When we holiday in the UK, being able to take the dog is a priority. We make the odd exception for a short break but where possible, we want her to be able to come. So, when Hoburne got in touch and asked if we’d like to go and stay at their gorgeous resort in Blue Anchor, my first question was whether Bubbles was invited too. As it turns out, not only is the Blue Anchor resort dog friendly, but so is the beach.
Hoburne Blue Anchor resort
The Hoburne resort at Blue Anchor has a range of static caravans and lodges. There is also an area for mobile caravans and camper vans, as well as a few camping pods. We’d usually take our van, but Hoburne kindly invited us to stay in one of their well equipped two-bedroom platinum caravans.
The caravan itself was a real home from home. Having a fully equipped kitchen with a fridge-freezer meant we could cook decent meals. This saved a fortune on eating out. The girls had a little twin bedroom opposite the toilet and shower room. Our room had an ensuite toilet attached.
The living room was a surprisingly decent size and was equipped with a large, flat-screen television. Heating was available throughout with a feature fire in the living room, although luckily we didn’t need the heating at all because the weather was lovely.
Hoburne Blue Anchor resort is in such a beautiful location. Not only do some of the caravans have a beach view, but others have a view of the railway line. How idyllic to see a steam train chuffing past several times a day.
Activities on the resort
Blue Anchor is a relatively large resort, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming. There’s free WiFi throughout the resort although it isn’t suitable for streaming or downloading. For children, an indoor pool, outdoor adventure playground, children’s play park, crazy golf and a nature trail will keep them entertained.
A dog friendly cafe, a small shop and a launderette are all useful additions to the resort. The cafe is right on the seafront too. Perfect for admiring the views either outside in the sea air, or inside when the weather isn’t great. There’s plenty of space between tables, ideal if your dog doesn’t want to be too close to other pooches.
The beach itself (across the road from the resort) is fine for the children to play in the sand or for going for a run. If the tide is in, you can swim in there but I probably wouldn’t personally. When the tide is right in, you can’t see the beach at all and when the tide goes out, it does go quite a long way. That said, it’s a beautiful place and dogs are allowed on the beach all year round.
Dog friendly activities in the local area
At the far end of Blue Anchor beach is a lovely, flat cycle path that extends all the way to Minehead with just a short stretch on the road. The children had a great time cycling along it and Bubbles ran happily alongside.
Between Blue Anchor and Minehead lies the beautiful village of Dunster. As always, we made the most of our National Trust membership and had a look around Dunster Castle. It’s one of the nicest National Trust properties we’ve been to, with a vast outdoor area to explore as well as the castle itself. Dogs are welcome in the gardens and dungeons but they’re not allowed in the castle. Nonetheless, it’s a wonderful day out and we wished we’d had a little longer to spend there.
In Blue Anchor itself, there are two lovely pubs that are both dog friendly. We had some good pub food in the Smugglers Inn. It had a children’s menu but there was no vegetarian option on the children’s menu so Libby shared with me. The Blue Anchor pub is at the top of the hill at one end of the bay and the views from their beer garden as the sun sets are spectacular.
West Somerset Railway
A branch of the old Great Western Railway, the West Somerset line has historic steam and diesel trains running along it. A twenty mile stretch of track serves ten stations in beautiful countryside. Hoburne guests are entitled to 25% off the price of their train tickets. So, we took advantage with train rides to both Dunster and Minehead.
As the line is dog friendly, it was a great way to get around from Blue Anchor. Trains run relatively regularly during the day and Blue Anchor station is just a couple of minutes walk from Hoburne holiday park. The trains bring a lovely sense of nostalgia to the area, especially when you descend at Dunster village which has a real vintage feel to it.
A 15 minute drive from Blue Anchor is Wimbleball lake. We were keen to get out on our SUP, but other activities there appealed to us too. On the lake itself, you can hire various equipment from windsurfers and sailing boats to kayaks and SUPs. You can also pay a small fee to take your own small vessels on the lake on the condition that everyone attends a safety briefing and wears a life jacket.
The water was calm and relatively quiet, perfect for getting to grips with the SUP. Whilst I’m far from being an expert, I did have a SUP lesson on the river Wye. I’ve since been on a local lake and become relatively confident. Libby had been pestering me to have a proper go, so while we were at Wimbleball my husband took out our kayak and paddled alongside Libby on the SUP. Needless to say, it appears to be rather easier as a child because she took to it like a duck to water and cruised around without falling in once.
Aside from being on the water, Wimbleball lake is a great place for kids to cycle. A mile-long, off-road route from the water sports centre to the dam challenged the girls’ cycling just enough with a couple of hills. The rest of the paths were flat and it was all traffic free. We also stopped in at a nice little park, perfect for passing the time while my husband and I took it in turns to go on the SUP.
Hoburne Blue Anchor – the verdict
When you live in the Midlands, a visit to the beach is always a treat. We’re a good couple of hours drive from any beaches and at 2 hours and 20 minutes away (on a good traffic day), Blue Anchor is one of our closest.
Since buying our camper van at Easter, we’ve been debating where we could take it that was close enough to just go for the weekend. At last, we think we’ve found somewhere. Staying in the caravan was a real treat and we’d definitely do it again. But if we were just looking for a short break in our van, Blue Anchor would be ideal.
We visited Blue Anchor on the bank holiday Monday and stayed for the last week in August. A few years ago, we went to Polzeath in Cornwall for the same week and couldn’t move for holidaymakers. Blue Anchor had a totally different feel to it. There were enough people to give it a chilled, holiday atmosphere but it certainly wasn’t crowded. We’ve already discussed going there again at the same time next Summer. But we might well be back for a night or two even sooner.