Newport, Pembrokeshire with Mojo and Attlee

Mojo says: ‘Hudson Human celebrated her birthday recently – 38, she says – so we hired a dog-friendly holiday cottage in a place called Pontfaen, four miles from the beautiful coastal town of Newport in Pembrokeshire. Lots of Hudson Human’s friends came to celebrate with us and one of mine too – Attlee!

Julie.Mojo.Attlee

The best aspect of Newport was the beach – Attlee and I were sad we were only there for one day. So, a few weeks later, Hudson Human decided we should check into the Gellifawr Hotel, Restaurant and Cottages in Pontfaen and explore Newport all over again.

We stayed in one of the cottages at Gellifawr, in a courtyard around the hotel. Every morning we had a walk in the woods surrounding the cottage, taking a different trail each time using a map the hotel reception lady gave us. It was amazing – the weather was so good that all the rabbits came out to play!

Mojo.Woodland.Walk

Later we walked a section of the Wales Coast Path from Nevern to Newport. The path goes all around the coast of Wales but that was a bit much to manage in a day so we went to the pub instead. The Golden Lion is dog-friendly but we sat outside as the smell of the humans having lunch was too much for me to cope with and Hudson Human wasn’t sure quite how dog-friendly it would be if I started leaping on tables snouting for scraps. Still, everybody who entered the pub patted me on the head so it wasn’t all bad.

Making Friends in The Golden Lion

Making Friends in The Golden Lion

Now here’s my top tip for West Wales: arrive in daylight and avoid making the mistake Attlee, his chauffeur Elisa and navigator Jane did and getting lost on the country roads in the dark (for two hours.) Thank Dog there was reviving medicinal Prosecco on hand when they did eventually arrive to reduce their stress levels. Have fun chums, MojoX

Phileas Phacts: Newport, PembrokeshireMojo.Wales.Coast.Path

Gellifawr Hotel, Cottages and Restaurant, Pontfaen, Newport, Pembrokeshire, SA65 9TX Tel: 01239 820343; www.gellifawr.co.uk

Prices start at £90 per double per night in the hotel and £160 for a weekend break in the smallest cottage. (Cottages sleep from two to seven people.) Dogs are charged at £15 per stay.

Golden Lion, East Street, Newport, Pembrokeshire, SA42 0SY Tel: 01239 820321; www.goldenlionpembrokeshire.co.uk 

 

 

Dog-friendly Glastonbury, Somerset

I’ve packed my Hunter wellingtons, my Hiawatha headdress and my face paint – I’m off to Glastonbury and am determined to be the height of Fido festival fashion. Grrr-huzzah. Backstage pass please. Who’s playing? I ask Jane, imagining myself hanging out with U Chew. Maybe Bonio himself will want to meet me!

But my joy is short lived because, Jane says, dogs aren’t allowed into Glastonbury The Festival and, instead, we are visiting Glastonbury The Town. What a load of old rubbish that is. I’ve been to billions of TOWNS but I’ve never been to a FESTIVAL.

I brighten, though, when I hear where we are staying – Middlewick Holiday Cottages, where Mumford and Sons kipped during last year’s festival. Maybe I will be able to experience something of the Rock and Rover lifestyle after all?

And, when we check in, I am impressed. We’re shown to our berth by Maggie and Ellie, two Glasto girls who have met all the stars and are rightly impressed by meeting me too. They’d asked me in advance what a celebrity of my calibre required in my rider and, I’m glad to report, my needs have been met with a bag of treats, bottled water – still, not sparkling – and a shiny metal bowl from which to scoff.

Maggie and Ellie at Middlewick Farm

Maggie and Ellie at Middlewick Farm

Maggie has experienced the limelight herself, having starred in Alastair Pawday’s dog-friendly Britain book – but we don’t mention that, seeing as Jane and I have our own dog-friendly book coming out in May and it’s much better. BRAG AND WAG! (You can order it by clicking on the Amazon button on the right. Houndtag #JustSaying.)

Right, commercial break over and back to Middlewick. Jane and I might not be at The Festival but we are sleeping under the stars, in an e-den, which is wooden pod in a field with views of Glastonbury Tor. The e-dens aren’t camping – they are GLAMPING, with a double bed inside, a fridge, a kettle, electric lights for dogs who are scared of the dark, heating and double glazing. They even have private loo’s and shower cubicles which guests have their own keys to so they don’t have to share with anyone else. Obviously I don’t require these facilities – in fact, I prefer to pee where another dog has just pee-ed, to show my superiority. What’s the point in pee-ing if no-one’s going to smell it?

dog friendly somerset, dog friendly glastonbury, where can dogs stay glastonburyGlaston.E-Den.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Off to explore Glastonbury The Town for the afternoon – a 20-minute or so tramp through the fields from Middlewick. When we arrive my nose twitches as there’s a rather pleasing smell emanating from many of the shops on the main street – sweet and sort of soothing too. That’s incense, Jane says, which confuses me rather as the smell is the opposite of INCENSED – it’s pretty relaxing actually.

GLASTO.Unicorn.Horn.for.CatsInside these INCENSED shops – some of which have rather odd names like The Psychic Piglet and the Cat and Cauldron – all manner of unusual items are for sale. Costumes for witches – more Dodger the cat’s territory than mine, that back of the broomstick stuff – and crystals and a unicorn horn for cats. Jane and I snap that up to take home for Dodger quick smart. He loves to sport a unicorn horn of an afternoon!

The reason for all these ethereal emporiums selling spiritual swag is that Glastonbury is a magical, mystical town that’s on an island called the Isle of Avalon. (It isn’t a geographical island – it’s a meta-physical island or a metaphorical island or some-such. Jane doesn’t really understand so she can’t explain it properly to me – she just sings a bit of Roxy Music and nods, knowingly. But she doesn’t know and so I don’t know either. Sorry.)

Anyway, the rules of the Isle of Avalon are that every burgher should be peaceable and live in harmony with their fellow man and their fellow dog and this translates into dogs being welcome EVERYWHERE. Hurrah for the hippies – a hound’s best friend!

Jane and I pop into not just one coffee shop for a cup of tea but two, so thrilled are we to discover such a bountiful supply of dog-friendly digs. There’s the 100 Monkeys, which is rather laidback and cool and there’s the Lazy Gecko, which is cheerful and cosy. Even though I am neither primate nor lizard, I am hailed in both as a handsome chap and a very welcome guest. I am really feeling the Glastonbury vibe by now and ask Jane whether it would be possible to have some braiding in my forelock or perhaps a small henna tattoo on my paw. I am informed that it would not be possible. She’s such a SQUARE sometimes.

 

GLASTO.Phone.Box.Who'd.Have.Thought.ItFor our evening repast we repair to the Who’d Have Thought It – a pub and inn where pie and sausages are on the menu. There is a scantily clad young woman in a telephone box and a Well beneath the stone floor, covered by glass so there are no accidents among the inebriated. Who’d Have Thought It indeed but I am growing used to Glastonbury’s quixotic quirks by now so I take it all in my stride.

We meet a rather fine Tibetan Terrier, whose job it is to guard monks. Jane and her friend Pennie lavish much praise and fuss upon him. Normally I would be rather put out by this and my nose well and truly out of joint but hey – peace and love, dog.

(Unfortunately I didn’t write this fine fellow’s name down in my repawter’s note book so if anyone recognises him please inform him he’s on Phileas Dogg. I wouldn’t want him to miss out on his moment of fame and he does a good job, guarding those monks so he deserves it.)

GLASTO.Dog.in.Who'd.Have.Thought.It

I’m rather tired by now so we return to our e-den. We need to take a tour of the Tor, I inform Jane as we bed down for the night – we must climb it at dawn and greet the sunrise to connect with our inner spiritual selves. But, when dawn rises and I’m snug as a dug in a rug in my e-den, my sleepy self vanquishes my spiritual self and it’s 11am before we eventually start our ascent.

GLASTO.Attlee.TorBut so much for inner – or outer – peace on this fine morn. For one, SHEEPS are also taking a tour of the Tor. Come off it – SHEEPS aren’t mystical beings. They are things that exist purely for dogs to chase, like balls and sticks. Except, as we all know, dogs aren’t allowed to chase SHEEPS – even on the Isle of Avalon where the pleasure principle rules. Grrrr-HUMPH!

GLASTO.Sheep

GLASTO.Attlee.TorThen, just as we nearly reach the summit of the Tor, where I am very hopeful of finding DOG – or God, at least – a massive gale whips up around us, buffeting us from all sides. I am resilient in the face of danger and high winds but Jane isn’t and insists that we turn tail and hot foot and paw it back down the Tor. THE SHAME! The SHEEPS are laughing at me.

We hike back to Glastonbury where we have a much more sedate walk around the Abbey grounds – 36 dog-friendly acres but it’s leads-on chaps. I rather hope to meet our friend the Tibetan Terrier from our previous night’s adventures – surely he should be here, guarding the monks?

GLASTO.Abbey

 

And then it’s time to depart Glastonbury, the town of peace and love, and return to Camberwell where sometimes, it has to be barked, peace and love is in short supply on the frenzied city streets. I am rather gloomy about it all but then we present Dodger with his unicorn horn and – ah well, what dog on earth could not be cheered by this sight?

Dodger.Unicorn.Horn

Phileas Phacts: Glastonbury

  • Middlewick Holiday Cottages, Wick Lane, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 8JW Tel: 01458 832351; website: www.middlewickholidaycottages.co.uk
  • Price: starts at £65 per e-den per night.
  • Charge for dogs: £15 for a weekend and £25 for a week
  • Hundred Monkeys, 52 High Street, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 9DY Tel: 01458 833386; www.hundredmonkeyscafe.com
  • Lazy Gecko Cafe, 8 Magdalene Street, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 9EH
  • Who’d A Thought It, Northload Street, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 9JJ Tel: 01458 834460; www.whodathoughtit.co.uk

Dog-friendly North Devon

dog friendly, dog friendly cafes Devon, dog friendly DevonWe have just arrived in Holsworthy, North Devon, after a bus from Camberwell to Paddington and then a train from Paddington to Exeter and then a bus from Exeter to Holsworthy. And now, after all this bus and train and bus, we are stuck: stuck in the dog-friendly Corner Cafe in Holsworthy’s main square to escape the rain.

Our stuck-ness is a result of Jane’s inability to drive. She has taken lessons over the years – lots of lessons over lots of years – and once, in her late 20’s, reached the heady heights of actually sitting a driving test. It lasted five minutes.

She will try again, she tells me. One day…

Until that day, our researches are often undertaken by public transport. Jane and I are plucky by public transport. Whereas other travellers might say ‘it’s too complicated to get there without a car’, Jane and I will find a way, even if it means planning our trip around a bus that runs once a month.

Sometimes, of course, we’ll reach somewhere by train and bus and then have to splash out on a taxi for the last straggly few miles – which can be expensive, but is worth it, if it means we can go somewhere we really want to go.

And, today, it is those last few straggly miles which are a problem because, in Holsworthy, on a Saturday afternoon, there are no available taxis to splash out on.

‘Taxis need to be booked in advance round here,’ a pleasant local lady informed us when we arrived in Holsworthy and asked where the mini-cab office was located. ‘This is North Devon.’

The pleasant lady did furnish us with a couple of taxi numbers but, sure enough, one answer phone message relayed that the drivers only worked week days. The other phone number rang out. And out and out as Jane tried repeatedly, sipping her coffee and beginning to fret. Her fretting was fizzing down my lead and I was beginning to fret too.

Problem was our holiday cottage for the weekend was about five miles out of Holsworthy – and, even though I wouldn’t have balked at hiking such a distance, Jane was balking big style. It was raining, hard. Only three hours of daylight remained. She’d been to Waitrose and bought two heavy carrier bags worth of provisions.

Minutes turned into half an hour turned into a whole hour and Jane dialled and dialled the ringing out phone number. She dialled it until, an hour and a half after we’d arrived in Holsworthy, a man answered and said – yes, he was a taxi driver but, sorry, it was his day off and he couldn’t assist.

At that, Jane put every ounce of passion into a description of our beleaguered situation. My little dog and I are stranded. (I wasn’t too thrilled about the little but she was utilising it for artistic purposes so I let it go.) It is raining. We cannot attempt to walk the five miles to the cottage as the provisions I have purchased in Waitrose are very unwieldy.

Half an hour later the taxi driver pulled up and rescued woman, dog and Waitrose bags. He’d forfeited his day off when faced with the emergency Jane had outlined.

‘You can’t just turn up in North Devon and expect to find a taxi,’ he told us kindly as he drove us up a long farm road and deposited us at our cottage.  ‘We work more slowly round here.’

Holsworthy.Holemoor.Farm.Entrance

We were stranded in our cottage for the whole weekend! Amaze-bones. This was an adventure on a grand scale – an adventure on a farm with fields and walks and rabbits in the hills!

But, for the first few hours, Jane was tense. She couldn’t settle to the idea of being miles from the nearest corner shop or pub. She ate the cream tea Anita, the lovely lady in the farm next door, had left out for us hungrily, as if it might be her last meal on earth. (This despite the Waitrose bags!)

Holsworthy.Shetland.PonyAnd then Jane started to relax. There were so many aspects to the farm that she liked. A Shetland pony (who I did not like). A full size pony. The farm dogs, Billy and Merlin. (Billy was something of a nosy neighbour, taking great delight in peering through the patio windows at the front of our cottage to keep check on what we were up to.) Oh and there was a swimming pool and hot tub – although sadly they weren’t for canine use.

 

Our NOSY neighbour Billy

Our NOSY neighbour Billy

That night, Jane enjoyed the sense of being warm and safe in the cottage as a great storm from neighbouring Cornwall battered against the top of our hill.

She settled into our seclusion and when, the following morning, Anita very kindly offered to drive us to the nearby beaches of Bude, Jane said no – she was enjoying just pottering about.

We walked two miles to the nearest village – Bridgerule – to buy a newspaper in the local shop. It had closed, at 11.30am, half an hour before our arrival, but because Jane was used to North Devon and its ways by now, she didn’t stress or grow irritated.

Instead we went to Bridgerule’s pub – the Bridge Inn – where a group of men were sitting around discussing the great issues of the day and Jane drank a cup of coffee and shared a packet of crisps with me.

Holsworthy.Pub.BridgeruleEverybody in the pub was very friendly and we were invited to the pub quiz, that evening. Jane politely declined, reckoning that two miles was a long way to walk for the humiliation of coming last. (General knowledge isn’t my strongest suit.)

When the day of our departure dawned and the hour of our pre-booked taxi was upon us, Jane did not want to return to the metropolis of Holsworthy. She wanted to stay on the farm a little longer. But the contents of our two Waitrose bags were depleted so move on we must.

Jane had, she said, de-stressed in just 48 hours. The remoteness of the farm had proved a positive rest cure.

Me – I never had any doubts.

Phileas Phacts: Holsworthy

Holemoor Cottage, Holemoor Farm, near Holsworthy, Devon

Book through Toad Hall Cottages on 01548 202020 or 0800 6101122 and at www.toadhallcottages.co.uk

***Phileas Dogg Paw Print of Approval for Services to Holidaying Hounds

Sleeps: five

Price: starts at £370 a week.

Charge for dogs: £25 per dog per week.

Extras for dogs: biscuits and towels.

Access all areas: not upstairs.

Number of dogs: ask at time of booking.

Late night pee:  out on to the third of a mile long farm lane (set back from the road). There are also enclosed paddocks where dogs can run off lead.

Owner’s dogs: Billy and Merlin

 

 

Dog-Friendly Chipping Campden, Cotswolds

I’d heard that the Cotswolds is one of the most celebrity-filled areas of England, outside London, so, keen to meet a classier kind of canine – perhaps even an A-list amigo – I persuaded Jane that we had to travel there. My nose was twitching at the prospect of sniffing a better class of bottom than is aromatically available in south-east London….

Jane arranged a trip with her friend Maria and Maria’s Boston Terrier Joan, who could have been a celebrity dog herself, she claims, as, apparently, an A-lister was interested in buying her when she was a pup. It never happened – instead she ended up with Maria and Darryl – and perhaps it’s not even true and is just one of Joan’s stories to attempt to prove she is superior to me in breeding and bloodline. Well, I’m superior in barking and squirrel chasing, Joan of Park, so take that and back to the real celebrities of the Cotswolds.

