How to plan the perfect UK getaway with your dog – where to go and what to do

Planning a dog-friendly getaway in the UK? Find out where you can go and get ideas for things you can do.

It is well known the UK is a nation of dog lovers, and with many of us worrying about the increasing cost of living, staycations with our pooches may be a good option.

With a range of beaches, countrysides, forests, and cities to choose from, where do dog owners really want to take their dogs? Analysing unique data from Ahrefs, a Google keyword research tool, Argos Pet Insurance establishes the most popular dog friendly destinations in the UK.

Top 10 most searched places in the UK to take your dog 

When looking at locations to take your dog across the UK, the following came out on top, with the most searches for ‘dog friendly’ places:

  1. Cornwall – 24,700 average monthly searches
  2. The Lake District – 18,100 average monthly searches
  3. Scotland – 17,350 average monthly searches
  4. Wales – 15,900 average monthly searches
  5. Norfolk – 11,800 average monthly searches
  6. Devon – 10,900 average monthly searches
  7. Yorkshire – 7,350 average monthly searches
  8. New Forest – 7,050 average monthly searches
  9. Dorset – 6,850 average monthly searches
  10. London – 6,100 average monthly searches

The most searched things to do with your dog in the UK 

Combining relevant searches with top searches around the type of places people want to take their dogs, top searches are:

  1. Cottages – 115,250 average searches per month
  2. Hotels – 80,300 average searches per month
  3. Pubs – 74,700 average searches per month
  4. Restaurants – 67,200 average searches per month
  5. Beaches – 57,750 average searches per month
  6. Cafés – 12,100 average searches per month
  7. Airbnbs – 4,600 average searches per month
  8. Glamping – 4,600 average searches per month
  9. Garden centres – 3,250 average searches per month
  10. Shops – 1,450 average searches per month

If you combine the data for dog friendly related searches for cottages, hotels, Airbnbs and glamping, this would mean dog friendly holiday related searches total around 205,000 average searches per month in 2022.

With dog friendly accommodation becoming more sought after, there is now more choice than ever to holiday with your pet. 

How to find dog-friendly pubs 

‘Dog friendly pubs near me’ has over 32,000 average searches per month. If you’re on the lookout for a dog-friendly pub, why not try the aptly named The Dog pub in Grundisburgh, Surrey, winner of the Dog-Friendly Pub Awards 2018?

Or you could visit The Lorne in Scotland. This traditional Scottish pub is set in the heart of Oban This Scottish delight and is often praised for being a ‘dog-friendly gem’ by customers on TripAdvisor. To find other dog-friendly pubs like these check out Doggie Pubs and search for pubs in a location you are planning to visit.

How to find dog-friendly beaches 

Whether your dog loves to splash in the sea or just enjoys the feeling of sand beneath their paws, taking dogs to the beach is clearly a popular pastime – especially if your dog is very active! So no surprise that the specific term ‘dog friendly beaches’ averages 17,000 searches every month.

If you are planning to head to the beach, it’s important to check it is dog friendly, as many beaches around the British coast only allow dogs at certain times of the year and some don’t allow them at all. The Beach Guide provides a helpful breakdown of truly dog friendly beaches by region. 

Five unusual places to take your dog

The research showed some interesting and unusual places to take your dog, here are five top picks.

1) Muddy Dog Challenge

The Muddy Dog Challenge in aid of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, is a 2.5K and 5K obstacle course that you can take on with your dog by your side. Locations include New Forest, Manchester, Derby and many more. 

2) Steam Train Experience

Fancy a Steam Train Experience? The North Yorkshire Moors Railways welcomes well-behaved dogs at £3 each or free if you are a member (July 2022 prices).

Dogs should be kept on a short lead and are not allowed on the seats. Think of the adventures you could have, travelling onboard a heritage steam or diesel train, through the enchanting North Yorkshire Moors National Park!

3) Dog-friendly cinemas

Who’d have thought that you would be able to take your dog to the cinema? Well, the good news is that if you have a Picturehouse cinema near you, you can. Keep an eye out for their dog-friendly screenings. These take place ruff-ly once a month, usually on a Sunday morning, complete with special drinks and snacks for your dog. 

4) Dog-friendly shops

Did you know that there are 300 searches online every month by people wondering if IKEA is dog friendly? Unfortunately, you can’t take dogs there but, there are plenty of shops you can. Big high street names such as John Lewis, the Apple store, Cath Kidston, Harrods, Lush, Wilkos, Waterstones and Selfridges (in limited departments) allow dogs in their stores.

Make sure your dog is on a lead and on its best behaviour. You may also want to check with your local branch first as dog accessibility can often be down to managers’ discretion. 

5) Dog Afternoon Tea

Love afternoon tea? Visit Great Scotland Yard Hotel in London and you can treat your dog to one in their parlour! In collaboration with canine nutrition experts Talula Eats, Great Scotland Yard Hotel offers a delicious dog-friendly afternoon tea every other Sunday, with a choice of fresh organic meats and vegetables, homemade doggie cake and digestive biscuits and even a pink peony pupcake.

Enjoy your travels with your dog

So, dog leads at the ready, it’s time to explore the places dog lovers across the UK love to visit and some unlikely places too! Just remember to take your dog’s wellbeing and stress levels into consideration when visiting any public place, especially if it is unfamiliar or busy.

Photo by Avi Richards