This year marks the 60th anniversary of Walt Disney’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians animated film, based on the 1956 novel by Dodie Smith. And on 23 March 2021, it is National Puppy Day – designed to celebrate our four-legged friends, raise awareness of puppy mills and help prospective pet owners consider adoption.
Bringing together these two ideas, plus because between us we own three dogs, we thought it was fitting to put together a round-up of some pet-friendly trips.
A dog’s life at Moliets-et-Maa, with Summer France
France has a good number of dog friendly beaches, including the sweeping sands of the central beach in Moliets-et-Maa, a commune in the Landes department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in south-western France. This destination is ideal for four-legged companions due to the varied outdoor space and plenty of dog-friendly accommodation with Summer France. Play a game of fetch next to the sea, sniff around the pine forest and discover the local market in the town centre. Stay at the boutique Villas La Clairière aux Chevreuils nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Landes Forest. Each spacious villa has its own private garden (ideal for zoomies) and a swimming pool (for cooling down). Chill in the living room, or out on the terrace in the evenings after each exciting day. A week’s stay, from 12 June 2021, costs from £1,178 total for a three-bedroom dog-friendly prestige villa sleeping eight. Accommodation only. Travel, food and activities extra.
Summer France (0203 475 4756, www.summerfrance.co.uk)
Cruise the Thames and enjoy a canine friendly spring break with Le Boat
Le Boat is the No.1 provider of inland water boating holidays, bringing together 50 years of experience, expertise and memories. Le Boat has a fleet of large self-drive cruisers, allowing entire families to stay on board and to explore their chosen region, including the option to bring their pet dog. The team works hard to provide extensive information about pet friendly attractions, and also organise bike hire so families can explore freely along the flat canal pathways with the dog running alongside. For those looking for a great pet-friendly holidays that combines boating with springtime walks, one such option is the Benson Return cruise, which allows holidaymakers to explore the western section of the River Thames. Here, moorings are easy to find and the distance between locks is greater than at the river’s eastern end, which means more cruising. The dreaming spires and universities of Oxford are a six-hour cruise to the west of Benson, or head east and in six hours boaters can be in Henley-on-Thames, the home of British rowing. With plenty of wonderful riverside attractions and dog friendly pubs to call in at along the way, it is perfect for those wanting to explore the miles of riverside walks and for holidaymakers in search an affordable spring staycation without the need to socially distance. Boaters can bring up to two dogs on board, and with a pet supplement of just £50 per dog per boat hire, Le Boat guests can make significant savings on kennel costs. With no previous experience necessary, Le Boat’s Thames holidays can be whatever guests want them to be, from a full-on action-packed adventure to a slow-paced, relaxing chance to unwind. A seven-night self-catered cruise on the River Thames, starting and finishing at Le Boat’s base at Benson, on board the Consul sleeping up to four, arriving 17 April 2021 is priced from £1,169 per boat / £292 pp. Transport to and from the base is not included.
Le Boat (023 9280 9124, www.leboat.co.uk)
Meet some huskies on holiday in Verbier, Switzerland
For those who have not been tempted on becoming a dog owning family just yet, there is a good opportunity for 9-13 years olds to get a taste of the responsibilities of owning a pet whilst on holiday this summer. Husky hiking and crafts (with recycled materials) is a great activity to take part in. Attached to a dog by an elastic rope and a harness, set off at a leisurely pace to discover the beautiful Bagnes valley. Upcycled crafts are the wave of the future. Focus on fun and exciting projects in the afternoon and learn how to “upcycle” or create new usable items from old, discarded household objects such as coffee pods and cardboard tubes. Possible projects may include jewellery, ornaments or decorations, and kaleidoscopes. This class is for you if you like to focus on details and get creative while following instructions. The cost of the husky hiking and crafts is £37 pp. B&B accommodation at 3* Hotel Bristol costs from 145CHF / £120 per night per room for two people sharing. Please visit www.bristol-verbier.ch or call +41 27 771 65 77 for more information.
Pet-friendly holidays in northern France, with Pierre & Vacances
Pierre & Vacances offers a huge range of inspired holidays from serene spa breaks to action-packed activity getaways suitable for everyone. At a number of the operator’s destinations the company’s inclusive family ethos extends to pets, meaning beloved dogs can join in the fun, as long as they have up to date travel documentation. Pet prices are charged from just €11 per day, per animal, meaning a significant savings on kennel costs. The self-catering accommodation ranges from studios and apartments to villas and country houses with many options just a short pet-friendly drive from Calais, Dunkirk, Le Harve Caen or Cherbourg. For example, the dog-welcoming four-star Holiday Village Belle Dune is just one hour’s drive from Calais. Located alongside a striking 18-hole golf course and close to the sea, the resort blends into a pretty environment of lakes, dunes and trees that are ideal for walkies. The holiday village is located in Picardy, which has an abundance of attractions and activities to entertain a busy family, from jumping on board the historical Baliseur Somme II boat to visiting the Marquenterre park bird sanctuary and wandering the Regniere-Ecluse estate castle. A seven-night self-catered stay at Holiday Village Belle Dune, arriving 1 May 2021, is priced from £544 for an apartment sleeping four / £136 pp (was £777 for an apartment, saving 30%). Holidaymakers can travel to Calais from Dover from £136 per vehicle with DFDS.
Pierre & Vacances (0870 0267 145, www.pierreetvacances.com)
Furry friends welcome, at Les Villages Nature® Paris, France
Les Villages Nature® Paris is situated 32 km from Paris and 6 km from Disneyland® Paris. Combining nature, architecture, sustainability and learning, it is designed for guests to immerse themselves in experiences, make the most of the great outdoors and discover something new. Comprising five immersive worlds, this unique destination offers something for everyone and is perfect for families, and their dogs. Although not allowed in the Aqualagon® (biggest water park in Europe to be heated entirely by geothermal energy), they are allowed to sniff their way around the Forest of Legends, enjoy a treat on the Lakeside Promenade, meet the friendly animals at BelleVie Farm and take a tour of the Extraordinary Gardens. As the days draw to a close, cosy up in a Comfort Cottage, complete with its own private terrace. A week’s stay, from 30 July 2021, in a Comfort Cottage, costs from €2,347 total for two adults, two children and their dog.
Les Villages Nature® Paris: www.lesvillagesnature.com/gb-en