We’d heard a lot about Dog Fest through social media and our dog blogging friends. When we realised Bristol would be the host of the first Dog Fest West, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for a trip up country. Bristol is about three hours from Cornwall, or where we live at least! I decided to book us an Airbnb for a couple of nights, to really make the most of our stay.
We’d never been to Bristol before and were a little clueless when it came to places to stay or things to do while we were away. I was really excited to explore the city and decided our little break would make up for my lack of holiday plans this summer. We left at around midday and got caught in traffic almost immediately. The drive ended up taking nearly double the time it should and it’s safe to say we were relieved when we finally arrived!
The Airbnb was truly stunning and far bigger than I had ever imagined. Its interiors blew us away. Its carefully considered furnishings and beautiful colour schemes added a wonderful character to the home. The bathroom was the most impressive, with a stunning roll top bath, rainfall shower and plenty of plants. It’s safe to say we made the most of it, as unbeknownst to us we’d actually travelled down on one of the hottest weekends of the year.
We spent the first evening settling in. We ordered pizzas and kicked back in front of the TV in the lounge. It had been an incredibly long and hot day, so I wanted to save our energy for our adventures the next morning. The Airbnb owners had left an in-depth guide to the local area, which we were very grateful for. We spent the night looking through their recommendations before hitting the hay (or should I say incredibly comfy king size bed) for that all important beauty sleep.
We woke up bright and early the next morning, excited to visit Dog Fest. Our accommodation was a matter of minutes from Ashton Court, which was ideal. We hopped in the car and made the trip over to the estate. A short queue and a faff about e-tickets later, we’d entered the show ground.
We made a beeline to the Guru stand and were surprised to see Woody’s photo on display. He sat proudly with his Reel Fishskin treats among the bags of Surf N Turf food. It was the first time we’d met the Guru Geeks in person and Woody loved the attention. After a quick chat we said our goodbyes and made our way round the rest of the show.
We were excited to see the Woody’s Pizza stand, a rustic Italian street food company who are based in Tintagel. We simply had to try their wood fired pizzas, not only because they’re based in Cornwall but they obviously share Woody’s name! They didn’t disappoint either, serving tasty thin crust pizzas to us in a matter of minutes. We wolfed them down before continuing to explore.
I also bumped into The Distinguished Dog Company’s stand, who are based in Exeter, Devon. Tracy creates handmade accessories for your pet, along with selling beautiful dog themed apparel for humans. I recently bought one of her Walkies Sweatshirts and was delighted to find out that it’s a carbon neutral product.
There was just enough time to see the RNLI stand, who are busy raising awareness at this time of year. The RNLI are a well respected organisation in the Duchy. With so much sea surrounding us, it’s easy to see why! One of their campaigns this year focusses around dogs and their owners. If your dog comes into difficulty while in the water, they’re urging owners to stay out of the sea. More often than not dogs are able to get themselves out of trouble, however their owners aren’t always as lucky. Their advice is to stay on land and call your local RNLI and Coastguard.
The heat soon got the better of us and with little to no shade provided by the event, we decided to leave early. I was disappointed by the lack of shade provided at the event, particularly with so many dogs in attendance. There was also limited water for the dogs to cool off in too, just a few plastic storage boxes scattered around the site. The event itself was super busy by mid-afternoon, something Woody and I don’t cope well in. With the promise of a cool bath waiting at the Airbnb we decided to head off.
We were excited to explore more of Bristol and were soon on the hunt for a dog friendly place to eat. I discovered a gastro pub called The Lazy Dog, which was a ten minute drive from where we were staying. With a name like that we couldn’t not go and visit! The burger I ate that night was probably one of the best I’ve ever tasted. The garlic sauce inside was delicious and really added to the overall flavour of my meal, delicious!
We stayed the Clifton area of the city for our trip and became well acquainted with the suspension bridge by the end of our stay. We didn’t realise you needed exact change and on our first trip we ended up getting stuck on the bridge! On the last morning we explored Leigh Woods, giving Woody a much needed run around without overheating. Soon it was time to leave Bristol and return to our beloved Cornwall. The journey back was sweltering and I was so excited to jump in the sea when we got back!
Overall it was a great weekend, though I’m not sure we’ll be going back to Dog Fest in a hurry. It’s not really our scene and it was just a bit too far to drive, particularly in a heatwave. There are a few dog festivals coming up that are more local to us in Cornwall and I’m excited to give those a try.
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