Our Canine Critics-approved properties holiday cottages


Our Canine Critics-approved properties

Courtney 19 February 2024

Now that our Canine Critics’ Awards winners have enjoyed their holiday voucher prizes and have sent us back their dog-friendly cottage reviews, we thought why not collate them into a woof-worthy blog to see what they were barking about?

From our Isle of Skye cottages all the way down to the Isle of Wight collection, as well as some places in between, we keep you pup-to-date with all the Critics’ antics, whether you like the idea of finding dinosaur footprints, cooling off under waterfalls or heading to model villages to try and convince yourself that you’re not just a little sausage dog!

Read on below or click the button to fetch the winners’ page.

Skip to each cottage review

Otter's Holt, Tiverton, Devon

A montage of images of Otter's Holt

Reviewed by: Bailey, Ember and Bandit the show cocker spaniel, Australian shepherd, and mini longhaired dachshund

Canine Critics category: The Pack, 2021 winner 

“Our first impressions of the cottage were of absolute delight! The owner, Richard, is absolutely lovely - he gave us a great tour and told us about all the best places to eat, etc. We had scones with jam and cream, and dog treats waiting in the fridge for us, and we were later given a bottle of his home-brewed beer which was delicious - what a welcome!"

Bailey, Ember and Bandit enjoying their time at the property in Devon

"The cottage was cosy and warm, and every room had underfloor heating which both us and the dogs LOVED and was definitely an unexpected surprise! The character of the cottage was just lovely, with the cob centrepiece in the living room making the cottage really unique. Both us and the dogs absolutely loved how the garden was completely enclosed, meaning we could let them outside and had no worries about them escaping into the Devon countryside.” 

Check out our Canine guide to Devon for more holiday inspiration for this South West gem, or click below to check out this wonderful holiday cottage.  

Beacons Hot Tub Retreat, Llandyfan, Brecon Beacons

Montage of images of Beacons Hot Tub Retreat

Reviewed by: Rufus the German shorthaired pointer

Canine Critics category: Critics’ Choice, 2021 winner 

“We were lucky enough to arrive at The Beacons Hot Tub Retreat when it was still daylight; it was a lovely clear day and the sun was setting. My first thought was how big the hot tub was - it was a huge bespoke-made hot tub with a wood burner, and could pass off as a small pool! Rufus immediately ran into the enclosed garden (check out our collection of Wales cottages with enclosed gardens) which backs onto a field to explore all the new smells. The hut was very cute, and lovely and clean inside, with everything you need for a short break."

Rufus getting snuggly and exploring his surroundings

"Penny the host came to greet us after about half an hour. She was lovely and very helpful with recommendations for the local area. Our first night was lovely and peaceful; we even heard some owls hooting in the early hours. The next morning, we woke up early to enjoy the sunrise over the hill with a cup of tea and a sausage sandwich – yes, Rufus also had a sausage or two... he was on holiday, afterbreaks all!”

Discover our wide collection of short break in Wales or find out more about this wonderful retreat by clicking the button below. 

Beacons Hot Tub Retreat

Otters Retreat - Petherick, near Padstow, Cornwall 

A montage of images of Otters Retreat - Petherick

Reviewed by: Ted the lovable labrador

Canine Critics category: The Superstar, 2021 winner 

"What I particularly enjoyed about the cottage was that there was no one around - just us! So I got the humans all to myself. They let me play in the big, enclosed field which was just next door - this was handy in the evenings and mornings to get all the essentials sorted before a big day of exploring."

Ted enjoying his holiday

"Now, we stayed at Otters Retreat for a whole week (what an absolute treat!), so we packed in all our favourite dog-friendly places and tried to explore some places that we had never been to before. Our first stop was to grab a Chough’s pasty in Padstow and take a stroll along the beach for a good leg stretch after our long car journey. We then headed to Watergate Bay where one of the humans did some surfing and I went rock pooling - when the tide is out, there are some super good ones to have some fun in!"

Explore some of Cornwall's top dog-friendly attractions or read more about this enchanting holiday let by clicking the button below. 

Otters Retreat - Little Petherick

Llan Cottage, Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales

A montage of images of Llan Cottage

Reviewed by: Hugo and Hershey, two miniature dachshund brothers

Canine Critics category: The Siblings, 2021 winner

"Our base was the aptly named Llan Cottage. This charming little place brims with character and we felt at home as soon as we arrived. While the house was on the main road, it was still very quiet and peaceful. The long back garden was secure and even contained a large outdoor bathtub with bubbles and lights. Our humans spent hours in this hot tub and said the views were amazing, but we only have tiny legs so we will have to take their word for it."

Hugo and Hershey in North Wales

"We love walkies and we spent lots of time exploring straight from the cottage. Within moments, we were wandering through a local nature reserve, staring in awe at cascading waterfalls and stopping off at a lakeside café to rest our little legs."

Browse through our collection of hot tub cottages in Wales, discover the ultimate dog-walking holiday or read this fun guide called 'Be more sausage!' all about the joys of being a little sausage dog. 

