Pet-friendly holidays in Suffolk, England
Our furry friends are a source of undisputed joy, but also require extra provision and thought when planning a holiday. PetsWeekly runs down a list of our top pet-friendly locations, accommodations and dog-walking attractions for holidaymakers in Suffolk, England.
Pet-friendly places to stay
Cottages in Suffolk can present an excellent accommodation choice for families or couples holidaying with dogs (click here to see a company which provides pet friendly cottages in Suffolk). Offering plenty of wide-open spaces nearby as well as creature comforts for the non-animal members of the household – a welcome relief from negotiating hotel and campsite rules, while holidaying or caravanning with a dog or other furry friends. Central pet-friendly Suffolk locations include the notorious middle-class haven of Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast (home to winner of both Britain’s best fish and chip shop, as well as the Sunday Times’ ‘Best for Culture’ in its ‘Best Places to Live in Britain’ listings), as well as such popular nearby towns as Snape (home to the Snape Maltings art complex) and the classic British seaside of Southwold.
Being a traditionally rural farming community and more recent tourist destination the majority of Suffolk’s pubs tend to be very dog friendly, featuring spacious outdoor seating areas. Some pubs allow dogs into the pub and bar areas as well as outdoors – reassuring for rainy days – and come with water bowls and even doggy treats freely provided. Be warned, though, that your dog is likely to be petted to within an inch of its life – these types of pubs tend to be popular with families and children too. The Barley Mow at Witnesham, The Swan Inn at Hoxne, The Buxhall Crown in Stowmarket and The Star Inn in Wenhaston are just four that come particularly recommended by dog owners. Check out both Dog Friendly Suffolk/ and Doggie Pubs (and accompanying app) for a guide.
All of Suffolk’s beaches are completely open to dogs from October to April, with no restrictions or exceptions. In summer, however, some restrictions apply, and dogs are confined to signposted areas of ‘dog-friendly’ beach. Good news for dog-owners staying near Dunwich, Sizewell and Walberswich, however – their main beaches are open to dogs year round.
With Suffolk still mostly open countryside, owners are spoiled for choice when finding walking locations. Notable sites include Ickworth House Park and Gardens, owned by the National Trust and featuring art, parkland and living history tours (including re-enactment days) with dogs allowed everywhere except for the Italianate gardens. A free alternative is Nowton Park, near Bury St. Edmunds – open year-round from 8:30am, it boasts a variety of walks and welcomes dogs on leads. Notable mention must also go to Helmingham Hall gardens – set in a 400 acre deer park, it plays host to the annual Suffolk Dog Day in July each year offering activities, shows, doggy-athletic contests and product stands, and welcomes well-behaved dogs year round. Rendlesham Forest, near Woodbridge, also offers a variety of dog-friendly forest trails, including a ‘UFO walk’.
Suffolk being an English Heritage hub, historical sites are open to dogs too – Landguard fort at Felixstowe is open to dogs on leads. Complete with windswept battlements and cold subterranean dungeons, it also features a small permanent exhibition with military artifacts on the ground floor (including deactivated cannons and machine guns with WW2 helmets to try on.) Ice cream is sold in the visitors centre and nearby, though visitors are advised to wrap up warm year-round due to the chill off Felixstowe docks nearby (not to mention rumors of haunting – the fort runs ‘ghost walks’ too.)
Or take a trip to Framlingham castle: dating from the 12th century, it accepts dogs, and holds events and activity days suitable for kids as well. Surrounded by rambling grounds and the picture-postcard village of Framlingham, it’s the perfect place for walks – or a drink at the nearby Crown Hotel, which welcomes dogs, too (though not into the bedrooms).