Our London Canine Critics, husband and wife Puggy Smalls and Pops, visited the Isle of Wight for their first assignment, sniffing out the island’s best cosy accommodation, dog-friendly beaches and delicious places to eat. Their human, Charlie, tells us what they got up to in their holiday diary:
We took the Wightlink car ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth and it was an absolute breeze. We were early enough to beat the morning rush hour from London, so we made the journey there in a few hours.
The ferry was surprisingly straightforward and completely stress free, with lots of staff around to help and direct you (and to make a fuss of the doggos too!). We boarded quickly, grabbed a comfy corner booth and before we could even finish our coffees, we had arrived in Yarmouth.
It was a beautiful drive to Greystone Cottage through country lanes, then along the coastline – a complete breath of fresh air for us Londoners! After a short drive, we found our home for the next few days and we were blown away at how picturesque it was.
The cottage was not only beautiful, but it was huge! So much bigger than we were expecting, with an enormous enclosed patio and lush grassy verges for the dogs to safely play on. We were left a comprehensive information pack, letting us know about all the local dog-friendly things to do and the best spots for walkies!
They also provided a great big bouncy dog bed and treats, which made us feel super welcome. We were thrilled to find a washing machine and tumble dryer, which we found mega handy as we needed to wash a few of their towels and blankets throughout our stay – one of the negatives about travelling with dogs out of season!
We had planned to visit the steam railway, only to discover that it stops running during November as it is out of season. It has come highly recommended though and we are told it’s a lovely experience and doggies even get their own tickets before they board. Maybe next year we will come before the tourist season ends!
We drove south to see 'The Needles', an iconic landmark attraction. It was so windy that we decided to cut it short after the view point and head to the south-east of the island.
We stumbled upon a quaint little seaside town called Ventnor and loved it so much we stayed for the rest of the day. We found a few beaches to play on which the dogs loved! Then we found some awesome little shops where we stocked up on local products to cook back home at the cottage.
Some locals recommended the Spyglass Inn on the seafront, so we headed there and indulged in some tasty pub grub by an open fire. The dogs were welcome here, and were given water bowls and treats. Absolute bliss.
We cooked brekkie in the cottage, then met up with a local island pug called Oscar, who we had known previously through Instagram. Along with his lovely humans, Oscar showed us one of his favourite walking routes from Blackgang Chine viewpoint, up to the Pepper Pot and all along the hills with panoramic views of the beautiful island. We talked and walked for miles and the weather was just right. Puggy and Pops loved every minute meeting their new friend, and with muddy tummies, we said our goodbyes and headed off to explore The Garlic Farm!
We took a look around the grounds, barked at the chickens and paid a visit to the shop. Dogs on leads were very welcome so we decided to stop for tea and cake in the café. On the way out, we bypassed the store and stocked up on all things garlic to take back home to London with us!
Oscar’s humans gave us some top tips for eating out with dogs on the island so, following their advice, we had our evening meal at The Blacksmith, the most welcoming dog-friendly pub in Newport with a food menu to die for!
With full bellies and two very tired pooches, we headed back to the cottage of our dreams for relaxing evening, where Pops and Puggy fell deeply in love with the heated floor and slept there on their travel beds all night long!
We had a slow, lazy morning in the cottage lounging on the super comfy sofas with the dogs, then cooking up the last of our farm-fresh bacon and eggs.
We ended up in Ryde, a lovely little seaside town with lots of quirky independents and coffee shops. The vast majority of places were dog friendly and the locals were all so lovely and chatty and everyone had time to say hello to us and stroke the dogs.
We found The Christmas Imaginarium, a wonderful little shop dedicated to all things festive and we picked up some beautiful gifts for family, as well as treating ourselves to some wonderful handmade decorations for our own Christmas tree at home.
After grabbing a coffee and perusing more shops, we took a walk along Ryde beach. We met so many other dogs, Puggy and Pops loved it! Then the rain came, so we decided to run for cover and eat fish and chips in the car until the rain subsided.
A short drive later we ended up at another little beach called Freshwater Bay. Again, we met so many friendly doggies and their lovely humans and stayed there until sunset!
We decided to cook in the cottage for our final evening, as we wanted to take full advantage of the enormous, fully equipped kitchen, before heading back to our humble London flat.
We woke up super early to pack up our things and get started on our adventures! We only had half a day before our return ferry home, and the weather wasn’t on our side, but we decided to not let that stop us and off we went to explore Osborne House. Once the private residence of Queen Victoria, it’s now an English Heritage destination that welcomes people and pooches of all ages.
Due to the rain, the place was empty which gave us the perfect opportunity to get some killer photos for the gram! Dogs are welcome everywhere except for the main house, which was perfectly fine by us as we mooched around the grounds for hours, then found a beautiful woodland walk that lead us down to yet another beautiful dog-friendly beach!
Late afternoon came and our ferry took us back to the mainland where we made our onward journey back to the big smoke. With a heavy heart we said goodbye and the biggest thank you to the Isle of Wight. We have completely and utterly fallen head over heels with this island and we cannot wait to explore again soon. Initially we were worried we had come too late in the year, but it was dreamy to say the least.
It has been the perfect escape we needed from the hustle and bustle of London life. The pace of the island, the friendly locals and some of the loveliest dog walks we have ever been on are just a few of the gorgeous memories we are taking away with us.
Over and out
We have loved every second of this trip; it’s been the most welcome culture shock that us Londoners needed, to take a step back and slow down the pace. Canine Cottages made the whole experience stress-free, relaxed and easy. We have never travelled with our pets with such ease before and we are already planning our return in spring.
Greystone Cottage exceeded every expectation and we truly hope our videos and photos do it justice. To Canine Cottages and to the gorgeous Isle of Wight, thank you, thank you, thank you!