Get Santa on the blower, this is not a drill, we repeat not a drill! We were just momentarily gripped by fear. The fear you feel when it’s 5pm on Christmas Eve and you’re suddenly convinced it was Aldi mince pies that won this year’s shop bought mince-pie crown, not the (now rudimentary) *other* ones you so smugly bought stacks of weeks ago. Christmas is coming!
And breathe. This year’s going to be different. And it actually will be if you follow the latest All Four Paws festive intel. We’ve got the Santa sacks on standby and have already received an anonymous tip-off on where last year’s leftover wrapping paper was last seen. Don’t worry, we’ve totally got this.
Destination Christmases are on the up and we love the idea of spending a few days before, after and during the festive season somewhere chock-a-block with Christmas magic that has something for the whole family; from little kids, mad aunties and uncles, napping grandparents and of course, pup! Oh, and you, but we’ll come onto that in more detail, ifyouknowwhatwemean.
Routine stresses aside, spending quality time with the whole family is a priceless gift for which there’s no refund, so we present three very brilliant dog-friendly Christmas destinations that’ll warm the cockles of every Scrooge out there.
A Christmas in the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is simply stunning. At Christmastime the postcard perfect views become magical with lit up quaint stone buildings, beautifully kept gardens, cobbled alleyways and boutique tea rooms. A popular destination, you could consider aligning your trip with Broadway’s Christmas shopping nights (Friday 29th November & Friday 6th December 2018) to really reap the area’s festivities.
Anyone with a pooch will agree that beautiful, fur-ruffling chilly walks are often some of the best Christmassy moments. Broadway’s walks and trails won’t disappoint. The town is beautiful and ready for any aged amblers with pup in tow. If you’re looking for a long walk, with plenty to see on the way, head from Broadway to Chipping Campden. This walk takes about two hours and is well maintained – very manageable. It starts at Dover’s Hill and meanders through picturesque Gloucestershire and Worcestershire countryside. Pup will love the different flora and fauna along the way and running up the inclines – you don’t have to!
For those feeling fruity and festive, the Broadway to Snowshill walk is a little shorter but harder on the knees. The view of Broadway Tower along the way is breathtaking and it doesn’t get any better than Snowshill, a little town full of ancient cottages, churches and cobbled streets that light up in the Christmas darkness.
Once you’re back in Broadway, head to The Tea Set, a beautifully decorated pup-friendly tea room that will provide homely respite in the form of mince pies and other festive treats after your walk. It’s OK to go back for seconds, or thirds.
Dog-friendly hotel The Fish is fabulously country chic. The perfect full family getaway place to relax and sleep after an exhausting day, they welcome up to 2 medium-sized pooches per room (+1 years) and have plenty of dog-friendly rooms available with doggy treats, towel and bowl. You’ll love exploring the grounds and surrounds together, and maybe fido can sniff out a few hotel mince pies…
For a truly festive, and quite family bonding experience in Broadway, check out Tewkesbury Abbey’s annual Advent Carol Service. Pups will love the glorious grounds and you’ll feel very festive singing along to wonderful carols filling the Abbey’s Norman structure.
Check out more of our dog-friendly Cotswolds recommendations here.
Food and drink in the Capital
Foodies unite! This one’s for families looking for seriously delicious festive food and drink. We’d be delighted to get our paws into London’s festive treats this Christmas.
First up, the dog-friendly Athenaeum Hotel will hit your tastebuds in all the right places – while also being a great place to get 40 winks. Galvin’s, the hotel’s restaurant, serves up delicious, responsibly sourced food and has an exquisite wine list that’ll keep all family folks merry. The hotel itself is sophisticated, stylish and contemporary and has 164 dog-friendly rooms, with no extra charge for pups – hooray! Enjoy wintery walks with your pooch in tow right across the street at the two Royal Parks, where fido will feel like a king.
Did some say Christmas markets? Wrap up and get ready for guzzling galore! One of the best pup-friendly Christmas markets in town is on the Southbank. Full of quaint chalets selling everything from handmade truffles and biscuits to crepes dripping with cheese and simply tonnes of nectar-like glühwein, the atmosphere on the Thames is electric.
Hipster foodies will love East London’s Netil Market, powered by a creative community of designers and foodies. At Christmas time, especially during the weekends, Westgate is lit up with market stalls showcasing the best Christmas fare from the area’s renowned food traders. This is the perfect spot to indulge all afternoon.
There’s always room for more! Warm up in some of London’s many dog-friendly eateries after a day out gorging – we mean, nibbling – on Christmas street food. Head into the heart of the city and try dog-friendly Mews of Mayfair which serves up hearty British food all year round. From here you can easily take a walk to Bond Street, Regent’s Street and Oxford Street and take in the lights and decadent window decorations. Or try dog-friendly Bellanger, a buzzy French bistro on Islington Green, inspired by the original Alsatian brasseries of Paris. Simply delicious and a great spot for a post dinner walk.
For more dog-friendly London eatery ideas, head over to our pet-friendly London page, and for more tips on what to do and where to go with fido to lap up that festive spirit, check out this handy guide.
Did we catch you off-piste? Eat your heart out, Australia, the UK serves a magnificent surf-side Christmas that the whole family will love! And this year, Cornwall is hosting. Pack fido’s flippers, we’re going coastal.
Christmas in Cornwall is truly magical and you’ll be glad you made the trip. The city’s harbourside villages light up, there are festive food markets that’ll whet anyone’s wintry appetite and the many stately homes adorn their grand rooms with simply glorious decorations. Not only that but if you spend NYE in Cornwall, you’ll be treated to one of the best fireworks displays in the UK.
The whole family will love staying at dog-friendly Bedruthan, an award-winning hotel and spa overlooking North Cornwall’s coastline. This lovely, super chic hotel has fantastic family facilities and incredible views. Minutes from a dog-friendly beach, wrap up warm (don’t forget pup’s windbreaker) and explore the local coastline together using the easy footpaths.
Throughout the Christmas season, Cornwall’s Time for Gifts and Ice Skating at the Eden Project is open for fun and frolics. This spectacular winter festival includes ice skating, lantern processions, festive bakeries and choirs making it the perfect family experience. The ice rink caters to all ages and abilities and even has toddler and parent sessions. Just make sure pooch doesn’t get too cold by slipping her a warm treat or two – or three. The Eden Project was recently voted 2018’s best dog walking destination in the world, and it’s definitely worth the exploring the miles of outdoor paths with pup. Dogs on a lead are welcome in the majority of the Project, just not in the Biomes.
Check out our other fabulous, very dog-friendly Cornwall recommendations here.
Cheeky couples getaway!
Yes! You made it through Christmas! While family time is amazing, having a well-deserved breather with just your other half and pooch after the festive madness will feel like a tonic. Did someone say gin?
Finding extra time away isn’t easy so why not relocate from home for a night of unapologetic luxury? We love dog-friendly Blakes, located in Kensington, London, that feels like a luxurious leafy oasis. Art, fashion and culture combine into what is simply a feast for the senses.
Or if you had a city-filled Christmas and fancy an escape to the country, you’ll find the beautiful Painswick hotel situated in the beautiful Cotswolds. Full of sumptuous touches, The Painswick is charming inside and out, bursting with tranquillity and sleepy, simply wonderful views.
With just a couple of months to go until the big day, settle into the idea of going away for Christmas this year. Head on over to All Four Paws’ pet-friendly pages for extra dog-friendly inspiration!