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Dogs are welcome in Suffolk!

We received a message at The Suffolk Guide recently, from  Ann, one of our readers, who is planning a visit to Suffolk and she is bringing her dog Jasper with her. Did we have any tips for where they could go where dogs are welcome? So I have had a look around and am pleased to see there are quite a few places that love pooches and this is my response to Ann:

Thank you for your enquiry, I am very glad you asked the question as I had great fun doing the research to find some places that I think you and Jasper might like to visit.

If you are looking for dog-friendly accommodation, The Grove Cottages is a cottage agency with 27 romantic cottages across Suffolk, 20 of which welcome dogs.  Below is a picture of one of their cottages near Lavenham.

There are lots and lots of lovely footpaths where you can take Jasper for a walk in the Suffolk countryside of course, but a few extra special places that I think you, as a visitor to Suffolk, would especially enjoy include:

Helmingham Hall Gardens, near Stowmarket. The folks over there  love dogs and they even have a Suffolk Dog Day  in July to celebrate all things canine. The formal gardens and parkland with red deer and stunning moated hall are pretty impressive and a gardener’s delight. They have a rose garden, a knot garden, a walled kitchen garden and and an apple tree walk. I have checked with them and they allow dogs in the gardens, shop, Coach House (their tearoom) and courtyard.  They are open 1st May – 16th September, not every day though, so do check their website when planning your visit.

What about combining a visit to Helmingham Hall Gardens, with a visit to the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket? The museum is mostly outdoors on a 75 acre site and includes a 3km woodland and riverside nature trail. You can learn all about the East Anglian way of life, local crafts and traditional gypsy culture and there is a bistro with an outside seating area, where dogs are welcome.

Over near Bury St Edmunds, Ickworth House (National Trust) would be a good choice on a nice day. It’s surrounded by beautiful parkland and dogs are welcome (on a lead near livestock) in the park. There is a picnic area and you can walk through the park and woodland free of charge, all year. In fact, dogs are so welcome here, you can even post a picture of your pooch in their park, on the National Trust website

I know that Jasper loves paddling in the sea and there are lots of places along the Suffolk coast where he can do this. There is an excellent website with all the details about dog-friendly beaches in Aldeburgh, Dunwich, Thorpeness, Walberswick, Sizewell and Felixstowe. Some of them have restrictions from 1 May – 30 September, but there are plenty of options. Dogs are also welcome on the wonderful Southwold Pier and there are even water bowls provided for them.

Flatford in the Dedham Vale is another lovely place to go with Jasper. Flatford is where the painter John Constable lived and did some of his most famous paintings, including The Haywain and Willy Lott’s Cottage. The area is largely unchanged since he lived there and you can walk down to Flatford Mill and almost imagine him standing right there outside his house, painting away in the peaceful surroundings. You can also walk along River Stour towards Dedham (which is the route Constable took as a boy, when he went to the grammar school in Dedham). Watch out for the livestock that is sometimes in the fields on this route.

If you fancy going for a ramble through the Suffolk countryside and having lunch at a pub, the friendly people over at Suffolk Places & Faces have a page of information with maps of walks that they have done with their dog Darcy, and they also note the pubs en-route that welcome dogs. Above is a picture of Darcy walking through Dunwich Heath – she’s obviously loving it!

Don’t miss the  Suffolk Walking Festival from 19th May – 10th June. This is a programme of nearly 40 guided walks around the towns, villages and countryside in Suffolk. Dogs are welcome on many of them and a brochure and booking details can be downloaded from the South & Heart of Suffolk website.

These are just my initial thoughts Ann, I will carry on searching and post any other ideas in our brand new ‘Dog-Friendly Suffolk’ category of The Suffolk Guide website, so do check back before you visit, to see what’s new.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday and please let us know how you got on and what you and Jasper liked best about your visit. You could let us have your feedback on our Facebook page and you can even write about your holiday on our blog if you like! Either way, we would love to hear from you.

All the best for now

The Suffolk Guide

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