We had such a lovely time discovering dog friendly Margate! It’s a town nestled on the southeast coast of England in Kent – one that has seen a revival as a sought-after seaside destination.
For years, this town has seamlessly blended traditional British seaside allure with modern arts and culture. We were drawn to its magnetic charm, and our recent visit reaffirmed why it’s a must-visit. A snapshot into dog friendly Margate is here:
Turner Contemporary: A Modern Art Haven
Starting off our journey, one of our first stops was the Turner Contemporary, a beacon of modern art on Margate’s seafront. Named in honour of the 19th-century artist J.M.W. Turner, who was enamoured with Margate’s unique light, this gallery showcases a plethora of contemporary visual arts from global artists. Interestingly, with ever-changing exhibitions, there’s always something fresh and intriguing to witness.
Dreamland: A Nostalgic Adventure
Following that, another highlight is Dreamland, a vintage amusement park that has graced Margate since the early 1900s. After undergoing its recent restoration, Dreamland now boasts retro rides, roller discos, and lively music events. The park’s nostalgic ambiance captivated us, especially the iconic Scenic Railway wooden rollercoaster. It’s an absolute must-ride!
Margate’s Seaside and the Enigmatic Shell Grotto
Transitioning to a more relaxed vibe, strolling along Margate Main Sands was a serene experience. This sandy beach, ideal for sunbathing and swimming, is complemented by a promenade dotted with quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants. However, the real surprise awaited us at the Shell Grotto. Discovered in 1835, this subterranean passage is adorned with intricate seashell mosaics. The grotto’s origins remain a mystery, making it an even more intriguing attraction.
On a side note, our experience here was a hit on social media – check it out!
Old Town and Dog-Friendly Spots
Initially, we couldn’t resist exploring Margate’s Old Town, a treasure trove of independent shops, galleries, and eateries. The best part? Moreover, the best part? Most of these spots are dog-friendly! Our little Westie, London, was more than happy to accompany us, basking in the sun and enjoying the warm ambiance of the town.
A Sunset to Remember
Subsequently, we wrapped up our Margate adventure with a breath-taking sunset, echoing those at Cafe Mambo, Ibiza. Along with many others, we perched on the newly constructed stairs along Margate Harbour’s seafront, absorbing the mesmerising hues of the setting sun.
Margate boasts a plethora of activities, establishing itself as a perfect getaway. Its art galleries, beaches, and the enigmatic Shell Grotto cater to diverse interests. If you seek dog-friendly spots, Margate delivers. We eagerly anticipate our next visit!
What can we say, it’s worth spending 48 hours in Whitstable, Kent! :)
Stepping off the train, we were greeted by the radiant sun shining over Whitstable, a picturesque seaside town on the coast of Kent in Southern England. We had been here once before, and it was so nice to be able to return! Just an hour’s train ride from London, we were eager to dive back into the wonders of this renowned fishing town, adorned with pastel-coloured fishing cottages, expansive pebbled beaches, and an array of quirky shops.
Every corner of Whitstable whispered tales of its rich maritime heritage, a legacy that stretches back to Roman times.
Take a look:
The Oyster Experience
The town’s pride in its oyster farming is palpable, and we learned of the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival, a grand celebration complete with parades, performances, and, naturally, oyster-eating competitions. Tasting the famed Whitstable oysters was the crowning jewel. The taste was a harmonious blend of saline, a touch of saltiness, complemented by a creamy sweetness. One was simply not enough.
Artistic Flair and Coastal Pubs
Our stroll down Harbour Street was nothing short of enchanting. The street, alive with energy, was a tapestry of quirky boutiques, unique shops, and a delightful mix of colourful weatherboard houses, historic edifices, and charming cottages. Our exploration led us to the intriguing street art by Catman, Whitstable’s answer to Banksy. For those in search of a unique coastal pub experience, “Neppies” or Old Neptunes is the place to be.
A Culinary Finale
As our 48 hours neared its end, we decided to indulge in the town’s best fish and chips at Ossie’s. The generous servings and the golden, flaky fish were the perfect culmination to our Whitstable adventure. Sitting on the beach, watching the sun dip below the horizon and the waves gently caress the shore, we reflected on our time in Whitstable.
A town that seamlessly marries its rich history with modern allure. If the Kent Coast is on your radar, Whitstable is a must-visit. A town that’s not just picturesque but also dog-friendly. And remember, the oysters are a must-try!
The Northampton train station serves London in just over an hour and Birmingham in just under. This is a town most people will have passed through at some point.
We were in Northampton for our first long stay house/pet sit, with Luna the beautiful Shepherd The closest we’d been previously (and on the same train line) is Rugby, birthplace of the game of the same name.
There is so much to see and do in this cute market town. Next time you’re on the west coast mainline get off at Northampton train station and see for yourself.
Northampton train station and destination guide
As the county town of Northamptonshire, Northampton is steeped in history, with archaeological evidence dating back as far as the bronze age.
It wasn’t until thousands of years later that the town grew in national importance, following the building of Northampton Castle in 1084.
It went on to become one of the most famous Norman castles in England, an occasional royal residence and regular host of parliament.
Unfortunately, there’s not much left to see. Charles II ordered the destruction of the town walls and most of the castle in 1662 after the town supported the roundheads in the English Civil War.
