Tag Archives: pet friendly

Seals at Blakeney Point.

norfolk 270
The National Trust Building at Morston Quay.

One of the things I  looked forward to on our trip to North Norfolk, was a boat trip I had booked, to see the seals at Blakeney Point. Blakeney has the largest seal colony in England.  There are hundreds of  these inquisitive mammals, either bobbing in the water or basking on the point.  As the best way to view them is on a specially organized boat trip, we chose Temples ,who are based at nearby Morston. Typically the day that we had chosen ended up incredibly windy!  But phew, we were able to reschedule for the following day, the last of our holiday. 🙂

After collecting our tickets from The Anchor pub, we were directed to the Quay and boarded ‘The Four Sisters’, one of  Temple’s red and white purpose built boats.

 

norfolk 272

It wasn’t too long before we saw our first seals. There are both Grey and Common Seals at Blakeney Point. Common Seals arrive here in the summer to have their pups , whilst the Greys tend to give birth in November and December.

 

norfolk 275

 

norfolk 286

 

norfolk 292

The boat got up pretty close to the seals, but they didn’t seem to bothered by our clicking cameras.  How beautiful are they! Of course we didn’t outstay our welcome and the skipper turned the boat, to view more groups relaxing in the shallows.

norfolk 311
The Lifeboat House.
norfolk 308
A Grey Seal hanging out with the commoners. 😉

 

norfolk 310

norfolk 289

The trip includes a stop off at the point if you wish, where you can walk up to the Old Lighthouse building and watch the various seabirds that nest there.  The boat’s crew pointed out Sandwich, Common, Little and Arctic Terns flying above us.

norfolk 314

Of course me being me, I was just as excited at meeting some particular members of the crew! Three generations of the same  labrador family were on hand for strokes and to snuffle for spare biscuits. Meet Tide, Bella and Gillie. 🙂

norfolk 316

 

norfolk 318

 

norfolk 321

 

norfolk 322

The boat trip with Temple’s was certainly a fun and informative outing. Seabirds, Seals and a canine crew. What more do you need. 🙂

Prices. £12 per adult. £6 per child. Dogs free ( keep on a lead). Tel.01263740791.

 

Heysham and Half Moon Bay.

The recent sunshine is making me long for the seaside. I shall have to make do by collecting my pictures together of a lovely coastal walk in Lancashire.  😉

When I think of Heysham, I basically picture it as a Ferry port and the home of Heysham Power Station.  I actually had no idea of how pretty the old part of the village is, and how full of history.

We parked up in the spacious village car park ( £1.40 for five hours)  and passed a few pretty tea rooms and shops on our stroll towards the start of our walk, St Peter’s Church.

scorton and heysham 047
St Peter’s has windswept tombstones and uninterupted views of the sea. It has been here since Saxon times.
scorton and heysham 048
The Coastal Walk is looked after by The National Trust.
scorton and heysham 053
We headed through a patch of woodland and emerged onto a cliff top. Here are the 8th Century ruins of  St Patrick’s Chapel.
scorton and heysham 052
St Patrick is said to have been shipwrecked here in the 5th Century.
scorton and heysham 055
The Chapel looks out over ‘Half Moon Bay’.
scorton and heysham 049
Definitely the most unusual burial ground I have seen.  Rock cut graves carved out of the headland.

The Rock- Cut Graves that surround St Patrick’s Chapel are actually not unique.  There are apparently similar graves in Hexham, Northumberland and in Ireland.  The body shaped hollows were carved for the VIPs of the eleventh century, mostly kings and priests.  I hope they had lids on!