Cotswolds.Noel.Arms.ExteriorWe booked into a pub with rooms – The Noel Arms – in Chipping Campden. Was the Noel Arms a haunt for celebrity Noels? Maybe I’d be meet Noel Gallagher or, at the very least, Noel Edmonds and Mr Blobby, as I do so love to bark at humans dressed in ridiculous pink suits with white splodges on.

Anyway, all the buildings in the Cotswolds – even the bus stops – are of a honey-ish hue. Lots of them are very old but even the houses that are modern are honey coloured too. I lifted my leg against a couple to check they were, in fact, hard stone and not soft honey and I can confirm this is the case. They are not made of honey – they simply have the appearance of honey. Thank Dog or we would have been in rather a sticky situation.

Cotswolds.Attlee.Walk.2

This honey coloured stone is called Cotswold stone and it is very ‘istoric. It is what gives the area its unique appearance and draws celebrities to it like bees to honey.

The Noel Arms is hewn from honey stone, of course, and is bang in the middle of Chipping Campden, overlooking the little town square. Indeed, it is such an important focal point in the town that the bus stop is right outside. I believe this is also so the famous Noels don’t have to walk very far if they decide to use public transport to ferry them around instead of helicopter.

There is a cafe – dogs welcome – inside the Noel that all the Chipping Campden locals frequent. It sells homemade Battenburg, which is Jane’s favourite cake. There is also a bar, where dogs are allowed, and a restaurant, where we aren’t. Maybe this is where the Noels are as I haven’t spotted any yet – and I’ve got my pawtograph book ready. BOL!

And, across the road, there’s a very dog-friendly cafe called Huxleys, where I am allowed to chill out in peace and quiet and given some treats by the friendly waiter – almost as if I am a celebrity. Which, come to think of it, with all my writings, I am!

But, for a short while one afternoon, Joan and I are confined to the room – the indignity – as Jane and Maria are heading across the street to use the SPAR facilities at the Noel Arms’ sister hotel – Cotswold House.

Cotswolds.Attlee.Joan.HotelBed1

It is the big, bossy sister I would surmise, because, while the Noel is laidback and allows us dogs in public areas, Cotswold House does not. There are some garden rooms at Cotswold House where we’re allowed to kip but show our faces in the public areas during day time – no way. The public areas of Cotswold House are too posh to pooch and the SPAR is definitely out of bounds for hounds.

Not to worry – I had rather a pleasant few hours while Jane and Maria were away dog-watching from the window of our room which surveys the town square. A word of warning for humans, though – the bathroom window surveys the square too, so do not forget to draw the curtains when lifting your leg in there or any passing Noels may get a shock.

When Jane returns from the SPAR I remind her that I am ready for a walk. What, after all, is the point of being bang in the middle of some of the finest countryside in all of England if we’re not going to utilise it? I tell Jane there will be a slice of Battenburg awaiting her at the end of the walk.

Cotswolds.Cotswolds.Way.SignChipping Campden is Walksville, Arizona because it is at the start (or the end) of the Cotswold Way – 102 miles to Bath – and also near the start (or the end) of the Heart of England Way, 100 miles long. That is a lot of miles but unfortunately we only managed three as Joan, well-bred lady that she is, slowed us down rather as she walks at a pace that she believes befits her status. Luckily Jane and I tried another walk the following day and that was much longer and much (blood) lustier – the SHEEP were prime for the chasing but, sadly, for that reason, I was on the boring lead for much of it.

Cotswolds.Attlee.Joan.Walk

And, at the end, still no Noels. Ah well – I had enjoyed my CHIPPING Campden CHIPS and my scraps of steak at dinner the previous evening and my SAUSAGES at breakfast so I couldn’t dwell on the lack of Noels. However, Jane and I did nip into the tourist office just before we caught the bus home to enquire about the local celebrities – and we were informed that the most famous local is Jeremy Clarkson. So not a Noel at all – what a SWIZZ!

Phileas Phacts: Chipping Campden

  • Noel Arms, High Street, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55 6AT Tel: 01386 840317; website: www.noelarmshotel.com
  • Huxleys, High Street, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55 6AL Tel: 01386 849077; website: www.huxleys.org
  • Cotswold House Hotel and Spa, The Square, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55 6AN Tel: 01386 840330; website: www.cotswoldhouse.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Festive Greetings from Willow in dog-friendly Tickhill, South Yorkshire

Season’s Woof-tings Phileas Phans. Time has flown by since I last wrote about my summer adventures by the sea; now it’s cold and dark and I seem to be forever having my paws wiped or – DOG forbid – dunked in a bowl of water after a muddy walk. I’ve even had my first birthday – I’m now a whole year old. My birthday was great. We had a party with my very own doggy birthday cake, and I unwrapped my presents. And now I’m unwrapping more presents as it’s my very first Christmas (that I can remember) with Hannah and her family. It’s all very exciting.

Tickhill.Willow.BirthdayTickhill.Willow.Xmas.Stocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This festive period makes the dark nights and miserable weather a lot more bearable and so, even though we haven’t been on any exciting trips, I thought this would be a great opportunity to tell you about the lovely place where I live – Tickhill!

Tickhill is a big village (or is it a little town, we’re never sure!) in South Yorkshire, famous for being the home of Willow the Coton de Tulear – and where Jeremy Clarkson hails from.

In the heart of the village, there are lots of lovely shops, pubs and places to eat or have a coffee, all surrounding the Buttercross in the centre. The Buttercross dates back to the markets in the 1700’s and is the iconic symbol for Tickhill. Every year on Christmas Eve hundreds of Tickhill residents gather round it to sing carols. This year was my first experience of ‘Carols at the Buttercross’ and loads of my friends – both four- and two-legged – were there. It wasn’t a very Silent Night at all!

Tickhill.Buttercross.at.Christmas

 

Even when it’s not Christmas, Tickhill is a gift to we dogs.

We have our very own medieval castle, dating back to the 11th century, and the family that live there open the doors to the public once a year when we all get to have a nosey around.

Tickhill also boasts a cricket ground, the lovely St Mary’s Church, and WALKS – around the village and through the surrounding fields. My favourite walk is round the Mill Dam. (That’s the posh name – we just call it the duck pond!) It’s lovely whatever the time of year and there are lots and lots of DUCKS, as is appropriate, given the name. I’d love to run around chasing them all but sadly I’m never allowed. Instead, they just stand and quack at me as I walk past on the lead – I’d show them if I got the chance! Sometimes children throw bread to the ducks. Why? I try and tell the children that the bread is wasted on those ducks and that I’d happily help them finish it.

Tickhill.Watching.the.Ducks

Aside from the WALKS, Tickhill is very dog-friendly in its shops and businesses too.

Castlegates DIY is a hardware store selling everything from kitchen items to light bulbs – and there’s a pet section. Dogs are welcome and I’m always given lots of fuss from the owners. This place definitely gets my paw print of approval!

Dogs are also welcome in GT News and I sometimes get a biscuit from one of the nice ladies who works there – because of this, me and Hannah often call in on our walks. The ladies in KSM – the card shop and dry cleaners – are really friendly too, and let Hannah carry me around inside when we’re buying someone a last minute birthday card!

Our favourite coffee shop is Lottie’s (it’s a wine bar in the evening). The lovely Charlotte who owns it is our neighbour and sells the best cakes in town – Hannah and her mum are regulars. There’s a nice little courtyard outside where people can sit with their dogs, which is especially lovely in summer.

Tickhill.Pint.at.CarpentersThere are lots of pubs in Tickhill and most allow dogs – result! I had my first pint in the Carpenters Arms. (Only pretend of course – everyone knows dogs shouldn’t have alcohol.) And the beer garden in the Scarborough Arms is lovely to sit outside in when it’s sunny.

I know I might be biased but I definitely think Tickhill is the most wonderful place to live. But, wherever you are this year, I hope you’re all having a Pawfect Christmas and are Woofing in 2014 in style!

 

Phileas Phacts: Tickhill, South Yorkshire

  • Castlegates DIY, 14 Castlegate, Tickhill, Doncaster, DN11 9QU Tel: 01302 742982
  • GT News, 11 Market Place, Tickhill , Doncaster, DN11 9HT Tel: 01302 742429
  • KSM Card Shop and Dry Cleaners, 2 Market Place, Tickhill, Doncaster DN11 9QU Tel: 01302 742572
  • Lotties Coffee Shop and Wine Bar, 1 Sunderland St, Tickhill, Doncaster DN11 9PT Tel: 01302 742385; Twitter:@LottiesTickhill
  • The Carpenters Arms, Westgate, Tickhill, Doncaster, DN11 9NE Tel: 01302 742839
  •  Scarborough Arms, Sunderland St, Tickhill, Doncaster, DN11 9QJ Tel: 01302 742977

 

Merry Christmas from Monty in dog-friendly Moreton-in-Marsh

It’s the week before Christmas, and all through the land

We doggies are waiting, a bright merry band

For wintery walks, festive dinner and bones

And stockings to hang in each doggy home.

So tag every present, and deck every hall

Here’s to us, dogs of Britain! Merry Christmas to all!

Merry.Xmas.Monty.Moreton.In.Marsh

Much excitement this week, fellow travel phans, as I’ve been off for a festive break in the Cotswolds, not an area that’s previously had the pleasure of my furry company. We’re staying in Moreton-in-Marsh, which sounds very dog-friendly and muddy and splashy but Sara says I can’t expect too much in the way of marshes, as she thinks they may have done something about the drainage in the last few hundred years.

Moreton’s a bustling market town, on the crossroads of the Fosse Way Roman Road and what’s now the A44. It’s a pretty place, with shops and houses built in the local honey-coloured stone, with plenty of mullioned windows and wonky doorways to add a bit of character. Our home for the next two days is the White Hart Royal Hotel, a Grade II listed former coaching inn that’s four hundred year old, which is two thousand eight hundred in dog years. Apparently, in 1644 a King Charles spaniel sheltered there following the battle of Marston Moor –  or it may have been a bloke called King Charles I, I’m not entirely sure. Anyway, a copy of his unpaid bill is on display in the hotel lobby. I wonder if I could get away with that too?

Merry.Xmas.Monty.TREATS!We’ve chosen the White Hart Royal as it claims to be ‘very dog friendly’, and they immediately get a paws-up from me when I discover a goody bag in our room. It’s crammed with biscuits and chewy strips, and I’m just starting to investigate when Sara whisks it out of my reach. Oi! I think you’ll find that’s mine!

 

 

 

After a brief pause to settle into the room, which is lovely and spacious, we sally forth to find somewhere for dinner. We’re not eating in the hotel tonight, so it’s a brisk walk round the town to admire the Christmas lights and find somewhere that’ll give me a right royal welcome. Several pubs have ‘dog-friendly’ signs up, including the Black Bear and the Swan, but we settle for the Redesmere Arms, where I’m welcomed into the bar. There’s a slight kerfuffle when the diner next to us drops a piece of fish on the floor and I dive for it, forgetting I’m tied to the table, but I don’t think anyone really notices. Ahem.

Merry.Xmas.Monty.White.Hart.RoomOn the way back to the hotel, Sara stops to speak to a lady with two spaniels, who tell me that nicest local walk is from Moreton to Batsford, a little village a couple of miles away. Hooray! Back at the room, I go straight to sleep to conserve my energy for the morning. In honour of the occasion, Sara’s packed my best travelling bed, covered in little pictures of ducks. It might not be the most masculine of travel accessories, but it’s a look I feel I can pull off.

In the morning, we get straight out for our walk. Leaving the car at the hotel, we walk down Corder’s Lane in the centre of the town and are almost immediately out across the fields on footpaths. It’s an easy, level walk to Batsford, a small estate village dominated by a 19th century mansion and the Batsford Arboretum and Garden Centre. We walk out through the arboretum, and make a two-hour loop round the estate before ending up at the garden centre for coffee. Here, dogs are welcome not only in the outside eating area but also in the shop and cafe. There are strategically-placed water bowls available, and a tap – top marks, Batsford!

After coffee, we drive to nearby Chipping Camden, another very pretty town with mellow sandstone buildings. From there, it’s easy to get onto the start of the Cotswold Way, a 100-mile footpath which runs down to Bath. I’m game for walking it all, but in the event we have to turn back after only a couple of miles when Sara remembers she’s left her rucksack in the car. Dozy woman – it’s a good job she’s got me to take care of her!

Having a Chortle on the Cotswold Way!

Having a Laugh on the Cotswold Way!

That evening, the humans head off to the hotel restaurant for dinner, which is the one public room in the whole hotel that I’m not allowed into. Cheers, guys! At least they bring me back a piece of fish, elaborately wrapped in a fancy tin foil parcel, and I can confirm that the restaurant deserves its AA rosette, but needs to work on its portion sizes.

merry.Xmas.Monty.Xmas.Lights.MoretonThe following day – Tuesday – the market’s on in Moreton and Sara decides to go and look round, as it’s such a historic event. I’m quite interested in a stall selling oven-ready pheasants and grouse (grouses? grice?), but Sara won’t buy any as she assures me they won’t last the car journey back to Cheshire. Too right they won’t! Ha ha!

After a last look round Moreton, we pack up and head back, driving through the town with its Christmas trees and decorated shop windows. It’s time for me to get home and hang up my stockings ready for Santa Paws – I always hang up four, which I think is only fair.

Merry Christmas Phileas Phans and a very happy New Year!

Monty X

 

 

Dog-Friendly Newcastle: Elvis is IN the building!

Newcastle.Elvis.1!I’m Elvis the Boxador and I’m THE Dog on the Tyne. Everybody knows that Newcastle is one of the world’s biggest party cities – I once snaffled a string of plastic sausages from a hen party outfit. But is Newcastle one of the world’s biggest paw-ty cities too?

So here is my tour of dog-friendly Newcastle. My two Dads often take me for a long walk along the River Tyne, especially in the summer when it’s not absolutely freeeeeeeezing. While I sniff out the best things to wee on, they sniff out Newcastle’s best dog-friendly pubs to visit with me – they do enjoy a pint or two.

On the south, Gateshead side of the river – Newcastle and Gateshead are two separate places, divided by the Tyne –  just next to the bridge is a curiously shaped pub called The Central. It is kind of like Tyneside’s answer to New York’s triangular Flatiron Building but smaller. Dads like The Central because it has a chilled-out atmosphere and the Giant Yorkshire Puddings look amazing. I like The Central because the staff are always so happy that ELVIS IS IN THE BUILDING and make a huge fuss of me.

Newcastle.Elvis.Shades

A quick walk over the river across the Swing Bridge – there are always ‘Dog on the Tyne’ jokes at this point – brings us to Newcastle’s Quayside Quarter. Now, Dads presumed anywhere with an outside area would be pretty okay to stop off with me for a quick pint and the Wetherspoons-owned The Quayside with its big beer garden at the front and back was an obvious choice. However on our first visit we were asked to leave, as apparently it’s against company policy to allow dogs anywhere on the premises. Wetherspoons does not love me tender. 

MAYBE WETHERSPOONS WOULD’VE LET ME IN IF THEY KNEW OF MY TALENT FOR BALANCING THINGS ON ME HEAD

Newcastle.Balancing.BallNewcastle.Elvis.Balancing.BoneElvis.Collander

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, never mind Wetherspoons because close by there’s a hidden gem. The Red House, in a grand old building, is a pub dedicated to serving the very best in pie and mash. Dads say the food is amazing but never share with me. Oh well – I am always served a lovely bowl of water while they stuff their faces. Thanks Dads – NOT!

newcastle.pie

Further along the river, just past the iconic Millennium Bridge is the classy-looking Pitcher & Piano. There are a few tables outside overlooking the bridges and the BALTIC art gallery and Sage Music Centre. Unlike in Wetherspoons, Dads aren’t told off for having an Elvis with them and nobody steps on my blue suede paws! 

Further east along the River Tyne, is an area called Ouseburn – home to the Tyne Bar, where I’m always warmly welcomed, even though I ain’t nothing but a hound dog. There’s an outdoor area in one of the arches of the Victorian bridge that runs over the pub with a stage for bands to perform. I have been known to take the stage in my rhinestone jumpsuit and lob a tennis ball around.

