The Cotswolds is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK for dog lovers and it’s not hard to see why. One of our favourite places to visit, this is a beautiful landscape, full of quintessential market towns and villages. Come and enjoy tranquil walks through rolling hills and past quaint, traditional pubs where you and your pooch will be warmly welcomed. You can also strike out on more challenging routes and explore what is the largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England. In amongst all this scenic spectacle there are also a whole host of places to visit with your dog. Short breaks and holidays in the Cotswolds, here’s our favourite five dog friendly Cotswolds destinations to help you start planning your trip:
Located close to the lovely market town of Moreton in the Marsh, the 56-acre arboretum at Batsford offers a wonderful place for you and your pooch to explore. Take a stroll round and you find some true horticultural wonders, including stunning Japanese ornamental cherries and intriguing handkerchief trees.
One of the most beguiling things about Batsford Arboretum is that it changes as the seasons change. For example, in spring you’ll be able to enjoy its display of flowering bulbs, in summer its beautiful wildflower area, in Autumn the hues of its trees and in Winter the play of ice and frost on the foliage.
Batsford’s visitor centre has been designed to be as environmentally sustainable as possible and provides loads of information to help you find out more about the plants on display. There’s also a Garden Terrace Café which offers delicious home-baked food.
Of course, the key question is: Is Batsford welcoming to dogs? The answer’s a resounding ‘Yes’. In fact, on its website it says that: “We appreciate that they are an important part of your day out.” Dog watering points are supplied and, so long as you keep your dog on a short lead and under control, your pet will be allowed throughout the arboretum and inside the main building – including the café. We’ve enjoyed many great visits to Batsford’s Arboretum over the years.
Justifiably billed at ‘Britain’s Greatest Palace’, Blenheim should be top of any list of places to visit in the Cotswolds. Its baroque architecture will take your breath away, as will its globally important collection of art and its incredible 300-year history. Take one of the guided tours and discover a place that was the home of both the Duke of Marlborough and Sir Winston Churchill.
Even though dogs are not allowed into the building itself, the Palace should still be on any dog-owner’s itinerary. That’s because it offers 2,000 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds to explore. This is some of the most beautiful parkland in Britain. Crafted by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, it offers some of the most magnificent vistas to be found anywhere in the country.
To help you explore the gardens with your pooch, there are many set walks that you can take. For example, why not try the Park Perimeter route? This 4.6-mile walk is dog-friendly and will allow you to enjoy some of the best views. Understandably, all dogs must be kept on a lead at all times in order to protect the large number of birds, wildlife and livestock that make their home in the Park.
Cotswold Lavender is a leading grower of English lavender and produces the most heavenly lavender-based essential oils, gifts, soaps, toiletries and body products. The farm itself is an amazing destination for a day out, as you and your pooch can walk through the lavender fields and find out everything there is to know about lavender growing and how lavender products are made. You can then relax outside with a cream tea and take your pick of the Lavender and Camomile delights in the farm’s gift shop.
The working lavender farm is located in a stunning site on the top of the Cotswold Hills near the village of Snowshill. It grows lavender as a crop and has 35 different varieties in over 90 miles of lavender beds. The crop comes into flower mid-June, and looks its best early-mid July. According to the farm, harvest usually starts during the last week of July and continues until early August.
Dogs are very welcome at the lavender fields and the farm team is very happy for you and your pet to explore together. Not surprisingly, they do ask that you think of other people, so please keep your dog on a lead and remember to clear up any mess.
Hill Barn Farm Snowshill
Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway
This Cotswold’s attraction is a little different. For one thing it’s steam-powered and, for another, it will give you a whistle stop tour to some of the region’s top destinations. So why not step aboard the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway and take the round trip of 28 miles? This will take you and your pooch all the way from Broadway to Cheltenham Race Course and back.
Along the way you’ll both get the chance to drink in the beautiful scenery for which the Cotswolds is so famous. You’ll pass picturesque hamlets and enjoy breathtaking views over the Malvern Hills. You can get off at any stop and do a spot of ‘walkies’ to stretch both your legs and take in the sights. One of the other great things about the railway is that it is volunteer run. It also gives you a unique chance to get up close and personal with heritage steam and electric trains and to experience for yourself the excitement of the golden age of railway travel.
Well-behaved dogs are welcomed on the railway, but they must be kept on a lead and are only allowed on the floor and not on the trains’ seats. Dogs can normally travel for a flat-rate fare.
Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway
The Railway Station,
Cotswold Water Park
For a lovely day out with your four-legged friend, why not head out to the Cotswold Water Park? This is surely one of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds for a great day out with all the family. This is a beautiful area of countryside covering over 40 square miles. As its name suggests the park also has more than 150 lakes within its boundaries. This makes it the perfect place to head to for a wonderful scenic walk. Indeed, there are so many trails to choose from that the park has produced a Leisure Map showing all the routes you can discover. These include a number of circular walks varying in distances from 2km to 18km.
The whole park is managed with wildlife in mind, so as you head out on your ‘walkies’ you are bound to spot something amazing. And when you’ve worked up a bit of a thirst, there are lots of places to stop for a drink or for some delicious food.
One of the great things about the Cotswold Water Park for dog owners is that there is a designated dog swimming area, so your pooch can really dive in and enjoy themselves. Owners are just asked to keep their pets on a lead in certain areas to minimise any disturbance to wildlife. Some areas of the park are also designated dog-free.
Cotswolds Water Park
Lake 31, Cotswold Country Park and Beach,
We’d love to hear your favourite dog friendly places to visit in the Cotswolds. Why not get in touch and share what you like to see and better still, if you have a photo share, we’d love to see that too.
Short Breaks and Holidays in the Cotswolds
If you are planning a short break or a holiday in the Cotswolds, be sure to check-out our round-up of dog friendly cottages in the heart of England.