This charming cottage is no longer in our collection, but if you would like to stay somewhere similar check out Ty Hen, another wonderful, old, stone cottage in Snowdonia with a hot tub and views for miles.

Bluebird Bus, Seaton, Devon

A montage of images of Bluebird Bus holiday let in Devon

Reviewed by: Queenie, a beautiful Welsh corgi

Canine Critics category: The Mini Mutt, 2021 winner 

"I was so delighted about my first holiday with my humans. When we were driving up, I could see the big bus through the window and got very excited – it looked so cool! When we got out of the car and Mum and Dad opened up the bus, I was a little scared because the steps seemed high for my small legs, but I soon made it up. The interior was amazing and had everything that we needed for our time away."

Queenie enjoying her stay in Bluebird Bus

"The thing that I loved the most was that the bus was in a big field, so I could run around and play in the long grass. The humans would throw the ball and I would bounce through. We often spent our evenings sitting outside the bus having a BBQ and enjoying the countryside views."

Bluebird Bus

Brigholme, Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorkshire

A montage of images of Brigholme

Reviewed by: Abby, a Spanish podenco

Canine Critics category: The Rescue, 2021 winner

"Like most of the houses around the bay, Brigholme is a tall, skinny building that reaches up towards beautiful east coast sunsets. Two sea-blue doors face each other across a narrow, cobbled alley-like street. On the left, is the main cottage with two cosy bedrooms and two of the comfiest beds I’ve ever known. On the right, is a perfect dog-friendly hang-out. Brigholme’s annexe is tucked away in the shade and out of sight of the busy main street."

Sweet Abby enjoying her holiday 

"We visited Robin Hood’s Bay during one of the hottest weeks of the year and our host recommended using the annexe to make sure we were as comfortable as possible during the day. There were towels for sandy paws, hooks for soggy leads, and a fridge/freezer in the kitchenette for our food and treats. Normally, a garden would have been at the top of my list of requirements for the perfect dog-friendly accommodation, but when you have the beach and village green right on your doorstep, who needs a garden?! The green sits up behind the cottage, on the edge of the village, with beautiful views over both the hills and seafront."

Thimble Lodge, Latchley, Cornwall

A montage of images of Thimble Lodge

Reviewed by: Rocco, an Alaskan shepherd

Canine Critics category: The Bear, 2021 winner 

"My humans and I recently had the absolute pleasure of staying at Thimble Lodge down on the border of Cornwall, a picturesque Canadian-style log cabin. Visiting in November meant it was a bit chilly, which was perfect for my fluffy coat, but the humans enjoyed wrapping up in the provided blankets and cosying around the wood burner and fire pit. Fairy lights also adorned the outside of the cabin, making my mum feel as if she was in the middle of a Hallmark Christmas movie (whatever that is)."

Rocco on the lookout 

"The simple, yet very comfortable cabin was the perfect base to come back to after our daily adventures, complete with a small kitchenette so we didn't have to worry about eating out every day. The highlight of our evenings was always cuddling up in blankets on the covered porch with a book, playing games, admiring the absolutely stunning views the valley had to offer and stargazing under the clear skies."

Read up on this exciting southern county in our Canine guide to Cornwall or click the button below to get to know this lovely lodge that Rocco stayed in. 

Clovelly Lakes Sky Lark Lodge Seven, North Devon

Spacious outside and bright inside at Sky Lark Lodge

Reviewed by: Phil, Niko and Teddy the Alaskan malamutes

Canine Critics category: The Superstars, 2020 winner 

What was most important to us was finding somewhere that accepted three dogs, and not just any dogs … three giant dogs! We needed big open spaces nearby, and a fenced-in area so the dogs could relax outside when we were in the accommodation. Being snow dogs, they love the cool breeze in their fur as much as possible. Sky Lark Lodge did not disappoint!"

The big shower at Sky Lark Lodge was ideal for dogs

"The shower is a must-have for dogs; it was huge, even by our size standards! The lodge had its own large fenced-in balcony and the dogs loved spending the evenings on it watching the little goslings potter by, just a stone’s throw away on the lake.”

Mandallagh Cottage, Isle of Skye

So much outdoor space for Talyn at Mandallagh Cottage

Reviewed by: Talyn the Norwegian lundehund

Canine Critics category: The Rarity, 2020 winner 

“When we arrived at our cottage, we were welcomed by the most amazing sunset. I had been in the car for a while, so I went off to explore the fenced garden. It was huge - and I mean huge! The cottage is big enough for a whole family and two dogs! I am only little, so it was a palace for me." 

The views from Mandallagh Cottage's bright and airy rooms are stunning

"There were plenty of rooms to explore and a room with a huge window that looked out onto the sea. My mums called it the 'viewing room', it gave us a stunning view across Loch Pooltiel and the 'Little Minch' to the Outer Hebrides. It was our favourite, with two large sofas so you could sit comfortably and just take in all the scenery.”

