The UK staycation is on the rise; especially when it comes to catering for our four-legged chums. According to a recent study by Away Resorts, a UK holiday parks operator, 85% of dog owners would rather staycation with their dog than go abroad without them. So it’s clear that finding the perfect dog-friendly location is at the heart of our holiday planning.
However, it seems a clear favourite has finally been identified. From the Away Resorts study, the South East was voted as the UK’s dog-friendliest holiday destination, with Hampshire being one of the top choices.
Home to two National Parks, namely the New Forest and the South Downs National Park, Hampshire has the perfect blend of city, coast and country. Most importantly, offers a whole host of dog-friendly attractions and events.
Planning a staycation in the south with your beloved pooch? Here are four ‘pawesome’ dog-friendly activities in Hampshire that’ll guarantee fun for two and four legged visitors.
1. Canoe the Beaulieu River
The New Forest is in the very heart of Hampshire. At this nature’s paradise, you can experience a variety of thrill-seeking activities and canoeing on the Beaulieu River is a firm favourite. With 12 miles of river surrounded by the New Forest’s enchanting scenery, this is the perfect way to see what this stunning woodland has to offer.
Want to know the best part? This canoeing activity allows you to bring your dog along for the ride!
Yes, that’s right, dogs are more than welcome to sit in the stable canoes as you ‘em-bark’ on a 90-minute tour along the Beaulieu River. It’ll certainly make a change from walking around the woods as well as giving your pup the perfect opportunity to enjoy a paddle. All that’s asked is you bring a blanket for your dog to sit on.
Please note - the ‘Doggy Paddle’ canoeing tours are only available on specific dates - 17th March, 28th April, 12th May and 9th June. Placements cost £27 per adult and £15 per child. You can find out more here at New Forest Activities
2. Hurst Castle, Milford on Sea
Milford on Sea is the epitome of a dog-friendly seaside town. Here, dogs are welcome to roam the stunning shingle beach off lead all year round! It’s the perfect setting for sociable pups, with plenty of activities for them to join in.
One of the most popular is Hurst Castle. Built by Henry VIII, this beautiful English Heritage site welcomes dogs throughout - inside the castle grounds, the exhibits and even on the tower, where you can take in breath-taking views towards the Isle of Wight. Please bear in mind dogs have to be kept on their leads inside the castle.
Once you’ve finished exploring the grounds, your pooch can also accompany you on a Hurst ferry trip that’ll take you to Keyhaven - a fishing hamlet with a 500-acre nature reserve. It’s a great open space for tiring out energetic dogs and enjoying a relaxing walk.
Hurst Castle is open April-October seven days a week. You can check out ticket prices here - https://www.hurstcastle.co.uk/openingprices/
3. Visit the Exbury Gardens
Situated in the quaint village of Exbury, just outside the New Forest, Exbury Gardens offers woodland walks alongside beautiful displays of world-famous shrubs, such as camellias and azaleas. Although most gardens tend to be off limits for dogs, this one actively encourages owners to bring them along.
Your pup can accompany you along the 22 miles of winding pathways - it’s great for dogs who love a good sniff. Don’t worry, dog bins are provided throughout. They can even take a trip on the steam train as you sweep through northernmost point of the gardens.
Once you’ve finished exploring, you can put your feet and paws up at Mr Eddy’s Restaurant, where well-behaved dogs are welcome on the lead. You could even buy them a delicious canine-friendly ice cream!
Please note - dogs must be kept on the lead at all times to avoid disturbing the local wildlife. Dog bowls can be found at the following locations: Visitor Entrance, Railway and Mr Eddy's Restaurant.
More info on Exbury
Blog supplied by Away Resorts