1) Fowey Hall Hotel in Fowey, Cornwall, is a gem for little feet and little paws alike – the line of Wellington boots in the porch and the warm welcome from Mistress Mutt Bramble, the hotel hound, are the give-aways. For children, there’s a crèche, a babysitting service, video games, films, a trampoline and eggs to collect of a morning from the chickens; for canines there are cliff top walks and woodland trails in abundance. Just don’t forget to take beautiful Bramble along with you – she gets cross if guests go out for a hearty hike and leave her behind.
>> Rooms at Fowey Hall Hotel cost from £250 for a two-bed family suite, including breakfast. Dogs cost £10 per night per dog and there’s a maximum of two per room. For further details tel: 01726 833866; www.foweyhallhotel.co.uk
2) The Auchrannie Resort on the Scottish island of Arran has something for everyone. The island boasts stunning natural scenery and so you can all enjoy striding through the glens, moseying along the beaches and climbing up the mountains – you’ll be supplied with a guide to all the local walks. For parents, there’s an upmarket spa to unwind in, while the attractions for young visitors at Auchrannie are endless, with the play barn boasting a three-tiered soft play area, two-20 metre swimming pools and a huge sports field. Stay in the main country house itself, the more modern spa resort hotel or one of the 30 luxury lodges scattered around the grounds. To top it all, this summer the resort is opening up 18 new family rooms, with separate bunk rooms for children, and allowing dogs into one of its restaurants as well as just its bar areas.
>> Prices at the Auchrannie Resort start at £99 bed and breakfast for a family of four with dogs charged at £10 per dog per night. To reach Arran it’s approximately an hour’s drive or train ride to Ardrossan and then a 50-minute ferry trip to the island’s main town of Brodick. For further details, tel: 01770 302 234; www.auchrannie.co.uk
3) The Georgian mansion that is the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire is a treat for all. And there’s one dog who’s really living the high life for hounds – black Labrador Oliver Beckington Esq (Ollie to his friends). He has 600 acres of grounds to enjoy as well as his own couture collection by top doggie designers Mungo and Maud – well, he has graced the cover of several glossy magazines. Your children, when they’re not learning falconry, out hacking on one of the resident ponies or taking part in the daily supervised children’s activities the hotel provides, will want to take energetic Ollie for a walk – just write their names in his personal diary, a gold-embossed leather-bound tome on the front desk.
>> Prices at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire start at £285 per double per night – adjoining rooms for parents and children are available, as well as family suites. There’s a one-off £35 charge for dogs. For further details, tel: 01252 853000; www.fourseasons.com/hampshire
4) Your children will think they’ve stepped on to a film set when you pull up at the Wind in the Willows gypsy caravan in Monmouthshire, Wales – it’s one of the props from the movie, featuring Toad et al. Book the caravan through Under the Thatch, which specialises in quirky and unusual self-catering stays, and also boasts Wendy the Aberporth Express, nestled on the Ceredigion Coastal Path. Wendy started life as a sleeper carriage in 1905 but, even though she’s a centenarian, she will delight the younger generation, who can dolphin watch from her decking. And your dog is not forgotten – the walks at Wind in the Willows and Wendy are unsurpassed, although beware the demon sheep if your dog’s a chaser!
>>For more information about Under the Thatch properties. Prices for Wind in the Willows start at £181 for a short break and prices for Wendy start at £282. Dogs – one only – are £15 per stay. For details, tel: 0844 5005 101; www.underthethatch.co.uk
5) We’re checking into Cornwall again but then it has just launched its Dogs Love Cornwall campaign to welcome holidaying hounds – and, of course, Cornwall loves children too. Perched on the edge of Watergate Bay, arguably Cornwall’s finest dog-friendly beach, is the aptly-named Watergate Bay Hotel. It has a dedicated Kids’ Zone, with indoor and outdoor play areas, as well as a full range of organised child-friendly activities, from sandcastle building to rock pooling to graffiti painting. There’s also a ‘U’ Classified film in the evenings. For canine guests, life at Watergate Bay is a non-stop sandcastle-crashing and rock pool-paddling whirl. And for parents – well, the wine list is pretty extensive. Phew!
>> Prices for family rooms start at £245 (sleeps four) and dogs can stay for £15 per night for the first dog with a second dog at an extra £5 per night. For further details, tel:01637 860543; www.watergatebay.co.uk For more information on Visit Cornwall’s Dogs Love Cornwall campaign, see www.visitcornwall.com/dogslovecornwall
Phileas Dogg’s Guide to Dog-friendly Holidays in Britain (Constable and Robinson) is out now. You can follow the adventures of Jane and her canine correspondent, Attlee, a Battersea mongrel, plus their nationwide team of rover reporters at www.phileasdogg.com