We continued along the cliff footpath , heading towards the Ferry Port in the distance. It was quite a bracing day in May , so when we spotted the Half Moon Bay Cafe ,we warmed up with a hot drink.

scorton and heysham 064
The beach allows dogs all year round. 🙂
scorton and heysham 058
Looking towards the Ferry Port.
scorton and heysham 060
The Half Moon Bay Cafe is bright and friendly.  It sells a small selection of local art and doggy treats too. 🙂

After a welcome brew we made our way back to Heysham, following another criss- crossing path over the cliff tops, an area known locally as ‘The Barrows’.

scorton and heysham 068
Flowering Gorse.
scorton and heysham 070
Campions.
scorton and heysham 073
A pretty cove.
scorton and heysham 076
Wil and Hugo.
scorton and heysham 095
Bluebells.

Back in the village, I picked up a fantastic and quirky map of The Morecambe Bay and Heysham area from the Heritage Centre .  The ‘Seldom Seen’ series of maps , ‘map the hidden assets of Morecambe bay’ and are full of interesting facts. I especially like the phrase ‘ Beyond This Place Lie Monsters’. 🙂

Seldom Seen Map.
scorton and heysham 099
The newly refurbished Royal is a great place for lunch.
scorton and heysham 098
Look out for ‘The Spirit of Heysham’ sign…..and a viking!

Vikings came to Heysham over 1000 years ago and today this is celebrated when the village holds  it’s annual  Viking Festival. This year’s event takes place 15th ~ 17TH jULY.

By all accounts I was very surprised by Heysham. Now I have my map , I’m sure I will be returning soon. 🙂

 

Camping and a walk in the Forest Of Bowland.

No need to dust down the old leaky tent for the first camping trip of the year ! Happily We  Wil had bought a nice new one a few weeks previously . This tent was meant to be the same model as our original. But it seems a whole lot bigger. Erm it’s practically a marquee !

Anyway we didn’t venture to far from home. We chose Fell View Park near the pretty village of Scorton. Perched on the edge of the Forest Of Bowland AONB , Fell View is adjacent to the owners farm and is surrounded by meadows full of bleating lambs and nesting lapwings.

scorton and heysham
Hawthorn Hedge.

The campsite has plenty of EHU points, good hot showers, an undercover washing up area and a small fishing lake , which is home to lots of ducks and geese.  We stayed in the non electric tent field and had it all to ourselves for the first night.  The hedges were heavy with the scent of hawthorn blossom and the resident Greylag Geese were happily honking away.

scorton and heysham 107
Mama and brood.

There’s a little Local Information Room on site with maps of nearby walks , so we took a leaflet for a Circular Route taking in ‘Nicky Nook’. The fell top is a relatively easy walk ~ about 215m to the top.

scorton and heysham 034
Spot the Lapwing.
scorton and heysham 001
Bowland Fells.
scorton and heysham 004
Nicky Nook Summit,
scorton and heysham 007
Cotton Grass.
scorton and heysham 005
The Tarn.
scorton and heysham 012
Descending Nicky Nook.
scorton and heysham 011
Golden Gorse Blooms.

As you can see ‘ The Forest Of Bowland’ is not actually a forest in the traditional sense. The name Forest was given to Royal Hunting grounds in ancient times. Bowland is made up of  ruggedly beautiful moorland and gentle lowlands. The AONB actually covers 312 square miles of rural Lancashire and neighboring Yorkshire.

After descending ‘Nicky Nook’ we found ourselves on a country lane and followed the signs to the Apple Store Cafe  in Wyresdale Park.  The cafe set in a sheltered walled garden in the grounds of Wyresdale Hall, is the perfect place to drop by for a brew and a cake. 🙂  We sat outside , though it did look lovely inside, the glass house interior felt a little stuffy even on quite a drizzley day. The lovely waitress served our refreshments on mismatched vintage crockery, and even brought out a sausage for Hugo! 

scorton and heysham 028

scorton and heysham 019
The Apple Store.
scorton and heysham 013
My tea came in a Henry viii adorned teapot. 🙂

 After tea and cake we explored the grounds a bit ( I never saw the estate peacocks 😦 ) and then decided to deviate from our route and headed into Scorton itself for a wander. On the way we spied this cute cottage with it’s quirky garden signage.

