In this dog friendly destination guide, we help you plan your perfect pet friendly holiday in Somerset. 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.
Somerset is home to Glastonbury – the myths, the Tor and the festival – and the regency spa city of Bath, but if you’re visiting with your dog you’ll find a place that forces you to slow to its pace and enjoy some spectacular countryside. From the beaches south of Weston-super-Mare that are long expanses of pure joy to water-loving dogs to the breath-taking views from the top of the Mendip Hills, this is an area to get outside in any weather and breathe deeply into the fresh air.
WHERE TO STAY
No trip to Somerset would be complete without a trip to the historic city of Bath. Although your dog may not be able to take the spa waters, you can enjoy all the luxuries of a break at the Royal Crescent Hotel where, for a surcharge, up to two pets can stay in one of the pet friendly rooms with you. All of these rooms enjoy direct access onto a private courtyard or onto the one acre of secluded gardens. Visit www.royalcrescent.co.uk.
Located just a couple of minutes’ stroll from Bath Abbey, No. 15 Great Pulteney really is in the heart of the city in Bath. Dogs are allowed in almost all of the 40 thoughtfully designed luxury bedrooms, some of which include bespoke features such as wall murals. Your dog will be made welcome with their own Woof box, filled with Lily’s Kitchen food, delicious biscuits and a ball for to drop at your feet for playtime. There are also dog bowls as well as super comfy blankets available to purchase. Visit no15greatpulteney.co.uk.
On the edge of the Mendip Hills, the Litton is situated in one of the most glorious areas of Somerset. If you can bear to leave the landscaped gardens, they provide maps of local walks for you and your four-legged friend. Originally a 15th century food mill, the pub has been carefully restored and updated, with a select number of rooms for doggy visitors. Visit thelitton.co.uk.
Dogs will be spoilt rotten at Wellies, where the focus is on getting out and exploring the surrounding countryside – it’s in an idyllic location on the edge of the Blackdown Hills. The deluxe rooms will provide welcome rest for legs of all types at the end of the day but, if you’re still craving activity, the owners can organise flight packages, hot air ballooning and fishing, among other things. Visit welliessomerset.co.uk.
Dogs are welcome throughout this village pub with accommodation so expect them to be fussed over in the bar while you take your evening meal. Its contemporary country decor is cosy and welcoming, while the surrounding fields are perfect for doggy playtime – although you’ll want to get out into the Mendip Hills, just a few miles away. The on-site parking will be perfect if you’re using this as a stop on a bigger travel adventure. Visit www.thetempleinn.com.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Over the road from Royal Victoria Park, The Hop Pole is a gastropub serving Bath Ales and traditional pub favourites alongside seasonal specials. The courtyard will be a treat for owners and dogs on warm days. Visit www.thehoppolebath.co.uk.
If you and your dog have a sweet tooth then head to Cafe Lucca in Bath, perfect for light lunches and afternoon sugar fixes. In summer, enjoy the sunny outdoor terrace and watch the locals come and go. Visit www.cafelucca.co.uk.
If you’re making a day of it on Exmoor, stop off at The White Horse Inn, a 16th century coaching inn in Exford, for a mid-walk refuel. The food menu focuses on pheasant, partridge and venison from the Moor, locally caught trout, salmon and lobster and organic produce from surrounding farms.Visit www.exmoor-whitehorse.co.uk.
If you and your dog braved the precipice at the gorge at Cheddar then you may need a warming tipple. The Bath Arms, with its food menu of European favourites and oversized armchairs, is just the place to settle in for the evening. Visit www.batharms.com.
THE BEST DOG WALKS
Berrow and Brean beaches
Dogs are permitted year-round on these glorious sandy beaches south of Weston-super-Mare. Parking is available in both locations, comprising a 12-mile stretch of heaven for water-loving pooches.
The Mendip Hills are an Area of Outstanding National Beauty in the heart of Somerset with gorges, ancient woodland and an Iron Age hill fort at Dolebury Warren, and you can tailor your walk from a short ramble to a long trek. The views from the top are breathtaking and well worth the effort, but remember to keep your dog on a lead around livestock.
Straddling Somerset and Devon, Exmoor’s huge expanse means your dog is covered whether they prefer woodland walks or sea splashes.
With their vast areas of wild healthland, the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding National Beauty are perfect for a tranquil escape for the day – and are where Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote some of his most famous works. Keep an eye out for livestock and put your dog on a lead when you spot them.
This signposted six-mile walk takes in the beautiful city of Bath from up high. The multiple joining points from the city mean you can start from wherever is convenient, and dogs are welcome under close control. The hidden valleys, panoramic views and sounds of nature provide a stunning contrast with the bustle below.
DOG FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS
The earliest cathedral to be built in the Gothic style, Wells Cathedral is in England’s smallest city and is fully welcoming for your canine companion. Don’t miss the Wells Clock (the second oldest clock mechanism in Great Britain) and stunning Jesse Window.
If you and your dog have a fondness for heights (and dark depths) then you must visit the spectacular Cheddar Gorge, a limestone gorge in the Mendip Hills where Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton was found. Well behaved dogs on leads are welcome.
Completed in 1601, Montacute House is a masterpiece of Elizabethan Renaissance architecture and design, and contains the longest Long Gallery in England, as well as over 60 Tudor and Elizabethan portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. Dogs are welcome in the beautiful surrounding gardens.
Take a history lesson with a trip to Dunster Castle, which has been a home to the same family for over 600 years on a site that’s held a castle since Norman times. Take a walk through the grounds with your dog and enjoy the views toward the Bristol channel, the Quantock hills and Exmoor.
The historic, steam-powered West Somerset Railway carries visitors on a 20-mile scenic journey from Minehead to Norton Fitzwarren. Dogs are permitted for £2, but don’t let them near the buffet car.
WHAT TO PACK
You will need a sturdy pair of walking boots to traverse the hills and national parks, and Somerset residents don’t stand on ceremony so you will be welcome as you are in any of the pubs and restaurants we’ve listed. If you’re travelling in the warmer months, don’t forget sunscreen and a swimming costume if you’re doing one of the coast walks and fancy a dip – and make sure you bring a towel for your pooch, too.
WHEN TO GO
The temperate maritime climate of Somerset means there are reasons to visit year round. The silence of the country lanes in autumn and winter make it particularly magical, and you’ll be able to witness some of the cider-making activities, such as gathering the apple harvest at Barrington Court in October. The summer crowds will have left Bath and the beaches, leaving you free to roam at a slightly more sedate pace, befitting the beautiful countryside.
Have you visited Somerset with your dog? Tell us about your favourite dog friendly places in the comments below!