Where do you go on holiday when you run dog friendly holiday cottages?

What does a dog friendly holiday cottage agent find when she goes on holiday to not one but two dog friendly holiday cottages in a week…?

We had a week away recently in the UK, with our 2 dogs. This was something I used to do for many years before setting up East Ruston Cottages and quite often it was with our friends.  So between us we could have 5 or 6 dogs, which was challenging enough in itself to find somewhere to welcome us all! All those holidays at the various supposedly “dog friendly” holiday cottages taught me a LOT and is the reason I set up ERC.

So when we went away, our first stop was at Sunnyside Cottage in Robin Hoods Bay. We booked a 4 night stay here after the owner, Rachel, came to stay at one of our holiday cottages in Norfolk last year. She very kindly did a great post and interview about it whilst she was here.  Click here to read about Dog-friendly Norfolk and a review of Woodpecker Lodge on The Paw Post website (as well as lots of other really interesting dog themed articles!)

The view from the top bedroom at dog friendly Sunnyside Cottage.

What you need to know about Robin Hoods Bay

Now Sunnyside Cottage had two things missing – something that we here at ERC consider really key for dog friendly holiday cottages, both not something you can change because of the location! One was no outside space! You came in and out one door straight onto the little alleyway. BUT do you know what? That actually didn’t cause an issue at all and it was MORE than made up for by all the other dog welcoming plus points!

So how did we get round the no enclosed outside space? I put my coat on over my jammies, slipped my crocs on and popped a lead on them both. Outside into the little alley way, up a few worn stone steps (that must have had SO many hundreds of footsteps up and down them over the years) and there was a small grass area. There's also a large open grass area overlooking the rooftops which is only a few yards more, probably less than 2 minutes from the cottage. Both Ernie and Mabel seemed quite cool with this and we could have also wandered down the steps instead and onto the beach via the lovely worn stone ramp (less than a minutes walk), with the sound of the sea, the morning sun or the dark night sky to enjoy.

Sunnyside Cottage doesn't have it's own space, but you do have the beach and grassy area both about 1 minutes walk!

No parking will keep you fit!

The other potential issue was no parking nearby as most of The Bay is pedestrianised apart from one very small road.  So we had to unload our stuff and then take the car back up the impressively steep hill to park.  BUT again, this was not a problem at all.   There was so much to do and see on foot in and around the village - and so many gorgeous coastal walks to do from the cottage - that we didn’t go back to the car until it was time to go home!

No onsite parking wasn't an issue as we went everywhere on foot.

What we loved about it - and what made it totally dog welcoming - was that dogs were allowed everywhere; on the furniture (throws supplied) and on beds too (with a throw supplied).  There were lovely treats for them in the welcome basket (along with the really generous goodies for us humans!)  There was a basket upstairs with all SORTS of really helpful things we could borrow if needed – beds, toys, harnesses, dog bags and more – even some yellow lead slips from My Anxious Dog.  There was a double raised feeding bowl and another box for treats and feed etc.   There were 2 Dog Robes to use when dogs came in wet and we certainly made use of those in February!  There was hanging space specifically for leads, dog harnesses and more.  For a tiny little cottage, a LOT of doggy extras were packed in and very much appreciated. We felt from the moment we stepped in that our dogs were as welcome as us and that meant we could relax which is exactly what we did (and just what we want for our guests here at ERC!)

We were actually really sad to leave – another few days would have been wonderful but there were guests booked to arrive after us and I don’t think claiming squatters rights would have been appreciated!

Our Peak District 'dog friendly' holiday

A couple of hours after leaving Sunnyside we were at a dog friendly holiday barn in the Peak District at a place called Biggin. We paid just over £100/night for 3 nights including a charge for the dogs of £20 each. It was clean, it had parking onsite within the walled garden area. And the area it was in was great for walking.

But that, really, is it. Sure it had bedding for us and a reasonably well equipped kitchen, a bathroom (though the shower was a bit leaky) for us.  But for the dogs, the dogs we had paid £20 each for we had nothing. Nada. Zilch. No, hang on, I am wrong. There was a water bowl and an outside tap to wash them off (mostly intended for bikes). There was also a laminated list of rules on the wall and one small hook for a lead. The laminated list was is supposedly written by the dog and includes ….”no signs of me in the cottage or garden”  Some of the rules included......

Dogs not allowed upstairs (ok that’s fine and mine didn’t mind that, but how would you stop them without a stair gate as it was an open access staircase with no gate?) Not allowed on furniture. To be fair that is in the T&Cs but not actually on the website where the other dog rules are and where most people would look when booking. Nothing supplied for dogs.

Request to double bag any mess. Why? When you have good quality dog poo bags, surely one is enough? Why add to the environmental impact?

Not allow dogs to bark? Possibly tricky if they are used to barking for treats or excitement. And how is that measurable? Is someone listening out all the time? The property was completely detached, with no other properties nearby so it seemed an odd request.

All these rules to stick to and the requirement for there to be no signs of dogs in the cottage or garden ….. but we had to pay extra for them?  We know from our guests that this happens over and over again!  No wonder when people find ERC they come back to us time after time! (and Sunnyside Cottage guests will be doing exactly the same I am certain - we would definitely return!)


Robin Hood's Bay photography courtesy of Sunnyside Cottage / Fur & Fables.