The traffic jams and long miles of road might be a bit much if you’re travelling with your furry friends this summer (Dads and dogs), especially when the heat is on. Here we’ve rounded up our favourite places to break the journey and let Fido off the lead to let off some steam.
Rather than showing you the scenery, we couldn’t resist rounding up a gallery of pooches enjoying themselves. Apologies, but you’ll have to see the countryside for yourself!
M1, Junction 30
Welbeck is an enormous traditional estate which has evolved into a terrific community of food producers, artists and gardeners. There’s plenty to entertain the whole family, including dogs, who are well catered for with the estate’s footpaths. Download one of three walking maps from their website.
Chain Bridge Honey Farm
A1, Junction with A698
Chain Bridge Honey Farm occupies an idyllic spot in the borders. Explore the paths along the river bank or meander to Paxton House on the Scottish side before refuelling at the farm’s brilliant bus cafe.
The Barn at Beale
A1, Junction for Holy Island
Pick up a Northumberland section of the England coast path at the Barn at Beale where you can enjoy (often blustery) views over to Lindisfarne.
A14, Junction 43 or 44
It’s not free rein for dogs at Wyken Vineyards, but they are allowed on leads in parts of the estate and it’s worth keeping hold of them to enjoy the beautiful gardens and ancient woodlands. Lunch afterwards in the fabulous Leaping Hare restaurant or browse the country store.
Crab and Boar
M4, Junction 13
M4, Junction 16
A natural pause for dog owners, Lydiard Park near Swindon has 260 acres of parkland for dogs to explore, as well as a play area and cafe for their humans.
M4, Junction 36
Set around the River Gawr, Bryngawr Country Park is a stunning mix of meadows, woodland, gardens and wetland. Perfect for a picnic or a dog walk. Download some trail maps here and don’t miss the wonderful, family-run Cedars tea room before you leave.
The Crown and Victoria
A303, Junction for Tintinhull
A303, Junction for Marsh
Park up at the Flintlock Inn just outside Honiton and head under the A303 to reach the River Yarty where it tumbles down off the Blackdown Hills. Head back to the car and enjoy a grade-A meals in the wonderfully cosy pub (and equally lovely garden) before heading on your way. Dogs are very welcome in the garden.
A38, Junction for Bodmin Bypass
The wonderful Cardinham Woods at the edge of Bodmin has miles and miles of marked trails taking in streams, viewpoints and thick woodland. Download the Forestry Commission’s app for free, downloadable maps. Car parking is £2 for 2 hours and the wonderful Woods Cafe is the perfect place for a restorative slice of cake. It even has posts outside for looping your dog lead round.
A38, Junction for Bodmin
Lanhydrock’s beautiful wooded estate is perfect for dog walkers. Try this four-mile loop and don’t miss the homemade dog treats in the cafe.
Bleadon Farm Shop
M5, Junction 22
Enjoy Brean’s wide sandy beach and explore the windy headland for views and an abandoned fort before making your way to Bleadon Farm Shop (just back from the beach and charmingly opposite the village croquet green) for tasty panini and homemade cake.
The Hunting Vaults
M5, Junction 18
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My best friend Leah has come to stay for the weekend! She’s a bit older than me but we love exploring together! @care4k9s #doggybestfriends #pawpals #sistafromanothamista #frl #foxredlab #foxredlabrador #labrador #retriever #goldenretriever #retrieversforever #bristol #kingswestonhouse
Just off the M5 near the Avonmouth Bridge, the stately Kings Weston House was designed by the same architect that designed Blenheim Palace. As well as a popular wedding venue, it has a cracking cafe in the old Hunting Vaults. Park up and explore the large grassy green and meandering woodland pathways before tucking into a hot chocolate.
M5, Junction 14
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Wotton-under-edge is a beautiful #Cotswold town which is overlooked by #WottonHill pictured here on a sunny day ☀️ where you can see the ‘Jubilee clump’ which is made up of Scots and Corsican pine trees replanted in honour of Queen Victoria’s jubilee in 1887 🌲🌳 this spot is on the Cotswolds way and on a clear day you can see the river Severn and across to wales! 🏴 #beautifulcotswolds #cotswoldway #visitcotswolds #igerscotswolds #views #vista #gloucestershire #explore #wanderlust #livetoexplore #lovecots #lovecotswolds #wottonunderedge #wue #stunning #travel #lifeinthecotswolds #lifeinthecountry #swisbest
One of the quieter corners of the Cotswolds, Wotton-under-Edge is a photogenic town backed by the striking Wotton Hill. Stomp up here for a wooded walk with brilliant views, then meander to The Edge coffee shop on the pretty high-street for some grade-A baking and lunches.
Light Ash Farm Shop
M6, Junction 32