No contest, autumn wins the countryside mini break debate! The season’s magical shift in colours is perfect for dog-friendly long weekends; full of crisp golds, reds, crimsons and brilliant oranges. Autumn’s sunny days, bright night skies, morning mist and crunch dewy grass are perfect for a pre-winter break with pup. But where to go? To help, we’ve picked our top three countryside destinations that meet the ultimate dog-friendly autumn mini break criteria:
Oodles of fun
Cosy (a lovely fireplace, please)
The Lake District
Autumn loves the Lakes; the evenings draw in quickly, the air is cooler and dazzling purple heather shoots from the ground. As the weather turns, pub fires are lit, local Cumbrian ale flows freely, and hearty food warms the cockles after a day out trotting through the fells.
Lake Windermere is an ideal place to call home and is a short drive to equally picturesque Ullswater, Grasmere and Lake Derwent. Come and put your feet up at Rothay Manor, located at the northern point of Lake Windermere. This elegant Grade II building oozes luxury and has everything you could want from a boutique paws-away-from-home manor house, with eight pup-friendly rooms with their own courtyard and two paw-friendly lounges.
From here, you can cruise around the lake with pup and explore nearby towns like pretty Bowness Bay. A stone’s throw from here is the dog-friendly Flying Pig pub, which offers a relaxed and very cosy spot to put your feet up and enjoy a number of cask ales. And just across the Lake is another of our favourites, the slightly-off-the-beaten-track Cuckoo Brow Inn in Far Sawrey, situated near Beatrix Potter’s old house, complete with log fire and excellent local produce.
Ready to get your ears wet in the Lakes? Head over to our Lake District page.
During the autumn, the outstanding natural beauty here is a spoil of riches, with deep layers of mist rolling in over the hills, covering the historic buildings and craggy castles.
Broadway offers plenty for human and hound. You’ll love the dog-friendly Broadway Hotel, which comes with cosy furnishings and delicious brasserie. Dogs are welcome at the fabulous hotel bar, where they serve local ales and rustic pub food. We love the Cotswolds Way Circular Walk (approx 4 miles), which leads you through enchanting Cotswolds countryside, along historic tracks right up to Broadway Tower.
One of our favourite places to sleep in Broadway is sumptuous country estate, The Fish. Our hidden gem tip is to stay at their Treehouses. These spectacular arboreal retreats are ultimate Scandinavian-style hygge; cosy, with ensuite bathrooms, underfloor heating and don’t-mind-if-I-do minibars. During the autumn, you’re surrounded by wonderful colours in your luxurious tree-top home!
A short drive from The Fish is dog-friendly Hidcote Manor. The manor itself doesn’t cater for muddy pups, but they are more than welcome in the local Barn Café, an ideal meeting and rest spot for a number of fantastic Cotswolds walks – keep a lead handy for when you encounter farm animals. At the cafe, pups are greeted with a water bowl. It’s thirsty work getting your paws dirty!
Trot over to our Cotswolds destination page for more ideas.
The autumn landscapes in Sussex and the South Downs are breathtaking, with native oaks, limes and acers glowing with flaming yellows and reds. Some of the area’s best kept secrets emerge in autumn, like the incredible stargazing opportunities, misty headlands and amazing local food.
We recommend pulling up a pew in 17th Century Alexander House in West Sussex. This Jacobean country house and spa has acres of grounds to sniff and chase leaves in. The hotel is a perfect place to rejuvenate feet and paws, with lovingly decorated dog-friendly rooms that include handmade king-size beds.
Take advantage of the many picturesque walks. We love the Chanctonbury Ring walk, about an hour from Alexander House. The walk has easy dog-friendly routes and plenty of areas to take a breather. Grab a well-deserved drink at The George and Dragon Pub in Houghton, a lovely country pub with three open fires, rustic food and beer garden.
It’s worth visiting Devil’s Dyke in nearby Saddlescombe. This legendary spot in the South Downs is 100m deep and the longest, deepest and widest ‘dry valley’ in the UK. Dip into nearby pub, The Shepherd and Dog, where pups are welcome at the bar and in the garden and you can both enjoy the outstanding food and fun atmosphere.
Lap up more ideas on our Sussex page!
Check out our destinations collection for more insider tips on other dog-friendly destinations throughout the UK.