For more dog-friendly cottages check out our collection of cottages with enclosed gardens in Scotland or take a look through our cottages in the Outer Hebrides. Click the button below to take a look inside this beautiful Isle of Skye holiday let that Talyn visited. 

Madoc's Barn, Beguildy, Shropshire

A montage of images of Madoc's Barn

Reviewed by: Fredrick and Royston, the golden retrievers

Canine Critics category: The Siblings, 2020 winner 

"The garden was all secure so there was no need for anyone to keep watch on us. There was even a hot tub but appawrently doggos don’t go in there, which was a shame because it looked really fun. We were right up in the mountains, quite out of the way but the best location for some zoomies!"

Fredrick and Royston enjoying their holiday

"There were fields all around the barn, which the nice lady who owned the property said we were allowed to roam - there were a few stray sheepies but the fields were so big we didn’t even notice them. The grounds were all enclosed so nobody could escape, and some of the fields were even full of Christmas trees - can you imagine the sniffs?!"

Deepdean Dexters Den - Exotic Animal Retreat, Ross-on-Wye

Yogi the dog, zebras and reindeer

Reviewed by: Yogi the Newfoundland

Canine Critics category: The Hero, 2020 winner 

"The complex of accommodations on the grounds are linked to an animal sanctuary. I’m in paradise - how wonderful to be staying in the depths of this peaceful countryside surrounded by all these stunning animals. To my surprise, as the entrance gates to Deepdean Dexters Den opened, there were two zebras playing in a field, which certainly gave it a WOW factor! And as we drove down towards the car park, we also viewed wallabies, capybaras and reindeer peeping through the fence." 

The view from Deepdean Dexters Den of a maze, and images of the interior

"The accommodation we stayed in was a beautiful and cosy cottage, well equipped with everything you require from a dog-friendly accommodation. In the master bedroom, a stone window seat awaited where you could sit and take in the stunning views from the landscape beyond. And wow, a maze in the back garden! How much fun did I have losing the hoomans every morning?!"

Apple Tree Lodge At Talgarth, Crickhowell

A montage of images of Apple Tree Lodge At Talgarth

Reviewed by: Ronnie the rescue terrier

Canine Critics winning category: Critics’ Choice, 2020 winner

“My favourite part about the lodge was the floor-to-ceiling glass doors that looked out onto the apple trees in the garden – a perfect place for me to squirrel watch! At the bottom of the decking was a wooden tub filled with really hot water?! My dad called it a 'hot tub'."

Space for Ronnie stretch out and take advantage of the underfloor heating

"The lodge was like a little cosy cabin but remained spacious and modern. It was very different to my house at home as it was made mostly out of wood, an eco-lodge is what my mum called it. We spent most of our evenings chilling out and relaxing (well, I was busy snoozing and taking advantage of the underfloor heating!) in the open-plan living room/diner/kitchen. It really felt like a second home to me!”

The Old Stables, Glastonbury

A montage of images of The Old Stables

Reviewed by: Talyn the Norwegian lundehund

Canine Critics category: The Rarity, 2020 winner 

"When we arrived, we were welcomed by the owner, who has two lovely Jack Russel terriers. He told us where we could find the local shop, and some nearby walks and pubs. And if that welcome wasn’t enough, we found a bottle of wine (I wasn’t allowed any!), and some lovely pastries in the fridge. Firewood for the wood burner was all stocked up and ready to go too."

Talyn enjoying her holiday

"Outside, we had a fully secure little courtyard, with an automatic gate. It also had a little seating area and a hot tub! You read that right! A hot tub. Oh my, my mums said it was absolutely lovely to soak in after a full day of exploring. In the evening, you can turn on the mood lights making the experience very romantic. It is definitely the selling point of this place. And my mums can’t help but want one now."

Providence House, Kinghorn, Fife

Filey taking in the sea views from the two bay windows

Reviewed by: Filey the border collie cross

Canine Critics category: The Helper, 2020 winner 

"The flat was on the second storey and it took my people no time at all to follow the arrival instructions and get us inside. I checked out my new pad immediately and discovered not one but two huge windows looking out onto the beach, so even when I was inside, I could still get my tail wagging by admiring the view from the lounge and bedroom."

Bedroom, kitchen and bathroom at Providence House

"The bathroom is a place I avoid as it normally means me getting a shower, which I hate, but I did hear the bipeds exclaim in delight at the underfloor heating and large shower. Apparently, there was some lovely-smelling soap left as a gift too. They also said the bed was very comfortable, I offered to confirm this by checking it out myself but was told I was not allowed, it was lucky I had bought my own."

Has your dog got the bow-wow factor?

If you think that your poochy pal has what it takes to be a Critic, make sure you register here.

And if your pup keeps hounding you for a holiday, we’re here to help with our full range of dog-friendly properties. Retrieve our collection by clicking the button below.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

The best dog-friendly cottages in Dorset
Ed Roberts 12 April 2024
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