If, like me, you have 3 plus dogs but you also have a family who like to go away from time to time you will know that it is not always easy to find somewhere suitable. Over the years we have camped and also had a caravan which we left on site down in the south west for a few years, we had 4 children at home too at that time so it suited us well, but now, 50 is fast approaching and I just want an easier life. Yes - I want something a little more relaxing if there is such a thing with dogs and teens even though just 2 are home with us now.
After Christmas we had a rare long weekend when neither of us had work commitments and it was still school holidays so we quite literally booked a last minute break - about 3 days beforehand!
I was really pleased to find Saunton Beach Villas are open all year. As we have been to Saunton Beach before I knew they were there and I also knew they were dog friendly. What I did not realise was that they have no dog limit and at this time of year dogs are free! Which when you have 3 is fantastic news. Number 2 son is a keen surfer and my husband likes to go out on his stand up paddle board so normally when we are away we all end up stood on the beach whilst they 'do their thing'. Here we can stay in the warm or go out in the van and no-one is inconvenienced which is a huge bonus as far as I am concerned. And as the spaniels are older now they want the comfort of their bed, not a cold draughty beach or van all day. Saunton do supply a medium crate and waterproof bed but we took our own.
The garden is huge and well fenced, again perfect for night time wees before bed and very secure unless you have a serial escaper who would jump the 4 foot gate.
We stayed in 1 The Dunes which is the closest we could possibly get to the beach, about a 20 second walk and we could see the beach from the garden which was great for seeing if the surf was up!
The villas are clean, modern and very comfortable. I was a bit worried as it was pretty nippy at the weekend but I need not have been. They are very well insulated and the electric heating was more than up the job.
The floor is easy to keep clean which is just as well as inevitably you will get sand everywhere! These villas are built on the dunes but we were fully equipped with a brush for both inside and outside the property and a hoover so keeping on top of things is not difficult. There is an outside cold shower for rinsing wetsuits and sandy dogs and we kept the dogs beds right inside the front door so they stayed there until they were dry enough to be allowed to wander. Alternatively there is also a back door so you can restrict dogs to just the one room very easily.
Beds are very comfortable and the villas are well appointed with everything you could need for a short break, the kitchen has a microwave, toaster, full size oven and even a coffee machine. There is wifi but do not expect fast speeds for streaming etc. After all, we don't holiday at the beach to stay attached to our devices and the location does mean service can be a bit erratic but it was fine for us and was enough to keep the teens happy and able to touch base with their friends in the evening.
We had some amazing beach walks. The beach is just huge so even when you have a dog hater like Ziggy there is plenty of room to avoid other dogs, poo bins are plentiful and there are even poo bags supplied by the bin on the beach if you run out.
We also had great fun on the beach after dark messing around with the camera and some torch special effects as there is no light pollution in the immediate area.
The light from Westward Ho! further down the coast gave a really good backdrop to our artwork I feel!!
My hints and tips.
Take plenty of towels, you will get a wet dog even if they are not a water lover as the beach is often quite wet from the tides.
Don't forget to take your The Dog and I soap. There is always something smelly worth rolling in at the beach!
If you have an anxious traveller or a dog who does not settle well I really cannot recommend Pet Remedy enough. I am not being paid to say this, I have not received any freebies. I just genuinely swear by it. I have the wipes, the handy little spray and the plug in diffuser which I always take when we are staying somewhere new. It just seems to take the edge off the anxiety, the stress and make them settle s much more quickly. I also used to use it when I was dog grooming - again it takes the edge off the nervousness. Even better, I know one of my fellow dog business owners, Kate, has a special 25% discount code and has reviewed her experiences of Pet Remedy which you can find over at Dotty 4 Paws here. It really is worth a read if you have the time.
Otherwise my advice is book, pack and go! Dogs love holidays too and North Devon is perfect at any time of year.