Holidays are meant for sharing. We’ve shown you how you can bring the whole family to Suffolk, and why Suffolk is perfect for kids, but we can’t forget about our four-legged companions. Here are some of the reasons why dogs love Suffolk, and why here you never have to leave your best friend behind:
DOG-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATION IN SUFFOLK
There’s a huge range of dog-friendly accommodation in Suffolk, from luxurious hotels to cosy campsites. At the top end of the scale is the Ickworth near Bury St Edmunds: set beside 1,800 of National Trust parkland and beautiful family-size apartments, it can be a home away from home for you and your dog. Other dog-friendly hotels include Milsoms Kesgrave Hall and Hintlesham Hall, both just outside Ipswich, and Tuddenham Mill, famed for its exquisite surroundings and having the Best Set Lunch Menu in the UK.
If you prefer a cosy inn to a grand hotel, you’ll love the Westleton Crown and the Ship at Dunwich, two inns on The Suffolk Coast that welcome dogs in their bars and in many of their rooms. The editors of the Good Hotel Guide chose The Crown and Castle in Orford as one of their favourite dog-friendly hotels; while the Dolphin Inn in Thorpeness also welcomes well-behaved dogs (often with biscuits!). Like the Crown and the Ship, both have excellent coastal walks on their doorstep (see below for some great dog walks).
There are also countless dog-friendly cottages in Suffolk, such as Suffolk Hideaways properties on the Suffolk coast and further inland, with locations close to Ipswich, The Wool Towns and Constable Country. Located near Framlingham, Windmill Lodges is the ideal location to set your eager pet free. Surrounded by open countryside the coast, forest and heathland are all within easy reach.
Finally, at Suffolk Secrets there’s no difference in quality between holiday cottages that accept pets and those that do not. Office Piece is a truly unique self-catering holiday cottage hidden in the depths of Rendlesham Forest, near Woodbridge – the perfect location for your pet, friends and family.
GREAT DOG WALKS IN SUFFOLK: PLACES TO PADDLE
With rivers, lakes and 50 miles of heritage coastline, Suffolk is heaven for dogs that love to swim.
From October to April, all of Suffolk’s beaches are open without restrictions to dogs, so you and your pup can follow the Suffolk Coast Path from beach to beach and play in the surf wherever you please. During the summer months some beaches such as Aldeburgh, Felixstowe, Lowestoft and Kessingland have restrictions, which will be signposted. However, the beaches at Southwold, Sizewell and Walberswick are free to dogs throughout the summer, and the stunning National Trust site of Dunwich, which offers blooms of heather to play in, cool breakers to paddle in and a tearoom with doggie refreshments, is blissfully open all year round. The only restrictions are on Dunwich Heath during bird nesting time, due to the proximity of RSPB Minsmere. For more information on taking your dog to Dunwich, see the National Trust website.
Many of Suffolk’s gentler waterways are perfect for wild swimming, so why not take your dog along, too? The River Waveney at Outney Common, the River Ouse at Santon Downham and Knettishall Heath, and the River Stour at Flatford are all great places to taking a cooling dip, though always check the weather and strength of the current beforehand to make sure it is safe for you and your dog.
Ms. Zippy plays in the surf at Lowestoft (c) SirPecanGum
GREAT DOG WALKS IN SUFFOLK: WOODLANDS AND WILDLIFE
Suffolk’s forests and vales are fantastic places for long walks, and with rich wildlife all around there will be plenty to keep your dog’s interest. From Brandon and Elveden in west Suffolk you can explore the Brecks, a mesmerizing landscape of twisted pines, rabbit warrens and Neolithic flint mines, and home to many species of rare bird. The Brecks cover almost 400 square miles across the Suffolk-Norfolk border, and contains many fascinating areas, such as the pockmarked ground above Grimes Graves, and the shady trails within Thetford Forest. A great place to start walking the Brecks with your dog is Brandon Country Park, which has five trails taking you through different types of landscape, flora and fauna.
On the other side of Suffolk near Woodbridge is Rendlesham Forest, site of the mysterious UFO sightings of December 1980. Its eerie history and tall, dark trees makes Rendlesham Forest a fascinating place to go with your dog. Following the circular trails that take you through forest, heathland and wetland, you can discover the story of what happened there one cold night in December 1980, an event now known worldwide as “The Rendlesham Forest Incident.”
Another gorgeous place to take your dog walking is through the Dedham Vale AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), a place now known as Constable Country. This idyllic rural landscape bore the painter John Constable, and was the inspiration for many of his most famous paintings, such as The Hay Wain (1821). Today you can walk through this valley carved by the River Stour from Flatford to Sudbury, taking in the picturesque views of thatched cottages, bridges and flowery riverbanks as you go.
If you enjoy a good walk and then a stop off at a pub, there’s not better place than Pin Mill, on the outskirts of Ipswich. Here the dogs can also enjoy a cool dip in the river.
Dogs enjoying a cool dip in the River Orwell at Pin Mill
DOG FRIENDLY PUBS IN SUFFOLK
No great dog walk is complete without a cosy pub and a crackling fire at the end of it. Thankfully, Suffolk is full of dog-friendly pubs, such as the Lord Nelson in Southwold, where your dog can dry off from a swim in the sea and you can enjoy a pint of Adnams ale, brewed just metres away in the Adnams Sole Bay Brewery. Also near the coast are The Ship at Dunwich and The Westleton Crown, both of which have dog-friendly rooms for the night, and The Crown Inn at Snape, which is well known for its locally sourced pub grub.
The Kings Head in Laxfield is both a dog-friendly and highly unusual pub, being one of the few pubs left without a bar (you choose your beer straight from the tap room). Also worth a visit for any dog owner is the White Lion in Ufford, a welcoming country pub where beers are brewed on site and pizzas cooked in the wood-smoked oven.
In west Suffolk you’ll find some lovely dog-friendly pubs near Bury St Edmunds, such as The Six Bells in Felsham, and the aptly named Fox and Hounds in Thurston. And if you’re walking your dog round the historic, you’ll be able to stop off at The Greyhound on Lavenham High Street, or The Kings Head in Hadleigh, where your pup can wag tails with the resident pub dogs.