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April 11th 2024

Five reasons to visit Dogstival by Readers Digest!

A day or weekend of fun for you and your dog, make sure you treat both yourself and your pet by heading to the New Forest for Dogstival in early June

This June around 10,000 dogs are expected to descend on the pooch paradise of the New Forest for an event that is staged purely for their enjoyment which takes place on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 June.

Whether you are a pet parent or an avid dog lover, here’s five reasons why you should go to this year’s Dogstival and be part of their fun-loving pack.

  1. Dogstival is officially the “Best Pet Day Out” in the UK
Lizzy, an Old English Sheep dog, rests next to a festival map at Dogstival, Burley in the New Forest Sunday June 6, 2021. Dogstival is the first festival of the summer for dogs and dog owners. Photograph : Luke MacGregor.

Now in their sixth year, Dogstival has been recognised as top dog for four-legged fun in the Animal Star Awards. Bag yourself a ticket so you and your pooch can discover what all the tail-wagging fuss is about.

2. The location is Best in Show!

Having always been staged in the uber dog-friendly New Forest, Dogstival is back in their spiritual home of Burley Park, which boasts a gorgeous open space, with a beautiful backdrop of ancient trees, Burley Manor and a neighbouring deer sanctuary for you to admire and enjoy. The village of Burley is a dream too, with its quaint cafes, charming shops and free-roaming ponies and donkeys.

From boutique hotels, cosy cottages through to glamping, the New Forest itself is bursting with dog-friendly accommodation, making Dogstival the perfect excuse for a petaway if visiting from out of the area.

3. There is loads of stuff for your dog to do

This year, Dogstival leads the pack as having the most “have a go” activities than any other doggy festival in the UK. Whether your dog would be trying them for the first time or a seasoned pro, they can partake in all manner of dog sports… flyball, agility, a Scurry Village and Barkour (a giant canine adventure playground), as well as water-based fun in the diving and splash pools.

In a nod to the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, this year’s activity comes with a twist—speed and agility challenges with leader boards and a daily “Paw-lympic” ceremony for each category’s highest achievers.

Additionally, the Top Dawg Show Ring is all about crowd participation inviting dogs of all shapes, sizes, ages, and breeds to strut their woof to win a host of fun titles and in aid of Dogstival’s charities

4. You will never be bored!

Beyond the have-a-go activity, Dogstival is buzzing! Prepare to be dazzled by displays in the Naturo Main Arena, such as the Paws For Thought Display Team, who bust out the best canine tricks and games; and the all-action Little Nippers & Terriers Racing, where dogs are welcomed into the arena for canine chaos chasing the lure. Bringing another Olympic sprinkle, expect to see working dogs from the police, fire services and search and rescue battle it out in the ultimate challenge of scent work and agility in the Battle of the Sniffers!

At the Dogfuriendly Muddy Paws Tavernyou can enjoy dog beer and treats over expert talks, barking bingo, the Big Pup Quiz, heaps of breed meet ups and Dan the Hat Circus Skills & Comedy Show. Further entertainment comes in the form of the double-decker Boogie Bus Bar and the Hound Dog Music Stage playing soul, blues, Motown, folk, country and pop classics.

And should you need a little break, there’s also lots of spots around the event to rest your paws, soak up the brilliant atmosphere or sneak in a cheeky nap to recharge for the next go-round of Dogstival fun.

5. Food glorious food!

No festival is complete without food and for both hound and human, Dogstival has heaps of fine fayre to tempt the tastebuds and get tails wagging. For dogs, expect treats and puppuccinos from Pop & Bark, and marvelous meaty flavours at the Licki Mat Café from the Raw Pet Food Pantry to name but a few, and for humans, food will also be “local” from Hampshire vendors such as the Crispy Duck Rotisserie and Oink BBQ. Not only that, expect more than 130 stands bursting with every imaginable goodies to pamper a pooch—food and treats included!

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