Highcliffe Castle’s PetFest

By now you’re probably aware Tilly and I are beach crazy. Highcliffe beach is one of our favourite spots, as it’s relatively unknown, and has the added bonus of a beautiful castle and grounds. So when I heard Highcliffe were hosting a Pet Festival, we had to go!

Highcliffe beach was the first place Tilly saw the sea. We love the coast.

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The beach is a short stroll from the castle, but does involve some rather impressive steps!

Built in 1835 by Lord Stuart de Rothesay, Highcliffe Castle has hosted many notable people including Harry Selfridge (founder of Selfridges) and royalty, namely Kaiser Wilhelm II.

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The castle briefly served as a children’s home, as well as a seminary.

Winnie the Daxie, and her awesome human Chloe came too!

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Tilly and Winnie looking precious.

Entry was just £1, and we could come and go as we pleased thanks to a hand stamp. There were about 15-20 stalls both outside and inside the castle, with a fun dog show for all breeds and ages.

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There were some really cute bandannas and collars on offer, along with toys, home ware and bespoke dog portrait services.

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The first thing that caught my eye (and Tilly’s nose) were the scrummy looking treats on offer at Best Friend’s Bakery. I loved that they had so many natural goodies to choose from.

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I picked up some dried duck feet, tendons, and rabbit ears. I thought Miss T would be thrown off by the remnants of fur on them, but after a quick examination, she chomped it down!

Tilly and Winnie were spoilt with tasty treats from the ladies at Best Friend’s Bakery.

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Trying out dried Kangaroo treats.

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Can i Haz treatz?

Last year’s event saw over 2000 visitors, accompanied by their precious pooches. There were quite the plethora of breeds from Afghan Hounds to French Bulldogs to Golden Retrievers.

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Of course we sniffed out a couple of poodles.

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Tilly took a liking to this cutie.

From the castle grounds there are stunning views of The Needles on the Isle Of White.

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A rather cute Collie.

Tilly and Winnie actually have similar likes and dislikes. They like personal space, treats, and their humans! Both girls were beautifully behaved, and really enjoyed a walk on the beach when it got busier at the event.

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Winnie looked ravishing in a bandanna made by her human.

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Unfortunately the summer months mean beach space is limited for pups.

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Winnie enjoying a sea breeze!

We had gorgeous weather, but it did mean photographing with the added challenge of harsh direct sunlight, something I do my best to avoid with Tilly and her jet black curls, but it’s all good practice!

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Highcliffe Castle has a beautiful miniature maze of topiary to explore, and sniff!

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Stopping to smell the…hedges.

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We got to step foot inside the castle to check out more stalls. Winnie and Tilly enjoyed a free muscle check from Gill at Great & Small Canine Massage. Both girls loved it, and all their muscles are in tip top condition!

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Everyone looked to be having a great time, enjoying ice cream, bird displays, face painting, and a petting farm complete with donkeys and goats.

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It may not be the biggest dog show around, but with such a grand venue, and a short walk to the beach, you can bet we’ll be back next year.

The organiser of Pet Fest has written a blog about her experience organising the event here.

Thanks for reading,

Amy & Tilly

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