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!

Welbeck Farm

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.

Wyken Vineyards

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

Just near the dreaded Chieveley Services lies the infinitely superior Crab and Boar, a smashing country pub with some lovely countryside walks right on the doorstep.

Lydiard Park

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.

Cedars Tearoom

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

Tintinhull is a pretty Somerset village looped with lovely footpaths. Start at the Crown and Victoria and follow this five-mile circuit before filling your bellies in the pub’s excellent dining room.

Flintlock Inn

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.

Woods Cafe

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.

Lanhydrock

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

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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

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.

The Edge

M5, Junction 14

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

Explore the riverside and countryside paths of Lancashire’s green and pleasant land with this four-mile route, then beeline to the Light Ash Farm cafe for a hunk of Edith’s outstanding cakes.

 

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