Nine best things to do with your kids and the dog during half-term
When the mercury is high, a trip to the nearest swimming pool is guaranteed to keep the heat at bay. What was once a trip for the human family is now a day out for the whole clan, with dogs welcome at indoor swimming pools across the country. So when you’re researching your next dog-friendly cottage getaway, why not keep these swimming spots in mind.
1. Jubilee Pool
Best for: Tide-free swimming in a sea-front lido
Take a trip back in time to the 1930’s art deco Jubilee Pool; a sea-water lido right on the waterfront in Cornwall’s bustling Penzance. This stylish outdoor pool hosts annual dog-friendly swims at the end of their season, typically in October. While it’s only once a year, the event is well worth an autumnal trip down to Cornwall, when the weather is still warm and the crowds have died down.
Dog-friendly place to stay: The Blue House is an elegant townhouse in the heart of Penzance, with oodles of character and enough room for a large family.
2. Doggy Paddle
Best for: Canine hydrotherapy sessions
Did you know that 20 minutes of swimming is equivalent to a two-hour dog walk? At Doggy Paddle, you can book a therapist-led swimming session, tailored to a series of goals such as reducing joint inflammation or improving fitness. Or you can simply book a private pool slot where dog owners can join their dog in the water for a fun swim, overseen by a canine first aider.
Dog-friendly place to stay: Although the cottage itself may be cosy, the large common behind this Barn in Norfolk is perfect for dogs to run around.
3. Paws in the Pool
Location: West Sussex
Best for: Private sessions near the UK’s beauty spots
Build your dog's confidence in the water at Paws in the Pool; a heated, indoor swimming pool where shenanigans are welcomed. Small dogs and big dogs alike can swim here, along with their owners, with every thirty-minute session being totally private for a total of up to three dogs. Based in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are plenty of dog-friendly cottages in nearby beauty spots to take your fancy.
Dog-friendly place to stay: Surrounded by the Sussex countryside, Forest Farm Cottage is a little rural bolthole with a gorgeous enclosed garden.
4. Ruislip Lido
Best for: A ‘beach’ experience near London
Set in a nature reserve amid acres of ancient woodland, the Ruislip Lido is a welcome retreat for London dogs during the summer months. The lido itself is actually a massive lake with family-friendly sandy beaches, of which one is a special dog beach. With woodland walks as well as a cafe and restaurant on site, this is one lido where you could easily spend the whole day.
Dog-friendly place to stay: If you’re looking for wow factor, Forest Getaway will give you everything and more. Sleeping ten guests and with a swimming pool, this modern home has outdoor space matched with an open-plan interior.
5. Saltdean Lido
Location: East Sussex
Best for: They have particular events for small or large dogs
Saltdean Lido is the second stunning art deco building on our list and a Grade-II listed site. It may not appeal to your four-legged friend but humans will revel in this stylish swimming spot! They host swim events for dog-lovers at set times each year, usually towards the end of season (in 2022, each weekend in September will have dog-friendly swimming times). Humans are welcome to join in or just purchase a spectator ticket.
Dog-friendly place to stay: What the gorgeous townhouse of Rosie’s Cottage lacks in outdoor space, it more than makes up for with a cracking location in the centre of Brighton.
6. Swim Paws
Location: County Durham
Best for: Taking really good care of your dog
Water safety is top priority for the excellent team at Swim Paws, where your pooch will get a private 25-minute swim in a heated five metre pool. They’ve thought of everything, from a slip-safe ramp, to how to best work with anxious pooches. And after every session, they’ll give your dog a thorough rinse down, towelling and hair dry to send them away clean, refreshed and dry.
Dog-friendly place to stay: 1 The Potteries is a cosy 4-sleeper cottage, on the gateway to the stunning Northern Dales.
7. Doggy Paddle
Best for: Their relaxed and friendly atmosphere
As dog swimming pools go, Doggy Paddle (yes another one!), Merseyside, is one of the most welcoming around. Buoyancy aids are available if you prefer, and their expert team will accompany your dog in the pool until it is confident to go it alone or with your support.
Dog-friendly place to stay: With a wildlife pond out of the back door and in the idyllic little village of Ledsham, Bungalow in Cheshire is a stunning little spot for a getaway.
8. Shoalstone Seawater Pool
Best for: Sea views while you swim
Right on Devon’s South West Coastal Path, and with the massive Dartmoor National Park just a short drive away, Brixham is already an incredible holiday location for dog owners. Add into that melange a wonderful salt-water lido built into a natural rock pool, and you’re onto a winner. Shoalstone Seawater Pool doesn’t welcome dogs throughout the year but they have regular dog swims that are advertised on their events page.
Dog-friendly place to stay: Located in a holiday park on the outskirts of Brixham, Log Cabin in Devon has spectacular sea view and a home-from-home feel.
9. Canine Aqua Splash
Best for: A safe swimming location near London
If you want to introduce your pooch to life in the water in a protected space, then Canine Aqua Splash is the place for you. Their private sessions will help you create a lasting bond with your dog as you join them for a swim in the pool. Children are also allowed to swim so it can be a fun holiday activity to get young swimmers interacting with the family pet.
Dog-friendly place to stay: Close to local pubs and surrounded by scenic Hertfordshire countryside, The Pool House also has its own outdoor pool and a large, sociable kitchen.