Cat cafes, Sausage dog pop-ups , Goat yoga and everything animal-related, these attractions are becoming more and more popular over the years. The nation is full of animal lovers and rightly so, animals bring a lot of joy to our lives from waiting for us to get home from work to leaving us presents in the toilet – to them, it’s a heart-shaped chocolate full of their everlasting love to you but for us…It’s a monstrous shit full of anger but we still love them.
I am a big dog lover and the Golden Retriever breed is actually my favourite. I have Disney to thank for this as It was the film “Homeward Bound” that featured the loving Golden Retriever Shadow that started my obsession with this breed. That scene at the end gets me every time, I am thirty now and I still cry at that scene. I will always remember the first time I finished that film and I begged my parents for a Golden Retriever – “That’s the dog I want!” “But Amy, that dog is too big and they moult like crazy so you can’t have one because of your asthma” Of course, I was gutted and my childhood dreams of growing up with a Golden Retriever were shattered, I grew up with a Staffordshire bull instead. He was great, actually no, he was perfect, but his farts were horrendous. A little warning about staffies, they are fantastic dogs, but their farts could burn this planet to the ground.
I first came across The Golden Retriever Experience in Lockdown on ITV then I saw it on Instagram then it was everywhere, it became viral just like that. The Golden Retriever Experience is a family-run attraction in West Somerset (Minehead) by Nicholas and Lauren – A Father and Daughter team. They brought their first Golden retriever in 2006 and had their first litter of puppies in 2008. From then they formed a registered kennel named Bellauranah Golden Retrievers and formed the Dog Whisperer UK to teach dog owners how to use dog psychology to understand their dogs and how to train them. In 2017 the Golden Retriever Experience was born, giving the unique opportunity for you and your family/friends to have a personal encounter with a pack of trained Golden Retrievers.
So, let’s get into this review, booking can be tricky as it’s incredibly popular. It is Trip Advisors No.1 attraction in the UK, I was extremely lucky to manage to book this experience for my 30th. It’s located in Somerset – Minehead which is quite weird as my parents had a chalet on Dunster beach and we use to go there all the time when we were kids, so it was nice to revisit a bit of my childhood. The entrance can be easily missed, just lookout for a sharp turn and some flags (I believe it is the only house on the road) Parking is on-site and the experience is outside. You will be greeted by the owners then you will have a pack of Golden Retrievers waiting for you behind the gate, all friendly and all excited to greet you all.
We went for the two-hour experience, so this covered playtime with the dogs such as fetch, having photos with the dogs (photo by the gate with all dogs) and chill time, cuddling a dog and having a beer at the same time, It’s pretty bliss! We paid £60 each for the 2 hours in which I felt was great value. I mean, come on, who gets to play with about 30 Golden Retriever’s every day?! The family who runs the business were incredibly lovely, the two girls were full of knowledge and it was great to hear their story on how they have created such a fantastic experience that went completely viral over the last two years. You can tell they love the dogs, and the dogs love them – I loved the fact that they all stay in the house together and the dogs have hammocks to sleep in!
Time flies, so I felt the two hours was fantastic value, but you just can’t help wanting more! We got to meet all the dogs from Narnia to Casanova, each dog has their unique personality that makes them stand out. To pick a favourite is impossible, maybe Hermes – He made quite an impression nearly suffocating me to death and making me cradle him like a baby, Did I complain? Absolutely not, I loved every minute of it.
Now, this is the part where I tell you the downside to the experience but as you guessed, there is no downside to this experience. Only a little warning about your attire – I know you are looking for these Instagramable photos wearing your best outfit, living your best life and all, but take my advice, don’t wear your best clothes. They will be ruined by the end of the experience, these are big dogs that moult A LOT. Your hands will be covered as when you play fetch with them it can get pretty messy with all the dog drool and dirt – We went on a rainy day however it seemed to stop soon as the experience started! So just prepare yourself, I know you want those instagramable fashion shots with the dogs but it’s not going to look cute when you are covered head to toe in dirt.
I feel this is a fantastic experience for people who are considering buying a dog, I got to ask plenty of questions about the breed from bathing them to understanding Golden retriever’s common health issues such as the common hip dysplasia they suffer with. The owners are full of knowledge and are extremely experienced with giving you the correct information and advice about this breed. I adore the breed, but I learned that I have to make time for this breed in which I can’t at the moment, they need plenty of exercise, love, care and space. So, to me, this was incredibly beneficial and I feel a lot of people will experience this too. Dog lovers will of course love this experience, it’s a Disneyland for dog lovers and you will come away falling in love with dogs even more. Thank you for making my 30th so special.
The experience starts at £60 for two hours going up to a six-hour session for £180 and you can book an all-night stay there.
You can book your experience here