Having a dog at home can make the length between you and a well-earned getaway that much longer. Kennels can be stressful, borderline traumatic, for all involved, while not everybody has a sitter on hand and, even if you do, you’re at the mercy of their plans. That makes a good dog-friendly destination invaluable.
Dog owners in the UK are blessed with a wealth of gorgeous countryside and a thriving domestic travel scene that can cater to most holiday needs. However, bringing a furry friend with you often requires a bit of compromise. Perhaps your dream hotel is a strict fur-free zone, and maybe your chum isn’t even welcome on the brand new carpets of that squeaky clean rental home. But why should you and your pooch settle for less? We love the rustic aesthetic of a dusty old farmhouse, but sometimes you want a blend of the rugged and the plush.
That’s how Dittisham Hideaway, in south Devon, steps up to the plate. Hidden down a barely noticeable turning on a tight, unassuming country road traversed mostly by local farmers, is this charming set of cosy little Devonshire sanctuaries. Five chic shepherd lodges and a slightly more striking chrome American Airstream are dotted alongside the tiny stream carving through this small stretch of woodland valley, all of which are looked over by three modern treehouses nestled among the foliage further uphill.
The treehouses strike a lovely balance between modern comfort and rural charm, with the wooden roundhouse design allowing them to sink into the treescape, only semi-concealed by greenery, but somehow giving the impression of an invisible barrier that envelopes you in a warm sense of peaceful privacy.
Inside you’ll find a modern, open-plan design that lets in lots of light and makes the most of space. It’s centred around an inviting double bed, but the bedroom bleeds into the living area, which consists of a sofa, TV and a lovely wood burner. There are two excellent showers, a triple bunk bed room for (optional) kids and a well-sized kitchen space. Meanwhile the decking area is almost as big as the house itself, with games, seating areas, a giant hammock and a large wood-fired hot hub to keep you entertained at all hours.
But what about the pooch? Well, your four-legged friend will be welcomed with a charming arrival letter that politely asks for owners to remain on a leash. Alongside that you’ll find a luxurious Sophie Alport dog bed, plus food and water bowls, as well as a full roll of poo bags, a complimentary toy and, best of all, some delicious doggy treats. Don’t worry, there’ll be a human hamper, too, with some breakfast bits alongside a few naughty human treats. Don’t forget to check for a happy bottle-shaped surprise in the fridge!
The overwhelming feeling here is one of tranquility and secrecy. You will feel far away from the stresses of daily life. The only sounds you’ll hear are those of raindrops gently tapping the roof or an owl hooting in the night. The only sign of life you’ll encounter is the occasional trespassing squirrel, or morning magpie staring through the window. The design of the hideaways are such that you even feel nicely detached from the holidayers seeking refuge in the woods alongside you.
This is far from a summer-only retreat, too. In peak season the decking is a dream, as you spend long evenings in the sunshine soaking in the countryside views, before hopping in the hot tub for some pampering amid rustic surrounds. This area becomes more practical in winter, when seating areas may be a little too wet and the temperatures a little too low. It also takes a certain determination to get the wood-fired hot tub heated up on a damp winter’s day.
However, a British retreat that only works in sunshine is a terrible idea, which is why winter brings a whole new vibe to the place. As the nights draw in and the air gets chilly, the treehouse itself becomes a heartwarming haven from the elements. Get the fire rumbling, grab a cup of something soothing and snuggle up beneath the blankets as you listen to the wind whistle and the rain pitter patter.
While you might feel a million miles away from society, Dittisham Hideaway is actually brilliantly placed to explore the tapestry of delights that Devon has to offer. Your primary port of call will most likely be the pretty harbour town of Dartmouth, home to charming local businesses, a surprisingly impressive collection of eateries and splendid views of the River Dart. Do check out the castle, as well as Greenway House – once a beloved holiday retreat of Agatha Christie – which you can reach via a wholesome ferry ride. Before heading back to the hideaway be sure to grab some fish and chips from Rockfish on the way home, as well as a sausage for your four-legged friend, of course.
There are several other lovely little towns in the area to explore, particularly Totnes and Salcombe – the latter is home to excellent local chocolate and gin producers – while more outdoorsy adventures await on the sprawling Blackpool Sands or further inland on the many hiking trails of Dartmoor National Park. Devon is an extremely dog-friendly county, so expect to find plenty of good walking routes and friendly fellow dog-walkers tracing them with you.
So you’re perfectly placed to explore some of the UK’s finest coast and countryside, your home away from home is designed to help you unwind, and your pup can tag along with you. What’s not to love? The only caveat, like with many UK getaways, is that your stay will set you back a pretty penny. You’re looking at around £275 a night for two adults in a treehouse, so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on package deals and seasonal discounts.
Of course the price of accommodation has skyrocketed across the UK in recent years, with even so-called budget hotels charging premiums. The increased touristification of certain regions, combined with the post-Covid domestic travel boom and general inflation hikes, means that staycations are often more expensive than holidays on the continent. It feels wrong, and certainly hits those who want to keep their pet close by, but that is the market right now.
So of course, at Dittisham Hideaway, you are very much paying for the novelty of your stay. It is a unique experience, a striking build with modern designs and a classic countryside feel. You’re in warm and comfortable surroundings, seemingly detached from the real world and yet with an enviable location, a stone’s throw from the full British holiday experience. It is lovely, but to be worth the price it does have to be your cup of tea. If you like the pomp and ceremony of a nice hotel, or care more about where your country retreat is rather than what it looks like or what’s inside it, then perhaps your money is best spent elsewhere.
However, if you’re enchanted by the idea of a secret escape in the woods, which immerses you in nature and helps you drown out the noise of everyday life, then Dittisham Hideaway ticks a box you won’t easily find. It is a truly Instagrammable spot and yet remains somehow unassuming. It offers a hint of luxury but makes you feel like you’re on an outdoor adventure. Most importantly, it caters as much to your dog as it does to you. It is rare to find such a striking property so welcoming to furry friends, so if country luxe for you and your pooch is what you’re after, then Dittisham Hideaway Treehouses can certainly fit the bill.
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