 To get to Scorton we had to cross the M6. Who knew that such a tranquil place is so close to the motorway. The pretty village  has  a Bar Restaurant, spa shop and a cafe/gift shop. We had a couple of drinks in the lovely and dog friendly Priory Stout Bar. 

scorton and heysham 027
The rare Hen Harrier is the symbol of The Forest of Bowland.
scorton and heysham 023
A Scorton Doorway.
scorton and heysham 103
Typical Village transport. 😉

 

scorton and heysham 025
Hugo looking sorry for himself. The Priory is a friendly place to unwind with a drink or enjoy a meal. Pets welcome! 

 After a drink or two we continued on our way. We headed back through Wyresdale Park, across the fields and onwards to the campsite. It was a beautiful walk. 🙂

scorton and heysham 030
Bluebells.
scorton and heysham 033
Friendly horses.

 

scorton and heysham 110
Cheeky lambs.

Fell View is definitely a campsite we will return to I think ,as there is so much nearby countryside to explore and the area is indeed one of Outstanding natural beauty.  🙂

A Pet-friendly Break in Keswick.

When planning a break with your four-legged friend , it is always handy to know that one particular Lake District resort has been voted ‘Uk’s Most Dog Friendly Town’ by the Kennel Club for four years on the trot. Lovely Keswick has it all. Stunning countryside with miles and miles of walks, a beautiful lake ( Derwentwater), cosy pubs and cafes, eclectic  shops , several dog-friendly parks and a  variety of accommodation  and visitor attractions that welcome waggy tails.  It seemed the ‘Pawfect’ place for a January Break with our labrador Hugo. 🙂 Here’s what we got up to….

Where we stopped.   We booked  Butterfly Cottage through Sally’s Cottages  who are based in Keswick. They have over 230 pet friendly holiday cottages in The Lake District and Cumbria. Our bijou retreat was so cosy with its Wood Burning Stove ( a must for a Winter Break), open plan downstairs space, fully equipped kitchen and beautiful bedroom with comfy King Size Bed. The location was really handy for everything in town and it was super useful to have an enclosed back yard with a muddy boots and paws wash.

Where we walked.  Every morning before breakfast we headed to Crow Park on the banks of Derwent Water. This is one of three Dog Friendly Parks in Keswick that we noticed. The others are Hope park and Fitz Park.  Each morning depending on the weather, the scenery changed. Sometimes the mountains were bathed in gold, sometimes they were an angry slate blue. It was peaceful there and Hugo had a great run around.

keswick-jan-158 keswick-jan-088

keswick-jan-094

keswick-jan-160

keswick-jan-093

There is a ten mile circular walk around Derwent Water itself which we hope to try on our next visit. We did however revisit a Railway walk which we enjoyed  whilst camping in Keswick a couple of years ago.  The Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path is now partially destroyed due to last Winter’s storms but what remains, still makes for a pleasant stroll or bike ride. The walk starts from the Swimming Baths near Fitz Park.

keswick-jan-113

keswick-jan-112

keswick-jan-123

keswick-jan-117

We also walked up to  Castlerigg Stone Circle situated just outside of Keswick off Castle lane. With the mountains of Helvellyn and High Street as a backdrop, the stone circle is among the earliest in Britain, dating back to 3000 BC.  On a clearer day the views are stunning.

keswick-jan-146

keswick-jan-152
Castlerigg Stone Circle.

