As a fully-fledged member of the family, your four-legged friend doesn’t need to feel left out of the holiday loop – they'll be well-catered for when you come to Dorset.
When it comes to finding somewhere to stay, there’s no shortage of accommodation to choose from. Whether it’s camping, a caravan, cottage or lodge you’re after, Dorset has plenty of dog-friendly options to choose from to make the perfect holiday for you and your pooch.
Dorset is a coastal and countryside paradise. And a long walk across the fields, a dip of your toes – or paws – in the surf, or a leisurely stroll on the beach is just the tonic needed for a great holiday. Many Dorset beaches are dog-friendly all-year round, but some do have restrictions, especially in the main summer season. For a detailed looks at all Dorset beaches, visit: www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/walking-dogs-on-beaches.
With ancient woods, secluded streams, and rolling hills to ramble upon, there’s plenty of Dorset just waiting to be sniffed out. Dorset loves responsible dog owners, so please do follow any requests on signs e.g. keeping your dog on a short lead/not chasing other animals or wildlife, and please do bag and bin your dog’s poop. Some great places to walk include:
Thorncombe Wood: a 26-hectare mixed woodland and heath site that sits next to Hardy’s Cottage. You’ll also find Under the Greenwood Tree – a dog-friendly café located in the Hardy's Birthplace Visitor Centre there. So not only can you discover some of the literary history of Dorset, you and your dog can explore the woods, then enjoy a well-earned treat.
Moreton Forest & Ford: The Forest at Moreton offer a variety of woodland and paths to explore. The Ford is wide and shallow, but deeper in places and is perfect for splashing about in, and for keeping cool on warm days. Located nearby is the lovely Moreton Tearooms too, so you can enjoy lunch or a nice bit of cake – maybe some Dorset Apple cake?
Hardy Monument: This iconic Dorset landmark sits above the village of Portesham and is surrounded by a landscape that’s suited to and welcomes dog walkers.
Pubs and Cafés
If you’re wanting to eat out, many Dorset cafés and pubs welcome dogs. Some to look out for include The Greyhound at Corfe, Hive Beach Café at Burton Bradstock, and The Castle Inn at Lulworth Cove. Hall & Woodhouse have a selection of pubs in the area and if you take a look at their website, you’ll be sure to find one suited to you. The website even has a section for Dorset Walks – perfect for planning your day out.
Many Dorset Attractions welcome dogs, so there’s no need for your furry friend to miss out on the fun. Durlston Country Park, situated in the south-east corner of the Isle of Purbeck, is dog-friendly, plus they provide water bowls which can be found on the terrace outside the Castle. Sherborne Castle also welcomes dogs in the Gardens and Grounds, provided they are kept on a lead at all times. And many more Dorset Gardens, such as Compton Acres, Athelhampton, and Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens allow well-behaved dogs, as long as they’re on a lead.
For more doggy-themed fun on your holiday, head to some of these fab events:
‘Scruffs Dog Show’ at Swanage Carnival. Take your pooch to this ever-popular event at Sandpit Field on Wednesday 2 August and enter them into as many classes as you like. Registration opens at 10am. Events Start at 12:15.
Dorset Dogs Festival at Upton Country Park, near Poole, takes place on 12 August – a fun-filled day for dogs.