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Sixteen Pet Friendly Places Visited With Our Dog.

As my other half and I are ‘owned’ by a bouncy black labrador, our days out and holidays are often planned round walks and pet friendly places. With this in mind, here are a few of Hugo’s ( and our) favourite haunts, over the last 3 years.

Allan Bank , Grasmere, Cumbria. There are not many National Trust properties that allow dogs inside. A charming exception, a short walk from Grasmere, is a former home of poet William Wordsworth. Not every room is decorated however, so this Georgian Manor  has a relaxed carefree vibe.  The grounds are worth an explore too and include a woodland walk and gardens. Sadly there is no cafe on site at present, though you are welcome to make yourself a brew. Open this year from the 10th February. You can read about our visit here.

St Annes Beach Huts, St Annes, Lancashire.  What better base for a day at the seaside than a beautiful beach hut! We spent a memorable day with Hugo in St Annes a couple of summers ago…. and we do need to repeat the experience. The huts are fully equipped with a fridge, microwave and radio. The sands in front of them are dog-friendly all year round. stannesbeachhuts.co.uk

Another Place, Crosby Beach, Merseyside.  An atmospheric and thought-provoking art installation. 100 iron figures grace Crosby Beach, all identical , all modelled on their creator Antony Gormley, all stand staring out to sea. A stunning spectacle and a great place for a bracing beach walk. Pay and display parking but there is also free parking at nearby Crosby leisure centre.

Allan Bank, Grasmere.

Castle Kennedy Gardens, Dumfries & Galloway.  If you find yourself in Scotland’s much underrated Dumfries & Galloway , these 75 acre gardens surround two lochs and the ruins of a 14th century castle.  Great for exploring, you can stay on the estate too, as we did here. 🙂

 

Conishead Priory, Ulverston, Cumbria.  Although this Gothic Priory is now a Buddhist Retreat , the grounds, gift shop and cafe are all open to the public. We have visited maybe three times now with Hugo, for lovely woodland walks that lead down to the beach. A January trip saw the woods abundant with snowdrops. Look out for the Buddhist temple and a giant golden buddha!  Parking is free and you can eat with your dog in a comfy lounge,  next to the cafe.

A UFO ? ………..or Haslingden Halo.

East Lancashire Panopticans.  Have you heard of  The Singing Ringing Tree, The Atom or The Haslingden Halo? All three of these unusual structures are found locally in East Lancashire, and can be incorporated into interesting walks. For more information check out midpenninearts.org.uk 

Formby Point Red Squirrel Reserve, Formby, Merseyside.  Formby has a great dog-friendly beach with sand dunes and coastal pine forests which are  home to Lancashire’s only native red squirrel population. 🙂 The Squirrel Walk is a must if you wish to see these cute tufty creatures. Parking at The National Trust Car park. Dogs on leads in the reserve. You can read about my visit   Sea Air ~ Squirrels and Naked Men on the Sefton Coast.   .

Ingleborough Show Cave, Clapham, Yorkshire.  We had no intention of touring this grand Victorian Show Cave but having stumbled upon it whilst walking along Clapham Nature Trail, we found that dogs are admitted. 🙂 The tunnels are well lit, though low in places. The tours are interesting and the shop at the entrance sells snacks and souvenirs.  Find out more here  .

Inside Ingleborough Show Cave.

Ingleton Falls Trail, Ingleton, Yorkshire Dales. This 7km walk from Ingleton village is £6 per adult, including car parking. The trail takes in several stunning waterfalls and there are a couple of refreshment kiosks along the route. Walking boots are best worn and dogs may need  to be on lead in some areas. www.ingletonwaterfallstrailco.uk

Janet’s Foss & Malham Cove,  Yorkshire Dales.  The Yorkshire Dales is renowned for its beautiful waterfalls and Janet’s Foss is no exception. There is a stunning woodland walk from Malham village ( start at the Smithy) leading to the falls ( home to a fairy) and Gordale Scar. Another walk from the village takes you to the impressive Malham Cove , with its unusual limestone rock formations.  I blogged about Malham here  .


Hugo and friend at Janet’s Foss.

