Dog Friendly Isle of Wight
This year has been great for us pups, with the humans spending more time at home and taking us for more walks. Even better news is that they aren't so keen to go on one of those strange metal birds in the sky which means they are looking for places closer to home and that also means we pups can join them.
I was lucky to spend a week with mine on the lovely Isle of Wight and we found some great dog friendly places to explore.
Getting to the Isle of Wight from London is so easy.
By Train: South Western Railway run services from Waterloo direct to the Wight Link Ferry Terminal in Lymington, then the crossing to Yarmouth is just 30 minutes which is the shortest crossing.
You can also get trains direct to Portsmouth and Southampton direct from London which have ferry links to Ryde and Cowes respectively.
Once on the island, South Western Railway also run the Island Line which operates between Ryde Pier and Shanklin and there are good bus services covering the whole island.
By Car: if like me, you don't travel light, then you might prefer to load up the car with all your treats!
Wight Link and Red Funnel ferries carry vehicles of all sizes - you just need to be at the terminal 30 minutes prior to sailing. The terminals all have an area to stretch your legs and buy last minute snacks before you board.
Whichever way you prefer to travel, you can be on the island in less than 3 hours from London.
Once on the ferry, dogs of all sizes are welcome on the outer decks and a designated pet area on one indoor deck. All routes to the island take under an hour and are very smooth. I'm not a great traveller but I was really relaxed on the ferry.
We travelled from Lymington and arrived in Yarmouth, which is small but does have a couple of dog friendly pubs - The Bugle was my favourite.
You can stay in a safari tent or eco pod or lodge, all of which are dog friendly and are well-equipped and comfortable.
There is plenty of things to do here if you have small humans in your family including an aquapark and farm attraction (no doggies at these). I did enjoy watching the cows, sheep and alpaca from a distance though.
The accommodations are nicely spaced out so you get lots of peace and quiet.
Tapnell Farm is also home to The Cow restaurant which is well known on the island for it's fabulous beef (made from real cows, not the ones pictured), so the humans apologised to the cows opposite our tent and headed off to try their burgers.
The restaurant is housed in a spacious barn with some outside tables and we can report that the burgers didn't disappoint!
One of the main attractions of the island is the famous Needles, a collection of chalk rocks that rise out of the Channel just off the coast of Alum Bay. I can't see what all the fuss is about but sometimes I have to just go along with the humans!
The Needles is a Heritage Attraction but there is no fee, except to park the car (£6). Dog-free humans (strange as they are) can get the chair lift down to the beach but we have to walk down and it's a lot of steps but they are well-maintained and not treacherous!
We dogs are allowed on the boat that takes you for a closer look at the Needles but I decided this was close enough.
As you can see the beach is large pebbles which isn't easy for pooches to walk on so I was mostly carried.
Alum Bay is very picturesque thanks to the world famous multi-coloured cliffs which surround it. They are made up of 21 different colours and make a stunning backdrop to the beach.
Alum Bay sand is the stuff your humans might have in glass bottle on their fireplace!
Obviously, we spent a lot of time in dog friendly pubs, restaurants and cafes but
The Smoking Lobster on Ventnor Esplanade was top of the list for the humans.
The restaurant is very unassuming from the outside, but don't be fooled. Inside is simply but tastefully decorated with an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs work their magic.
The menu is heavily seafood based with an oriental vibe but there are some meat and veggie options too and of course there is always lobster!
A definite must visit for all foodies visiting the area!
We spent the second half of our week at the beautiful North House in Cowes. The human was relieved to be inside a solid structure as the weather turned very stormy on our third day!
Luckily the hotel is very luxurious so she was happy. They are also very dog friendly so I was happy too! The staff made me feel very welcome - one of them even wanted to me to keep her company on reception!
We stayed in one of the designated dog friendly rooms and I was excited to discover my very own bed and a tin of treats and food for me.
We doggies are allowed in the cosy bar and in the restaurant as long as you let them know when you book.
The restaurant is very stylish and the humans enjoyed looking at the art on the walls. I was more interested in the art on their plates.
The menu is seasonal and once again seafood heavy - but what else would you expect on a small island! All the dishes were beautifully presented and delicious.
The humans said it's definitely worth a visit even if you are not staying there.
They also do afternoon tea, which would be lovely on their terrace in summer.
As you can imagine there are lots of beaches. Many have seasonal restrictions for dogs so check here to see which are good all year.
My favourite was the huge expanse of sand at Ryde as I'm a bit of a delicate flower (I know I don't look it) and don't really like the pebbles or shingle on my feet.
The esplanade at Ryde is a lovely walk with many cafes along the way.
We walked all the way to Appley to see the Tower which looks like a giant chess piece.
I can highly recommend a visit to the Isle of Wight for my four legged friends. I will most certainly be returning!
Here's a few other places dog friendly places I enjoyed visiting:
Chocolate Apothecary - Ryde
IOW Pearl (cafe and shop) - Brighstone
The Taverners pub- Godshill
Toni's Tea Room - Ventnor
Harbour Kitchen - Cowes
Joliffes Eatery - Cowes