Days Out With Your Dog
Dogs are part of the family, so it’s wonderful to find places to welcome you all, making a fun, family day out for everyone. We have collected some of the best places to visit in Bristol and the South West with your dog, from a zoo to a living museum of natural history and wonderful sculpture walks.
A wonderful 36 acre arboretum, cafe and garden centre set in the Cotswolds. Batsford Arboretum won’t take up your whole day, but you could easily spend a couple of hours walking the paths in the arboretum before visiting the cafe for some lunch, and afterwards popping into the garden centre and shop. All areas are dog friendly, making it an easy day out with your pup. They also have a kids play area and seasonal treasure hunts to keep children entertained. You will need to pay for entry to the arboretum.
Castle Combe Circular
Castle Combe is a beautiful and charming little Cotswold village, famous for the picturesque street which has often been featured in movies. Although it is only a small village, you could easily spend the morning here, walking a 3.5 mile circular walk through the woodlands and along the stream before retiring to one of the dog friendly pubs for lunch.
Glastonbury, famous for the festival, Tor and being a spiritual home to many, is a brilliant dog friendly day out. Start by climbing up the Tor and take in the stunning views, before walking down the spine of the hill into town, where you can stop off at one of its many dog friendly cafes. Afterwards, we highly recommend that you visit Glastonbury Abbey with your dog, where you can join a walking tour and learn about the fascinating history, including a visit to King Arthurs burial place!
Cotswold Motoring Museum & Toy Collection
Wander through the beautiful village of Bourton-on-the-Water, often called the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, where the River Windrush flows through the centre, with multiple little bridges crossing it. This is a fantastic day out with your dog as so many places are dog friendly, including attractions such as the Cotswold Motoring Museum, Dragonfly Maze and Birdland. After your day out, stop at Greystones – a nature reserve and farm.
National Trust Tyntesfield
A wonderful National Trust estate with a house, gardens and woodland. Dogs are very welcome in most places, except for the formal and walled garden, and historic buildings, however, they do need to be kept on a short lead. After, enjoy a walk around Tyntesfield Plantation and stop by the cafe for lunch.
One of our favourite days out to meet with the family. Dogs are allowed off lead in Silk Woods, so they can happily run around the trees and make friends, whilst you explore the extensive arboretum for a few hours. After, stop at the cafe for lunch, tea or ice cream for your dog. Alternatively, we recommend visiting The Hare & Hounds Hotel, a great dog friendly gastro pub that even has a dog menu!
St Fagans National Museum of History
A brilliant day out for the family, as well as anyone who loves history! This fascinating living museum is a collection of old building, from blacksmiths and tea rooms to chapels and watermills. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed in any of the old buildings, so we took it in turns to look inside. We spent the whole day there and but didn’t quite manage to look around the whole of the site, so it’s a good full day’s outing.
National Trust Stourhead
When Stourhead first opened in the 1740s, a magazine described it as ‘a living work of art’. Now looked after by the National Trust, it’s an absolute treasure, with over 1,072 hectares (2,650 acres) of landscaped gardens and woodland to explore with your dog. Afterwards, sit outside the cafe and enjoy lunch, or dogs are permitted in the bar area at local pub The Spread Eagle Inn, which is situated on the grounds. Dogs are welcome on short leads in the garden from 7th March to 8th November after 2pm, and all day from 9th November to 6th March.
Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens
One of the only zoo’s that allow dogs, and we are so happy that they do, meaning that the whole family can spend the day together! Look the lions, gape at the giraffes and meet the meerkats. There are a few areas where dogs are not permitted though, such as the indoor enclosures, gift shop and restaurant.
If you’re visiting Glastonbury for the first time we highly recommend stopping here after walking to the Tor. A goldmine of history was explained to us as we were taken on a guided tour of the abbey with our dog, you might even spot of King Arthur’s tomb! It is a very peaceful spot in a busy tourist area.
A small private castle in the Malvern Hills, Herefordshire, with beautifully well-kept grounds, numerous picnic spots, cafe, kids play areas, maze and ice cream parlour. The best part of Eastnor Castle is that dogs are allowed in the castle with you whilst you tour the rooms! It was fantastic to look around with our dog and know that they were welcome. Highly recommended day out, just check the website for opening details as the times change throughout the year.
Somerset Lavender Farm
A lovely farm with sweeping fields of lavender from mid-July to the start of September. We loved taking our dogs around the fields, stopping for photos, before retreating to the cafe and shop for some delicious lunch and to buy some locally made products from the farm. After the lavender is picked, they have a small sunflower farm you can visit as well.
The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail
A popular walk in the Forest of Dean, with huge sculptures in the woodland to seek out. Discover the 15ft stained glass window suspended from the tree canopy, the disused railway sleepers or the willow deers. The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail has car parking, cafe and toilets, with many other walks a short drive away.
Painswick Rococo Garden
A wonderful, private landscaped garden in the Cotswolds, designed in the early 1700s by Benjamin Hyett and now looked after by a charity who maintains it beautifully. The gardens have lots of different areas and features to explore, including a maze and kids play area nestled in the woodland. After, you can visit the dog friendly cafe for lunch and drinks. We only spent a few hours here, but thoroughly enjoyed it.
National Trust Prior Park Landscape Gardens
A magnificent piece of gardening history, landscaped by the famous Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and now cared for by The National Trust. Located in Bath, just a short walk from the city centre, this garden has impressive bridges spanning across stunning pools of water, creating the most picturesque scenes. If you want a longer walk, the Bath Skyline is a small detour away from Prior Park.
An impressive landscape, with a large expanse of sandy beach and a peninsula extending out into the Bristol Channel, which houses a historic fort. The area is looked after by the National Trust, so there are facilities and a cafe as well as all-terrain mobility trampers to hire. There is also super friendly Brean Cafe, where dogs are allowed inside and they even have a dog menu! We easily spent 4 hours here, walking the beach before venturing to the fort.
National Trust Croome
A wonderful National Trust estate that has acres of grounds, landscaped by the famous garden architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Take time to walk around the lake, walk along the serpentine river and take in the commanding views over the Malverns. At its heart lies Croome Court, a magnificent building that has a colourful history. Dogs need to be on a lead in the estate grounds, as there as sheep grazing the land, there is, however, a designated field for dogs off lead that you can visit before your walk.
Old Down Country Park
Old Down Country Park is a great family day out, with a large estate to explore, completed with a pets corner, kids adventure park, animal park and 66 acres of beautiful, landscaped gardens. You do need to pay for entry, but there is plenty to entertain kids and dogs. They also have a great cafe. Dogs need to be on a short lead at all time as there are lots of animals, as well as Kevin, the free roaming peacock!
You could easily spend a couple of hours looking around the ruins of the abbey, before going on a hike along the public footpaths. There are a few circular routes you can do, including a 5.5 mile walk across the Old Railway Bridge into Caswell Wood, following the path along the River Wye, past Tintern Quarry, up to the viewing point of the Devil’s Pulpit and following the Offa’s Dyke path back to the railway bridge. The Anchor Inn is a great dog friendly pub to stop at after for some refreshments and food.
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