are perfect for stopping off and stretching your legs (and your dog’s).
There are many different driving routes you can take to explore not just the lakes, but also villages, towns, historic buildings, and beautiful scenery. One of the best shorter routes is the Keswick Loop that will take you through Buttermere and Borrowdale, and for a slightly longer trip you can check out the Coniston Loop.
The Lake District is extremely dog-friendly (just walk around the high street in Keswick for five minutes and you’ll know what we mean) — there’s plenty of pet-friendly accommodation to stop off overnight and many of the pubs, cafes, and even shops will allow dogs inside.
Cornwall is one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations — which means there are plenty of great places to visit with your dog. Explore dramatic cliff walks, beautiful beaches, and grab some lunch at one of the many traditional British pubs.
One of the best road trips for you and your dog would be to take the Atlantic Highway (otherwise known as the A39) that runs from Devon all the way along the north coast of Cornwall. It will take you past picturesque fish villages, sandy beaches, and Tintagel castle.
There are plenty of dog-friendly beaches to stop off at, although some will have seasonal restrictions so it’s worthwhile checking the dates and rules before you visit.
The Scottish Highlands are home to some of the UK’s most stunning scenery, and some of the favourite road trip routes such as the North Coast 500 are perfect for taking your dog along with you.
You can spend a week driving from Inverness around the top of the Scottish coastline, visiting John O’Groats, and then driving back across to your starting point. With miles and miles of wilderness, there are plenty of places to stop off for a hike with your dog.
For a shorter road trip, you can take one of the many other scenic drives around the Scottish Highlands. Starting from Edinburgh or Glasgow you can spot mountains, lochs, and castles on a drive through Glencoe. And both cities have plenty of dog-friendly pubs and hotels, making them an ideal end destination for your road trip.
North Wales is another great destination for a dog-friendly road trip in the UK. With another varied landscape full of hills and mountains, and lots of traditional pubs — there are plenty of dog-friendly drives you can take.
You can brush up on some local history by visiting Criccieth Castle or Penryn Castle. Stop off for a night in the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno, and head to Greenwood Forest Park for a long walk. And, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can take your road trip to Snowdon and hike up the highest peak in North Wales.
These are just a few of the best places to head out on a road trip with your dog in the UK. Most places will have plenty of dog-friendly accommodation and places to eat, so with a little bit of planning and research, you and your dog can have an amazing road trip adventure.