Newcastle.Elvis.Free.TradeJust up the steps next to The Tyne is The Free Trade. They don’t have dog bowls, but Dad always comes out with a drip-tray of water for me (I’m not fussy) and their beer garden has some great views down the river towards the city centre. I always get lots of attention in The Free Trade – one time, I wagged my tail up a lady’s skirt and tickled her knickers. Dads were very embarrassed and the lady said she had a hot flush.

Now we walk back into town or, if Dads are lazy, use public transport. The Tyne and Wear Metro (and its buses) are all very dog friendly – in fact, dogs travel free. As I am Elvis, I should really have a limo to transport me around but I don’t so the bus and metro has to to.

Newcastle.Elvis.on.Metro

A good bar in the city centre, near the train station, is The Town Wall – it’s very ‘trendy’. Well-behaved dogs (and children) are allowed in until 7pm. Dad #1 took me there while he had a lunchtime work meeting. He was amazed at how quiet I was being, sitting under the table minding my own business – then he realised I’d spent half an hour methodically chewing through my lead. What can I say? I was bored!

 

Me having a business meeting at the Town Wall

Me having a business meeting at the Town Wall…….

When I’d rather have been at THE BEACH………..!

Newcastle.Elvis.Beach

 

Phileas Phacts: Elvis the Dog on the Tyne

  • The Central, Half Moon Lane, Gateshead, NE8 2AN Tel: 0191 478 2543; www.theheadofsteam.co.uk
  • Red House, 32 Sandhill, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3JF Tel: 0191 261 1037; www.theredhousencl.co.uk
  • Pitcher & Piano, 108 Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3DX Tel: 0191 232 4110; www.pitcherandpiano.com
  • The Tyne Bar, Maling Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 1LP Tel: 0191 265 2550; www.thetyne.com
  • The Free Trade Inn, St Lawrence Road, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 1AP Tel: 0191 265 5764
  • The Town Wall, Pink Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5HX Tel: 0191 232 3000; www.thetownwall.com

 

A Christmas Grotto for Dogs: COMPETITION

Lily's.Kitchen.Attlee.Meets.Santa

On Wednesday evening, Jane and her friend Frankie took me to SANTA PAWS GROTTO.

What I liked about Santa Paws Grotto: I scoffed six MINCE PIES and was given a Christmas stocking containing TREATS.

What I didn’t like about Santa Paws Grotto: the strange man in the red suit who insisted on placing me on his knee and making me wear a floppy hat with a fluffy white bobble on the end.

Santa Paws Grotto has been organised for us dogs by Lily of Lily’s Kitchen fame and is London’s first ever grotto for tail-waggers. Here’s Lily, enjoying her grotto with her sister…… 

Lily in her Grotto - Compressed (2)

COMPETITION

To celebrate Christmas, we’ve teamed up with Lily’s Kitchen and www.bestdogwalksuk.com to give away a stocking containing two books – the Lily’s Kitchen cookbook Dinner for Dogs and then, to work off all those calories, Walking With Boomerang’s Dog-Friendly Walks in and Around London (co-pawthored by me, as it happens.)

 

BK5S32PT

Lily's.Kitchen.Cook.Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To win, simply subscribe to Phileas Dogg (it’s FREE) and tweet us or send us a Facebook message, telling us what you’d most like for Christmas. (I’d like a Day Pass to Squirrel Land, please.)

I’ll choose my favourite on Saturday December 14th and send the books out then, so you’ll have them for Christmas Day. Grrrr-HUZZAH!

  • Phileas Phacts:
  • Santa Paws Grotto, 67 Pimlico Road, London, SW1 W8LJ (nearest tube Sloane Square)
  • Open until December 21st; call Lily’s Kitchen to book on 0207 433 1863

Lily's.Kitchen.Attlee.Jane

 

 

Dog-friendly Sydney, Down Under

G’day Phileas phans! I am delighted to be writing to you from a land Down Under. I’ve read about the adventures of Attlee and his band of rover reporters with some envy – you Europeans do indeed live a dogs’ life!

But I digress. My name is Harry and, like Attlee, I am a rescue dog. Having reached the ripe old age of 10, I am nothing if not streetwise and savvy, and therefore keen to offer my assistance as foreign correspawndent for the harbour city of Sydney.

I am something of an explorer myself, spending my retirement sniffing out dog-friendly Sydney’s best haunts for hounds for my website www.sydneydogslife.com.

dog-friendly Sydney, Australia

Now, the first place most people head when they arrive in Sydney is the harbour and Opera House. Four-legged friends, don’t be fooled by the tourism brochures – there are far more exciting spots for a hound around town!

Let me tell you about Centennial Park – more than 150 hectares of open space where I am allowed off-leash to indulge my true terrier instincts by disappearing into bushes on the scent of something intriguing while pretending I am deaf when my humans call me.

There are outdoor barbecues dotted around the park which means just one thing – SAUSAGES! Sydney-siders like dogs as much as the next decent human being so a little tip from me: put on the sad eyes and there will soon be a stray sausage or two for you to snaffle.

And best of all – there are ducks, Phileas phans! Ponds full of ’em. Truth be told, ducks send me barking mad and all I want to do is chase them. Once I made it into a pond after but it resulted in the humans spending the rest of the walk muttering ‘I didn’t think he liked the water’ and my off-lead privileges being removed for a while. It’s true – I don’t like water but I am a dog who follows his passions and when it comes to chasing ducks, I am passionate.

Adventuring is thirsty work and after a day exploring, my folks are often keen for a drink. I’m a teetotaller myself but I do indulge them since they’ll usually sneak me a meaty treat or two. So far we’ve found two pubs in Sydney where dogs are allowed INSIDE – The London and the Duck Inn Pub and Kitchen. The Duck Inn got my hackles up when I thought those feathered fiends might be around but luckily it was just me and another mongrel, so all was well in the world.

Better than pubs, though, is restaurants – and my favourite is Chew Chew. That’s because dogs are not only allowed – we’re the only ones who are served. Take that humans! The restaurant dishes up fresh food, made to order using only the finest quality fish and meats. I am working my way through the entire menu but my current favourite is the chicken risotto.

If you want somewhere where you can take your humans too, Café Bones caters for canine clientele, selling a selection of tasty treats for DOGS, but also serves people – very non-discriminatory of them. They do a mean Pupaccino too.

A day of activities always leaves me dog-tired. If you need somewhere to lay your head in Sydney, look no further than The Langham. It’s a five-star hotel and, frankly, we hard-working canine correspawndents deserve no less. I was taken there for a night once as a special treat and given a room with a harbour view and a balcony where I could sit and sniff the sea air. I also had my own bed (although it was PINK and I’m a BOY) and a packet of special biscuits during my night-time turn down service.

dog-friendly Langham Sydney

You can find out more about a dog’s life down under on my website, www.sydneydogslife.com. Do look me up if you visit – I’m always glad to make new friends. Until then, happy travels Pommie Pups!

Phileas Phacts: Sydney

  • Chew Chew, Shop 3, Railway Walk, Wollstonecraft Station, Wollstonecraft, Sydney, New South Wales Tel: 02 9460 7111; www.chewchew.com.au
  • Café Bones, Hawthorne Canal Reserve, Leichhardt, Sydney, New South Wales Tel: 02 9402 9272; www.cafebones.com.au.
  • The London Hotel, 234 Darling Street, Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales Tel: 02 9555 1377; www.thelondonhotel.com.au.
  • Duck Inn Pub and Kitchen, 74 Rose St, Chippendale, Sydney, New South Wales Tel: (02) 9319 4415;www.theduckinnpubandkitchen.wordpress.com
  • The Langham Sydney, 89-113 Kent St, Sydney Tel: (02) 9256 2222; www.sydney.langhamhotels.com.au

Dog-friendly Beadnell and Seahouses on the Northumbrian Coast

Dog-Friendly Beadnell and the Northumberland Coast

Willow here, and I’m positively bursting with excitement to tell all of you Phileas Dogg readers about my SUPER-DOGGY-DUPER holiday in Northumberland – my tail hasn’t stopped wagging since.

Beadnell

Beadnell.Beadnell.Bay.Willow

This was my first experience of Hannah and her mum’s annual girls-only holiday in a self-catering cottage for a week while the boys in the family take a whole load of school children camping in Europe. This year Hannah and her mum chose a holiday cottage in Beadnell, just south of the popular harbour town of Seahouses. They visited the area last year – sadly, for them, without a dog – and kept thinking how great it would be for visitors of the four-legged variety. And now they have a companion of the four-legged variety!

We spent the week in a bungalow called Gullsway on Harbour Road in Beadnell, which turned out to be the perfect cottage and the perfect location. Harbour Road runs round the edge of Beadnell, with houses along one side of the road and the sea on the other. So we only had to cross the road and we were on the beach. And we could see it from all the windows at the front of the house!

This gave Gullsway the Paw of Approval from me straight away, but it just kept getting better –the garden was fully enclosed, meaning freedom for me. There were lawns to the front and back of the cottage, as well as a patio table and chairs round the back, so it was an ideal garden for dogs. Hannah was also happy because it made it a lot easier for unloading the car as I didn’t have to be kept on the lead and could just wander around wherever I wanted safely.

Finally the inside of the cottage got Hannah very excited. It was beautifully furnished and very comfortable – she says she wishes our house looked like it. Gullsway has three bedrooms – two doubles and a bunk room – so there was more than enough space for us. Personally I’m happy to curl up on Hannah’s knee anywhere, but we dogs have to allow our humans their little indulgences, which is apparently what a telly in the kitchen and free WiFi equate to.

Anyway, on to the star attraction – THE BEACH!!! All we had to do was cross the road, follow a path through the dunes, and there it was! It stretched all the way up the coast to Seahouses and I could run and run – there’s nothing that beats the feeling of sand beneath your paws. I had so much fun chasing the little sand flies, and even sometimes the big birds that dared to land on MY beach. The best thing was that most of the time the beach was practically deserted, especially on our morning walks, so I hardly ever needed to be put on the lead. And this was during the summer holidays too.

Beadnell itself has even more to offer the traveling canine and their family than my personal beach however – if you walk to the end of Harbour Road, which only takes about 10 minutes, you reach Beadnell Harbour, with all its boats moored on the sand and the ancient lime kilns overlooking it.

This is on the opposite side of the headland to my beach, but at this side you will find one even larger stretch of sand – Beadnell Bay itself. This is a huge curving bay with a sandy beach that stretches as far as Newton Point further down the coast.

We spent one day walking all the way along the beach to a nature reserve at the other end – then rejoined the coastal path and walked back to Beadnell through the sand dunes. That was a super day where I got to run on an almost deserted beach all morning – then discovered the joy of digging in the sand dunes in the afternoon. We finished it all off with a well-earned refreshment outside the Beadnell Towers hotel. This doesn’t let dogs inside unfortunately, but there is a courtyard where we can sit outside, and they do nice coffees apparently. Just around the corner, however, there’s the Craster Arms, a pub and inn where dogs are welcome in the bar area – hurray! There’s also a really beer garden, which was always full of dogs and their owners enjoying the sunshine, and it has an extensive local menu.

Finally, to complete the picture of Beadnell, there is also a little shop selling all the essentials, and a fish and chip shop. What more can your owners ask for?

Seahouses

We didn’t just spend the week in Beadnell however – oh no, we really made the most of the wonderful Northumberland Coast. We spent one day exploring the popular harbour town of Seahouses, only a short distance north up the coast from Beadnell. We walked there along the beach from our cottage and then got a bus back at the end of the day which was very handy.

Seahouses is a bustling seaside resort, full of shops and places to eat and drink, and there’s a large busy harbour where you can catch one of the many boats taking trips out to the Farne Islands. We didn’t go this time, as Hannah and her mum had been last year, but they say that a lot of the boat companies take dogs (although we aren’t allowed on the trips that let you get off and explore one of the islands, as they are nature reserves and breeding grounds for lots of birds. But you can have a boat ride, and apparently you even get to see these things called seals, which I think are like big dogs with no legs.

There are lots of dogs to meet in Seahouses though, and there’s a pet shop which was my favourite place. The Bamburgh Castle Inn also welcomes dogs inside.

Bamburgh

Beadnell.Bamburgh.Castle

Craster

Also definitely worth a visit is Craster, only a short drive down the coast. This picturesque fishing village is an ideal starting point for several walks but most notably the bracing walk over the cliffs to the imposing Dunstanburgh Castle (pictured below). It’s one of the more popular routes, though this just means more dogs to play with and people to fuss me, although I had to stay on the lead for bits as there were some cows and sheep grazing near the castle.

Craster is home to a famous kipper smokehouse, which smelt VERY intriguing, though I never got to go inside, but I did get to go in the Jolly Fisherman pub which welcomes dogs, and best of all the Shorelines Café – a  café that lets dogs inside. Jackpot! We went to both, with lunch in the pub then pudding in the café – all in the name of research of course. Both are lovely inside, and serve good locally sourced food. I got lots of fusses in both, and met dogs of all shapes and sizes to compare holiday tips with.

Beadnell.Dunstaburgh.Castle

Boulmer

We also visited the tiny fishing village of Boulmer, where you can park up and walk on the beach or along the coastal path. The beach here is fairly small and not as nice and sandy as most of the others we visited so the best part of Boulmer was definitely walking along the coastal path. This was completely deserted – we didn’t see a soul and I felt like it was my own private garden by the sea! Continuing on this path makes a nice walk into Longhoughton, a lovely village a little way inland where we visited some family. I had a super afternoon chasing round with Teasel, Phiz and Rafa – like the tennis player. He was pretty keen on me if I do say so myself.

Back at Boulmer we called into the Fishing Boat Inn – dogs aren’t allowed inside – but there is a very nice seating area round the back on a terrace overhanging the beach. There’s even a little wooden shelter with a table inside that bears a sign proclaiming it’s ‘Villa Fido’, so if the weather is bad but your people want to eat then they can sit in there. I’ve never had a private villa before!

Ross Back Sands

Now Phileas Phans, I’m going to tell you about this next place that I visited only if you PROMISE – Pup’s Honour – not to tell anyone else about it….

Ross Back Sands is Northumberland’s best-kept secret – partly because it’s so well hidden! You need to park up on the road leading to the tiny hamlet of Ross – then it’s over a mile’s walk through a few fields and the sand dunes until you reach the beach. But boy is it worth it! A golden sandy beach stretches as far as the eye can see in either direction, framed between Lindisfarne Castle in the distance to the north, and Bamburgh Castle to the south. It’s a huge wide beach, made even better by the beautiful sunny day we had, and we didn’t see a single soul. I ran and played to my heart’s content while we walked towards Budle Bay and back and we sat and had a lovely picnic as if we were in our very own world. It was definitely the highlight of my trip – it was like being in Paradise. Just make sure you keep it to yourself!!

If you do visit Ross, then it’s also worth stopping at Belford on the way back, a quiet village a bit further inland. There are some nice shops and pubs, and the Well House Coffee Shop which has a nice private courtyard – the waitress gave me a big cuddle and brought me out a bowl of fresh water as soon as we arrived.  I also have to mention the kind lady in the Belford Interiors shop; Hannah and her mum always want to have a look round the gift shops when we go anywhere, and as soon as she saw me, the shop’s owner said dogs were very welcome inside and she brought me a bowl of water too (my bladder was getting a bit full by this point but I thought it would be impolite to turn my nose up!). Apparently her own two dogs are normally in the shop with her but were somewhere else that day. Anyway she was very friendly and Hannah spent ages chatting to her and buying presents while I crossed my legs and busied myself sniffing out the missing spaniels.

Finally I have to recommend an excellent pub we went to for a meal out on our last night in Northumberland – well worth a visit if you’re ever in the area. The White Swan in Warenford allows dogs in the bar area – it’s advised to book anyway because it’s very popular – but if your owners mention they’re bringing you then the Landlord will set you up a table in the bar. It’s very cosy and traditional inside, and the food is award winning; everything is locally sourced, with the menu even telling you which farm the produce came from. Everything is homemade too, right down to the ice cream! I was very happy curled up on the carpet, and it would be lovely in winter to lie in front of the log fire. The White Swan definitely gets my Paw of Approval!

