In this dog friendly destination guide, we help you plan your perfect pet friendly holiday to the Cotswolds. Inside you will find our hand-picked selection of the very best pet friendly hotels and accommodation where canine (and human) guests stay in style, pubs and restaurants where your pooch will be welcome, as well as stunning walks and dog friendly attractions to enjoy with your canine companion.
Described by The Independent as “England’s most seductive countryside”, the Cotswolds has all the rural charm you can handle. Think thatched roofs, winding walks, and village pubs well-stocked with locally sourced produce. The Cotswolds also offers up a wealth of history – everything from neolithic standing stones to medieval churches, Roman mosaics, and William Morris’s 17th-century Kelmscott Manor. All that sprawled across six counties.
Dogs will love bounding up hills and wandering through miles of uninterrupted countryside, while clever owners can soak up the countryside living.
WHERE TO STAY
Luxuriate in eight acres of lawns and gardens, at this historic manor house that dates back to 1649. This is one for the pampered pooch, with four-legged visitors enjoying dog-friendly rooms with toys, blankets, and a menu of organic dog food. Humans can survey the surrounding hills, and enjoy long wanders through the nearby countryside.
If you’d rather feel a bit more amongst the action, this townhouse-style hotel is close to the pubs of Woodstock and a short distance from Blenheim Palace, which welcomes dogs in its park. Your canine companion can stay for free, but if you want something special for them there’s a special dog pack with some extra goodies for them – and a bar stocked full of gin for you. What’s not to love?
Dogs get a warm welcome at this 4-star hotel, which has 63 canine-friendly apartments set in the middle of the Cotswolds’ rolling countryside. Several open straight out onto the De Vere’s gardens, and once you’ve had breakfast there’s no shortage of public footpaths for you to explore. Pooches are welcomed with a bed, bowl and daily treat, and allowed to join you for dinner in the hotel’s Old Boathouse Pub – although must be kept on-lead. For owners, there’s a spa, sauna and steam room to de-stress in, before enjoying a drink on the De Vere’s lakeside terrace.
Dogs are welcomed with open arms at Broadway’s Lygon Arms, which offers its own doggie menu. You won’t need to leave your pup behind at dinner either, as the hotel’s lounges and terrace restaurant are all dog-friendly. Meanwhile owners can immerse themselves in The Lygon Arms extensive history, which dates back to the 1300s and boasts Oliver Cromwell as a previous guest.
For a slice of traditional countryside living, stay The Wheatsheaf Inn, a creeper-covered former coaching inn. There’s just 14 rooms on offer, each beautifully finished and many including a freestanding bath tub – perfect for a good soak after a long walk. Dogs are also welcome, and are sure to enjoy curling up by the inn’s roaring open fires during the colder months.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Whether you’re after a frosty pint or a freshly roasted coffee, The Wild Duck Inn is a good place to stop off. You can dine in interiors that nod to 16th century style, and enjoy classic British dishes made from the best produce the area has to offer.
This classic country pub has its own resident canine and a doggie Belgian beer – so your pooch doesn’t feel left out while you’re downing pints. Stop off for a swift local ale, before heading on out to explore the abundant surrounding countryside.
It wouldn’t be a countryside stay without at least one thatched village pub, and this one’s been serving since the late 1700s. Dogs are welcome in the bar area, which has a huge open fire for the winter months. Once it’s warmer, you and your pooch can sun yourselves in the garden and maybe even catch some Morris dancers if you hang about long enough.
While your dog swills down some Snuffle (that’s a doggie beer), you can enjoy local meats and fish and a fine ale in The Seagrave Arms’ charming back garden. If you’re after traditional locally sourced fare this is a good choice to fill up before continuing your countryside ramble.
For those of you that prefer a pot of tea, Tisanes is an old-fashioned tea room that’s happy to accommodate your four-legged friends. Expect homemade cakes – with gluten-free options – and a full selection of loose leaf teas and coffees. The garden is also open to enjoy on sunny days.
