No one wants to leave their furry friend behind when they’re off on holiday - but if you come to the magical New Forest, you really don’t have to!

With more than 20 dog-friendly hotels; as well as holiday parks, wonderful walks, rivers to splash in and beaches to explore – not to mention Dogstival, the annual feast of fun for pooches and their people – you’ll be spoiled for choice.

Dog friendly guide - blogImage - Dog Walking in spring

We have dog friendly cafes, pubs and restaurants and you’ll find that well-behaved hounds are welcome at many of our attractions, too.

If you’re looking to treat your pet as well as yourself, why not try the Master Builder’s Hotel at Buckler’s Hard? With a dog room service, and plenty of other canine-themed extras, it’s no wonder they were voted Dog Friendly Hotel of the Year in 2021!

Balmer Lawn near Brockenhurst also goes the extra mile for four-legged guests, with dog treats and availability for your pet to stay with you in standard, superior and family rooms.

Dog Friendly Balmer Lawn - Blog
Image - Balmer Lawn Hotel

The splendid stone dog statues outside the Montagu Arms Hotel in Beaulieu are a giant clue that your pet will be welcome there – they even get their own doggie hamper. Their sister hotel, Careys Manor at Brockenhurst, also welcomes dogs who receive their own welcome hamper (as do their owners) when staying at Pittefaux cottage in the grounds of the hotel and its Senspa. There’s even a laundry room in the cottage, perfect for drying off a wet pet!

Other hotels to check out include Cottage Lodge at Brockenhurst, a cosy eco-hotel with an array of locally-sourced goodies to eat and drink, The Crown Manor House Hotel at Lyndhurst, and the hip and happening Lime Wood also in Lyndhurst.

Look out, too, for the New Forest Inn at Emery Down near Lyndhurst, The Bell Inn at Bramshaw and the South Lawn Hotel at Milford on Sea, which also welcome dogs.

Dog Friendly The Bell Inn - Blog
Image - The Bell Inn

Out dog-friendly B&Bs include The Rowans at Lymington, as well as Pinecroft at Boldre, which also welcomes your horse, and the New Forest has a number of beautiful, self-catering properties which welcome dogs by prior arrangement.

Take your pick from the numerous pet-friendly homes offered as holiday rentals by New Forest Cottages. Or try West Park Farm near Fordingbridge, Wilf’s Cabin in Burley and Rhubarb Cottage in Lyndhurst.

Dogs can stay at a selection of the differing accommodation at Sandy Balls Holiday Village near Fordingbridge, and there are also pet-friendly options at Shorefield Country Park at Milford on Sea.

Dog Friendly Sandy Balls - BlogImage - Sandy Balls Holiday Village

Don’t forget to check out our campsites, too. Red Shoot Camping Park has direct access to the forest – perfect for early morning walkies – doggy treats in the campsite shop and a hose to rinse off muddy pets.

Landford’s Green Hill Farm Holiday Village allows dogs to stay, provided they are on a lead when out and about in the park. They also have a dog wash area, too.

Once you’ve got your accommodation sorted, the next thing is to plan some fun things to do! With more than 140 miles of waymarked tracks, taking in endless heaths, broadleaf and conifer woodlands, the beach and some pretty towns, your only decision will be what to leave out, when you take your pet for a walk. Check out our top dog walks on our website.

Dog walking - blog
Image - Dog Walking

Or why not take him for a bike ride? A number of New Forest cycle hire companies will hire dog trailers to run behind your bike.

Dogs on leads are also welcome at a number of our attractions, including the outdoor spaces at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, Buckler’s Hard, Hurst Castle down on the Solent, New Forest Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst, and Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum near New Milton.

Dog Friendly Exbury - BlogImage - Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway

For an experience you’ll never forget, treat your furry friend to a ride on the miniature steam railway at Exbury Gardens. Well-behaved pets are welcome aboard and to roam the exquisite grounds, exploring more than 20 miles of pathways, which lead through spring flowers, beautiful ornamental trees and forests and past elegant reflecting ponds. They also do Devoted to Dogs days that take place throughout the year, whereby owners that bring their dog along for the day receive discounted admission.

For the ultimate doggy experience, make sure you bring your pet to Dogstival, which is taking place this year on June 3 and 4 at the Broadlands Estate near Romsey to the Forest’s north. From fun activities, including Flyball, to over 200 stalls, delicious local food and drink, live music, live arenas and loads more, it’s the perfect day out for your pet.

Dogstival - BlogImage - Dogstival

However and whenever you plan to come, please take a little time to learn top-tips of being a forest friendly visitor in the New Forest, which is home to more than 5,000 roaming ponies, as well as donkeys, cattle and large wildlife, including red deer. We also have a number of important ground-nesting birds and so ask that warnings about keeping dogs on leads in certain areas are followed.

To minimise disturbance to wildlife, livestock and other people, please keep your dogs close by you and visible at all times – if necessary, use a lead. Pick up after your dog, especially around car parks, on paths and where people play or picnic, and take bagged waste home if there is no litter bin. Check your pet and yourself for ticks when you get back home – they can lead to Lyme Disease.

If you need any more help, take a look at the New Forest Dog Owners Group, who promote responsible dog ownership in the New Forest. They have come up with a brilliant Dog Walking Code for residents and visitors to follow, to ensure the safety of dogs and wildlife.

*Find out more about dog friendly New Forest here.