As winter draws towards a close and the weather begins to warm, we’ve found ourselves looking forward to roaming further afield with our furry friends. Few things are as much fun as exploring somewhere new, and it’s even better when you know you can take your best friend on four legs along with you.
There are so many exciting places to visit throughout the UK and Ireland, so to whet your appetite for adventure we’ve collected just a couple each from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. For each region we’ve picked one more traditional walking spot, and something else a little more quirky. Take a look below and see if you recognise any…
Wasdale, The Lake District
Scafell Pike is England’s highest mountain, and whether you make the trek to the very summit or decide to take one of the less challenging paths, the views and the scenery will be worth your efforts! There are multiple paths and routes to choose from, catering for various levels of skill and experience, but visitors should be prepared for a good walk regardless of the route! Dogs are welcome to roam freely, but are requested to be kept on leads around livestock and in the car park. The website does also advise that if your canine companion is not used to the fells, it may be worth attempting a few lower, introductory routes before attempting the challenge of Scafell Pike.
FIND OUT MORE https://www.adventuresmart.uk/
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Pentewan, St. Austell, Cornwall
The Lost Gardens of Heligan is one of the largest garden restoration projects in Europe. Dogs are welcome throughout the year, and whilst they must be kept on a lead during your visit, the gardens are spread across over 200 acres and offer miles of different pathways to wander and explore. Split into different areas and types of garden including pleasure grounds, a productive garden and even a jungle, there is a lot to explore with a wealth of sights and scents to captivate your canine companion! Dog waste bins are also spread around the site and marked clearly on the visitors map. There are shops on site selling both gifts and, perhaps unsurprisingly, plants, as well as a food hall and café’s offering all manner of food and drink.
Alastrean Circuit, Aberdeen
Tarland, Aboyne AB34 4ZL
The Alastrean Circuit is a level walk through beautiful woodlands and fields on the east side of Tarland. Beginning in the square in Tarland, there’s a town map that shows the various starting points. The route is waymarked and does include some sections that will need your dog to be on a lead, such as within the town and following minor roads. However, there are also huge sections of open land where you can let your furry friend run free. It’s probably worth bringing a ball or two along to make the most of the open space!
FIND OUT MORE Alastrean circuit, Tarland (Walkhighlands)
Outdoor Explore Canoeing and Kayaking
Outdoor Explore offers multiple canoeing and kayaking activities across Scotland for individuals, families and small groups, catering for all skill levels using high quality equipment. The company offers multiple boat and trip options ranging from sightseeing tours to formal training, as well as some land-based activities such as archery. Water-based adventures are suitable for anyone aged 12 and up, and your best four-legged friend can also join in the fun with bespoke tours! The website advises dog owners to get in touch before booking to discuss which boat option will be best suited to your dog’s size and temperament.
FIND OUT MORE FAQ – Outdoor Explore
Barafundle Bay, Stackpole, Pembrokeshire
Barafundle Bay is often hailed as one of the best beaches in Wales and can even be found on a few ‘best in the world’ lists. For dog owners Barafundle has an added advantage, as the beautiful beach is dog friendly all year round. The beach is isolated, so there’s a half mile walk from the nearest car park, but the golden sand and clear waters will be sure to make it worth the walk. Isolation means no facilities at the beach itself, so be sure to take anything you need with you, including some water for your furry friend. The nearest car park is at Stackpole Quay, and there you will also find toilets and a café offering refreshments.
FIND OUT MORE Barafundle Bay and Beach - VisitPembrokeshire
Great Orme Mines
Great Orme Mines Llandudno LL30 2XG
Great Orme Mines in Llandudno offers a fascinating trip out for the whole family, with lots to explore both above and below ground. The ancient copper mines were first uncovered in 1987, and remain one of the most impressive archaeological discoveries of recent times. Since their discovery more and more tunnels have been found and opened, revealing one of if not the largest prehistoric mines in the world. The tour around the site is self-guided, and as well as the caverns and tunnels you’ll find a visitor centre and gift shop, and Great Orme Country Park is also very close by. Dogs are welcome throughout the site including underground, but the website does warn that the underground areas do include metal grates and staircases which not all dogs may find comfortable to walk on.
FIND OUT MORE The Tour – Great Orme Mines
Garvagh Forest, off Main Street, Garvagh, County Londonderry, BT51 5EA
Beautiful Garvagh forest stands on the outskirts of Garvagh, covering 200 hectares and populated with trees ranging from over 80 years old to those only planted at the turn of the century. The forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife and offers a numerous walking, cycling and mountain bike trails. Visitors may also encounter a rather unusual feature in the form of the Garvagh Pyramid, which was built in the 1800s as a burial chamber for Lord Garvagh, but never used. Picnic tables and an Information Board can be found near the car park, and there is a permanent orienteering course created by the North West Orienteering Club. Guided walks are also available.
Inn on the Coast
50 Ballyreagh Rd, Portrush, Co. Antrim, BT56 8LT
If you’re looking for some time away with your canine companion, the Inn on the Coast boasts a stunning location and has been pet-friendly since it opened in 2012, offering 10 pet friendly rooms all located on the ground floor for easy convenience. The Inn has a designated section in the Pub Bistro for dining with your furry friend, and offer special arrangements so your dog can also join you for breakfast. All dogs who visit the Inn receive complimentary treats and water, and those who book in to stay receive a ‘pooch pack’ filled with goodies. Early booking is advised, but the Inn on the Coast looks to be well worth a visit!
FIND OUT MORE www.innonthecoastportrush.com
Republic of Ireland
Rossbeigh is a 6km sandy beach that offers beautiful views over Dingle Bay. The beach is well kept and popular, but plenty of parking is available close to the water, as well as a playground, café and toilets nearby. It is worth checking the tides before you visit as there is little beach remaining at high tide, but at low tide there’s plenty of sand where your dog can run free, as well as a landscape of rolling dunes to explore.
Leitrim Surf Company
Why not take an alternative trip on the water with your four-legged friend? Leitrim Surf Company offer guided stand-up paddle boarding safaris on the lovely Shannon Blueway and tours of the Leitrim coastline on the Wild Atlantic Way. They offer a dog-friendly option so your dog can ride along with you. The company is fully mobile and can even provide tailor-made excursions on any river, lake, canal or sea; Leitrim and beyond.
So that’s our list of just a few places that you could explore with your dog as the weather warms. Have you already been to any of the place we listed? Of course, our list is only a drop in the ocean – there are hundreds of pooch-friendly places and attractions to explore. Watch this space for future blogs where we’ll share more great places for doggy adventures across the UK and Ireland.
If you’ve got a fantastic dog-friendly place or activity, we’d love to hear about it! Send your suggestions and recommendations through to @naturopetfoods on social media, and we may include them in future blogs!