So I think that just about sums up my amazing week in Northumberland – none of us wanted to leave when it was time to go home! The Northumberland Coast is my favourite place in the country, and is definitely a Number One Doggy-Destination. If you’re not all pulling out your most persuasive puppy-dog eyes and begging your humans to take you there right now then you should be!

Phileas Phacts

Beadnell

  • Gullsway – for an overview of the property visit www.gullswaybeadnell.co.uk where there is a link to the booking agency Grace Darling Holidays (www.gracedarlingholidays.com) which also has a large selection of other properties in Northumberland.
  • Beadnell Towers, Beadnell, Chathill, Northumberland NE67 5AY Tel: 01665 721211; website: www.beadnelltowers.co.uk
  • The Craster Arms, The Wynding, Beadnell, Northumberland, NE67 5AX Tel: 01665 720272; website:  www.crasterarms.co.uk

Bamburgh

  • The Bamburgh Castle Inn, Seahouses, Northumberland, NE68 7SQ Tel: 01665 720283; website: www.bamburghcastleinn.co.uk
  • The Victoria Hotel, Front Street, Bamburgh, Northumberland, NE69 7BP Tel: 01668 214431; website: www.victoriahotel.net
  • The Copper Kettle Tearooms, 21 Front Street, Bamburgh, Northumberland, NE69 7BW Tel: 01668 214315 www.copperkettletearooms.com

Craster

  • The Jolly Fisherman, Haven Hill, Craster, Northumberland, NE66 3TR Tel: 01665 576461 www.thejollyfishermancraster.co.uk
  • Shoreline Café, 3 Church Street, Craster, Northumberland, NE66 3TH Tel: 01665 571251
  • The Fishing Boat Inn, 14-15 Beach View, Boulmer, Northumberland, NE66 3BP Tel: 01665 577750; website: www.seaviewstudioatthefishingboatinn.co.uk

Ross Back Sands

  • For Ross Back Sands beach, turn right off the A1 past Belford on a minor road towards Ross; OS Map Ref: NU 148377
  • Well House Coffee Shop, 33 High Street, Belford, Northumberland, NE70 7NG Tel: 01668 213164; website: www.wellhousehayloft.co.uk
  • Belford Interiors, 19-21 High Street, Belford, Northumberland, NE70 7NG Tel: 01668 213677; website: www.belfordinteriors.co.uk
  • The White Swan, Warenford, Belford, NE70 7HY Tel: 01668 213453

Monty visits St Bertrand-de-Comminges, SW France

On the Pilgrims’ Tail

“He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster, let him in constancy eat lots of pasta….”

Hmm, that doesn’t sound quite right, but it’s close enough for this pilgrim. Bonjour, travel hounds, and bienvenue en France! This trip, I’ve been visiting St-Bertrand-de-Comminges, a really pretty medieval town in the Haute Garonne department, probably best known as a stopping off point on the Pilgrims’ Tail…er…Trail.

Monty Sniffs Out The Stories

Monty Sniffs Out The Stories

Every year, 100,000 people from around the world make the pilgrimage to the Spanish cathedral in Santiago di Compostela, where St James’ remains are supposed to be interred. You can walk down through France and over the Pyrenees all the way into Spain on the Pilgrims’ Trail, which is marked by signs bearing a scallop shell emblem, but it seems a lot of effort to me just to go and see a load of old bones, which probably aren’t even that fresh any more. St Bertrand has been one of the most important stops on the way for hundreds of years, and you can still see the ancient shape of a scallop shell carved into the stone on the archway of the ‘pilgrims’ gate’, one of several entrances into the town.

The town itself is set on a hill, chosen for its defensive position in the 11th century. Dominating the landscape is the cathedral of Sainte-Marie, a huge building that’s out of all proportion to the size of the town with its tangle of twisted cobbled streets.

My tip for visiting St Bert (as I like to call it, being a native) is park at the bottom of the hill. You can drive into the town if you like, but don’t say I didn’t warn you – you’ll have to come out through one of the medieval gates, and apparently they didn’t much go for big cars in those days. Let’s just say it’s more fun to watch someone else do it than to do it yourself.

Once you’ve parked in the big spacious car park at the bottom, it’s an easy walk up the hill, through the gate and up the stony street towards the cathedral. Unfortunately I normally have to go on the lead at this point, because…the smells. Oh my Gosh – it’s a doggy paradise.

monty.pilgrim's.tail

Even as a seasoned professional, I’m not willing to raise my head and look at the camera as I’m far too busy sniffing the scents and appraising the aromas. Once I’ve been persuaded to climb the hill though, past the little shops selling local goods and food, it’s off for coffee at the Hôtel du Comminges in the main square. They know me there, and bring me out a bowl of water without being asked, while I lie under the table and soak up the sights. And the smells – did I mention the smells? 

monty.comminges.restaurant

monty.leather.shop

After coffee, we stroll round the shops, ending up at the little leather craft shop where the owner makes all her own stock. I have a little wander around out of politeness while Madame makes a fuss of me and asks me my opinion on her collection of bespoke leather dog collars.

Then, it was off to the cathedral of Sainte-Marie, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The nave of the building is open free of charge, but you have to pay to go into the cloisters and see the choir stalls. As dogs aren’t allowed in that bit, I can’t really give an opinion, but they’re meant to be rather fine.

monty.cathedral

After the cathedral, it’s time to go back down the hill and have a little splash in the river. There are miles and miles of stunning walks in the forests around the town, so if, like me, you appreciate your culture in very small doses, then round off the day with a good stretch of the paws – you can always look at the view of the cathedral on the way if you’re feeling guilty. Don’t forget to look out for the scallops on the signposts that tell you when you’re walking on the Pilgrims’ Trail, and make sure you allow plenty of time – did I mention you’ll need it? – for the smells.

Salut, mes amis, et à très bientôt, Monty.

  • For more information and rates for the Hôtel du Comminges, visit www.hotelducomminges.fr. For further details about the cathedral and surrounding area, go to the website of the St Gaudens tourist office, www.tourisme-stgaudens.com, and click on the Discover tab.

 

Dog-friendly Corbridge, Northumberland?

Note the question mark at the end of the title of this post, dear readers. Dog-friendly CorbridgeQUESTION MARK!

Instead of stating, as I have in every other one of my posts, that the destination I’ve visited is dog-friendly, in the case of Corbridge, I am forced to ask the question: is it? And the answer, sadly, would have to be no.

Jane and I went to Corbridge for the day because everybody had lauded it. The prettiest town in Northumberland, extolled they – with beautiful countryside walks and smells,  a Roman town on the outskirts, tea shops for cake and watching dogs go by, traditional pubs selling real ale, a town square with an interesting,  independent book shop….

The sort of place which any dog worth his SAUSAGES would love to explore.

dog-friendly Northumberland, dogs welcome hadrians wall, dog walks hadrians wall, Corbridge Northumberland

Sure enough, when Jane and I arrived at Corbridge town centre, after a 20-minute stroll from the train station, we were impressed by the toffee coloured Victorian buildings and our hearts beat full of hope for a pleasant day out.

It was a sunny day in the United Kingdom, a mere 72 hours before a British man was to win the Wimbledon Championships for the first time in 77 years, and we were happy.

And, when Jane’s happy – or when Jane’s sad, or excited, or nervous, or worried – she requires a cup of tea and where better to find such a thing than in Tea and Tipple, on the square? It looked a cheerful sort of place, where I could sit and make profound observations about the state of the dog travel industry today and Jane could read her novel.

But we were turned away – no dogs allowed in Tea and Tipple, thank you very much. No dogs allowed in any other Corbridge coffee parlour either, as it transpired on two round trips of the town.

Hard to believe but there was no tea shop in Corbridge that was willing to welcome a wagger like me and a WAG (well, she was wearing Hunter wellingtons and a mini-skirt) like Jane. It was very disappointing.

Pubs – it was midday by now, so we decided, we could pass on the tea and cake and go straight for a pub lunch. Circumstances were forcing us to change our plans but we were trying to keep our spirits up.

The first pub we tried, however  – the Black Bull on the High Street – turned us away.

“No dogs I’m afraid” – although to give the landlord his due he did allow Jane to use his toilet and me to lift my leg against the lamp post outside.

The second pub, The Angel Inn, which looks very fine and angelic, all white washed walls and tradition poshed up, showed us the door as well. ‘Exceptional Northumbrian charm’ its website claims – well, it wasn’t very charming to me.

By now I was panting mightily, desperately in need of refreshment, and Jane was growing frustrated.

Passers-by smiled at us and other dogs wagged their tails in a friendly fashion.

But to allow us inside their premises – well, no publican or tea shop owner was playing ball, even though I had a yellow tennis ball with me, in celebration of Andy Murray, and was very up for a game.

Thank Dog, then, for the Golden Lion, just opposite the tourist office. It welcomed us, and, although it took rather a long time for the barmaid to bring me the bowl of water Jane requested, when she did it was the largest dog bowl I’ve ever seen. Which, in all that heat, was just what I needed.

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The barmaid told Jane and I, while we shared a baked potato, that the Golden Lion allowed dogs to stay overnight too, at a cost of £10 a night. I should have gone and checked out the rooms for my loyal fans and I can only apologise that I did not but I was hot and bothered after my less than warm welcome in Corbridge and didn’t have the heart.

But was it really the only dog-friendly venue in Corbridge? Since it’s just opposite the Tourist Information, it was easy enough for Jane and I to go and enquire through official channels, rather than just following our (my) nose.

The Wheatsheaf’s a popular pub, the tourist information lady told us, and has rooms. But, while dogs are welcome in the bar, they aren’t welcome as overnight guests.

In fact, she said, glancing at me with a slightly embarrassed expression, apart from the Golden Lion, there’s only one other place in Corbridge that allows dogs overnight – the Fellcroft B&B, on the way back to the train station.

‘And that’s the only place?’ Jane asked.

The woman nodded sadly.

‘The only place.’

Well, Phileas Phans, it’s plain madness. I have a science bit here. Pet travel is increasing by 6%, year-on-year. It is a growing THING.

And what was really foxing me  – to turn a noun I don’t like into a verb I do – was how a town, set in the middle of such prime dog walking country, could be so un-canine canny.

walks with dogs in NorthumbriaEnough – enough of feeling unwanted and unloved. Time, instead, to stroll along a route that the nice tourist office lady suggested and gave us a map of – an hour-long loop that would take us down to the bridge, along the banks of the river and past Corbridge Mill on to Corbridge Roman Site.

Now, the countryside was very dog-friendly – it’s always thus – with its bounty of plants to sniff and trees to pee against and rabbits to scent (but, sadly on this occasion, not sight).

doggie pubs northumbria, doggie pubs carlisle, dog friendly hadrians wall

As I strolled along, sniffing here and snuffling there and barking at the ducks on the river, I started to feel myself again – Phileas Dogg, adventurer and explorer – instead of Phileas Dogg, unwelcome visitor to Corbridge.

And, when we reached the Roman Site – well, the Romans did not turn me away. The man from English Heritage said that the site had the oldest Roman high street in England and that I, A MERE DOG AS THE PEOPLE OF CORBRIDGE MIGHT VIEW ME, was welcome to stroll down it.

To be honest, the Town now looks a bit like the building site next to our flat, but it was once a bustling centre where people lived and dogs patrolled and supplies for the Romans on Hadrian’s Wall were kept – and that humbled me. I was very respectful to the Romans of days gone by and did not lift my leg once…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the hospitality of the Roman Town, Jane and I decided we wanted to meet the Romans’ natural successors in terms of Corbridge hospitality – the proprietors of the Fellcroft B&B. So, on our way back to the station, we popped in. Very glad to see us Arnold and Tove were too – and very sympathetic when we told them about our less than warm welcome to Corbridge.

‘Why shouldn’t people bring their dogs on holiday?’ Tove said, placing a bowl of water in front of me. ‘Less trouble than some humans we’ve had to stay here.’

Arnold and Tove – who will henceforth be known in my mind as Attlee’s Angels of the North – don’t even charge for dogs.

 

High Paw Arnold and Tove!

The B&B is in a neat Victorian villa, with a front room for the guests’ use. But it only has two bedrooms so book in advance.

For liquid refreshment of an evening, there’s a pub – The Dyvels – next door, with the finest beer garden I’ve ever seen. Just as well the beer garden’s fine because –what a surprise – the inside of the Dyvels doesn’t allow dogs. Devils!

So come on Corbridge – open your doors to us dogs! We have lots of hound pounds at our disposal and, if somewhere in Corbridge decides to go do dog-friendly in response to this blog post, we – the canines of Great Britain – promise to set paw in your establishment and behave in the most impeccable manner.

 

Anubis the Basenji in dog-friendly Pembrokeshire, Hay-on-Wye and Brecon Beacons

wales.dog friendly beaches, wales dog friendly accommodation

I’m Anubis the Barkless Dog and, for one so young (I’m only a year and a half) you could say this London girl is well travelled. I’ve been all the way up North in the Highlands, far to the South in Provence, East to Switzerland, and I’m about to take something called a plane to move way, way West, to California.

But the place I’ve been to more than any other is Wales. I was only three months old the first time my humans and I holidayed thereI loved the beaches.

And, last Autumn, I spent a whole month in the Brecon Beacons while my mummy and I worked on a movie (I’m a showbiz dog.) It’s beautiful, atmospheric, with lots to explore and run through, and lots to sniff and see.

The first and most important part of most trips is always to find great accommodation. My humans like to use the Blaentrothy agency (http://www.cottage-holiday-wales.co.uk/) through which we’ve rented three cottages. Each was unique, beautiful, isolated, comfortable, and most importantly, dog friendly (though for some reason I wasn’t allowed in the upstairs bedrooms.) My humans loved the way they looked; I got a kick out of exploring every nook and cranny and we all snuggled around the fireplaces. Of those three houses, my personal favourite was a place called Paradise (how appropriate!) because not only was it the prettiest, but it also had a big garden safe and enclosed enough for me to run around with minimal supervision.

(As a side note – some cottages allow holiday goers to spread rat poison if they feel the need to, so while I’ve never found any in the cottages I’ve been to, I strongly recommend always doing a full check of the place when moving in, wherever you go!)

Another good thing to know: Wales is crawling with sheep, so if like us Basenjis, you feel you might give in to the temptation of chasing these woolly creatures, stay on the leash in the fields and find forests and woods to run off free. Sheep are sneakier than they look – you never know when you’ll encounter one…

holiday cottages for dog owners Wales UK

Also, the weather in Wales is notoriously changeable (they say if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes!) so if like me you don’t care for the cold and wet very much, remember to bring a coat, whatever the season. And if unlike me, you tend to get muddy, bring a towel and some shampoo!

Speaking of wet, this is where I got to run on a beach for the first time! I first felt the sand beneath my paws on Freshwater West, a great place in Pembrokeshire, west Wales, which, appropriately for a movie dog like me, has been used as a filming location for the likes of Robin Hood and  Harry Potter. I remember my first trip as if it was yesterday; the rush of the wind in my ears as I ran was exhilarating!

My seaside adventures took place around springtime when it was almost deserted, but check out local regulations if you’re going in the summer; rules may vary in the busy season, though I believe all Pembrokeshire beaches are open to dogs in one way or another. It’s a trek from the other locations I’m mentioning here, but it’s really worth it.

Now if there’s one thing I love (besides running on the beach), it’s sniffing old stones. Luckily, there’s plenty around. One of my favourite places was Tintern Abbey, the ruins of a fantastic 12th century monastery in a beautiful setting. I know my mummy tried to tell me what an abbey was, but I was very distracted by some great smelling grass and I’m afraid I didn’t listen. Anyway, we combined it with a trip to Symonds Yat Rock, a forest where I got to run for hours off leash, and admire views over the river Wye.

forest walks in wales dog friendly,

On another day, we visited some of the castle ruins in the area. Many allow dogs on the lead, and my favourites were the Three Castles (White, Skenfrith and Grosmont), big buildings where medieval dogs and their humans used to live. They’re fun to climb around and explore, and they’re surrounded with enclosed fields where I could have a run. I even started an impromptu game of chase with a fellow tourist, a Rhodesian Ridgeback I encountered outside Skenfrith Castle. Good times.

