If you’re after true tranquillity, the dog-friendly New Forest has it all. Once a royal hunting ground for William the Conqueror, today’s New Forest has lost none of its original splendour.
The New Forest constantly delivers on everything ‘unspoilt’ and has become quite the latest en vogue place to be seen, and get seen. Fabulously dog-friendly, we love it for its versatility; whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend away or a longer break from your ‘nine to five’, the dog-friendly New Forest’s surrounding woodlands, rivers and valleys are the pinnacle of charm. There are numerous dog-friendly activities, scattered throughout neighbouring villages Exbury, Beaulieu, Burley and Brockenhurst, and enough boutique bedrooms, picturesque pubs and wonderful walks to keep both human and hound more than satisfied.
A place to rest your head
Travelling with your pooch, you’ll wonder where’s great to stay. Should you be coming from the north or the east, try Lainston House. This decadent, dog-friendly country house hotel in Hampshire, dating back to the late 17th century, will have both you and fido revelling in its majestic surrounds.
For those planning an extra special (and we mean very luxurious) break weighted towards Dorset, Chewton Glen welcomes pups aged one and older in their Treehouse suites, which are all dog-friendly. The Treehouses are magnificent and are decked out with floor to ceiling windows for stunning views of the forest.
Another gem nestled in the heart of the dog-friendly New Forest is the once-upon-a-time old hunting lodge Lime Wood, the epotime of countryside chic. On the edges of the quaint village of Lyndhurst, pups are welcome in the stylishly rustic outside rooms (the Coach House, Crescent and Pavilions) and baskets and bowls are all provided for. A great bonus, the forest is just next door – ideal for walkies at any time.
Should you be venturing from the west, the rather charming, laid back, Grosvenor Arms in affluent Shaftesbury, is perfect to while away the time after a stroll around the town. Doggies are permitted in all areas of the hotel apart from the main restaurant, however pooches can dine with you in the bar or the conservatory; here, there’s a dog food menu to choose from, so your pooch will feel very VIP!
That’s the accommodation sorted, so it’s time to get out and explore. Many of the activities and attractions in the New Forest are dog-friendly, including the majority of the trails in the Forest itself. Just make sure to keep an extendable lead with you so fido can keep exploring safely when you’re lucky enough to come across one of the wonderful, 3,000 New Forest ponies that roam freely around the park.
Take your pooch to the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst where you can discover the National Park together. Pick-up picnic supplies from dog-friendly deli, The Forage on the High Street and the head off to explore. Expect events like pony sales, and sample the delights at the local markets, too. Your pooch is also welcome at Exbury Gardens (parking is helpfully free!), where you can walk amongst some of the most spectacular flora in the country. Even Autumn brings amazing colour displays, from Japanese maple trees and flourishing dogwoods. There’s also a steam railway line you can both jump on to experience the very best of the gardens.
One area that’s not to be missed is the idyllic village of Beaulieu, on the south eastern edge of the national park. A picture perfect spot with many a dog-friendly cafe, Beaulieu also boasts some delightful pet-friendly attractions. Home of the Montagu family, Palace House has delightful gardens which dogs are welcome to sniff out with you. A short drive, or 2 miles walk away is the 18th century shipbuilding village, Buckler’s Hard, where ships for Nelson’s Navy were built. Well worth a visit, dogs can also join you on the river cruise that runs from Buckler’s Hard and the Yachtsman’s Bar is a great spot from which to grab a bite and gaze at the picturesque river scene.
Dinner is served
Time for a cider? Pet-friendly pubs are abundant here and they produce fine menus to boot. The Bell Inn in Brook is a cosy coaching inn that has been in the same family for over 200 years. It has tasty menu on offer, and many a passing New Forest pony to watch. Dogs can join you in the bar area, which with its huge open fireplace is a wonderful place to hunker down on a winter’s day. History buffs will love the New Forest Inn, an 18th Century family run pub that is proudly dog-friendly and where dogs can join you in the bar, restaurant and garden.
With absolutely no compromise on lifestyle or places to go, the New Forest offers some of the best ‘me and my dog’ holidays around. Cosy winter break or sun-drenched walking tour, muddy paws are happy paws!
Where is your and fido’s favourite venue in the dog-friendly New Forest? We’d love to hear – send us a note or fill in our ‘Recommend a Venue’ form.