Our adventures as full-time pet sitters have taken us all over the country – from leafy Kentish countryside caring for a herd of alpacas, to up north in Harrogate caring for a chatty African Grey Parrot, and everywhere in between! While we’ve had amazing opportunities to care for a wide range of pets, most of our house sits are for our favourite four-legged pet – dogs! We love nothing more than spending time exploring a new place with a dog (or two, or three, or-) by our sides. Chris is the main photographer for our travels, documenting all the wonderful moments we’ve had with our temporary pets over the years, spending hours researching the best spots to snap the perfect shot. If you’re looking for the most picturesque places for a portrait with your pooch, whether your ideal travels take you to a hillside, a town, or a beach, look no further than our list of recommended stunning spots!

Ditchling Beacon

So beautiful that we’ve visited here on multiple occasions, with multiple pets, and even when we haven’t been pet sitting! (We do love dog walks in Sussex…) There is a National Trust car park a short five minute walk from the Beacon itself, though we prefer to start at the bottom of the hill and walk our way up, usually with our four-legged friends giving us a helping hand! Once at the top, the 360 degree views of the hillside and beyond will take your breath away (especially if you have chosen to make the steep climb up…) and it’s well worth the visit for a panoramic shot of you and your pooch, no matter the weather! Thankfully, Fred and Betty loved frolicking in the snow during our most recent trip. Our top tip all year round: Head to the Beacon for sunset and admire the orange skies as they fade to deep blue – perfect for that golden hour snap.

Kinder Scout

If your dog is the more adventurous, hiking type, grab your boots and get up to Kinder Scout! This is the highest point in the Peak District, where you can enjoy some beautiful scenes for your walkies, as we did with energetic Lottie and Bruno. Stunning moorland, waterfalls and rock features surround the mountain, and if you don’t mind a more windswept look for your photos, the climb to the peak will reward you with an incredible viewpoint for a portrait with your dog. On clear days, you can just about see Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, from Kinder Low trig point! Not one to go into lightly – smaller dogs might prefer to enjoy the views from a backpack until you reach the top!

Ashdown Forest

If mountains aren’t your thing, and you and your dog prefer flatter ground for walkies, head anywhere in the Ashdown Forest for an otherworldly woodland and heathland backdrop. The Forest provided the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s books about Winnie the Pooh, and visiting here it’s clear to see why – the landscape is like stepping into the setting for Pooh’s sweet adventures with friends. In the rain, the Ashdown Forest has so many paths that you can easily find a place to take shelter, though in the sunshine the Forest really shines and makes a fantastic backdrop for photos with the grassland and unusually-shaped trees in the background. Our three Labrador friends Hattie, Gracie and Ruby love to roam off-lead here – just keep a look out for wild ponies.

Hove beach

The age-old debate: What’s better, a sand beach or a pebble one? For us, nothing beats the stony shores of Brighton and Hove, especially the Hove end of the beach where it’s much quieter. At sunset, locals head down to the sea to let their dogs run freely along the beach, making friends with other dogs and owners along the way. When the tide is out at sundown, long stretches of sand elongate the beach while the orange glow in the sky illuminates the waves, and shallow waters splash at the paws of fast-running dogs like our buddy Jem. Dogs are permitted on all beaches in Brighton and Hove from 1st October to 30th April, though even in months where dogs are only allowed on specific dog-friendly parts, we find this only enhances our trips down to the shore as we know that all visitors are happy to say hello to our four-legged friends! No matter the time of day, there’s always a lovely atmosphere on Hove beach and it’s this that makes for the perfect ambient snapshot.

Mermaid Street, Rye

From one East Sussex coast town to another, visiting the centre of Rye is like stepping back in time, and Mermaid Street in particular is a popular spot for Instagram-worthy pics. This picturesque street is the epitome of postcard-perfect Britain, with medieval houses lining both sides of the cobbled street. Even on a rainy day, the character of the town is undeniable and you can find many secluded spots down narrow alleyways and side streets to take portraits together – just make sure that, if you stop to take photos outside one of the many beautiful Georgian houses in the centre of Rye, that you’re respectful of the owners inside! Fortunately for us, Mimi was a wonderful model and we were able to move from photo spot to photo spot without too much hanging around in the downpour.

King’s College, Cambridge

If you love walking through pretty, historic places, a visit to Cambridge is a must! The network of characterful, cobbled streets and mix of architectural styles mean the city is a photographer’s paradise, and we especially love the backdrop of Kings College. The low walls here mean you can sit next to your dog for a while and take snaps together, while you people-watch (and try to dodge the city’s many, many cyclists!) Our most recent visit coincided with the festive season, making the city that much more magical to spend time in, and we loved snapping some extra-Christmassy shots with our pal Archie! Once you’ve visited King’s College, it’s just a short five minute walk to the River Cam where you can get a snap in front of the famous Mathematical Bridge – another famous landmark of the city.

Burrator Reservoir, Dartmoor

You’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere in Dartmoor that isn’t perfect for a photoshoot, at least in our opinion, but the variety of sights on a walk around Burrator Reservoir makes it one of our most underrated places to visit. The sweeping landscapes are a gorgeous reward for climbing the steep hills, and craggy rocks jutting out of the ground provide a great place to stop to take pics while you enjoy the views! As with most of Dartmoor, wild ponies are everywhere so take care not to disturb them, especially if you’re trying to fit them in your photo! Our hiking buddy, Bess the Golden Retriever, navigated the changing trails underfoot with ease and enjoyed getting the Dartmoor wind in her fur. We loved walking through the forest for a bit of shade, while she loved heading to the water for a good swim. – it’s impossible to take a bad photograph here. Our absolute favourite spot: A simple stone bench at the base of Burrator Reservoir Waterfall, with the trees looming out of the mossy rocks below, making for a wild photo opportunity!

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