And if there’s another thing I love (let’s be honest, I love lots of things!) it’s the smell of old books. Good thing too, because my humans love to shop for new things to read, and Hay-on-Wye, the only town we set paw in during our stays, is known as the town of books, with over 30 second-hand shops! The streets are full of dogs walking their humans, and the stores are generally extremely dog-friendly. Our favourite was Murder and Mayhem, a crime and mystery bookshop (there’s even a dog sniffing a trail painted on the front wall).

holiday cottages pembrokeshire dog friendly, dog friendly west wales

We had a very nice lunch at the Three Tuns, which has a big outdoor space to welcome canine customers. I ended my stay with a stretch of the legs in the fields on the other side of the main car park, and a short drive to yet another bunch of old stones, Neolithic this time, at Arthur’s Stone (technically in Herefordshire rather than Wales, but who’s paying attention?), which again were surrounded with vast expanses through which I got to run freely.

I’m just not sure California will compare!

Postcard from California: Dog-Friendly Pleasanton

Our favourite Rover Reporter Monty writes:

Well, chums, I’m discombobulated. I’d even go so far as to say, as we like to put it here at the Phileas Dogg features desk, that I’m in a right Fido Fizz. Sara has gone off to America to interview another dog! Coming over here, taking our jobs…..well, I suppose technically Sara’s going over there, but it rankles, chums. It rankles. Still, probably I’ll have to sub his finished piece quite a lot, as he’s not a professional newshound like me.

Sara’s going out to see my American cousin, Winston. He lives in Pleasanton, California, and although we’ve never met, we’ve barked at each other a lot on Skype (he says I have a great accent). Winston is a German pointer, but his family have been over there for generations. (I, on the other hand, am an *English* spaniel. Heritage. Culture. Point made, I think.) Anyway, Winston’s going to take us on a tour of his hometown, which is called Pleasanton, quite near San Francisco. Over to you, Winston!

Winston Lounging By His Swimming Pool

 

“Well. Gee. Um….I have to say, I’m a little nervous about being thrust into the limelight like this, but I sure was honored to be asked to show Sara around Pleasanton, and show her what a great, dog friendly place it is.

Now, when you first set paw in town, the first thing I recommend you do is go and see my friend Amadeus, who runs the town’s pet shop, Murphy’s Paw, on Main Street. Amadeus is a Newfoundland, and has his huge, webbed paw on the pulse when it comes to dog friendly ways to spend your day. He and his human Dean, who’s occasionally allowed to help run the shop when Amadeus needs a nap, stock some pretty tasty treats, too. When I took her to meet Amadeus, Sara picked out some ‘healthy fruit and pumpkin seed’ treats to take back to cousin Monty (WHAT! Fruit! Healthy treats? Bah! M.), but I managed to sneak a couple of ‘real cowboy sausages for dogs’ into the bag when her back was turned (Thank goodness – I owe you one, Winston!).

dog-friendly California, dog-friendly San Francisco

Next, it was off for a tour of the town. The principal street is called Main Street, and it’s a wide, pretty, shady boulevard lined on both sides with little shops and boutiques, including an old-fashioned bookstore and lots of coffee shops and restaurants.

Many of the buildings date back to the mid 1850s, when Alisal, as Pleasanton was then known, enjoyed a boom, as miners used it as a stopover on the way to the gold fields. The town is on the edge of the famous Napa Valley wine area, and many of the stores stock local wine, books and wine-related gifts. The town still has an intimate, small town feel, and in fact in 1917 it was chosen as the location of the film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, leading to its contemporary nickname of the ‘Hollywood of the North’.

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My favorite place to walk in the local area is Shadow Cliffs Recreational Park. Dogs have to stay on the leash in a lot of the little local community parks (WHAT! and they call this the land of the free? – M.) But there are lots of dedicated dog parks and off-leash areas as well.

Once you’ve stretched your paws a bit, stroll down Main Street and pick out a nice spot for lunch. Several  cafes and restaurants welcome us dogs in outside eating areas, including Tully’s, Baci, Nonni’s, Cafe Main, Pasta’s Trattoria and Vic’s All Star Cafe, and quite a few of the shops also display ‘dogs welcome’ signs in their windows, so make sure to take your humans inside and pick up a souvenir or two.

As for where to stay in Pleasanton, the good news is that there’s lots of choice. It’s usual for hotels in the U.S. to charge a pet fee, and some also limit the size of the dog, so check out prices, policies and facilities at www.BringFido.com.

For the humans, there’s always a lot going on downtown. In the summer, there’s open air concerts, antiques markets, and the famous ’1st Wednesday street parties’, with live music, art demonstrations and local craftspeople lining the streets.

Well, I think that’s about all I can tell you for now – I’m off to top up my tan by the pool.”

(Huh. I’m still cross. M.)

Boxout: Phileas Phacts

  • For more information about the town and community, visit www.ci.pleasanton.ca.us
  • Bring Fido, the U.S. website that lists pet-friendly accommodation, can be found at www.bringfido.com.
  • For further details about Shadow Cliffs, see www.ebparks.org/parks/shadow_cliffs
  • For full listings of Pleasanton events, including details of 1st Wednesday street parties, visit www.pleasantondowntown.net/events.php.

North Norfolk: Doggie Pubs and Brilliant Beaches

I had no idea we were travelling up to North Norfolk on the morning of May 22, 2013 – if Jane had condescended to inform me, I might have thought twice before taking on one of the rabble of foxes who sneak about my garden at night and, on this particular day, were still rummaging around at 8am. But Jane hadn’t informed me and when the fox didn’t flee the garden at the first of my blast of barks, I saw red in tooth and claw. Furious, I barged towards the wily scavenger and lashed out. Floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, I scored a couple of direct hits. The fox turned bushy tail but the vile vulpine had a trick up his scavenging sleeve and, as he fled, lashed out at my nose, causing a deep gash, a lot of pain and a constant stream of blood to pump out.

I required veterinary attention and pronto, so Jane dragged me down to that place I don’t like – the V.E.T.S, where, because of the scarlet hue of my war wound, I was seen first. As the vet cleaned my gash and prescribed me antibiotics the prospect of North Norfolk first came to my attention.

‘Will Attlee be all right to run on the beaches?’ Jane asked. ‘We’re going to North Norfolk this morning.’

What? Beaches? Miles and miles of shore to run on, as far as the horizon and beyond, with sea weed to snaffle and shells to crunch. And me – stuck on the end of a lead?

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Of course I’d be all right to run on those beaches. A little scratch like this wasn’t going to deter me.

But:  ‘Keep him on his lead until the wound is healing,’ the V.E.T advised. ‘It could flare up if it gets a bit of silicon from the sand in it.’

I was so depressed I thought my little stump of a tail was never going to wag again. I’d kept our garden clear of the orange menace and this was my repayment – not to be allowed to run free, as DOG intended, on the beach.

So our journey to Titchwell Manor, near Brancaster, in North Norfolk was not a happy one, especially as, running late, we’d gone through the ticket barriers at Liverpool Street with our Oyster card. Jane thought this was perfectly admissible and we could buy our ticket on board the train. WRONG. Well, right – we could buy our ticket on board. But we were fined £20 for not having a ticket before we travelled. Even the sight of my battle scar did not soften the ticket inspector’s hard heart.

Still, I brightened after Tim, our official photographer for the trip, picked us up in his car and we travelled through North Norfolk. I’d imagined it might be like Suffolk, pretty and pastoral with pastel-coloured houses, but the buildings were different – all traditional stone and flint – and the countryside a little more undulating. (That’s a big word for a little dog!)

As we drove further away from the main towns, like King’s Lynn, it all felt very remote and away from it all – away from the scrap of the morning and the flippin’ foxes anyway. And I relaxed.

I brightened even more when we arrived at Titchwell Manor, on the coast road with views of the marshes leading to the sea, because we were given a map of local walks – WALKS – at reception. By now the country air had made me buoyant and determined – my scar would heal and I would be LEAD OFF for every one of those walks.

The front of Titchwell Manor – the main bit – is a manor house and then, round the back, are the dog-friendly rooms, set out around a garden a bit like an American motel and painted the colours of the sand and the sea.

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Inside our room, there was a big metal dog bowl, a bag of dog biscuits and a dog bed. The bed was a bit flowery for my taste but I’m not going to split hairs. It was comfortable.

What I liked best about Titchwell Manor, though, was the big wooden kennel filled with comfy sofas in the walled garden. How thoughtful – the proprietors had organised a private space, just for me.

But, Jane said, it wasn’t a kennel at all – it was something called a summer house, for people to relax in of a sunny evening after dinner. Dogs could come too but having to share with PEOPLE isn’t quite the same as having it all to canine-kind.

doggie pubs Norfolk

Titchwell Manor is in a titchy hamlet – that’s why it’s called Titchwell – with a post box. But Brancaster, a metropolis with a couple of pubs and a shop, is 20 minute’s walk away and we went there for a drink at The Ship, which has dog-friendly rooms, and is quite trendy, like you might find in London. The lights are made from driftwood, from the beach. The BEACH – I want to go to the BEACH! 

I can smell the sea and the salt everywhere and I want to be on the sand, chasing.

But that was for the next day, when my wound would have miraculously disappeared overnight, thanks to my cunning plan of getting my paws on Jane’s mascara and painting the redness of my snout black.

Back at Titchwell for dinner, Jane could have eaten in the bar area, with me, her faithful friend, by her side but instead she opted to leave me in the room so she could sit in the conservatory and look out at the big kennel – sorry, summer house.

I wasn’t complaining because I’d glanced at the menu – there was some fancy stuff but PIE too and I knew good old Jane would go for that, so I could have a slice, given everything I’d been through.

(Jane wants me to mention here that the locally caught crab starter she scoffed before the PIE was delicious – so scrummy, she said, as if she’d pulled it out of that big sea herself just five minutes before and cooked it. But since Jane doesn’t know how to cook, beyond pressing a button on a box called a microwave, I find this rather a confusing comparison.)

Jane did condescend to take me to breakfast the next morning, where we met a Cockapoo called Tess. Poor Tess though – she might have been a designer dog, unlike me, who wasn’t designed at all but rather thrown together from all sorts of bits and bobs – but she had lots of allergies and had to eat special food meaning she couldn’t have any SAUSAGES.

Anyway, now it’s time for the main event – Brancaster beach. It was amaze-BONES-ing times a thousand – miles and miles of sand and a shipwreck out to sea and proper dunes for snuffling in and a golf course behind it, which the reception lady at Titchwell had said, dogs were allowed on, but I didn’t really fancy that – being caught in the RUFF and having golf balls blasting into me.

Parking at the beach is £4 a day, which Jane says is London prices, whatever that means, but we were lucky, because we could walk from our hotel.

When we arrived at the start of the sand, I tried to hide my wound from Jane by turning my snout this way and that. But – THANK DOG – she couldn’t bear to see me, on the lead, with all those acres of sand in front of me, so she took my lead off and set me free. (Please keep this under your hats, hounds. She did clean my wound straight after my beach romp, to make sure it hadn’t got any sand in it. And I’m writing this a week later and am happy to report I’m still very much ALIVE.)

I sprinted and circled and jumped up at Jane, to show her how I excited I was, and then I sprinted and circled some more, loving the feel of the sand beneath my paws which is so much better than the grubby old pavements of south-east London, and the clean, fresh air and I was even exhilarated to see the birds wheeling overhead, happy to let them live and me live rather than chasing them, like I do the scrubby old pigeons at Peckham Park.

Jane was excited too and she ran along beside me and we had such fun that there was no one else in the world but us and nowhere else in the world but that beach and that moment.

beaches dog friendly north norfolk, doggie pubs north norfolk

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-ROVER,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

*I didn’t actually write this – a poet called John Masefield did. But it SUMS it up for me.

But, after our walk, trouble – Jane had lost my lead. It had fallen out of her coat pocket when we were running along, she reckoned, and so we had to scour the beach for it, because it was made by someone called Cath Kidston and had been a present and this made it very special. I was pleased, because we retraced our steps and did the beach all over again, but Jane wasn’t pleased, because we didn’t have a spare lead and she didn’t have any rope and thus would have to carry me or bend double holding my collar until we found a pet shop, which could be ages and ages and she wasn’t even sure we would find one, in such a rural part of the world.*

And that’s what she was doing, bending double holding my collar as we departed Brancaster beach, when a couple with two dogs asked if she was all right, and she explained our troubles and the couple were so kind: the man of the couple went to their car and collected their spare lead to give gave Jane. A blue, Flexi extender one too – not any cheap rubbish. This couple and their organisational skills in packing a spare lead for their holiday had saved the day and I think there’s a lesson there that Jane would do well to learn. But I’ll say no more about it.

Hurrah for that couple, though, because there was still so much more exploring to do in North Norfolk. There was Holkham beach, about a 20-minute drive from Brancaster, and, at the end of it, if you time it right at low tide, Wells-by-The-Sea, with its kennels on stilts on the sand.

dog friendly north norfolk, doggie pubs wells-next-the-sea

And just behind the beach hut, there’s a cafe – the Beach Cafe – which has a special gathering place for dogs called the K9 club where there is lots to drink and lots of other surf dogs to compare notes with. We’re allowed inside too but this is the only place I’ve ever visited in my travels which has put the canines first, with our own VIP area, and for that – PAWS UP BEACH CAFE, WELLS-NEXT-THE-SEA!

dog friendly cafes wells-nest-the-sea, dog friendly pubs norfolk

Afterwards, we walked back to Holkham through the woods, which are part of a nature reserve and a very important site for twitchers – twitchers as in humans who like bird watching, not twitchers as in dogs with twitchy noses like me who can smell 1000 plus scents at any one time. And there’s the grounds of Holkham Hall, which is owned by a VISCOUNT, to explore but we saved being gentry for the next day as we were exhausted – even me, intrepid Attlee.

Phileas Phacts, North Norfolk

  • Titchwell Manor, Titchwell, near Brancaster, Norfolk, PE31 8BB Tel: 01485 210221; www.titchwellmanor.com
  • Prices start at £95 per room per night: £8 a night for dogs
  • The Ship, Main Road, Brancaster, Norfolk, PE31 8AP Tel: 01485 210333; www.shiphotelnorfolk.co.uk
  • Beach Cafe,  Beach Road, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1DR Tel: 01328 713055; www.holkham.co.uk
  • Brancaster and Holkham beaches are dog-friendly all year round
  • Holkham Hall and Estate is at www.holkham.co.uk

 

Dog-Friendly York (in which Phileas attends a wedding!)

Last Saturday was a big day in my life because I went to a wedding – a dog-friendly wedding, if you will.  I was the guest of honour and York Register Office, having heard of my celebrity status as Britain’s top canine correspondent, made an exception to its usual rules and allowed me in to survey the proceedings.

The wedding belonged to Jane’s sister, Steph, who was marrying a man called Jerome.

Marrying means that Steph and Jerome aren’t ever allowed to speak to a member of the opposite sex again EVER, apart from each other. This being the case, I don’t think marrying would be my bowl of dog biscuits. Right now, my favourite bitch in the park is Sky but last year my best bitch was Plum and the year before that Fenn. Who knows what hot dawg might turn up next year and catch my eye?

So I don’t think I’m the marrying kind.

Anyway, I am glad Steph and Jerome married, because I like Jerome, and now that he’s part of our pack I am officially his pet-in-law. That means he has to make extra dinner whenever Jane and I stay with him and Steph and serve some up to me. Grrrr-huzzah!

Needless to say, I was the smartest guest at the wedding. I don’t know why everyone makes such a fuss about what to wear to these events. Jane went down to Whitstable, to choose a dress, and then to Waterloo station, to collect a petticoat, and then to Pimlico, to buy a hat that had pretend flowers on it. Pretend flowers – what’s the point? If a flower isn’t fragrant it’s useless – it’s just a thing for me to lift my leg against. And I couldn’t very well lift my leg on Jane’s bouquet-less bonnet because it was on her head!

Yes, all this palaver among the people over clothes whereas I simply turned up in the park the day before the wedding and was presented with TOP HAT AND TAILS by Annie, my official couturier.

dogs welcome York, are dogs allowed into register offices at weddings?

