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How to travel in the UK with your dog

How to travel in the UK with your dog

Looking for a dog-friendly holiday? Here is some essential advice for travelling with a dog in the UK

In good news for dog owners, the United Kingdom is one of the easiest places in which to travel with a dog. Our warm pub culture, areas of natural beauty and dog-friendly attractions make it a breeze to ensure your pooch enjoys a holiday as much as you do. 

During the pandemic, many of us adopted new furry friends and since travel was off the cards, staycations became a hit. Now, there are more and more dog-friendly options available across hotels, restaurants and sights which means you no longer have to leave your pets with a friend or at a kennel. However, pet owners still need to be aware of where animals may not be allowed, and plan ahead to ensure that they have the correct supplies, tickets and accommodation for a great trip.

Getting from A to B 

It’s far easier to take a train to your destination if travelling with a dog than opting for a flight, and National Rail has easy-to-understand rules which apply across the UK. You can travel with up to two dogs for free on long-distance trains in the UK, although small dogs should be in a carry-case and larger dogs need to be on a lead. On sleeper trains, all pets incur a small extra charge to cover any cleaning. Dogs are allowed on Transport for London services provided they are on a lead, and assistance dogs travel for free across the UK. 

"You can travel with up to two dogs for free on long-distance trains in the UK"

If you’re visiting the countryside, local transportation will have varying rules regarding whether pets are allowed onboard and while some will welcome dogs, others may charge a small fee or not allow them at all, so you’ll need to check the specific requirements for the area’s local transport service.

What to pack for your pooch 

Most dog owners already have a clear list of things to pack when travelling, even if just down the road. The most important thing to remember is any medication for your dog, as a vet may not be immediately available at your destination. On this note, ensure your pet insurance is all up to date so you aren’t hit with unexpected bills.

Dog wearing winter coat - travelling with a dog UK

Make sure to pack the right gear, including a warm coat and plenty of food and water

Other items to pack include a lead, comfortable bedding, a few of their favourite toys, a water bottle and plenty of food for the trip. For colder areas of the UK, such as Scotland, or if you’re travelling in winter, a warm coat will keep your dog toasty, and a spare towel can be used to dry them after splashing about in any muddy ponds!

Pubs and restaurants 

The good news is that it’s tough to find a pub in the UK which doesn’t welcome dogs! Although some may only allow pups in the beer garden or bar area, if you’re looking for a dog-friendly place to eat and haven’t done advanced research, a local pub is a strong bet.

"It’s tough to find a pub in the UK which doesn’t welcome dogs!"

Contacting restaurants in advance to double-check their policies will save time when you arrive. Take a look in advance at sites such as Dog Friendly which has lists of restaurants, cafes and pubs that allow pets. Some of these will even offer dog menus, treats or puppucinos so your pooch can have its own special meal. 

Staycations with a dog 

Where to stay on holiday is a big consideration when you have a dog in tow. The most popular options are self-catered cottages and AirBnBs, and the latter has the option to refine results for dog-friendly stays which promotes homes that offer pet-friendly amenities such as gardens, bedding and local areas nearby to walk your dog. 

Woman and her dog in bed in a hotel - travelling with a dog UK

You can find lots of dog-friendly accommodation these days

Staying in a hotel requires more planning, as outside of London many places don’t accommodate pets, which means calling up in advance or seeking out specific hotels may be necessary, although you might find that some allow dogs for an extra fee. If you’re bringing your dog on a trip to the capital, there is no shortage of dog-friendly hotels, from boutique townhouses to luxury five-star breaks which will even provide grooming, delicious food and private gardens so your pooch can feel just as pampered as you. 

Cities, parks and other dog-friendly attractions 

The Lake District, Peak District, Scottish Highlands and Snowdonia are just a few of the magnificent places you can take your dog in the UK. Large fields, forests and countryside villages, along with national parks and National Trust sites top the list of places to go, as they have wide open spaces for dogs to go off-leash. Many English Heritage sites such as Whitby Abbey and Kenilworth Castle also make for historic, dog-friendly days out. 

"City attractions aren’t off the cards either"

Many of the UK’s beaches, particularly in the scenic areas of North Wales and the West of England, allow dogs—so long as you pay attention to whether a leash is needed and clean up after your pet. City attractions aren’t off the cards either, since many museums now accept dogs, or if you’d prefer to stay outdoors, canal boats and river cruises both offer a way to sightsee with your pup if you can’t go on public transport.  

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