THE BEST DOG WALKS
Enjoy the open space of Woodchester Park, which offers a range of walks depending on how energetic you and your dog are feeling. Its standout feature is Woodchester Mansion – an unfinished Grade II-listed gothic home, with unglazed windows and unplastered walls. If that’s a little too creepy, there’s also five lakes filled with carp for keen wildlife watchers.
COTSWOLD WAY CIRCULAR WALK 3: STANTON, SNOWSHILL AND THE EDGE
Take in some of the most charming sights the Cotswolds has to offer on this six-mile walk, which offers village views, valleys, woodlands, and enough pubs to help you refuel along the way. There’s some steep parts here, so save this for the more active dogs.
If you’re after more of a gentle stroll, this National Trust parkland has several walks on offer – with some routes including glimpses of temples and follies. It’s well set up for dogs with water bowls, bins and off-lead areas scattered throughout the park.
COTSWOLD WAY CIRCULAR WALK: 7 CRANHAM, COOPERS AND THE BEECHWOODS
Delve deep into the Cotswolds’ woods on this four-mile walk, which meanders through bluebells, under beeches and over stiles. It also gives you the chance to visit Cooper’s Hill, which has been the site of the grand old English tradition of cheese-rolling for hundreds of years.
COTSWOLD WAY CIRCULAR WALK 6: THE LECKHAMPTON LOOP
If it’s variety you want, spend a couple of hours walking through grassland and woodland, past Iron Age remains and Victorian quarries on the Leckhampton Loop – which gives you and your dog a taste of the area’s diverse landscape.
DOG FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS
Nature-lovers won’t want to miss England’s largest collection of trees and shrubs. It’s a winning choice whatever time of year you go, ablaze in the autumn and filled with budding plants in the spring. Dogs must be on-lead and under control at all times though, so avoid if your pooch can be unruly.
There’s a whole 40 acres of parkland to be explored at Cerney House, including a kitchen garden and traditional Victorian walled garden. Expect manicured lawns that’ll get you green with envy, and plenty of space to tire out your pooch – who’s also welcome to wander among the trees and plants.
Daydreaming about life in a country mansion is an essential part of any rural getaway, and Stanway House is the perfect place to do so. Dogs must stay on leads, but are welcome to wander the grounds of this Jacobean manor, which includes a recently restored water garden.
If country manors don’t do much for you, bring your four-legged friend on a 25-mile steam train journey through the countryside. There’s views aplenty, and a place in the carriage for your pooch to sit and watch the world go by.
WHAT TO PACK
Seeing as half the Cotswolds’ charm lies in its many countryside walks, a comfy pair of boots is absolutely essential packing. Be sure they’re waterproof if you’re facing up to the unpredictable weather of the cooler months.
The sun can beat down surprisingly hard on those hills, so have your suncream to hand as well. As with any British holiday, the key to survival is layers – so make sure you’re prepared with teeshirts for warm days, and a jumper just in case the temperature turns. If you’re a serious walker, you’ll probably want to bring along your waterproofs, and a paper map just in case your battery runs low, or you’re lost in a signal-free area.
If your accommodation doesn’t provide a dog bed and you don’t want to lug your dog’s own bed up with you, consider a dog travel bed which can be easily rolled up in your luggage and doubles a great spot for a snooze on the pub floor. For eating and drinking on-the-go, dog travel bags and bowls are a great option.
WHEN TO GO
During summer, the Cotswolds most popular villages (Burford, Broadway, Bibury and Bourton-On-The-Water) can be choked with visitors, so seek out some of the lesser-known spots if you’re going during the sunny months. The British summer is always a gamble, but make the most of the long days in May and June if you want to see fields and dry stone walls bathed in a golden evening glow. Don’t forget the school holidays are in July and August, so avoid if you want a quieter trip. Autumn is a good time to avoid the tourists, and see the countryside change colour. For the more adventurous walkers, winter can be invigorating – and often more peaceful. Warm up after icy rambles at one of the area’s many village pubs, which often have open fires to cuddle up to with your pup.
Looking for more beautiful dog friendly places? Visit our Luxe Pet Guide – the discerning pet lovers little black book
Have you visited the Cotswolds with your pooch? Tell us your favourite places in the comments below!