* And here I am looking fit as a butcher’s dog, even if I did feel a bit of a fool. I would like to post a photograph of the bride and groom but unfortunately rights to the wedding pictures have been snapped up by Hello magazine so it’s out of the question for a humble little site like Phileas to get our paws on them. Bark Out Loud!

Well, after the service at the register office, we went for lunch and all the humans drank a golden liquid with bubbles in it that made them Laugh Out Loud a lot.

It was a little bit rum as I wasn’t allowed in the venue – #notAmazoneBones – and had to wait outside in the gardens tied to a table with my lead for three whole hours. Under normal circumstances I’d have made a great fuss about this but it wasn’t my big day – it was Steph’s big day. So I was patient and well-mannered and courteous and I reaped the rewards as all the other guests were sorry that the best-dressed chap at the event was banished outside so brought me lots of tit-bits. I snaffled, in no particular order: Parma ham, chorizo, pumpkin pasta, bread and butter pudding, cheese AND biscuits. #AmazeBones

Anyway, enough of this – I am just talking about me, me, me, Jane says, whereas my readers want information that is useful to them, like where to go in York for the best sights, smells and sounds. And I can help with that, because in the course of the weekend I visited two hound-happy hostelries and kipped in a hound-happy hotel. So here are my findings.

 

  • First up, and my favourite pub – high paw – was The Lamb and Lion Inn. This was the Bonio best because it was built into the city walls and had lots of corridors from olden days to sniff my way along. And it had a private dining room that I was welcomed into rather than being barred because of some EU law that doesn’t exist, but HATERZ pretend does, about dogs not being allowed in restaurants. And it had a roaring fire, which was required, even though I visited in mid-May. And one of the main dishes on the menu was PIE, which Jane ordered and her PIE-eyes are always larger than her stomach, meaning I get my piece of the PIE. Grr-huzzah!
  • The Lamb and Lion Inn, 2-4 High Petergate, York, YO1 7EH Tel: 01904 654112; www.lambandlionyork.com
  • The other pub I visited, on the Saturday night, after the wedding, because the humans wanted more to drink while I had had quite enough water in my bowl for one day, thank you very much, was the Three Legged Mare, known to locals as the wonky donkey. Anyway, it’s the sort of pub Jane likes because it was quite grungy and no fuss. But mainly she liked it because a random stranger asked where she’d bought her dress. Jane was rather thrilled by this and reckoned it made her the best dressed guest at the wedding but I put her straight on that one.
  • Three Legged Mare, 15 High Petergate, York, YO1 7EN Tel: 01904 638246; www.york-brewery.co.uk
  • We stayed at a guesthouse five minutes walk from York Minster called The Holme Lea Manor, or Homely, as Jane called it, which would be a far better name, as it was, really, homely – with rooms that weren’t too self-consciously interior designed. I am not a fan of self-consciously interior designed. A bed and a chair and a bowl – that’s all that’s required to sustain canine-kind. Fido requires not fripperies! One criticism however – there were lots of pictures of Winston Churchill on the walls and not one of my namesake, Clement Attlee. I think the homeley Holme Lea should rectify this, especially as Attlee (ie. ME!) has stayed there and I’m not sure Churchill ever did. Oh, and another criticism, from Jane and Steph – no biscuits to dunk in their tea.
  • The breakfast was proper though and, even though I wasn’t allowed in the dining room, when Jane brought my SAUSAGES up to me they were of the highest order. Yorkshire sausages, Jane said – but I would have thought SAUSAGES are more Pork-shire than York-shire. BOL at my own joke!
  • Steph and Jane slept in twin beds on the night before the wedding but, on the night of the wedding, Steph was gone, off to begin married life, so I had her single bed all to myself. Perhaps marriage is for me after all, as long as it’s other people’s.*
  • *I’m not sure that I was strictly allowed to have a whole bed to myself on the Saturday night so please keep this aspect of my trip under your hats!
  • Holme Lea Manor, 18 St Peter’s Grove, York, YO30 6AQ Tel: 01904 623529; www.holmelea.co.uk Prices start at £50 per night for a single room: £XX extra for dogs.
  • My official couturier and seamstress is Annie – www.annie2pins.co.uk. She might make you an outfit if you send her a request but I cannot promise you’ll look as handsome as me. Sorry.

 

Extra York Notes

And I have even more information about York, because, in January, I stayed at William and Mary’s house, Middlethorpe Hall, which is ten minutes’ drive from the city.

William and Mary were so very, very glad to welcome me and aware of the privilege I was bestowing on them by visiting that I was afforded the best room in the house – not so much a room, as a whole cottage.

But then, woe, when I fancied a mooch around the main attraction – the big posh hall – William and Mary would not allow me in. I was stuck on the doorstep!

Now, this is clearly wrong. Anyone who has watched Downton Abbey knows that dogs are definitely not below stairs – we are above stairs. The Labrador in Downton follows Lord Grantham everywhere and mixes with the upper echelons of society without causing anyone any embarrassment.

Oh sorry – interruption from Jane. She is informing me that we were not staying at William and Mary’s house at all – but in a William and Mary house, which is a different thing altogether. A William and Mary house is a house that was built during the reign of William and Mary – three hundred years ago. William and Mary don’t exist. Well, they do, somewhere and they did, with big golden crowns on their head. But William and Mary aren’t at this particular house now which is, in fact, owned by the National Trust. Major confuse-bones!

Anyway, back to where I’m allowed and not allowed. Apart from the wrong-ness of people thinking dogs are too scruffy for posh houses (THE CORGIS AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE – I rest my case!) the people at Middlethorpe Hall did allow me on the terrace and did give me a map on arrival, showing me all the good walks in the area and in the hall’s 20 acres of grounds, and were very friendly whenever they saw me, and didn’t charge the humans extra for me to stay. (A lot of places do and this is the biggest Bark Out Loud in the world because I should charge them for the privilege of a visit from me.)

So all in all it was a good stay and I would recommend it, as long as you don’t get ideas above your station and try to set paw in the main house.

  • Middlethorpe Hall, York, Yo23 2GB Tel: 01904 641241; www.middlethorpe.com
  • Prices start at £99 per person per night – no extra charge for dogs.

 

On a Dog-friendly Narrow Boat in Shropshire and Wales

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Hello again Phileas Phans! It’s Willow here, fresh back from my first ever holiday – not bad considering I’m only five months old. And not just any holiday either – I’ve been cruising the British Waterways in a dog-friendly narrow boat on the Llangollen Canal. Forget a stupid Ship’s Cat – Willow the Ship’s Dog is in town.

I didn’t know what a boat was at first, when Hannah, her brother Matt, her parents and me arrived at Maestermyn and Welsh Lady Narrowboats in Shropshire.

There was a lot of talk about how we were going to be in a boat called Catrina, a two berth narrow boat (berths are like bedrooms to us land-lubbers apparently.) But, when we arrived we were upgraded to the Queen Victoria – a bigger boat with an extra berth. So Hannah and me had a double bed instead of a single – result.

(I’m sure we were upgraded because, as soon as the boat owners saw me they knew that, as a Coton de Tulear, which is the Royal Dog of Madagascar, I should be upgraded, and that only a royal boat would be suitable.)

Anyway, when I first went into our boat, I thought it was just another house – a long and narrow one.

It had a kitchen and a shower room and a comfy seat that I picked out straight away.

I knew we were near water though. I’ve walked by canals before, and there was definitely the unmistakable whiff of duck.

Then, suddenly, there was a very loud roar, a bit like our car makes, and the house was rocking!

I was a bit alarmed by this turn of events but luckily I’m a brave little dog and didn’t panic. Then Hannah took me out onto the front of the boat and – pull my tail –our holiday home was floating down the canal! So now I knew what a boat was – a house that moves on water.

Well, this was just super-doggy-duper! I stood with my paws on the side of the boat as we passed fields and trees and even DUCKS swam in front of my nose. All the while I could catch the tantalizing smells wafting from the bank – it was like a walk in fast-forward, with loads more smells and new places to see every second.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw lots of bigger and dirtier versions of me in a field – apparently these are sheep! On closer inspection I decided they definitely weren’t as pretty as me, but they smelt interesting.

We passed people walking on the towpath, and they all smiled and waved at me, looking so cute like a fluffy ship’s figurehead. Sometimes it was frustrating though, because no matter how much I wagged my tail I couldn’t reach those people on the bank, and I just knew they would give me a huge fuss and a biscuit if I could get to them!

We passed dogs too. They couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw me cruising past. Sometimes they tried to keep level with me by running along the towpath, barking. But they were no match for Willow the Water-Pup, Coton-of-the-Canal, as I was chauffeured past on my very own Royal Barge.

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I liked this boating lark – until I suffered a terrible ordeal. Hannah tried to make me wear a life jacket! A life jacket I tell you! What a joke – you’ve never seen anything so hideous in your life. It was luminous orange and padded and there was no way a dog as cute as me would be seen dead in something so ugly so I put my paw very firmly down.

When Hannah tried to take me for a walk on the towpath wearing it, I refused to budge and didn’t move a muscle. That was the end of the life jacket.

Anyway, as if I needed a life jacket – I had no intention of jumping in that filthy canal water, and even if I had fallen in, I can swim – I’m a dog! AND hundreds of years ago my ancestors jumped from pirate ships and swam ashore to the island of Madagascar I’ll have you know.

Fashion crisis averted, within a few hours I was practically sailing the narrow boat on my own. I was even helping out with the funny contraptions called locks, which make the boat disappear down or rise up like magic! (It’s best to stay on the lead for these though, as apparently it’s very dangerous if you fall in one.)

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Life on a canal is such fun. Some of the best things about it are the walks! Every time I stepped ashore a whole new walk awaited me, with exciting smells and places to see. Canal towpaths are great for walking. I was allowed off the lead loads so could run and play – just watch out for bikes. Oh and games of fetch are a little difficult if your owner doesn’t have a good aim, unless you don’t mind losing your ball forever into the depths of the canal!

There were also lots of countrysidey smells, more sheep and rabbits – and joy-of-joys, the delicacy that is fox poo. I tried to chase a squirrel once but I lost it when it climbed a tree.

We passed pretty houses and bridges and lovely little villages, where you can moor up and explore. We visited loads of good places. The first night we moored the boat near a village Chirk, which smelt of that forbidden treat – chocolate. Then someone told me why – there’s a Cadbury factory nearby! Chirk is just inside Wales so I was crossing borders now!

We ate in a dog-friendly pub called the Bridge Inn, just a short walk from the canal. I was only allowed in the tiled bar area and there wasn’t a lot of room, but Hannah says the food was nice and I met a friendly Jack Russell!

It was fun staying on the boat overnight, though it’s pitch black on the towpath – no problem for my keen eyesight but make sure you tell your humans to carry a torch.

And just to warn any scaredy-dogs out there, the boat occasionally rocks as you walk around inside, and bangs against the side of the canal, which shocked me at first but I soon got used to it.

The Chirk Tunnel was a bit spooky, mind, when we went through it on the boat. Not that I was scared – I was only hiding my face in Hannah’s coat to protect my fur from the drips! 

We also visited Llangollen – a popular tourist town, with lots of shops and places to eat. I didn’t test them out myself but the Chain Bridge Hotel and the Sun Trevor pub are both dog-friendly. There are even some horse-drawn boats on the canal here – I made sure to bark at all the horses just to show them I’m boss. After all, us dogs don’t have to pull the boats – we ride in them like the VIP passengers we are.

Another night we ate at the Telford Inn at Trevor. I never did manage to figure out who Trevor was but he certainly knows how to make a welcoming doggy pub: I was given water and lots of fuss, and could lie in front of the open fire while my humans tucked into some lovely food.

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We went to another town called Ellesmere, but I’m sad to report that this was NOT a very dog-friendly town! We walked round and asked in all the pubs, but there was nowhere for the humans to eat that would let me in – the cheek of it! So in the end we picked up a Chinese takeaway and we headed back to the boat. The one redeeming feature of Ellesmere is that nearby are seven lovely lakes, or meres, which make it one of the prettiest parts of the canal. These formed 10,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age, when the great glaciers melted – I’m not just a pretty face you know! There are some great walks on the towpath where you’re walking with the canal on one side of you and a mere on the other – I definitely advised Hannah against trying to throw the ball for me here!

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I hope that splash didn't have anything to do with my favourite ball!

 

Also not to be missed on the Llangollen Canal are the two aqueducts – one at Chirk as you cross from England into Wales, and the other at Pontcysyllte. The views are amazing, and it’s hard to believe that you’re in a boat on a canal aqueduct that’s seventy feet up in the air over the river far below. Now I know what it’s like to be a bird!

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Eventually we had to turn back though, and on the final night we ate at a fascinating pub called the Jack Mytton in Whittington, not too far from our boatyard and right on the edge of the canal. It was lovely inside, with lots of interesting things on the walls, though I wasn’t too keen on the carving of a bear outside.

The bear was forgotten though when I spotted a jar of dog biscuits on the bar! The landlord was very friendly and the food award-winning. They even have a pub dog which apparently looks like me but HUGE – can you imagine?! I would have loved to meet him but he obviously hadn’t heard about the royal visit and was out and about.

The next morning we returned the boat to the boatyard and headed home. I was sad that my boating adventure had to end. I’d loved all the exciting towpath walks; visiting a different place each time we stopped, and, most of all,  riding at the front of the boat like a princess watching the world go by. I was worn out and slept all the way home, dreaming of boats and ducks and averted fashion disasters. When we pulled up outside our house, I couldn’t wait to tell all my friends that little Willow of Tickhill was now Willow of the Waterways!

Phileas Phacts

  • Maestermyn and Welsh Lady Cruisers, Ellesmere Road, Whittington, Shropshire, SY11 4NU Tel: 01691 662424; www.maestermyn.co.uk (Dogs are allowed in all their boats, but there is an additional charge.)
  • Bridge Inn, Chirk Bank, Wrexham, LL14 5BU Tel: 01691 773213
  • The Chain Bridge Hotel, Llangollen, LL20 8BS Tel: 01978 860215; www.chainbridgehotel.com
  • The Sun Trevor, Sun Bank, Llangollen, LL20 8EG Tel: 01978 860651; www.suntrevor.co.uk
  • The Telford Inn, Station Road, Trevor, LL20 7TT Tel: 01978 820469
  •  The Jack Mytton Inn, Hindford, Whittington, Oswestry, SY11 4NL Tel: 01691 679861; www.jack-mytton.co.uk
  •  (The Jack Mytton is awarded the Phileas Dogg Paw Print of Approval by Willow.)

 

Another Great Offer from Wightlink Ferries, Exclusive to Phileas Dogg Readers

For stays booked in May, dogs can stay for free (usually charged at £20 per dog) at Nettlecombe Farm in Whitwell on the Isle of Wight. One of Wightlink’s Green Getaway properties, Nettlecombe is a working-farm which offers a choice of canine-friendly self-catering accommodation in converted stables, barns and cottages set amidst the rolling south Wight countryside. To book with Nettlecombe Farm: 01983 730 783 andenquiries@nettlecombefarm.co.uk. To qualify for this offer, ferry travel must be booked with Wightlink and the code ‘Wightlink – Phileas Dogg’ must be quoted to Nettlecombe Farm at the time of booking. Proof of Wightlink ferry travel (i.e. copy of booking confirmation) is required.

 

 

 

Dog-friendly Jersey with the Travelling Bear

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Yes! Yes!!!!! Vee is packing up the car with not only with her suitcase but MY travel bag too. This is great news!

We’re off to Jersey for a break – Vee says it’s an island of unspoilt coastline, lush valleys and well kept farmland with a unique blend of British and French influences all wrapped up in 45 square miles just 14 miles from the French coast. Voila!

I’m keen to try the ice cream there so I agree to the trip.

Travelling with a dog to Jersey means that you have two options – the passenger ferry which takes over ten hours from Portsmouth or the fast ferry service from Poole, taking four and a half hours.

On the fast ferry, dogs have to stay in the car, as we’re not allowed on the passenger decks. Still, I’m a good traveller – the Travelling Bear, indeed – and didn’t fancy ten hours on a boat so Vee opted for the fast crossing, settled me into my bed in the car and then headed to the deck to enjoy the views of Studland as we left Poole. Obviously I couldn’t see anything as it’s very dark in the car so I just went to sleep and dreamt about windy beaches and chasing bunnies.

