Inspiration for many Hollywood blockbusters, a trip to the pet-friendly Home Counties is a treat for any city-based pups itching to wag their tails in the rolling Chiltern hills, medieval villages and little coastal towns. With celebrity-run restaurants on practically every corner, and Michelin stars falling from the skies, these exquisite regions are perfect for eat, sleep and play.
Start your Home Counties tour in dog-friendly Surrey
Fido will love Surrey and scampering through Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We love the 9km Dog and Duck trail that circles the Harewood estate. It’s an easy walk and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the North Downs. Langshott Manor is close by, a charming and surprisingly scenic 16th Century English Manor House with a selection of lovely paw-friendly rooms where you and pup can rest your heads after a long day of walkies.
Nearby Edwardian manor house, Polesden Lacey, has 1,400 acres of grounds that pooch will also love exploring. Trot further into Surrey Hills to The Abinger Hatch for a pick-me-up, a quintessentially English pub where pups are welcome to join you for a delicious local ale and rustic meal.
In the west of the county are cute villages perfect for discovering local history. Bagshot is home to the sumptuous Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa, a 19th century luxury retreat for human and hound with glorious food that pup will love revitalising in – plus, there’s pup room service.
Have a royally pawfect time in dog-friendly Berkshire
Follow the flag, we’re moving on with the tour! Famed for its sheep farming and Royal Residence, Windsor Castle, is Berkshire. National Trust-owned Cliveden House is a simply majestic 47-room country house that was built in 1666 and remains steeped in colourful history and a fair amount of glamour. This is where Meghan Markle stayed and got ready before her wedding to Price Harry. Fido will love the antique furnishings and there’s plenty of dog-friendly rooms with beds and bowls provided. The National Trust grounds here are also wonderful to explore with your dog, and dogs are allowed to wander in most of the grounds.
Windsor Castle isn’t open to dogs, but pup can wear a crown in their Great Park. Regally trot the grounds and then treat yourselves to a trot around Windsor itself, full of cobbled streets and lovely architecture.
The River Thames runs through Berkshire and is a short walk from Windsor Castle so indulge in a riverside bite to eat. The Boatman, complete with stunning river views, is a gorgeous pup-friendly pub and boasts an impressive lunch and drinks menu. From the Boatman, trot across the bridge over to the large Brocas meadow to walk off lunch and discover pretty Eton high street, full of old-school charm – literally.
Oakley Court, very close to Eton Boat Club, is a luxurious and imposing Victorian Mansion overlooking the picturesque River Thames, who ensure pup a comfortable stay and a good night’s sleep by providing a bed, blanket and bowl.
Check out Buckinghamshire’s many pet-friendly delights
Home to the glorious Chiltern Hills, we’re now rolling into Buckinghamshire. Wonderful Amersham old town has antique shops, characterful pubs and bundles of local history. Check into the Crown Inn for a Four Weddings and a Funeral throwback, and let pup enjoy this reinvented beautifully decorated coaching inn – designed by Isle Crawford.
From here you can take fido out walking through the Chiltern Hills’ many trails. Wendover Woods, a 325-hectare open access woodland site, is worth the short drive and is incredibly pretty all year round. Close by in leafy High Wycombe, famous for its historic chair production, pups are welcome in the grounds at Hughenden Manor, where Benjamin Disraeli is buried. There are apple trees dating back to the 16th century and a pup-friendly café serving house blend tea.
A short drive from High Wycombe is the dog-friendly Royal Standard pub, which is one of the oldest pubs in Britain! Full of old oak charm – and apparently haunted – there are roaring fires and a rustic menu to choose from including Chiltern Hills ales. The pub deserves a walk around as its bursting with antique art.
When in Bucks, it’s worth taking a trip out to Marlow, a vibrant Georgian market town made up of historic streets and an abundance of boutique shops, restaurants, cafes and bistros. Situated right on the Thames, there are plenty of walking opportunities. You can also check into the dog-friendly The Olde Bell, a stylish coaching inn dating back to the 12th century, just back over the county line in Berkshire.
Enjoy beachside luxury in East Sussex
A chat about the dog-friendly home counties wouldn’t be complete without a mention of East Sussex. Camber Sands is completely dog-friendly, and the promenade is lovely day and night. If you choose East Sussex, rest sleepy heads at The Gallivant, a critics favourite, that offers human and hound beachside luxury. Pups are treated to biscuits and a wonderfully comfy bed.
With so much to do and experience, hop on the train and visit one, or even two, of the home counties – long weekends don’t get much better.
There isn’t space in one article to cover everything the pet-friendly Home Counties have to offer. Stay tuned for a follow up article taking in the top pet-friendly destinations in Kent and Hertfordshire.
For more pet-friendly guides, check out our other destination collections pages.