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Dog owners looking for pet-friendly breaks this summer can introduce their pooches to one of the world’s best-loved canines, Gromit, who will be unleashed on the streets of Bristol from 1 July.
Seventy giant hand-painted sculptures of Gromit, the triple Oscar-winning animated character, will decorate the streets of the West Country capital for ten weeks in a major new public art trail named Gromit Unleashed.
With a variety of trails taking visitors from one Gromit to another across Bristol’s well-known landmarks, the city will offer an exciting experience for dog walking with plenty of places to stop for photographing pet pooches next to a gigantic Gromit. There are plenty of pet-friendly hotels and guesthouses, plus hundreds of beautiful parks and green spaces, all making Bristol one of the most welcoming city destinations for dogs.
Along the Gromit Unleashed trail, dog-owners can discover the Clifton Suspension Bridge and explore the Harbourside on foot or by water with Bristol’s ferry boats which offers many dog-friendly options. There will be plenty of eye-catching Gromits to give dog-walking a difference, including a ‘bald’ Gromit which has been designed by comedian Harry Hill.
Other well-known names involved in designing a Gromit include Raymond Briggs, the artist behind The Snowman, and Axel Scheffler of The Gruffalo. Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park is closely involved with the project and will also be designing one of the sculptures on the trail himself.
Other ideas for entertaining four-legged friends in Bristol during Gromit Unleashed include:
Street art: Visitors can soak up Bristol’s urban art scene along Nelson Street where 10 multi-storey buildings have been transformed into sky-high murals by international artists. There is a piece of art to suit all age groups and dogs are welcome on leads to enjoy a stroll up and down the colourful city centre street.
Pirate Walks: Bristol’s swashbuckling past comes alive on an entertaining, fact-filled walk with Pirate Pete who guides visitors through the city’s grizzly 16th – 18th century maritime history. Dogs are welcome to join the walk and discover Long John Silver’s treasure chest in the smugglers cave as well as uncover Blackbeard’s Lair in the medieval port. Bristol Pirate Walks run every Saturday and Sunday at 2pm from outside At-Bristol science centre on Millennium Square, Harbourside.
Park life: Bristol is home to hundreds of parks and open spaces including the huge area of The Downs in elegant Clifton. The area is ideal for letting dogs off the leash for a good run-around before exploring the nearby sites such as the Clifton Suspension Bridge. In the city centre, the majestic Queen Square and vibrant Castle Park are particularly popular amongst dog-walkers. Happy hounds play safely in these central spots which are all within a short walk from Bristol’s key attractions including the Harbourside and Old City.
Accommodation: Bristol has a range of dog-friendly places to stay from city centre hotels to independent guesthouses. In central Bristol, the Novotel Bristol Centre, Hotel du Vin and Holiday Inn Express all offer conveniently-located overnight stay where dogs are welcome by arrangement. Visitors looking for hotels close to The Downs to give their dogs a good run-around can book rooms at the Berkeley Square Hotel, The Rodney, The Washington and The Clifton Hotel, and further afield beyond the city centre in rural Bristol are Thornbury Castle, a sumptuous country house hotel in South Gloucestershire, Greyfield Farm Cottages in Somerset, and the Hilton Bristol just north of the city which is ideal for country dog walks in the South Cotswolds. For guide prices and booking information, visit www.visitbristol.co.uk/accommodation.
The trail of individually-designed giant Gromits will take to the streets of Bristol and beyond for ten weeks from 1 July before they are auctioned off in aid of Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital charity.
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