Places to  Eat & Drink.   Keswick is great for dog friendly pubs and cafes.  In fact  all the pubs in Keswick welcome dogs except for the Wetherspoons.  Of course we made it our mission to try out as many as we could !  My favourites were The George Hotel with it’s cosy seating area by the fire, The Wainwright Pub, The Packhorse  Inn,  and of course The Dog and Gun famed for it’s ‘Homemade Goulash’ and doggy treat menu. 🙂

I don’t know about you but for breakfast on holidays I love pancakes. 🙂  Keswick has that sorted . We loved  Merienda  on the main street. It’s a fab Cafe Restaurant open for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner.  With an 8am opening time Mon-Sats and 9am on Sunday it is the perfect place to refuel before yomping up those hills. Another great venue for early starters is Cafe Bar 26 on Lake Road which does amazing Full Spanish Breakfasts. And both do make delicious  pancakes. 🙂

keswick-jan-103
Merienda
keswick-jan-139
Bar 26.

Many of the pubs serve great food ( try the Royal Oak for their amazing Cheese Boards & Platters) and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in Keswick that welcome dogs. As well as Bar 26 and Merienda look out for The Square Orange Bar/Cafe, Java Chocolate & Coffee Shop, Lakes Bistro & Bar, The Filling Station, Little Chamonix, Laura in The lakes, Kat’s Kitchen ( Veggie ) and Mrs F’s Fine Food emporium, to name but a few.

Shopping.  Plenty of shops in the town don’t mind you being accompanied by your four legged friend. I find the best thing to do is always ask first. Lots of the Outdoorsy shops are dog friendly and so are many others. Hugo visited lovely gift emporiums Cherrydidi  and Love The lakes  on St John’s Street, for holiday souvenirs. He also bobbed into Keswick’s well loved Pet Store Podgy Paws which is a great place to visit for advice on local walks and dog friendly places, activities and attractions.

lakes-may-2016-137
My picture of Cherrydidi Shop Dog Zak, taken last Summer. He has his own range of Zak merchandise and is a complete babe. 🙂

Visitor Attractions.  Here is a quick list of pet friendly things to do and places to visit in Keswick and the surrounding area. 🙂

Cumberland Pencil Museum. Carding Mill Lane. Journey through the history of pencils and pencil making. Home to the biggest colouring pencil in the world! pencilmuseum.co.uk

Keswick Launch Company. Derwentwater. See the gorgeous scenery of Derwentwater on a lake cruise. keswicklaunch.co.uk

A Puzzling Place. 9 Museum Square. An exhibition of optical illusions and trickery. puzzlingplace.co.uk

Keswick Climbing Wall. Goosewell Farm. Indoor and Outdoor Adventure Centre. keswickclimbingwall.co.uk

Castlerigg Stone Circle. Near Goosewell Farm.

Whinlatter Forest Park. England’s only true Mountain Forest with walks, trails and adventure play. forestry.gov.uk

Mirehouse & Gardens. Stately Home and gardens on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. Dogs welcome in the gardens and grounds. mirehouse.co.uk

The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden. Portinscale.  Beatrix Potter often holidayed here and the garden was the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale Of Peter Rabbit. Reachable via a lake jetty or car. thelingholmestate.co.uk

 

keswick-jan-126
Hugo by Derwentwater.

I shall certainly take a look at the list on our next visit to Keswick. Hugo cannot wait to go again…and nor can we. 🙂

Can you recommend any dog friendly destinations?

 

 

 

Rydal Hall Sculpture Trail.

keswick-jan-060

Rydal in the Lake District is forever linked with poet William Wordsworth and the stunning scenery here , including Rydal Lake and his impressive residence  Rydal Mount. Also worth a visit is nearby 17th Century Rydal Hall and Estate. 40 acres of park and woodland, free for all to explore. Here you can find an interesting Sculpture trail amongst the Woodland, pretty gardens with ornate statues, ancient trees and a fairytale Waterfall. Take a look around with me. 🙂

keswick-jan-005

The Sculpture Path weaves its way through the Woods and starts at ‘The Old School Room Tea Shop’. Apparently it is the first permanent outdoor exhibition of textile sculpture in Britain.

keswick-jan-010

The art on the trail is made from recycled and sustainable materials and each season brings changes to the sculpture’s , as they interact with nature and the elements.

keswick-jan-011

There were lots more textile sculptures including the above ‘Jubilee Figures’ made from chain links.  They are meant to highlight the effects of third world debt.

