What’s Salad Days like?
This boutique beach hut, a stone’s throw from Dunster Beach in Somerset, has been designed with dog-loving couples in mind. The award-winning chalet, on the Dunster Beach Holidays site, sleeps two and is close to both the seaside town of Minehead and Exmoor National Park. The medieval village of Dunster, with its beautiful castle, is also just close by.
How dog-friendly is Salad Days?
Wonderful. Dogs will have their own personalised welcome basket waiting for them on arrival, containing bowls, treats, poo bags and blankets. There are even some collar tags with Salad Days’ contact details on. The front and rear gardens – which have artificial grass – are also both secure so you can relax knowing your dogs can roam in safety. There is no additional charge for pets and up to two dogs are welcome to stay at a time. And if you have a sweet tooth, make the most of the retro jelly bean dispenser in the lounge. Every donation helps raise funds for Birmingham Dogs Home.
Tell me more about Salad Days
From the moment you pull up outside this cute, pastel green chalet, you can tell that owners, Brett and Susan, have put a lot of love and care into creating it. As you’d expect from a beach hut, space is at a premium – but they have drawn inspiration from the sea and used clever, space-saving tricks to design this small yet stylish hut. It may essentially only have one room, but it has literally everything modern holidaymakers could possibly want. There are smart wooden shutters and even underfloor heating so no wall space is wasted on radiators!
From the fenced-in front garden – where you’ll find a colourful bistro set and bike rack – the front door opens into the well-equipped kitchen. An aquamarine splashback contrasts nicely with the sleek white units and further shades of green and blue are dotted around the chalet. The lounge area is centred around a colourful rug and metal trunk, which doubles up as a table. You’ll find plenty of other storage space here too and a fold-out table and chairs, if you would prefer more space when dining. There is also easy-to-clean flooring – an absolute must when you’re so close to the beach!
The luxurious king-size bed, at the front of the chalet, feels a bit like a four-poster, thanks to its wooden frame and privacy curtains. And just off the lounge is a compact shower room, with quirky map features and a certificate showing the toilet is ‘twinned’ with one in Africa. From the main room, French doors lead out to the secure rear garden, which overlooks the nearby lake. As well as a table, chairs and umbrella, you’ll find two sunloungers here and troughs filled with sweet-smelling herbs.
I loved all the thoughtful little touches dotted around the chalet, such as binoculars, space to hang dog leads, torches for evening walkies and retro railway posters. There’s a real emphasis on eco-friendliness at Salad Days, too. All of the toiletries in the bathroom are locally-made and plastic-free and green products are also used in the kitchen. Food is stored in reusable glass jars wherever possible, too.
What’s the food like at Salad Days?
This is a self-catering property, but a great little welcome pack has all the essentials you’ll need – and more. Ours consisted of a small loaf of bread, milk, eggs, butter, tea, coffee and biscuits as well as locally-produced treats such as fudge and cider. There was even some homemade muesli, jam and marmalade. There were also small jars of condiments and store cupboard basics like oil, salt and pepper. A sign in the garden said we were welcome to help ourselves to the home-grown herbs, such as rosemary, too.
The kitchen, although compact, has everything you need to cook up a delicious meal and almost every gadget and utensil you can think of, including a coffee machine and dishwasher. Handily, the onsite shop is well-stocked with basics and its cafe offers takeaway food from Tuesday to Saturday. There’s also a mobile kiosk just outside the park that serves hot drinks and snacks.
If you fancy eating out though, there are plenty of great options nearby – and almost everywhere welcomes dogs. The Luttrell Arms Hotel in Dunster serves traditional food and has a beautiful garden, while Born Appetite – housed in a former chapel – dishes up excellent Thai cuisine. In Minehead, try the recently renovated Beach Hotel, which is owned by the YMCA and run by enthusiastic young apprentices. And for some of the best fish and chips around, don’t miss a visit to The Driftwood Cafe in Blue Anchor, pictured above.
Are there resident dogs at Salad Days?
No, but Brett and Susan are the proud owners of collies Maverick and Rupert, who make regular appearances on their website and social media. Be sure to check out Maverick’s blog to see lots of dog-friendly recommendations in the area. You’ll also no doubt bump in to lots of other dogs staying on the site.
Where are the best dog walks near Salad Days?
Hit the beach! Dunster Beach, framed by more than 200 chalets, is dog-friendly all year round and it is literally just steps from Salad Days. If your visit coincides with low tide, you’ll have masses of sand to explore. Even in the summer, you’ll pretty much have it to yourself. Turn left, and it’s a 40-minute walk to the resort town of Minehead. Turn right, and you can walk to Blue Anchor in a similar time via the beach or Steam Coast Trail. This tracks the West Somerset Railway – the longest heritage railway in England.
For a little leg-stretch, head to The Hawn nature reserve, which Salad Days overlooks. This peaceful woodland area is set around a lake, which you can walk around in 15 minutes. The Hawn is a great spot to visit on rainy days, as the trees provide you with lots of cover. Look out for the resident ducks and squirrels. For more ideas for things to see and do with dogs, check out the guide in Salad Days. It’s pretty comprehensive!
What Ernie and Stan loved about Salad Days
Being so close to the beach, the lovely welcome pack, the outdoor space to keep an eye on other guests
What I loved about Salad Days
The clever yet stylish design, the peaceful location, having the beach on our doorstep
How to book Salad Days
We paid £75 per night, plus a £100 refundable security/damage deposit, but Salad Days is now under new ownership so that may well be subject to change. Brett and Susan do still have a similar hut on the same site, however, called Holi Moli. To see its availability and the latest pricing information, visit the Dunster Beach Hut website. To see all of the beach huts available to hire, visit the Dunster Beach Holidays website.