Bring your dog for a holiday and let him feel the wind in his whiskers as you explore The New Forest National Park. You'll find a network of tracks and trails through wooded glades, heather plains and wildflower meadows crisscrossed with streams, ponds and spots to stop for a picnic surrounded by Mother Nature and birdsong.
Come to enjoy the very best off-leash fun in the forest, and don't forget the regions fantastic beaches – many of which welcome dogs all year round to run free and frolic in the water. It's the perfect destination for dogs, and you'll love it too! You’ll find that generally, the south of the New Forest is mostly flat and pretty easy going with steeper hills for more energetic walks and hikes in the north – known as The Northern Commons.
There is a plentiful supply of pretty villages throughout the forest to discover. Some villages are no more than a collection of sleepy thatched cottages draped in roses. Others thrive as a meeting place for locals to gather alongside the famous New Forest Ponies, donkeys, and cattle who are free to roam the hamlets and villages within the National Park boundaries.
To discover what this area has to offer, there are plentiful ways to get around. You can hike or bike with your dog in the New Forest. But If your pooch is getting on in years or hasn’t the stamina, you can hire a dog trailer for when he gets tired and needs you to take the strain. There are quite a few cycle hire companies in the region try www.newforestcyclehire.co.uk, www.forestleisurecycling.co.uk and www.thewoodscyclery.co.uk
For something a little different, swap paws for oars and take your furry friend out for a paddle in a large Canadian style canoe. New Forest Activities offer dog-friendly escorted tours along the tidal Beaulieu River, which is great fun.
If you'd prefer something a bit more stable, take your pooch aboard a handsome wooden vessel for a 30-minute cruise of the Beaulieu River, which departs from Bucklers Hard historic shipbuilding village. Climb aboard with your dog, and whilst cruising along, you'll learn all about the river's history (yes, this was a well-known smuggling route) as well as the heritage and wildlife of the region. You may even spot the river's resident seals playing!
For a pooch-perfect dog-friendly holiday cottage, take a look at New Forest Cottages. They are the largest cottage provider in the area with over 150 cottages in and around the New Forest and adjacent coastline, with cottages to suit all budgets, sleeping 2 up to 12 guests.
Best of all, they are based in Lymington on the High Street, all the staff are locals - and most of them have a dog. They know where you can take your dog for a walk close to where you have rented your holiday cottage, can offer suggestions for dog-friendly days out and attractions, plus where to go for a relaxing dog-friendly pub or restaurant for something yummy to eat or drink. You can find more dog-friendly tips and info on their blog – SEE MORE.