After we had walked round the woodland and spied some Shepherd’s Huts through the trees…

keswick-jan-007
Herdy Huts in their new setting at Rydal Hall.

we went to the Tea Room for a brew, as it was quite a cold January day. The Old School Room Tea Shop is open  all year round and welcomes Dogs and Muddy Boots. Perfect!

After warming up we headed out to explore the grounds. You can pick up a little map  from the cafe which will give you an idea of what to look for. Or you can just stumble upon some hidden delights. 🙂

keswick-jan-027

Look out for this old gnarled Sweet Chestnut Tree which at  400 plus years old, is one of the oldest in Cumbria. I would love to see this abundant with Chestnuts in the Autumn.

keswick-jan-048

The beautiful Grot and Waterfall can be found via a path leading from The ‘Quiet Garden’. Built in 1668, the Grot is one of the earliest examples of a viewing station. It’s window perfectly frames a vista of the lower Rydal waterfalls tumbling into a serene pool.

keswick-jan-031

 

keswick-jan-044
A room with a view.

As you walk round the grounds you will come across plenty more beautiful things to see.

keswick-jan-034
The Angel.

 

In the ‘Quiet Garden’ there were some lovely bird spheres including a ‘Barn Owl’ and lots of signs of Spring.

keswick-jan-049

Head towards the Formal Gardens and you will find impressive views, follies and fountains.

 

keswick-jan-058

 

keswick-jan-063

 

keswick-jan-062

Our time at Rydal Hall was only brief as it was a stop-off point , on our way to a holiday cottage in Keswick. However I think we will definitely return at some point as it would be lovely to see the place in full bloom. There are various walks in the area including an old footpath called ‘The Coffin Route’ which passes through the estate between Grasmere and Ambleside. You can also stay at Rydal hall. For more information go to rydalhall.org

We also found a great dog-friendly pub very nearby.  The Badger Bar  at The Glen Rothay Inn has cosy fires, real ales and great food.

Have you ever been to Rydal Hall?

Holidays with Hugo ~ Our Pet-friendly trips in 2016.

Looking back over 2016, I hadn’t quite realised how many times we have gone away this year. We’ve camped, we’ve stayed in some fab hotels & B & Bs ,  stopped in a beautifully restored Showman’s Wagon in Cornwall and we have cosied up in a lovely cottage in the grounds of a Scottish Castle. And what is the common denominator of all our trips. Our cheeky Black Labrador Hugo, that’s who!   We hadn’t  initially planned to have so many holidays with our pooch ( or indeed so many holidays full-stop ~ oooops) , but it is really handy that dogs are made welcome at such varied types of accommodation, all over the UK.  Check out the following.

Elton Guest House.

A Friendly Guest House In Grange.   If you ever find yourself in the Cumbrian Seaside town of Grange-Over-Sands, like we did when participating in the Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk , The Elton Guest House is an ideal base for exploring this lovely part of the Lake District. The Elton is a Victorian limestone building with comfy rooms, a hearty breakfast and a very warm welcome from owners Lynn and Liam. Hugo got lots of fuss and attention and was even given a cooked sausage at breakfast. Lynn sorted out a table  reservation at a pet-friendly restaurant for us in the evening. Oh and did I say we were welcomed with coffee and homemade chocolate muffins on arrival. 🙂 The little touches really made our stay. Double rooms £82 per night, Singles £50, Dogs £8 per stay.

Icehouse Cottage.