On arrival at St Hellier, it was already evening so we headed straight to our hotel, The Longueville Manor in St Saviour.

Wow. An independent boutique hotel of the highest quality – five stars – set in magnificent grounds with an outdoor heated pool, I couldn’t have asked for a more comfortable stay. I was allowed anywhere in the extensive hotel grounds, including poolside, and I very much enjoyed chasing the red squirrels first thing in the morning. I wasn’t allowed in to the main restaurant / bar areas of the hotel so I stayed in our room whilst Vee had dinner (and probably a few cocktails knowing her.)

Although Vee splashed out on our stay as it was a special trip, there are all kinds of accommodation options that welcome dogs and suit all budgets on Jersey. Overall, the attitude towards dogs on the island was very accommodating and we didn’t experience a problem anywhere.

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Exploring Jersey was a joy. In the north of the island, the coastal path walk from Plemont to Greve de Lecq is not to be missed for its stunning views of the Pierres de Lecq, or Paternosters – three rocks looking out towards Sark. Plemont itself is best at low tide when a pleasing expanse of sand* is revealed for racing along and, if you’re brave like me, walking behind the waterfall in the cliffs. There is a great café at the beach selling good quality lunches, cake and of course ice creams.

*It’s important to note that on Jersey’s beaches, according to the law, dogs must be kept on a lead between the hours of 10:30 and 18:00 every day between 01 May and 30 September. However, Vee and I visited towards the end of September and a sensible attitude is taken – if the beaches are quiet, dogs can run free. It’s best to take the lead from the locals, so to speak. )

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Continuing on along the north coast, we discovered the peaceful Bonne Nuit bay, particularly good for sunsets and then on to Rozel Bay which is again a fishing port with a great choice of cafes and restaurants. The sand is limited here though and I needed more sand for racing along….

So we headed west to the vast sands of St Ouen’s bay. Oh My! Five miles of white sand stretching from end to end with stunning views of Corbiere Lighthouse presented plenty of room for me to run my legs off and then a great choice of cafes for refreshment.  Absolute heaven!  

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There are rock poolers, surfers, kite buggies and all manner of activities going on across the sands. Behind the stretch of beach are the extensive Les Mielles, a different world of marram grasses, bunnies for chasing, orchids and dunes. There are bird watching shelters, an abundance of wildlife – and, best of all, we’re allowed off the lead.

Other day trips included a drive to St Brelade’s Bay to lunch at The Crab Shack whilst looking out across the sand to the sea.

And I LOVED Gorey, on the east coast of Jersey. It’s a small fishing village with pretty painted houses and boats of all shapes and sizes bobbing about at high tide. The impressive Mont Orgueil castle on the headland looks out across the Royal Bay of Grouville and provides an interesting back drop to the beach. Vee used to take me here in the evenings to run off the last of my energy. There were lots of big black crows fit for chasing and other dogs to help me.

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Continuing around the coast and heading north, you arrive at St Catherine’s Bay. We headed for the woods so that I could swim, play on stepping stones and rope swings all whilst taking in the ancient ferns and broadleaves. I kept my eyes peeled for red squirrels and chased lots of them out of my way. Pesky things.

Whilst we were there, St Aubin’s Bay became the backdrop for the annual air show which was nothing short of spectacular. The weather was amazing and there are all kinds of al fresco dining options from where to enjoy the display. We got a table outside The Grand right on the front and enjoyed the display from there. I am not at all afraid of planes or noise and so watched from Vee’s lap until I just got so sleepy that I had to stretch out for a sun bathe instead. I think Vee wanted a snooze too after all that Pimms.

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Vee also took time to explore Jersey’s history, with a tour of the War Tunnels where visitors can relive the German occupation. I couldn’t go in here so I stayed in the car underneath a shady tree.

After our fabulous week, we were sad to pack up the car and headback to the port at St Helier where we returned home via Condor Ferries fast service. Vee says that I am getting a passport soon which will mean that when we return to Jersey we can go to across to Northern France which she says is easily accessible from the island. But until then, I hope that many of you will try Jersey for yourselves, especially the ice cream!

Dog-friendly Plymouth

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Chips; I see no chips.

And I am far too busy playing bowls on Plymouth Hoe to care even if I do.

Oh bear with me – there is a chip, dropped by a wandering Devonian en route home from the chippie on Armada Street. Best just hoover that up before some other blighter snaffles it first.

Ah well – enough of the bowls and on with some work, reporting on dog-friendly Plymouth for my loyal Phileas Phans. I am enjoying my hoe-down on the city’s historic Hoe. There’s plenty of green space, a stripey tower, and it’s the place where salty sea dog Sir Francis Drake finished his game of bowls before taking on the Spanish Armada.

I have visited this fine maritime city to celebrate the 40th birthday of Jane’s friend Matthew Tiller Esq. But, as the country’s numero uno (a nod to Plymouth’s Spanish connections there) canine correspondent, I can never merely go on holiday to put my paws up – instead, I have to don my newshound hat and rover report on my destination’s attractions for dogs. A burden but one I carry with grace on behalf of canine-kind.

First things first – dog-friendly accommodation in Plymouth. Now, Matt’s birthday party is being held in the rather fine Number One Guesthouse, right next to the Hoe Hoe Hoe. There’s just one problem that makes the Number One not Number One as far as I’m concerned  – it’s not dog-friendly. Assistance mutts only, if you please…

(I’m allowed to attend Matt’s party, as, in truth, I am an assistance dog – Jane can wobble rather, without me to keep her on the straight and narrow. Also, Matt’s parents run the gaffe and made an exception as I’m a personal friend of his.)

Anyway, we don’t present problems here at Phileas Dogg – we present solutions. And the solution to Plymouth accommodation for dogs lies two minutes from the Hoe – that’s with built in chip snaffling time – in the shape of the Camelot Hotel, where dogs are very welcome. So welcome, in fact, that should our owners wish to go out and leave us for a few hours, the landlady will keep us company, along with her rather large but – and I checked this out with a bark-off –  friendly Rottweiler.

The Camelot is clean, friendly and serves a decent breakfast. I was allowed in the dining room to claim my rightful share of Jane’s full English. And, price-wise, the Camelot is a steal – a steal something really good like a juicy steak from the plate when no one’s looking  sort of steal – at just £32 for a single room and £45 a double for the night with no extra charge for dogs. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr-huzzah!

Janner Jaunts

(Janner is the colloquial term used for Plymothians – source of this information, Matthew Tiller Esq.)

The Barbican

A bit blimin’ sexist I’d say – if Barbie can, Ken certainly can too.

The Barbican is the olde parte of Plymouthe, with cobbled streets and grey stone buildings. It’s where people sailed from, in 1620, to start new lives in America, which is a very big country where the President has a Portugese Water Dog called Bo. (A bit different from our Prime Minister who only has a rubbish cat called Larry.)

The Barbican also has a massive metal sculpture of a prawn, which confused me greatly. doggie pubs UK, barbican plymouth dog friendly, dog friendly self catering devon

A statue of a prawn – I required a sit-down in the Ship Inn overlooking the harbour to contemplate this. And then I required another sit-down, in the super dog-friendly Menu Cafe where I was given manifold contemplative dog biscuits to contemplate it. But I still couldn’t get to grips with the statue of the prawn, so I required yet another sit down at The Queen’s Arms. At the end of all this sitting down and contemplating, I still couldn’t draw any conclusions as to why anyone would build a statue of a pathetic prawn – such a low life form. A noble hound or even a horse, I’ll grant you. But a fish?

 

Mutley Plain   

Mutley Plain is the opposite of Attlee Handsome, obviously, so I was eager to visit and lord it over poor old Mutley. Jane and I walked there from the Hoe – quarter of an hour’s stroll – to visit Goodbody’s, a 24-hour American style diner and cafe, which Jane frequented when she misspent two years of her youth in Plymouth.

Now Mutley might be plain – in fairness, it isn’t. It’s all bohemian and student-y. But Goodbody’s is the least plain dog-friendly fry-up venue I have ever set paw in. It is barking brilliant!

There are red leather booths set in close proximity to each other meaning the smells from the tables all merge together into an amaze-bones aroma which could almost melt a little dog’s nose. The fry-ups are huge and the people are friendly. So, as anyone who understands basic maths will know, this ‘size of portions to friendliness of people’ ratio makes the likelihood of scraps for snafflers 99.99%. (Email me at attlee@phileasdogg.com if the maths confuses you and I’ll send you a graph detailing how this figure has been reached.)

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Jennycliff Cafe

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Our friend Maria and her Boston Terrier Joan took us to Jennycliff as Maria reckons it is Plymouth’s dog friendliest spot and has the best view of the city to boot. It is a bit confuse-bones though, as there was no sign of Jenny. If I owned this cliff, I would definitely be making my presence felt – especially as there are steps down to a sheltered beach and I wouldn’t want anyone getting their paws on my seaweed. Sorry Joan the Boston Terrier – not even you.

Even though the cafe is quite basic inside, it has a sort of old fashioned charm and the prices are as cheap as when my great-great-great-great-grandfather – Attlini, the world famous circus dog* – was alive, meaning Jane purchased two bacon rolls and donated one to me.

*Attlini may not be my great-great-great-great-grandfather as I have not started our family tree yet – I’m still chasing the sticks. But I think he probably is.

The Royal William Yard

This is another historic part of Plymouth – it used to be the place that stored all the food for all the sailors in all the Royal Navy in Britain, Phileas Phact Phans. But it’s now spruced up and very posh. Not too posh to pooch, however, because the plush Seco Lounge, housed in the old bakery, is dog-friendly and nary one human eyebrow will be raised as we, the holidaying hounds of Britain, make our entrance. Boats run from Royal William Yard to the Barbican and the ferry to Cremyll in Cornwallshire is a five-minute stroll away.

Phileas Phact Box Plymouth

  • Camelot Hotel, 5 Elliot Street, The Hoe, Plymouth, PL1 2PP Tel: 01752 669667; www.http://camelothotelplymouth.com
  • Prices from £32 for a single room per night and £45 for a double.
  • The Ship, 4 Quay Road, Barbican, Plymouth, PL1 2JZ Tel: 01752 667604; www.staustellbrewery.co.uk
  • Menu Cafe, 13 The Parade, Barbican, Plymouth, PL1 2JW Tel: 01752 224980
  • The Queen’s Arms, 55 Southside Street, Plymouth, PL1 2LA Tel: 01752 669215
  • Goodbody’s 24-hour bar and cafe, 49 Mutley Plain, Plymouth, PL4 6JQ Tel: 01752 668888
  • Jennycliff Cafe, Plymstock, Plymouth, PL9 9SW Tel: 01752 402358
  • Seco Lounge, 12-15 Mills Bakery, Royal William Yard, Plymouth, PL1 3RP Tel: 01752 229375; www.thelounges.co.uk
  • For more information about Plymouth, log on to www.visitplymouth.co.uk
  • And, if you are a Godless – sorry Dogless – human, do check out Number One guesthouse run by our friend Matt’s lovely parents Doug and Viv; www.numberoneplymouth.co.uk

Another Great Offer from Wightlink Ferries, Exclusive to Phileas Dogg Readers

For stays booked during National Pet Month (running until 6 May), dogs can stay for free at The Heatherleigh B&B in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight. Home to Pawprint star Daisy-May, the dog hotelier, The Heatherleigh is also offering a discounted B&B rate for holidaymakers travelling with their hounds (£32pppn instead of £36). To book with The Heatherleigh: 01983 862 503 and enquiries@heatherleigh.co.uk. To qualify for this offer, ferry travel must be booked with Wightlink and the code ‘Wightlink – Phileas Dogg’ must be quoted to the B&B at the time of booking.

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Meet Daisy-May, the star of Pawprint, available free at www.wightlink.co.uk

 

 

 

Dog-friendly Leeds

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My name is Willow, and I’m a Coton de Tulear – it’s okay, no one else has ever heard of us either – from Doncaster, and I’m Phileas Dogg’s newest and youngest Rover Reporter. I might be only four months old, but this hasn’t stopped me from getting out and about and exploring the country, sniffing out some dog-friendly days out with my owner Hannah.

My biggest adventure so far was in the bustling city of Leeds. That’s one big city for a dog as small as me!

Many people know that you don’t have to go far outside Leeds to find a doggy paradise – the Yorkshire Dales, walks galore, and plenty of pubs that welcome customers of the four-legged variety – but I was heading into uncharted territory, to report back to all Attlee’s readers on the mystery that is Leeds City Centre. We were visiting Hannah’s younger brother Matt who’s studying Chemistry at Leeds University. I don’t know what that is but it smells pretty weird from what I can gather. Anyway, I went with Hannah and her best (human) friend Laura on the train from Doncaster on a dreary March morning for the 35-minute journey to Leeds. It wasn’t my first train journey – believe it or not I’m already a seasoned train traveller even at such a young age, so I took it all in my stride and slept happily on Hannah’s knee till we got there. Matt met us in the station and I got VERY excited as I hadn’t seen him for so long, and gave him a good ol’ face wash to show just how pleased I was, and that I didn’t mind the funny shaped beard he was growing, even though Hannah didn’t seem quite so keen.

We set off walking through Leeds City Centre – now I’ll warn you that this is not for the faint-hearted dogs out there. It’s very hectic with people rushing about everywhere and noisy with traffic and busy roads to cross, and you have to make sure you don’t get stepped on. Luckily, I’m a brave little dog and I’d already had some practice of surviving a city centre in Sheffield, so I trotted along with confidence. I might be small but a big city doesn’t scare me!

First we headed to the shops: Hannah had to help Matt buy something for their mum for Mother’s Day, so I had to stand outside with Laura a lot. This gave me the chance to observe that there aren’t many dogs in the centre of Leeds, but there are a lot of pigeons. I did try to play with them – they were at my level after all – but for some reason they always flew off when I got close.

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Hannah would like me to point out here that there are lots of seats in the town centre, ideal for our humans to have a rest when they’re on the waiting-outside-shops-duty. There are even some seats with funny looking dog statues on them, presumably to make up for the lack of real dogs in the city and try and cheer everyone up. A place without dogs – so depressing!

Anyway, shopping complete we headed up towards the universities, where it was busier than ever with all the students milling around. Hannah and I had excellent tour guides in Matt and Laura (who used to go to Leeds too) so we got to see all the nice bits of the campus. I even got to sit on the famous Parkinson Steps!

We wandered around for a little while: I reckon Hannah and Laura were secretly trying to cling onto their student days, even though they graduated in the summer they seemed pretty smug when they were asked to vote in the student union elections!

All the real students did present an extra obstacle to our walk though. Now I don’t mean to brag, but it’s true that I do tend to leave a trail of awww’s behind me wherever I go. What can I say? I’m a puppy – we come with the aww-factor built in!

Add to that that I’m tiny and fluffy – well,  you’ve seen my photo. Cute may as well be my middle name!

So I can never walk very far before someone stops to fuss me, and this was even more apparent among the crowds of young and excitable students. If you, too, are blessed with the cute factor, you should probably work this into your timings when planning a day out in Leeds.

I needed a break from my admirers so we headed to Veritas Ale and Wine Bar, a dog friendly bar and restaurant. Veritas didn’t disappoint in dog-friendliness – all the staff came to admire me as we walked in, and then I was left to sleep in peace under the table whilst my humans enjoyed a lovely meal. Hannah says the food was excellent – not cheap but worth it – and Hannah’s coffee even came with a mini chocolate brownie much to her delight. Apparently this is a sign of a very good restaurant.

Matt then had to leave us to go and do some experiments, so us girls went for another walk. I liked the big open space of Millennium Square, but best of all was Woodhouse Moor Park, only a little way from the city centre and much quieter, with plenty of space to run around. If you want to walk a little further from the centre of Leeds then you’ll find Hyde Park, an even bigger oasis of green to enjoy.

