The Cotswolds – a dog friendly haven of outstanding natural beauty
I love my dog, Spike, so when we go on holiday we want to bring him too and so we choose the Cotswolds – every time. There is a wealth of dog friendly accommodation and attractions so whole family is happy.
Miles and miles…
With over 3000 miles of footpaths across the Cotswolds it is going to take us a long time to see everywhere and Spike is not going to get bored, even if we return to the same path, village or attraction once or twice!
We can take a gentle stroll along the riverside in Bourton-on-the-Water, or a more strenuous hike ticking off another part of the Cotswold Way. This stretches from the beautiful Cotswold market town of Chipping Campden in the north to the World Heritage City of Bath in the south.
The Cotswolds is the largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales. It covers a vast area (approximately 800 square miles) and is made up of five counties. The Cotswolds has been building a reputation for excellent cuisine, arts and crafts for years. Chefs can source almost all their fresh produce from within a very few miles of their kitchens and many of these fabulous pubs and hotels are dog friendly too. There are also many dog friendly holiday homes in the Cotswolds if you prefer self-catering accommodation.
Artists draw inspiration from the landscape and heritage of the area. The village pubs are thriving, the high streets are filled with independent shops and family businesses have been providing goods and services for generations. From Oxford in the east to Cheltenham in the west, Chipping Campden in the north to Bath in the South, there are no end of attractions, cultural experiences and retail opportunities to discover and explore and so many of these are dog friendly.
Into the woods…
The National Arboretum at Westonbirt is a dog friendly must see with the lovely towns of Malmsbury and Tetbury close by. Further north, just outside Moreton-in-Marsh, Batsford Arboretum is also well worth a visit and membership to one provides entrance to the other. Ten minutes up the road from Moreton-in-Marsh you can take in the spectacular views from Broadway Tower Hill and visit the charming village of Broadway. All offer lovely countryside walks for owners and dogs alike.
All creatures great and small…
If animals are more your thing then The Cotswold Wildlife Park, near Burford, also admits dogs on a lead to the majority of the park. Part zoo, part safari, there are animals and birds large and small to get up close to as well as beautiful gardens to enjoy.
The Chimney Meadows Nature Reserve, near Bampton, offers birdwatchers and naturalists alike the chance to see some interesting species in their natural habitat. It is off the beaten track and provides quiet seclusion, away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
A little bit of history…
For dogs (and owners!) who enjoy history, the ruins of 15th century Minster Lovell Hall are located in a beautiful rural setting beside the River Windrush.
Four miles away you will find another free English Heritage site. Also with a riverside setting is the Roman Villa at North Leigh. The most important feature of this site is a near complete 3rd century mosaic floor.
English heritage welcomes dogs on leads at both of these sites and access is free of charge.
Town & Country
Cirencester, often considered the capital of the Cotswolds, offers the wonderfully landscaped Cirencester Park home to the Earl of Bathurst, a great place to walk-off some of the delicious food you can find in some of the pet friendly venues in town.
A little outside of Cirencester you will find the Cotswold Water Park. This whole area has plenty of lovely public footpaths and bridle paths where you can walk your dog; they just ask that you keep dogs out of the water and on a lead when near lake edges, to minimise disturbance to wildlife.
Heading towards Oxford you will find Blenheim Palace. This majestic Baroque palace was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Dogs are welcome on leads in the grounds, which cover more than 2000 acres of extraordinary landscaped Parkland and Formal Gardens, inspired by Capability Brown.
Easily accessible, The Cotswolds lie between the M5, M40, and M4 motorways and with so many pet friendly places to see and things to do you can understand why we keep returning to the Cotswolds. It really is our favourite pet friendly holiday destination.
Follow this link for a selection of dog friendly holiday homes, within easy reach of the Cotswold attractions in this article and great offers for Silversurfers, please visit staycotswold.com/silversurfers
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