Dog-lover and travel blogger Laura reminisces on childhood holidays with her pooch in Dorset, and shares her favourite places to enjoy a weekend away with yours.
Sand in your toes and salty air in your hair, Dorset is Britain at its most blissful. The area that lays claim to the extraordinary Jurassic Coast – declared a World Heritage Site in 2001 – it’s definitely picture-postcard territory. This is where quaint towns meet sweeping dunes interspersed by rolling landscapes – you’ll be high on fresh air in no time. Whether you’re strolling the sands in the summertime or wrapping up for a crisp coastal walk in the winter, Dorset has all the countryside you could wish for – and it’s a veritable sensory feast if you’re thinking of bringing a certain four-legged friend…
Some of my favourite holiday memories include our family dog lapping up the waves and making paw prints in the sand; there is no better way to explore the UK than with your favourite pet in tow. From traditional seaside resorts to colourful inns and in-the-middle-of-nowhere manor houses, there is a Dorset hotel to cover every type of break, and many of them will welcome your dog.
So in the spirit of jetting off with your pooch, we’ve selected some of our favourite dog-friendly hotels in Dorset. These home-from-home hotels are guaranteed to make you feel welcome and at ease even when you’re travelling with your dog.
Dog-friendly hotel in Shaftesbury with dog menu and gift box
[stars number="4"] The Grosvenor Arms | Shaftesbury
Remember that 70’s Hovis advert with the boy trudging up a cobbled hill with his bicycle basket full of bread? Well here’s that very hillside, and plenty of olde worlde charm to boot. The Grosvenor Arms sits in ancient Shaftesbury, in one of the town’s oldest buildings and just a stone’s throw from those famous cobbles. Fear not though, you won’t be stepping back in time inside – a complete refurb has rendered this inn a modern marvel, with a stylish interior and urban decor.
Dogs get a warm welcome at this hotel, with a gift box of treats on your arrival to make them feel extra special. With a head chef famed for his culinary delights, this is also the perfect place to eat. The bar, conservatory and courtyard are all set up for doggy dining, there is even a dog menu so your pup can revel in some taste sensations of their very own.
Outside, the surrounding market town streets are a delight, with ancient buildings capturing that quintessentially English vibe – perfect for wanders with your dog. It is also surrounded by endless countryside, so it’s all about long walks with your dog and exploring local sights here, from Cranbourne Chase to the New Forest.
- Gift box of treats on arrival
- Dog menu at the hotel bar
- Endless countryside for longwalks
A luxury country house with dog walking service and pet washing station
[stars number="5"] Summer Lodge Apartment | Evershot
Set amidst the glorious Dorset countryside, Summer Lodge is a five-star country house and one of the most luxurious experiences you will have with your dog. Found in an old Grade II listed country house, this hotel sits on four acres of gardens, surrounded by coast and countryside, perfect for long walks and plenty of exploring. The hotel even has a pet washing station just in case your canine pal gets a little too enthusiastic when you’re venturing into the unknown…
Summer Lodge certainly wins the gold medal for pet amenities, with more on offer than most other dog friendly hotels in Dorset. These include a choice of different sized dog beds (pooch dozing perfection), an array of water and food bowls, ‘woof towels’ to combat those muddy moments outside, and all the info you could possibly need for nearby amenities: whether it’s the pet store, a local park or even the vet. Fido’s favourite has got to be the doggie food menu from Lily’s Kitchen, packed with treats for the perfect puppy holiday.
The hotel also offers a dog walking service, which gives you a great opportunity to check out Summer Lodge’s indoor swimming pool and spa, or to tuck into some of their celebrated dishes and wine in the restaurant.
- Variety of dog beds, bowels and ‘woof towels’
- Dog friendly information
- Dog walking service
A clifftop hotel welcoming dogs next to dog-friendly beaches
[stars number="3"] Knoll House | Swanage
If it’s spectacular scenery you’re after, Knoll House has got it covered. With views across the sea and beautiful Studland Bay just a walk away, this is one of the most beautifully located dog friendly Dorset hotels. Here you’ll be greeted by an endless craggy coastline, with clifftops, forests and heaths to provide the perfect stomping ground for you and your pooch.
Many local castles and museums are also dog friendly, as are pubs such as the Bankes Arms, which boasts a beautiful sea facing garden. If your pal likes a dip in the water, there are also some dog friendly beaches nearby, so you can head to the sands together for a paddle.
Back at the hotel, keep an eye out for the three friendly resident dogs – perfect if your pup wants a little holiday romance – or you can head to the lounge for a doggie dinner. This cosy space is ideal for downtime and to indulge in some locally sourced dishes from the restaurant menu.
