Even though there’s so much to do in London for both you and your doggy companion, sometimes it’s good to get out of the capital and experience what the rest of the UK has to offer for you and your hound.
It’s now easier than ever to head away for a few days on a dog-friendly short break, and you don’t even need to travel far to have a great time – there are plenty of places you can stay and explore just two hours from London. Thanks to London’s great transport links, you can even reach many destinations by train and have a car-free holiday!
We’ve teamed up with Canine Cottages, who offer a choice of thousands of dog-friendly holidays across the UK, to reveal five favourite dog-friendly holiday destinations within two hours of the capital.
5 dog-friendly getaways within 2 hours of London
Get a taste of the seaside, explore beautiful farmland and countryside and discover magnificent castles with your dog by your side in wonderful Kent. Popular seaside retreats such as Whitstable (which featured on the blog earlier this year) and Margate are reached in around 90 minutes by train, where you can roam along dog-friendly sandy beaches and nostalgic promenades. You can also visit the unmissable White Cliffs of Dover.
For a taste of the countryside, use Royal Tunbridge Wells as your base to explore the High Weald AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), a stunning landscape with plenty of walks through open countryside, past medieval manors and historic houses.
Alternatively, you can pay a visit to the cathedral city of Canterbury, where you and your dog can explore historic cobbled streets and marvel at the timber-framed houses.
Home to perhaps the perfect examples of quaint English villages, the Cotswolds is perfect for anyone seeking a dog-friendly rural retreat.
During your visit you’ll fall in love with the villages nestled amongst the rolling green hills: clusters of cute cottages made from honey-coloured stone, set amongst peaceful ponds and trickling streams. It’s the perfect place for a walking holiday complete with plenty of dog-friendly pubs to stop at along the way. We also suggest a trip to the Cotswold Water Park, where more than 150 lakes can be found in a 40 square mile area.
You can reach the eastern side of the Cotswolds in under two hours either by car or by train, where you’ll find some of the best places to visit and stay in the area, including Woodstock, Burford, Bibury and Chipping Norton.
If you’re looking to escape the crowds, the sprawling landscapes of Suffolk offer the perfect getaway for you and your dog. Like Kent, it has a great blend of coast and countryside but with a completely different feel to it.
There are miles of great coastline to explore, starting from Felixstowe, less than two hours from London, taking in beautiful seaside towns such as Aldeburgh, Southwold and Lowestoft, with gorgeous sandy beaches and lovely long walkies to enjoy.
Suffolk is also home to some charming market towns such as Ipswich, Eye and Bury St Edmunds, home to a historic abbey and cathedral. If you’re looking for a break that’s a little more off the beaten track, Suffolk may be just the place you’re looking for.
Home to classic seaside resorts such as Brighton, Eastbourne and Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex is perfect for those looking to get away to the coast with plenty going on close by. Brighton is one of the UK’s most dog-friendly cities, where there are several dog-friendly cafes, restaurants, beaches and attractions including museums and even crazy golf. It’s also just an hour away by train, making it one of the more popular holiday destinations for Londoners.
Sussex also offers plenty of other dog-friendly beaches and some amazing walks in its extensive countryside, being home to both the High Weald AONB and the South Downs National Park. The South Downs Way is a great way to take in the sights of the National Park and is sure to be an epic journey for both you and your pooch.
Much of Sussex is reachable in under 2 hours by train – among the other places within easy reach are Hastings (1 hour 20), Arundel (1 hour 20) and Chichester (1 hour 30).
Perfect for lovers of the outdoors, the New Forest is one of the UK’s most underrated National Parks, especially with so many dog-friendly things to do. Picturesque villages are scattered throughout the landscape of rolling moorlands and woodlands, connected by footpaths and trails through some amazing scenery. The Rhinefield Ornamental Drive is one such example, passing through an arboretum, with a deer sanctuary nearby.
The New Forest is also home to its own stretch of unspoilt coast and home to pretty villages and towns such as Lymington, as well as a series of impressive fortresses to check out. It’s extremely dog-friendly thanks to the variety of walks available as well as the pet-friendly places to eat on offer.
The northern edge of the New Forest is drivable in less than two hours, however you can also get the train from London directly to either Brockenhurst, at the heart of the New Forest, in 1 hour 30, or New Milton, on the southern edge, in 1 hour 40.