Lake District Boat Trips, Cumbria. Did you know that four-legged friends are welcome on the pleasure boats that cruise four lakes in the Lake District?  Hugo has taken trips with us on Windermere,  Ullswater , and Coniston. I am sure Derwent Water will be on our itinerary for 2018. 🙂

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http://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/

 

Lowther Castle & Gardens, Penrith, Cumbria.  The imposing ruins and gardens within gardens of this nineteenth century castle are a joy to explore. Lots of events all year round and an amazing castle themed adventure playground for the kids. Dogs are also welcome in the cafe and the gift shop. lowthercastle.org

Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk, Arnside, Cumbria.  In 2016  we walked across the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay between Arnside and Grange-Over-Sands. As you can see walking actually means wading…partly. And some swimming for Hugo!   Bay walks are organized group walks and should not be attempted otherwise. You can read about our attempt here.

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Doggy Paddle.

Pendle Sculpture Trail, Barley, Lancashire.  The natural world and the Pendle Witches have inspired this informative ( and stunning ) trail through woodland near Barley. Park at the village car park ( pay via an Honesty Box) and walk for one mile, passing a reservoir, to Aitken Wood.  I blogged about a pre Hugo visit  here.

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, Ravenglass, Cumbria.  Traveling 7 miles through gorgeous Lake District Countryside on a miniature steam train is something you can happily do, in the company of a four-legged friend. 🙂  There are hop on and off stops with many opportunities for lovely lakeland walks.Parking and Refreshments available at Ravenglass and Boot. ravenglass-railway.co.uk

Temple Seal Trips, Morston, Norfolk.  Dogs are welcome on these popular boat trips, where you can see seals basking on Blakeney point. Colonies of Grey and Common Seals as well as rare arctic terns. Definitely a must do. The red and white boats even have a part canine crew! We loved our experience and here’s my blog    to prove it. 🙂

I can only apologise that most of our days out have been in the North of England. But maybe that will be an incentive to holiday here with your hound. 🙂 If you have any recommendations for dog-friendly places to visit ( anywhere) please comment below.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How we spent our week in Dumfries & Galloway.

I thought I would write one more holiday post before I say a final goodbye to Scotland as I still have a few more photos to share with you. Stopping in the South West of the country in November meant that a lot of visitor attractions are winding down or already closed, especially in such a relatively quiet area as Dumfries & Galloway. However we still found things to see and do, always accompanied by our Black Labrador Hugo of course. 🙂

Hiked to St Ninian’s Cave.   We took a short hike to visit the sea-cave retreat of Scotland’s first missionary saint. St Ninian set up the first church in nearby Whithorn and also used this cave as a place of solace and prayer. The original Celtic Cross Carvings that adorned the walls can now be found in Whithorn Museum but people from all over the world still make pilgrimages here, leaving gifts and makeshift crosses. We parked at the small car park at Kidsdale ( honesty box payment) , walked down to the shore through a woody glen and the cave can be seen on the right, a short stroll along the rocky beach. The cult movie ‘The Wicker Man’ was filmed in the area.

Visited Scotland’s National Book Town.   Yes Scotland has a National Book Town !  Wigtown on the Machars peninsula has a high concentration of book shops ( I counted ten) , including the largest book shop in Scotland, imaginatively called ‘The Book Shop’. The building doesn’t look very vast from the outside, but is deceptively tardis like from the moment you step indoors. And it’s also home to a very cute  Bookshop cat,so Hugo didn’t visit this one !  We found a couple of bookshop/cafes that are pet friendly including ‘Beltie Books’ and ‘Reading Lassies’, the latter has a cute resident collie. Soz, I am slightly dog/cat crazy.  What I should say is, if you love books, you will be in your element here. 🙂 The town has an annual Book Festival every September.

Ate out in pretty Portpatrick.  Although we stayed in most evenings ( we had such a cosy holiday cottage, it was hard to leave after darkness fell) , we did go out for lunch…and even afternoon tea , in the pretty little fishing village of Portpatrick. With it’s pastel coloured cottages and impressive community bought harbor, the village is picture postcard perfect. It’s also a great place to try fresh seafood. Wil can heartily recommend the Cod Loin Au Poivre at the seafront ‘Crown Hotel’ ( I had a taste , and it was delicious) and their Seafood platter sounds impressive. As a Birthday treat for moi , Wil had booked afternoon tea at the Fernhill Hotel. With stunning cliff top views over the harbor and beyond, the Fernhills afternoon tea comes served in darling vintage crockery. Both establishments are down to earth, friendly and welcome dogs too.