- Close to dog-friendly beaches
- Incredible coastlines and forests to explore
- Doggie dinners in the hotel lounge
A cosy dog-friendly hotel with homemade dog treats and endless walking routes
The Acorn Inn | Evershot
Literature fans rejoice, we’re stepping into Thomas Hardy territory at the Acorn Inn. Featured in Hardy’s Tess of the d’Ubervilles, this inn exudes old world charm with its honey-coloured 16th century stone, beamed ceilings, flagstone floors and huge fireplaces.
Expect cosy nights in with your dog in classically styled rooms that’ll take you back in time, but are also equipped with all the mod-cons to ensure you’re comfortable.
Dogs are given the warmest of welcomes here. Ours were spoiled with homemade dog treats on arrival and plenty of fuss from the staff. There’s even the pub’s British Bulldog Luna to complete the welcoming committee.
Outside the inn, you’ll find Deer Park, a 400-acre dog haven (although dogs do need to be kept on their leads here), not to mention the endless footpaths and trails that’ll take you across the surrounding hillsides, fields and villages.
You can dine with your dog in the inn’s Hardy Bar or restaurant, or you can check out some local dog friendly pubs such as The Rest & Welcome Inn and The Fox & Hounds.
- Homemade dog treats on arrival
- Dog friendly pubs on your doorstep
- Welcoming staff, and resident bulldog, Luna
A dog-friendly hotel within walking distance of Sandbanks
The Plantation | Poole
Brit beaches don’t get more glorious than Sandbanks, and The Plantation sits just a short stroll from these famed soft sands. Sitting between Bournemouth and Poole, this dog friendly Dorset hotel is bright and stylish, with just ten bedrooms that are decorated with fresh pops of yellow and blue.
If your pup fancies a swim, head to the nearby Branksome Dene Chine beach, which is dog friendly and perfect for paddles. And if your pooch likes a taste of the high life, the beautifully manicured Compton Acres gardens is also dog friendly. Explore more of Dorset’s much-loved landscape with a drive to The New Forest, it’s about 30 minutes away and boasts all the countryside your dog could wish for.
Return to the hotel after a day of exploring and you can dine with your dog in the bar area. It serves the restaurant menu, featuring lots of delicious seasonal dishes using fresh, local produce and served alongside local beers.
- Close to dog friendly beach
- Dog-friendly hotel bar
A sleepy seaside stay by Chesil Beach for you and your pooch
[stars number="3"] Moonfleet Manor | Fleet
Presided over by über friendly cocker spaniel, Snoopy, Moonfleet Manor sits on the Jurassic coast in West Dorset. With sweeping views across Chesil Beach and beyond, it’s the perfect sleepy seaside stay for you and your dog.
Inside, the manor boasts quirky, eclectic decor, with a mix of colonial, Georgian and contemporary furnishings in the rooms and public spaces. The restaurant looks out over the sea, you can enjoy the food and the view while taking advantage of the hotel’s puppy listening service, or you can dine with your dog in the lounge area. The hotel also has a swimming pool, tennis courts and games, and plenty of garden space for your dog to roam.
Outside the manor, you’ll find lots to keep you and your dog entertained, from Corfe Castle and the fascinating Dinosaurland, to the nearby Chesil Beach if your dog fancies a pad along the sands… you might even find that resident Snoopy tags along for the walk.
- Puppy listening service
- Dog-friendly dining in hotel lounge
- Lots of garden space
A dog-friendly grand luxury country-house stay
10 Castle Street | Cranborne
The ultimate Dorset dog friendly hotel for luxury lovers, 10 Castle Street is a treat for humans and dogs alike. Found in a Grade II listed house and surrounded by formal gardens and an ancient forest, this grand hotel boasts a regal setting. Popular in the local area, it has a members club upstairs (which is also open to hotel guests) but manages to offer an exclusive feel with a warm welcome.
I often hear hotels and restaurants talking of local produce, but 10 Castle Street takes the concept to a whole new level. The head chef not only hand selects local fish and hand rears pigs on the hotel grounds, but frequently picks produce from the kitchen garden and even stalks venison from the nearby estates.
But it’s not just about self-indulgence here, there is plenty on offer for your dog too, with luxury dog beds and treats arranged on request, so you can ensure they sleep as soundly as you on your huge, comfy deluxe bed.
- Luxury dog beds and treats on request
- Surrounded by gardens and an ancient forest
A writer living in London, Laura is currently working on her debut novel – a fictional tale inspired by her travels across America. When she’s not checking out the ideal hotel bed thread-count, she’s penning short stories, writing for various publications & brands, and sharing fashion tales on her blog, LauLauLand.