Disclosure: This post contains reference to gifted travel from Wightlink.
Hands up, honesty time. With the exception of a few trips with work, I’ve only been to the Isle of Wight for a day trip once as an adult. And that was to visit a friend who was doing a nursing placement there. I can’t really tell you why – I guess it’s because I’ve always thought of it as somewhere that was too far to travel for just a day trip and we tend to save up our time off from work for holidays and breaks slightly further afield.
When I was making a list of places I wanted to visit this year and doing some travel planning, I decided to make a conscious effort to visit more local places – one of which is the Island! Something I hadn’t actually thought about was the possibility of taking the dogs with us; If we plan to spend the day somewhere we usually just make sure the dogs can stay with family for the day, rather than deal with the hassle of dragging them around with us.
BUT! Wightlink ferries offered us the chance to take the dogs across to the Isle of Wight, so that we could see how easy it can be. So, we packed up a rucksack stuffed with poo bags (no, really), dog snacks, water and, of course, some snacks for AJ and I too.
I made a rough plan for things to do while we were over there and found there was loads of really helpful guides on the Wightlink website about dog friendly travel and places to visit on the Island. We arrived at the ferry terminal in Gunwharf and took the dogs for a quick stroll to the terminal building to get some relief from the car before we set off.
Once we had driven on to the Wightlink ferry, we took the dogs upstairs to a section which has a dedicated pet deck!
Whilst it sounds like it might be some horrendous dog filled cavern, it was just a section of the seating area where dogs can hang out without getting in the way of anyone who might not be too keen on being around dogs!
We also went out on to the outside deck to bask in the lush sunshine that accompanied us on the trip – it was such a beautiful day to be sailing across!
The dogs loved shoving their noses in the wind and sniffing around the deck! The crossing only took 45 minutes, so we were quickly back in the car (after carrying Fox down the stairs, because princess does not do stairs) and off the ferry ready to explore.
We started our trip with a very short drive to Quarr Abbey, the grounds of which are dog friendly. There are woodland walks, a medieval abbey ruin, some very cute piglets and a cute little picnic area and team room.
We walked around the woodland track for a while and then stopped for tea and cake, which gave the dogs the chance to potter around in the grass and relax for a bit.
After that we drove to Carisbrooke Castle, which is also totally dog friendly, with the exception of inside the tea room and inside the castle itself. We took the dogs up the stone steps to the top of the battlements and walked around the perimeter of the castle, taking in the lush sunny views across the Island.
Then, of course, another tea room stop (oops), where Adam got to sample MORE cake and I had a cup of tea with soy milk – yay for alternatives!
After all that.. sitting and eating cake.. we were obviously hungry (haha). So we drove across to Ventnor to the Buddle Inn for some lunch. This is another dog friendly spot on the Island and had really great reviews online. We weren’t disappointed at all.
They had a great menu with plenty of vegan options, the interior was lush and you can take dogs inside the restaurant, which was handy because despite the lovely weather it was a touch windy in the garden!
Once we had devoured our lunch, we took two very sleepy little dogs back to our car and arrived just in time to catch the ferry home.
We honestly had such a lovely day, I’m desperate to go back and explore more of the Island. I have my eye on some food spots in Yarmouth and Ventnor I’d love to visit.. I sense a weekend trip coming up!
Has anyone else taken dogs across to the Island? I can highly recommend it – it’s such a dog friendly place, which is obviously a winner in my book.
If you want to find out more about the Wightlink dog travel policy you can take a look here – although I can vouch for the fact that it is super easy and definitely something we’ll do again!