The rest of the castle was flattened to make way for the train line. The Poster Gate only remains visible today. It was dismantled from its original position and rebuilt into the walls of Northampton railway station.
The town was hit by more destruction in 1675 with the Great Fire of Northampton. This fire destroyed an estimated 600 buildings. Although, Welsh House on Market Square and Hazelrigg House both survived. They are now Grade II listed buildings worth a visit.
Where to visit in Northampton
Abington Park was just up the road from where we were staying on our house sit, and it’s beautiful!
The park was built on the site of a medieval manor house and mill which was mentioned in the Domesday Book. It’s Northampton’s oldest and most popular park. Some of the ruins are really interesting, reminiscent of what you can find in York.
The park features two lakes, a model boating lake and the church of St Peter and St Paul. It’s home to Abington Park Museum, which is housed in Abington Park Manor House.
It won’t come as any surprise to hear that the town is home to a museum of Leathercraft, also based in the house.
What’s with all the shoes?
Northampton has long been a major centre for footwear and leather manufacturing. By the end of the 18th century, a third of all adult males in the town were making shoes. It also supplied the British army with more than 23 million pairs of boots for World War I.
Barkers, Churches and Trickers are three of the most famous names to come out of the town. Although Churches, which was founded in 1873, is no longer a family run business after it was bought by Prada in 1999.
Trickers might be the least known name on the list, despite having a royal warrant. That’s because 80% of their sales come from overseas.
All three brands still have factories and factory shops in the town today.
This area was also famously the location for 2005’s Kinky Bootswhich was later turned into a popular Broadway production.
From shoes to shopping (for more shoes?)
Shopping is another reason to visit the market town. There are three shopping centres, including the Grosvenor Centre, Weston Favell and Market Walk shopping centre, which are home to all the high street favourites.
We also discovered some excellent vintage and second hand stores. A highlight is Vintage Guru spread across two floors and boasting many locally handmade gifts.
This is all as well as the widely acclaimed market, which has taken place in its present location since 1235!
So, if it’s history, some bargain leather or a sporting event, with both Northampton Town football club and Northampton Saints Rugby based just outside the town centre, there are plenty of reasons to visit.
Onwards on our house sitting journey: we went from here, a town all about shoes, to house sitting in an Irish town that’s all about hosiery. Find out more
With so many beautiful sites to visit, days out in Oxfordshire are becoming increasingly popular with all sorts of visitors. Around 41.7 million tourists are estimated to have visited the UK in 2018. Visitors come from far and wide to enjoy the aesthetics of Oxfordshire. Many want to see the architecture in the historic university buildings. After spotting famous landmarks, they’ll seek a picturesque picnic spot overlooking the Thames for a relaxing afternoon out.
We’ve published details on London staycations before. But what about getting just out of the big city? Here are four of the best destinations for enjoying days out in Oxfordshire…
Where to go on days out in Oxfordshire
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
Built between 1705 and 1722, Blenheim Palace in Woodstock is the only non-royal house in England to be called a ‘palace’. Blenheim is an imposing building, certainly worthy of its title. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
Blenheim is now home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family. It’s best known as the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Several tours and exhibitions dedicated to the home life and work of the former Prime Minister are hosted here.
The palace staterooms, gardens, butterfly house and miniature railway provide further fun for all ages. Special events like cycling and supercar exhibitions are also held throughout the year within the estate’s 2,000 acres of parkland.
Broughton Castle near Banbury is a fortified manor house set within an idyllic parkland location. The core of this impressive building was initially crafted from locally sourced Horton ironstone in 1306 with additions being made in the 1550s.
Inside the castle, you will find fully furnished living quarters in addition to the impressive great hall.
Outside, the colourful castle gardens have been stylistically designed with benches conveniently placed for relaxation.
Located at the junction of three streams and with a surrounding moat, the stunning grounds of Broughton Castle make an ideal spot for a family picnic. Alternatively, take advantage of the on-site tearoom and gift shop.
A summary of beautiful locations wouldn’t be complete without featuring the city of Oxford itself.
Famed for its ornate university buildings, the colleges here provide an architectural feast for the eyes.
Christchurch is arguably the most popular college to visit. This castle-like building comes with its own cathedral and has featured on-screen in films such as Harry Potter.
The striking red brickwork of Lady Margaret College is another draw for visitors, along with the neo-classical style Radcliffe Camera building.
We recently had the opportunity to visit the lovely seaside city of Bournemouth for the weekend.
Actually, we’d intended to visit here for a long time. We have super lovely and creative friends from the Gold Coast who lived and worked here for a few years and loved it (shout out to Lou and Iain from P’s in a Pod); and as Aussies, we are always on the lookout for a ‘real’ beach.
As far as seaside cities here go, I’d describe Bournemouth as being a contemporary destination, conveniently located just two hours’ train ride from London; the beach is actually beautiful, there’s a pier, and plenty of bars, restaurants, serene hotels and accommodation to keep you happy for a sunny weekend escape.
We appreciated how the city has been designed – there’s a central mall with shopping – at the top of that is a spot called ‘the triangle’ that boasts some nice bars and eateries like Smokin’ Aces and Koh Thai. A wonderful park and landscaped garden area (including mini golf) leads explorers through the town towards the beach and Bournemouth Wheel. Either way along the beach you can wander the promenade and discover ice-cream, coffee, cocktails and markets. Truly charming.
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