From luxurious country house estates with jam-packed itineraries to a North Devon riverside retreat overlooking the valley, here are this month’s dog-friendly holiday spots to browse.

Head for a relaxing time at doggie retreat

The organisers of the successful DogFest are launching a brand-new, dog-friendly retreat aimed at pooches and their parents, hosted at the exclusive Pylewell Park in the New Forest.

DogFest Retreats offers a mix of canine know-how alongside rest and relaxation at a luxurious country house estate, staying with a handful of like-minded dog-lovers.

Take advantage of pampering and practical advice throughout from the retreat’s residential expert, Adem Femi, one of the country’s top canine behavioural therapists, and an authority on the crossover between our own mental health and that of our pets. Dog owners can expect to takeaway new tools, life skills, and a positive frame of mind.

The three-day itinerary includes training sessions, guided walks–under the moonlight, at sunset and through the bluebell woods-dog-friendly yoga, a sound bath, stand-up paddleboarding, grooming and spa treatments.

Pylewell Park is the ultimate retreat venue, with just 13 sumptuous rooms, several with four-poster beds, set in over 150 acres of grounds, with formal gardens, lake, private beach on the Solent, and footpaths leading from the door.

Dining is a highlight of the exclusive getaway, and meals taken with fellow retreaters include an alfresco breakfast and picnic lunch. Food is seasonal and locally sourced, prepared by chefs trained with Leith’s cookery school. There is a focus on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-style dishes.

The inaugural retreat runs from May 21-23,and then there are two further events planned from September 23-25 and October 7-9, 2024.

DogFest is offering the three-day, two-night retreat from £845pp (there is no single supplement), including two nights’ B&B, two lunches, one three-course evening dinner and professional canine advice throughout. Spa and grooming treatments are payable separately, as is an optional dinner on the second evening.

For more details and bookings

Check out our top dog-friendly staycations from last month.

The perfect place to play with pooch

There was a moment during our stay at The Mole Resort when we all sat silently gazing out of the window at the fields and the sheep and Exmoor in the distance, writes Chrissy Harris.

The teenagers, the dog, my husband and me, just taking a few minutes to switch off and absorb the view. And then we went and hurled axes at a giant wooden target (while the dog watched from a safe distance).

This is the stuff great family breaks are made of. Moments of reflection interspersed with Viking-like competition. We had a great time, although I’m not sure our dog, Penny the Labrador (which sounds like a cool Viking name), enjoyed it quite as much. She didn’t know whether to save us or retrieve the axes.

Still, there were plenty of other things she absolutely loved during our two-night stay at this dog-friendly resort in north Devon, named after the nearby River Mole. Number one was her (and our) accommodation. We stayed in one of the site’s eco-conscious lodges, a thoughtfully designed and homely wooden building overlooking the valley.

Each lodge has a spacious open-plan living area with a kitchen, dining room and living area. Bi-folding doors lead out onto a balcony where there is a….hot tub. Woohoo! Everyone would have been quite happy to lounge about here all day, but I am one of those annoying people who likes to do stuff on holiday.

Luckily, there are many options at The Mole– more than 40, in fact. Guests can take their pick from a range of indoor and outdoor activities, including golf, tennis, archery, den building and more. We managed to fit in some swimming, table football, axe-throwing and a trip to the glorious Putsborough Beach.

There really was something for everyone to enjoy. The kids even talked to us for a bit. It also meant the dog was tired out and not too annoying during dinner in the Cellars pub on site.

After a quick stroll around the grounds (dogs have to be on leads),we looked at the stars for a bit and then sat on the sofa and watched TV. Well. We’d had a busy day. A luxury weekend lodge stay costs from £399. Up to two dogs can stay for free.