Friday, 4 August 2017

Dorset travel blog

By the time Barney was about a year old we decided it was about time we braved taking him on holiday. Our last holiday was a year earlier and although I'd taken time off work in the interim, I wouldn't call days off puppy sitting a holiday by any stretch of the imagination. We booked a cottage for late April / early May.

We decided on Dorset as it's only a couple of hours from home, so if we forgot anything or it all went terribly wrong, we could get home easily. As it turned out, there was nothing for us to worry about. 

We had booked a dog-friendly cottage in Eype, a small village a couple of miles from Bridport. Whilst it was dog friendly, it had similar standards to us at home, no dogs on the sofa or upstairs and clean up after their comfort breaks. As such, it was clean and tidy with no smell of dog. I have to admit to being slightly anxious when we met a number of cars on the single track road on the way there, and had to squeeze past one with millimetres to spare, but luckily it was a one-off.
Our home for the week
Once we were settled in we headed to Eype beach, just down the hill from our cottage, in fact it was Barney's first ever trip to a beach. He loved it, running up and down, investigating seaweed, running after pebbles which we threw and sniffing for England.
Momentarily still and damp from sea spray
The next day we got up and headed to Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, about ten miles down the coast. As with everything we did this holiday, it was dog-friendly although Barney did have to stay on a lead. The gardens were really stunning, a true oasis and nice to walk around, the only unfortunate point was that the path to the Jurassic Coast view point was closed. 
The gardens with wicker rutting deer
We had a good lunch from their cafe afterwards before heading briefly back to the car to shelter from the rain. Once the worst of it had passed and we had picked up our waterproofs we headed down the road to Chesil Beach. The boys stood and stared out to see and ran away from the waves, occasionally being caught, the perfect end to the day.
One man and his dog
Another day, another trip out, this time a bit further afield to Corfe Castle. It took us about an hour to get there but was well worth it. We parked in the National Trust car park and followed the path up to the castle. After a good walk around we stopped for a cream tea at the cafe and then walked around the village before heading back to the car. The castle is stunning set as it is on the Purbeck Hills and we were so lucky with the weather.
Such an iconic view
I'd wanted to do a walk along the coastal path since I'd started planning our break, but had actually decided against it after some research as I wasn't sure my legs were up to it. I'm not sure whether it was bravado or lunacy, but something made me decide to just go for it. 
As you can tell by Barney's ears, the weather was a little breezy!
We parked at the Durdle Door car park and started by walking along the path to Lulworth Cove, giving Barney the opportunity for another beach to sniff.
The weather was a bit murky by the time we reached Lulworth Cove
We stopped for a drink and piece of cake to brace ourselves for the walk back up the hill. There was no disguising it, this was going to be a hard slog.
Look at that hill!
After a few pauses to catch our (my) breath, we made it to the top and back to the area near the car park. We considered calling it a day, but being so close to Durdle Door, we decided to continue down the path. First you pass Man o' War beach, which is another opportunity for a breather whilst you take in the view.
I love the zigzags that the waves have made on the sand
From here we headed on to Durdle Door, first seeing it from above and then making the decision to head down to the beach. We sat for a while before the boys took a walk along the beach and I started the hard slog back to the car. 
Another iconic Dorset view
The walk back to the car was really tough, but I'm so glad I did it. The walk was just over three and a half miles in total, but the walks down to sea level at either end and three climbs of over 100 metres made it feel like more. 

For our final day, we chose a more relaxing day out, a walk around Minterne Gardens, known for its rhododendron collection. There were paths through the gardens which we explored before heading back to the area next to the house for lunch.
Barney grudgingly agreeing to pose for one last photo
And that was that, our journey home was a bit tortuous as the sat nav decided to take us on a scenic route, not what we wanted when we were rushing to get back for dog school!

If you're looking for a dog friendly break in the UK, Dorset is certainly worth considering. There are a number of dog friendly beaches and other days out. Barney had a great time, and we enjoyed it as by the time we got him back to the cottage he just wanted to sleep. Something for everyone!