MORE than 3.2 million UK households have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic and as summer approaches, new owners are learning how to factor their furry friends into their holiday plans.
But for owners tempted to put their dogs in kennels, or place them in the care of a trusted sitter, there is another option: the staycation.
Travel restrictions over the last 18 months resulted in a huge boom in staycations across the UK and that trend looks set to continue through the year.
That’s why Webbox has put together the best staycation recommendations for every type of dog owner barking for a break.
For the wine connoisseur: Surrey
It might not be practical to fly your pooch Down Under to taste the finest grapes Marlborough, New Zealand has to offer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go wine tasting somewhere closer to home. Vineyards can be found across the country, with the warmer climate of the southeast becoming a particularly popular region for growing vines. At Albury Organic Vineyard, in Surrey, dogs are more than welcome to join you as you explore their beautiful vineyards. Even better, the wine tasting is hosted outdoors, so you can sample the finest wines with your furry friend by your side. Different vineyards have different policies when it comes to dogs, so make sure you check their advice before visiting.
For the history buff: Chester
Worried you’ll have to leave your dog behind to step back in time? Think again. For all of the history buffs itching to get out and see some ancient sights with their pooch, look no further than the historical city of Chester. From the Romans and Vikings to the Anglo Saxons and Norman Invaders, Chester is steeped in history, just waiting to be explored by you and your dog. Britain’s largest amphitheatre, the world’s oldest running racecourse, and the Roman gardens are all dog-friendly sights to visit while in the beautiful city.
For the rambler: The Lakes
Given up on your dreams of a hiking holiday in the Dolomites? You don’t have to cross the channel to put your walking boots to good use. The Lake District is England’s largest national park, a world heritage site, and home to the country’s highest peak. With an impressive 16 lakes, the Cumbrian travel destination is hugely popular with walkers – and their dogs. Whether it’s a short stroll, or a 10-mile hike, the area of outstanding beauty has something for everyone. Even the most enthusiastic walker needs a break – as does their pooch – so if you need to put your feet (or paws) up, there are plenty of boats or ‘steamers’ to get you and your pup across the region’s many lakes.
For the island hopper: Isle of Wight
Hankering for a recharge on a Mediterranean island but can’t face leaving your dog behind? Why not try somewhere closer to home, after all the British Isles is made up of 189 permanently inhabited islands. The Isle of Wight is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the mainland. Whether you want to explore the scenic coastline or get lost in acres of woodlands, the UK’s smallest county could be the perfect place to get your island-life fix with your dog in tow.
For the yoga lover: London and Essex
Sure, you might not be able to jet-set to India (the home of yoga) with your pet pup, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your dreams of a yoga-filled holiday. The latest trend in pet bonding comes in the form of ‘Doga’, where humans and their canine counterparts practice the spiritual art of yoga together. Classes are increasingly popping up across the country. So, if you’re down in the southeast of England, why not try Paws for Thought, which offer specialist classes in London and Leigh on Sea, Essex. Now you can practice downward dog with your dog.
Julie Butcher, pet expert at Webbox says: ‘The pandemic saw a big rise in first-time pet owners and many of them are desperate to get away with their fur babies.
‘For many people, the idea of going abroad without their pets is too much to bear and for others finding a pet sitter or animal accommodation isn’t an option.
‘That’s why we want to encourage as many people as possible to go on holiday with their pets here in the UK. ‘It’s been a tough time for everyone – you and your pet deserve it.’