Ten reasons to celebrate National Dog Day
21-08-2017 There is no better way to celebrate National Dog Day than a trip to one of the UK's most dog-friendly destinations, the Isle of Wight. From doggie afternoon tea to searching for dinosaur fossils on the beach, here's a round-up of the best canine experiences on the Isle of Woof!
Best for getting there
Cross the Solent in style with the original Isle of Wight ferry provider, Red Funnel. Red Funnel's doggie deck is the perfect hang out spot for all four-legged friends on their journey to the Island with bowls of water, dog biscuits and shelter for those rainy days. Dogs travel free of charge with Red Funnel and return short stay crossings start from £44 return based on one car and up to seven passengers. Red Funnel runs regular daily crossings between Southampton and Cowes.
Best for a good night's sleep
For the ultimate Island retreat, relax in style and live like a rock star at East Afton Farmhouse. The Farmhouse played host to the Isle of Wight Festival in the 1970's and welcomed Jimmy Hendrix for an overnight stay following his stint at the festival. The masses of surrounding land are perfect for dogs to explore and two-legged guests can enjoy the luxurious house with an outdoor BBQ Grill, cinema room and hot tub. Originally built in the 1700's, the house sleeps up to 12 people and can be booked for a weekend or longer stay. For those with a smaller party and wanting to connect with the outdoors, just a little further up the road is Tom's Eco Lodge. Offering Safari Tents, Glamping Pods, Cabins and classic Tents in the heart of the Island, dogs can stay with the whole family and not miss a moment of the fun.
Best dog-friendly breakfast
For the ultimate breakfast destination, treat the pooch and stop off at Off The Rails. Located in Yarmouth, Off The Rails is a former Victorian Railway Station where diners can sit along the platform and inside the old ticket office, offering great surrounding views of the Island. The restaurant has a special doggie menu offering the delights of doggie ice cream, venison sausage and chicken and rice meal.
Best dog-friendly pub
Located in the heart of the Isle of Wight, the Blacksmiths Arms makes both four-legged and two-legged friends feel at home. Dogs are made very welcome with tables decorated with doggie treats to ensure all members of the party have a great time! Situated just outside the village of Carisbrooke this family-run pub and offers stunning scenery of the Island fields and beyond. The pub offers fresh seafood, pub classics and a selection of the Island's finest brewed beers and ales.
Best for doggie afternoon-tea
Once part of the Osborne Estate, Albert Cottage offers no ordinary afternoon tea; the hotel goes the extra mile for all four-legged friends with its 'Very Important Pet Paws for Afternoon Tea'. The former royal residence of Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria, Albert Cottage offers the most regal doggie afternoon tea on the Island featuring treats and doggie snacks that every dog will love! Prices for VIP Paws Afternoon Tea starts from £12.95 for pooches with traditional afternoon at £15.95 for human companions and is served from 2pm-5pm every Thursday. Booking in advance is strongly recommended.
Best for a scenic walk
For the best way to see the Island take a long walk across the Brightsone and Mottistone Downs. This stunning hill top and cliff side walk forms part of the official Walk The Wight route and offers great views across to the mainland, as well as views of Afton and Tennyson Downs. The Sun Inn is the perfect pit-stop for lunch on this route and is just a few minutes from Compton Bay. The pub has a history spanning over 600 years and welcomes dogs all day every day! Upon arrival, treats and refreshment are readily available for canine friends.
Best doggie photo-op
Godshill Model Village is the perfect doggie photo opportunity on the Isle of Wight. Your canine friends can walk through a miniature version of the Isle of Wight enjoying a stop at a train station, miniature ballroom complete with dancers and even a church on wedding day. Entry to the Model Village Godshill starts from £4.75 for adults and £3.75 for children.
Best for stepping back in time
For pooches who want to find out more about the Island's fascinating history, a visit to Carisbrooke Castle is a must. The Castle dates back to 1066 when William FitzOsbern was granted the Isle of Wight and built Carisbrooke Castle as a fortress to prevent an attack from the Normans. Dogs can explore the entire site including making new friends at the donkey stables and exploring the high-top Castle walls and towers. Entry to the Castle starts from £9.40 for adults and £5.60 for children.
Best for dinosaur trails
The Isle of Wight is a fantastic spot for dinosaur fossil hunting and this is a great excursion for dogs and people. Explore some of the Island's best beaches with the unique opportunity to hunt for fossils and dinosaur traces that make up part of England's finest coastline. It's a perfect opportunity for dogs to have a run on one of the Island's many dog-friendly beaches. Dinosaur Expeditions are available at Atherfield, Grange Chine, Chilton Chine, Brook Chine and Shippards Chine. Prices for a guided tour fossil hunting starts from £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.
Best for cruising and doggie paddle in the sea
For those canine friends who like the water, why not take a visit to Alum Bay? Home to The Needles, the walk down to the bay offers stunning views out across the English Channel. Needles Pleasure Cruises offer a 20-minute dog-friendly cruise around the famous rock attraction. Prices start at £6 for adults and £4 for children and dogs go for free. Dogs can enjoy a dip in the sea at Alum Bay, the perfect way to cool down and paws for a while after a busy day of exploring.