Our first guests in our Pawfect Weekend interview series are Fiona and Ben, with their dog Cooper. Read on for some great dog friendly recommendations in Leicestershire and Norfolk, as well as some fabulous suggestions for what you may need to take with you on a trip with your dog. Thank you for being our very first guests on Blog On A Dog!
1)Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi there, I’m Fiona. I live in Leicestershire with my boyfriend Ben and Cooper, our chocolate brown F1 cockapoo. He started life with his siblings in Doncaster, back in November 2016. Cooper has been with us since he was 8 weeks old and it’s hard to imagine life without him!
2)What is your favourite dog friendly town or city in the UK?
We visited Suffolk last September and couldn’t believe how welcome dogs were all over the county. We were able to go into shops, cafes and onto so many beaches, and Cooper got plenty of attention! We particularly enjoyed Southwold and Aldeburgh (from there you can enjoy the nice walk over to Thorpeness for fantastic ice creams and check out The House in the Clouds).
3)Can you tell us about your pawfect weekend at home?
Our pawfect weekend at home would include snuggles in bed, a long walk – either round our local park with Cooper’s friend Toby, the Springer Spaniel, or over the fields behind our house. We’re lucky to live so close to rural spaces which are ideal for dog walks.
If we have time, we’ll head for one of our favourite dog friendly cafes – The Langton’s Garden Centre or Wistow Cafe Bistro – where dogs are welcomed with bowls of water brought to the table and homemade treats are available to purchase. The human food is also fantastic at both of these places!
Following an afternoon nap, there’s usually time for another walk before dinner and more sofa snuggles. Cooper loves to sleep, when he’s not running around or stealing socks!
4)Can you tell us about your pawfect weekend away from home?
For us, the pawfect weekend away would include a dog-friendly boutique hotel, with a fantastic restaurant that’s close to the beach (or woodland). Cooper would be warmly received, with treats of his own, and allowed to join us during meal times. We recently stayed at The Lodge, Hunstanton which was great. You can read about our experience here
Cooper loves the beach, and although he isn’t a strong swimmer yet, it would be great to visit somewhere that gave him an opportunity to get some extra practice. Also, Ben is an amateur photographer (he takes the majority of Cooper’s Instagram and blog images), so he would hope to visit somewhere with a fantastic landscape and exciting backdrop for capturing Cooper’s adventures.
5)What do you look for when you are choosing a place to go away to?
We’ll typically choose somewhere to go from a recommendation – Instagram is great for that – or because we’ve never been to an area before. It definitely has to have nice accommodation, with positive reviews, and should ideally be close to good walking areas. Cooper is a good traveller and relaxes well in the car, however as soon as we arrive at our destination we need to be getting our gear on and heading out to check out the sights.
6)Do you have any top tips for travelling with your dog?
My top tips for travelling with Cooper:
- always make sure you’ve got a mixture of treats, a stash of poo bags and a water bottle
- a coat/jacket can come in handy, as the weather might be different at your destination compared to home and you don’t want to walk into a hotel with a soggy dog
- have a spare lead in the car, should your dog decide to do a Cooper and chew through his lead whilst relaxing in a pub (true story!)
- consider the distance you might be driving and think about your dog’s personality; Cooper has a strong bladder but we always stop after a few hours to give him the opportunity to stretch his legs and “use the facilities” if he needs to.
7)Items you would never travel without?
- poo bags
- water bottle
- chew bone
- food – wouldn’t be without Guru Pet Food, or their healthy trip bones
- blankets for sleeping on (Cooper doesn’t have a bed, he’s chewed too many!)
8)Any other dog friendly gems or fabulous adventures you would like to tell us about? Doesn’t have to be in the UK.
We found an absolutely beautiful place last November; to celebrate Cooper’s first birthday we organised a meet up with his sister, Cookie, and her family at Clumber Park. On the edge of Worksop, Nottinghamshire, Clumber Park is part of the National Trust and we couldn’t get over how stunning it was. Dogs aren’t allowed inside the buildings but there is outdoor seating and so much space for walking. It was picturesque in Autumn – the perfect photoshoot backdrop – and we’re planning a return trip this Spring/Summer. Hopefully Cookie will be able to meet us again too!