A Cosy Cottage In Scotland.  This beautiful property in the grounds of Lochinch Castle in Dumfries & Galloway was our home away from home for a week in November. With a large enclosed rear garden, a wood burning stove and unlimited access to Castle Kennedy Gardens and Lochinch Castle Estate, it is the perfect countryside retreat. Hugo had plenty of walks in the grounds and the wildlife we spotted was amazing. The cottage is gorgeous inside too and bicycles and a barbecue are also provided.  For more photos check out my post here.  4 nights from £229.

appletreewick-may-2016-083
Howgill Lodge Campsite.

A Campsite In The Yorkshire Dales.  We have stopped at Howgill Lodge Campsite  near the picturesque Yorkshire village of Appletreewick, several times over the years. It’s a friendly little site with stunning views over the Dales and nearby riverside walks to  Bolton Abbey and Burnsall kept Hugo happy. Howgill has spacious pitches, each with it’s own picnic bench. There’s a small campsite shop, hot showers, toilets, payphone , laundry room and a dog exercise field. Two great dog-friendly pubs can be found in Appletreewick. Two people & a tent £21 per night. Dogs go free.

lakes-may-2016-128
Haweswater Hotel.

A Secluded Lake District Hotel.   The Haweswater Hotel is perched right on the lake in one of the lesser known areas of The Lake District.  It is just 20 minutes from J39 of the M6 , yet feels very remote and is surrounded by the beautiful Haweswater Nature Reserve. We stopped here over the May Bank Holiday and the chef packed us a lunch to take up into the fells. The hotel has an art deco inspired interior and some of the bedrooms look very elegant on the website. Ours was a wee bit pokey and could have been nicer I think, even though we were staying in a dog-friendly room. The staff were lovely however and if you love wildlife and walking, this hotel is for you. Double rooms on average £85 per night. Dogs £15 per stay.

wp-image-560246946jpg.jpg
The Duke at Spring Park.

A  restored Showman’s Wagon in the Cornish Countryside.  Wow I loved  our stay in ‘The Duke’ at  Spring Park  in North Cornwall so so much. The Duke is a lovingly restored vintage Showman’s Wagon. He lords over his own pretty Wildflower Meadow and is equipped with everything you will need for a cosy stay, including a french enamel wood burner, fully equipped kitchen and a wood fueled hot tub. Hugo got plenty of walks in the surrounding countryside and the nearby Springer Spaniel Pub is dog-friendly and does great food. You can read more about our stay and see lots of photos here. 🙂  From £68 per night. Dogs £20 per stay.

Hotel Stays With Pets Pyjamas.   If you really want to treat your dog ( and yourself lol 😉 ) , you would definitely benefit from checking out the Pets Pyjamas  website. Browse their portfolio of pet-friendly cottages, dog-welcoming hotels, Country Houses and B & Bs .Look out for their unique packages which usually include a personalised box of treats for your pooch and even dinner for your dog. My post Hotel stays with Pets Pyjamas. will give you more information.

silverdale-176
Hugo at Jenny Brown’s Point near Silverdale.

Coastal Campsite in Lancashire.  By far the most scenic campsite on the Lancashire Coast Gibraltar Farm  campsite in Silverdale is a traditional working farm with breathtaking views over Morecambe Bay. You can even stay in ancient woodland adjacent to the site or just enjoy the coastal panorama. Gibraltar Farm has the usual campsite facilities and there are walks and beaches as soon as you step outside your tent. The farm even makes its own icecream. Tents from £12 per night. Dogs £1 per night.

So it looks as though we have certainly enjoyed many a dog-friendly holiday with Hugo in 2016. Next year ~ a cosy cottage in Keswick….then we had better get on with that decorating!

Where have you taken your pooch this year?

Our stay in the grounds of a Scottish Castle.

scotland-158
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. 🙂

scotland-009

scotland-169

scotland-018
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!

scotland-083
Lochinch Castle.

scotland-175

scotland-036

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….

scotland-172

scotland-170

 

scotland-027

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.

scotland-040

scotland-165

scotland-177

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. 🙂

scotland-255
As we left we saw a deer wading through the Black loch. 🙂