Explored Castle Kennedy Gardens and grounds.  Galloway’s most well known gardens are situated between two natural lochs in the grounds of two historic castles near Stranraer. 75 acres  of forest trails, a huge lily pond, lochside walks, rhododendron displays, a walled garden and Champion trees. As well as exploring the parkland, we actually stopped here , in a lovely cottage on the estate.  You can read about our stay here  and check out lots of pictures of the local wildlife, which include Roe Deer and Red squirrels. 🙂

 

Looked for Lighthouses.  The Rhins of Galloway ( rhins means points or headlands) are renowned for their numerous lighthouses, mostly built by members of the same family as the writer Robert Louis Stevenson !  I did write  A separate Lighthouse Post . about our visits to Corsewall Lighthouse and The Mull of Galloway Lighthouse. Both are havens for wildlife including seabird colonies and Grey Seal. 🙂 Depending on the time of year it may be possible to take a lighthouse tour on the Mull. Another Stevenson built beacon that I didn’t include, can be found five miles from Portpatrick, on the Southern Upland Way. Killantringan is privately owned. A 1970s shipwreck can sometimes be viewed at low tide apparently.

 

Visited an Artist’s Town.  The quality of light brought and still brings many artists to the harbor town of Kirkcudbright and there is a popular Arts and Crafts trail for visitors to enjoy. We bobbed here on our journey back to England, and it is somewhere I would love to return to and spend more time . Apart from having a wee wander round, we actually bought a picture of a Lighthouse from one of the local galleries. It is an Artist’s Town after all!  We also enjoyed Fish & Chips from ‘Polar Bites’ and shared them with Hugo.:)

So that is how we spent our week.

Have you ever visited the area?  Where would you recommend a visit in South West Scotland?

Our stay in the grounds of a Scottish Castle.

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Icehouse Cottage.

I can hardly believe that only last week, we were staying in a beautiful cottage in Scotland. A cottage in the grounds of a Castle no less. Two castles in fact !  Lochinch Castle in Dumfries and Galloway is  home to the Count and Countess of Stair. The castle was built in the mid 19th Century some years after their original residence ‘ Castle Kennedy’ was burned to the ground. The ruins of Castle Kennedy can also be found on the Lochinch Estate and the Castle Kennedy Gardens are open to the public. Seventy Five acres of sculptured gardens and woodland to wander in. In November we more or less had it all to ourselves!

Our home for the week was the cosy single story Icehouse Cottage situated close to the original remains of a Victorian Icehouse. With it’s pretty furnishings, toasty wood burner and idyllic location, we couldn’t have wanted for more. Hugo was especially happy led in front of the fire after long walks around the grounds. 🙂

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The ruins of Castle Kennedy.

On our very first walk we came across three deer just wandering through the forest. 🙂  In fact every walk, thereafter, we would spot roe deer, red squirrels , woodpecker, pheasants, buzzards and other wildlife amongst the canopy of the trees. They became such common sights that it wasn’t even a surprise when we spied deer along the treeline of the woodland  behind the back of the cottage. I’m sure if we had erected a trampoline, the John lewis advert would have come to life there and then!

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Lochinch Castle.

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There are two Lochs on the Lochinch estate poetically named The Black Loch and The White Loch. Both hold lots of wildlife and the White Loch is a site of Special Scientific Interest due to its winter waterfowl and rare invertebrate  fauna and flora. I’m not quite sure why my dog has two tails in the above photograph….

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I think my favourite part of the Castle Kennedy Gardens is The Walled Garden, which somehow reminded me of a Secret Garden. Autumnal colours were out in force and flowering shrubs still bloomed. So beautiful.

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We loved our time in South west Scotland and Lochinch Cottages  ( there are two more in the castle grounds) provided an ideal base to explore Dumfries & Galloway. And a Winter Break there?  Well why not! Being out of the tourist season means you can (almost) imagine your lording over your own estate. 🙂

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As we left we saw a deer wading through the Black loch. 🙂