A doggy day out in… Brentwood

PUBLISHED: 15:18 14 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:32 14 May 2020

Gruffalo Trail

Gruffalo Trail


Jenny Green’s latest adventure with Ernie takes in the chance to help sick and injured animals as well as a trip into the ‘deep, dark wood’

This article was written prior to lockdown and all information should be checked before your visit.


Sniff out the elusive Gruffalo on a woodland walk through Thorndon Country Park. The Gruffalo Trail, with its hand-carved wooden sculptures, brings Julia Donaldson’s children’s book to life.

The trail takes around 25 minutes to complete and you can pick up a map from the Visitor Centre for just 70p. Thorndon also has a dog activity trail with hoops, hurdles and tunnels, should you want to put your pooch through their paces.

Animal lovers will also enjoy a trip to Hopefield Animal Sanctuary, where dogs on leads are welcome. The charity, which has been caring for sick and injured animals since 1983, is home to everything from pigs to peacocks and has X Factor star Leona Lewis as its patron.

Gruffalo TrailGruffalo Trail

Open from March to December, entry is £6 for adults while dogs go free. Pets are also allowed inside the vegan tea room.

Weald Country Park makes for a great day out, too. There are more than 500 acres of land to explore and herds of fallow deer graze in the park.

Children will love the 2km Stick Man Play Trail and when you’ve all worked up an appetite, you can refuel at the Wigley Bush Café onsite.


Head to The Olde Dog in Herongate Tye. This historic inn dates back to the 16th century and is renowned for its hearty pub grub.

Pets and their owners should grab a table in the Doghouse, a small section of the pub that’s especially cosy in winter. There’s a jar of treats by the fireplace and barrels of water for dogs in the garden.

The Nag’s Head is another great dog-friendly pub, just a few minutes’ drive from Weald Country Park. Pets are allowed in the bar area, and they are also welcome at The Greyhound in Warley. Be sure to ask staff for a dog treat.

In Brentwood town centre itself, check out The Brentwood Kitchen. This funky eatery is best-known as a brunch spot but also serves delicious coffee and cake. Dogs are welcome inside.


Visit the not-so Secret Nuclear Bunker in Kelvedon Hatch. From the outside it looks like a normal house but it’s actually the biggest Cold War bunker in the south east of England, buried 80ft underground.

Thorndon Country ParkThorndon Country Park

Entry is £7.50 for adults and well-behaved dogs visit free. The bunker does have a café but the nearby Ethos Brothers Café is well worth checking out.

Dogs are very welcome at this cool vegan café where you can play on retro gaming machines while you refuel.

For more dog-friendly days out and holiday inspiration, visit ernies-adventures.com.

You can follow Ernie on Twitter @ernpup, Facebook at Ernie’s Adventures and Instagram @erniethewestiepup

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