WHAT’S THE SCOOP? Lower Hyde Holiday Park, on the east coast of the Isle of Wight, makes for a lovely, leafy getaway. The wooded park is ideally located for exploring the island with the seaside towns of Shanklin and Sandown both within easy reach. When we checked in, we were given plenty of information about the local area and the entertainment on offer during our stay. The site has both indoor and outdoor pools, an all-weather sports court and daily activities including aerobics and bingo – but as Ernie wasn’t allowed in the clubhouse, we generally opted to amuse ourselves.
ARE MUDDY PAWS WELCOME? Yep. Lower Hyde is one of 70 pet-friendly parks run by Parkdean Resorts – there are poo bins aplenty onsite and if you’re lucky, your stay will coincide with one of the “Bark Resorts” events, which include dog shows and organised walks. Up to two dogs are welcome in your chosen accommodation at any one time, but you will be charged £40 per pet. You’ll need to bring your own bed and treats, too.
AND WHEN I’M DOG TIRED? There’s a whole host of accommodation to retreat to at Lower Hyde, and much of it is pet-friendly. Our top-of-the-range three-bedroom caravan was spotlessly clean and tastefully decorated. It came with a fully-fitted kitchen and dining area, flatscreen TV, DVD player and shower room. The park also offers luxurious wooden lodges – some with hot tubs – and there’s even a campsite and glamping village with spacious safari tents and proper beds. I also got the impression that a lot of the caravans onsite are owner-owned, which makes for a friendly family atmosphere.
HOW ARE THE SCOOBY SNACKS? Treat yourself to breakfast, lunch or dinner at the Barnhouse Bar & Restaurant onsite, which also offers a takeaway service. There is a small shop where you can stock up on essentials but we bought everything we needed for our self-catering stay from the Lidl supermarket by the park entrance. Handily, a wooded trail from our caravan led right to it! As Ernie wasn’t allowed in the clubhouse, we tended to either cook or eat out – click here to find out our favourite dog-friendly pubs and restaurants on the island.
ANY FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS TO PLAY WITH? No, but you’re sure to meet plenty of other dogs who are on holiday too, or live nearby in Shanklin.
WHERE’S GOOD FOR WALKIES? Where do I start? The wonderful Red Squirrel Trail – a 23-mile pathway that follows the old railway line through the countryside – can be picked up right by the park and you’re a ten-minute walk from Shanklin seafront.
A stroll along the promenade to Sandown is a must. It’s a lovely walk that takes about half-an-hour each way and you can either stick to the path along the cliff or have a ball on the beach (check the signs to make sure you’re in a dog-friendly section). We bookended our seaside stroll with stops at the Salix Beach Cafe and The Beach Shack but if you visit during the busy summer months and can’t take your dog on the beach, don’t panic – the island has plenty of sandy spots that are dog-friendly all year round. Click here for more information.
Don’t forget Lower Hyde itself is huge so it’s fun to explore the site, too. We saw squirrels, badgers, rabbits and foxes during our stay so if your pooch has a tendency to chase small furries, make sure you keep them on-lead! Click here for more information about ideas about what to see and do on the island.
WHAT ERNIE LOVED: Watching the local wildlife, lots of lovely long walks
WHAT I LOVED: The peaceful site, being so close to both the beach and woodland
GET ON THE DOG AND BONE: Four-night breaks at Lower Hyde Holiday Park start from £99. Book direct with Parkdean Resorts for discounted – or even free – ferry travel. For more information about the site or to book, call 0330 123 4850 or click here.