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Millennium Square - big space; little dog

 

Matt rejoined us and we went for a final stroll along the canal to Clarence Dock, a rather cosmopolitan area of Leeds. It was again less busy here, so a much more pleasant walk for me, but it turned out to be rather exciting as a Fire Service Training Exercise was taking place! There were firemen everywhere – I was very excited to see giant human-shaped dog toys being dragged out of the water, but for some reason Hannah seemed much more interested in the firemen.

We also went past the Royal Armouries Museum. It’s free entry for humans but no dogs allowed – I don’t reckon much to that! But you can at least look up through the big windows and see a display of swords and things and there are canons outside to sniff up.

Finally it was time to head back to the station to catch the train home; I was well and truly cream-crackered. I slept all the way – hey, give me a break. I’m only a puppy and we need a LOT of sleep. Besides, the hectic pace of Leeds could tire out even the most athletic of dogs. But all in all it was a successful trip, and my verdict is that Leeds can be a dog friendly day out, as long as you know where to look.

*Hannah also wants me to add that there were plenty of bins throughout the city – so if, like Hannah, your humans have the rather odd habit of picking up your you-know-what’s and carting them round in a bag then at least they won’t have to carry it for long.

 

Phileas Phacts:

  •  University of Leeds, Parkinson Building, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT; www.leeds.ac.uk
  • Veritas Ale and Wine Bar, 43 Great George Street, Leeds, LS1 3BB Tel: 01332442809; www.markettowntaverns.co.uk/veritas
  • (For those of you with babies in your pack, children are welcome till 9pm.)
  • Woodhouse Moor Park, Woodhouse Moor, Hyde Park, Leeds, LS1 1PL

 

 

 

 

From our own Correspawndent: dog-friendly Aspen, Colorado

Hi there, folks! My name is Baxter, and I’m delighted to be Phileas Dogg’s first-ever U.S. correspondent, bringing you the lowdown on what’s hot and what’s not in my hometown of Aspen, Colorado. I’d also like to extend a friendly paw across the pond to all my British colleagues and fellow re-paw-ters.

I’ve pretty much lived in Aspen my whole life, and I guess you could say I’m the premier pup about town. My early life didn’t start off too well, but when I was adopted from Maxfund Animal Adoption Center by pet shop owner Steve Fante, I really struck lucky. Now, I work in one of Aspen’s top pet shops, C.B. Paws, as chief toy tester and general consultant. It’s a busy life, but I know Steve relies on my opinion when it comes to buying new stock for the shop – every item carries the Baxter pawprint of approval.

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I’m pretty famous, too – I was once featured in local newspaper The Aspen Times for being banned from my own shop! (It’s a long story, and one I won’t bore you with. Fortunately, Steve soon realized he couldn’t run the shop without me, and promoted me to my current position.) I love working in C.B. Paws – at first, I got a bit agitated whenever Steve sold one of MY toys, but now I’ve trained him to give me a treat every time he makes a sale. It took him a while to catch on – he’s sure not as smart as me – but now we make a pretty good team.

So, what advice can I give to fellow canines wanting to visit my beautiful home? Well, the first piece of good news is that almost all Aspen’s hotels are dog-friendly. My personal paws-up goes to the St Regis for their dog-friendly staff and great welcome, and the Sky hotel, who provide “beds, bowls, toys, treats, and love free of charge”. Unfortunately, there’s a State law that prevents dogs going into any area while food is served (boo!), but we’re welcome in most other places.

When you’ve done relaxing in your hotel room, pop your walking paws on for a stroll around my lovely hometown.

Aspen used to be called Ute City, named for the Ute Indians indigenous to the area. In the late 19th century, it enjoyed a brief boom period as a silver mining town, supplying 1/16th of the world’s silver, and many of the town’s most attractive buildings date from this period. After a quiet few years, the town, now known as Aspen, became popular as a ski resort and grew into the thriving community it is today. The name ‘Aspen’ comes from the beautiful aspen trees that cover the mountain slopes and grace the town itself. Set in a valley and surrounded by mountains, it really is a lovely spot – although I might be the tiniest bit biased.

Continuing with the tour, my favorite haunt is Wagner Park, where I can hang out and try out any new toys before I have to go to work. At the weekends, I sometimes like to head up the mountain and hike Smuggler’s Trail or the Rio Grande Trail down to the valley. We dogs can ride the Silver Queen Gondola up Ajax mountain, but I find that area a bit crowded and prefer to stay nearer home.

So if you or your humans ever find yourself in Aspen, CO, call in and see me and Steve at C.B. Paws – I’ll be happy to show you our latest range of toys, but paws off my treats!

 

 

Dog-friendly Isle of Wight with Wightlink ferries

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The ‘Bow Wow’ Factor

Chris Higham checks out the dog-friendly Isle of Wight

Once, we had plenty of choice on a family holiday in Britain.  We travelled far and wide with our children and were welcomed wherever we went. That was before we acquired our Golden Retriever Robbie. After that we struggled to find cottages or hotels that would accept us and our dog.  Determined to take him on holiday, we lowered our sights and settled for a succession of lesser holiday homes.

Now, with two dogs in tow, we have found a holiday haven off the southern coast of England that really has the ‘Bow Wow’ factor! Yes, the Isle of Wight welcomes dogs and to prove it there is even a guide for holidaying hounds.  Published by ferry operator Wightlink (0871 376 1000 / www.wightlink.co.uk), the Pawprint booklet is full of local dogs’ recommendations for the best beaches, country walks and pet-friendly pubs.

We decided to give it a go and cross the Solent for a stay at Niton Barns, recommended as dog-friendly in Pawprint. This complex of farm buildings, stylishly converted into holiday cottages in the Island’s south, proved just the ticket.

Setting out on foot armed with a copy of Pawprint, we followed the advice of booklet star Breez, the Island’s most idiosyncratic dog.  Wearing her own set of goggles, this German Shepherd travels around West Wight in the customised sidecar of owner Graham Lee’s scooter. Graham and Breez love the climb up Headon Warren, “one of the island’s wildest places with fantastic views to the Needles in one direction and the mainland in the other.” We followed suit and climbed 400ft to Headon Warren’s flat-topped summit to explore a maze of paths weaving between heathland heather and gorse.

In between going walkies through miles of unspoilt countryside, we sampled the Island’s many pet-friendly pubs.  Where did our dogs rate best?  No contest:  the Sun Inn at Hulverstone that offered dog biscuits and the Culver Haven Inn on top of Culver Down for its sausages.

Pet Holiday Travel Facts

Wightlink offers free ferry crossings for dogs on all three of its routes (car ferries run from Portsmouth–Fishbourne and Lymington–Yarmouth; a foot passenger catamaran operates between Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier Head). Niton Barns offers canine-friendly holidays starting from around £127 per person (based on four sharing or £218 per person if two share) for three nights, plus £30 per dog. For more details or a free copy of Pawprint call Wightlink on 0871 376 1000 or visit www.wightlink.co.uk/pawprint

Wightlink Pawprint Reader Offer for Phileas Dogg readers in March 

For stays during National Pet Month (1 April – 6 May), dogs can stay for free at Niton Barns and will receive a welcome goodie pack. To book with Niton Barns: 01983 731 506  and bookings@nitonbarns.co.uk and to qualify for the dogs stay for free offer, quote ‘Wightlink – Phileas Dogg’.

 

 

Wightlink’s Pawprint Poll

Top 10 things that make tails wag on holiday:

  • Exploring the woods
  • Finding new walks
  • Running in the wind
  • Being petted by humans
  • Messing about in water
  • Getting titbits on a pub lunch
  • Playing with other dogs
  • Ball and stick games
  • Beachcombing
  • Swimming in the sea

Dog-Friendly Hebrides and Skye with the Travelling Bear

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A Road Trip to the Hebrides with the Travelling Bear

Day One: Last Spring (2012), after a few weeks of hinting at Vee that it was time for an adventure, she finally packed up the Mini and we set off from Kent on what was to become our greatest road trip yet. A sunny April day (probably the last for England but not for us in Scotland!), we were headed for the Hebrides with our first stop being the dog-friendly Lake District. Having weighed up the options between flying, train or car, Vee took the decision to drive me as I wasn’t happy about going in the hold of a plane (no refreshment service down there) and the overnight sleeper train seemed a bore. I like to travel by day – when I can see out of the window.

Arriving in Ings near Windermere, at our kip for the night the dog-friendly Watermill Inn, we went straight out to stretch our legs and there were fantastic walks right from the pub doorstep. Minding the sheep – for some reason I am not allowed to chase them – I got to race off the journey, splash through streams, dig up the odd molehill and take in big sniffs of all the good smells of the countryside. In the evening, I relaxed by the fire, getting lots of attention and crisps. Vee drank her vino and read travel books preparing for what was to come.

Day Two: After a long drive (yawn) in very mixed weather, we arrived in Oban. After checking in to our hotel, The Oban Caledonian, I was keen to explore. There were really lovely views of Mull and the small isles from the harbour and lots of places to stop for drinks and snacks. We found the ruined Dunollie Castle and the fields behind – Scotland has an open countryside, right to roam policy so you can go anywhere as long as you abide by its rules – and I had a good run and a bit of a fox hunt.

Day three: We set sail to Barra on a beautiful, calm day. It is a five hour crossing on a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Oban, to Barra, past Mull and the small isles then out to open sea. I was allowed out of the car to sit with Vee on deck. I could have gone inside to a designated pet area but I wasn’t keen as out on deck people were eating sarnies and sharing them with me. I took the boat journey in my stride of course – looking out for dolphins; sunbathing; and accepting lots of admiring glances, pats and the odd biscuit that passed by.

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On arriving on Barra, we could see the Castlebay Hotel from the ferry. Highlights of Barra had to be the beautiful white sands and crystal blue waters of Cockle Strand where the planes land at low tide along with the apple core beaches of Vatersay where you could actually think that you are in the South Pacific especially as the weather was so unbelievably fabulous during our visit. I just loved zooming around the machair, which is Gaelic for the heather-y land next to the beach, tearing through the dunes – stopping to chase the odd bunny – and then jetting off across the sands after an arctic turn or three which ended up with me racing through the shallow waters: happy, happy, happy!

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Day Five: From Barra, we set sail on a much smaller Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to the Uists and Benbecula. We drove straight through South Uist as it isn’t really the most appealing landscape and there is not a lot there. We headed for the RSPB Balranald nature reserve on North Uist. From the visitor centre, there is an excellent walk across the machair to sandy white beaches teeming with migrating birds, otters and seals out off the headland. Later we found our hotel, The Langass Lodge, set on the edge of Locheport and overlooking Ben Eval – an incredibly stunning location. The former shooting lodge is set in its own (sheep free) estate which has an excellent marked circular walk that takes in the Ben Langass stone circle, the Barpa Langass burial chamber – with incredible views across the landscape and great opportunities for otter spotting and trying to catch vole. I proved to be a fabulous tracker – but Vee said a complete fidget when it came to sitting still and waiting for the otters to appear. Well, you can’t have everything! In the evening, I was allowed in the bar to sit by the fire but much preferred to look out of the patio windows in our room, policing for pheasants!

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Day Seven: We set sail once again, this time to Harris.

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We checked in to the Rodel Hotel and then took a stroll around its beautiful little harbour and grounds. This was my favourite place to stay on our road trip as it was teeming with bunnies and I very much enjoyed chasing them around the gorse bushes – I’m pretty sure that this is what is meant by Heaven on Earth! Harris is simply stunning, with magnificent scenery and spectacular beaches like the famous Luskentyre and Huisinis. I can honestly say that every beach that we set foot and paw on, we had to ourselves.

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Buzzards, golden eagles, seals, dolphins and basking sharks are regularly sighted and there are a number of galleries and Harris Tweed outlets should the mood take. We decided to trek through the Harris hills to an eagle observatory to spot some Golden Eagles, which we did! But I had to keep look out for quite some time. Luckily, Vee had a flask of tea and some hob nobs.

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An Eagle-Eyed Bear!

 

From Harris, it’s possible to drive to Lewis and explore there, taking in the standing stones at Callanish which you can walk around and touch (and pee on), quite unlike Stonehenge!

There’s also Uig Sands which I will always remember as I was at my very happiest racing around the huge beach, through the sand dunes, climbing rocks, splashing through the crystal sea water and then doing it all over again!

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Day Ten: Our final island was Skye. Staying in Flora McDonald’s cottage at the Flodigarry Country House Hotel, we had off the doorstep walks down to Staffin Bay, just right to work up our appetites before breakfast!

We really packed it in as we had three days on Skye and I was determined that Vee would see as much as possible. We walked up to the Old Man of Storr on quite possibly the windiest day imaginable (I actually thought that I might fly off at any moment), ventured across the Quiraing, tackled the Cuillins by walking Glen Brittle with its stunning views of the island of Rum and explored the three peninsulas – Trotternish, Waternish and Duirinish – taking in Coral Beach, Ness Point and a rather delicious lunch in Stein. On that note, there are lots of lovely pubs and restaurants on Skye, many prestigious and most of which welcomed me and even let Vee in, and the mouth watering seafood was just fabulous.

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And that was it. We drove home via Inverary on Loch Fyne and the Lake District again. All in, we’d journeyed 2,300 miles on The Travelling Bear’s Great Road Trip and returned home with amazing memories and stories. The Hebrides really is full of beauty and brimming with possibilities, a great place to adventure and oodles of fido fun! I was zonked by the end but found the best place to sleep it off…..

 

  • Watermill Inn, School Lane, Ings, Staveley, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 9PY Tel: 01539 821309; www.lakelandpub.co.uk
  • Dogs stay for £4 a night, £1 of which is donated to the Dogs Trust
  • The Oban Caledonian, Station Square, Oban, Argyll, PA34 5RT Tel: ; www.akkeronhotels.com
  • Castlebay Hotel, Castlebay, Isle of Barra, HS9 5XD Tel: 01871 810223; www.castle-bayhotel.co.uk
  • Langass Lodge, Locheport, Isle of North Uist, Outer Hebrides Tel: 01876 580285; www.langasslodge.co.uk
  • Rodel Hotel, Rodel, Isle of Harris, Western Isles, Scotland Tel: 01859 520210; www.rodelhotel.co.uk
  • Flodigarry Country House Hotel, Flodigarry, Isle of Skye, IV51 9HZ Tel: 01470 552203; www.flodigarry.co.uk

 

 

Dog-friendly Bamburgh, Northumberland

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I am Jess the Dog and I have featured on Phileas Dogg before – but only as Attlee’s sidekick and never as a scribe in my own write. I am an eight-year-old rescue lab and I live in Durham and recently my family, which is Vicky, Simon and James the Baby, took me to Bamburgh on the Northumberland coast for the weekend. Lucky for them they had me with them because when we arrived at reception at the Victoria Hotel and they saw what a grand and stately lady I am, they upgraded us all to a room with a four poster bed. Four pawster bed!

Anyway enough of the wagging – sorry, bragging – I am here to write a review and not show off, as my editor Attlee is reminding me. So, Bamburgh is a very picturesque village with dog-friendly tea shops, I liked the Copper Kettle, and dog-friendly pubs and a beach – the sort of beach I would dream of when I was used for breeding and cooped up in kennels all the time, before I became too old and ended up in the council pound. I had heard of beaches from passing dogs but never seen them with my own eyes as I’d never travelled – well, now I have travelled and I love beaches. In fact, I am a regular silver surfer!

Bamburgh Castle is right on the beach and it is thousands of years-old, in dog years. (Even older than me – graaaah ha ha!) There are lots of sand dunes around the castle and they are excellent for sticking my snout and sniffing in, but Attlee wouldn’t be too keen as there are no chicken wrappers or bones, which is all he ever sniffs around for. Phileastine! But the beach at Bamburgh is very clean – it has won awards for being clean – and for a sophisticated dog like me, that is perfect.

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Anyway, back to my four pawster bed at the Victoria Hotel. I was very annoyed as the humans decided they should have it for the night – a right cheek when the nice lady at reception had specifically given it to ME!

Despite that, the Victoria Hotel was lovely and our room had a view over the village green, so I could keep an eye on the canine comings and goings, and it was right next to the Castle, so I could keep an eye on the royal comings and goings. (Nothing to report on that front – no sign of Lupo Wales or any of the daft dorgi’s.)

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The Four Pawster!

 

 

 

 

  • The Victoria Hotel, Front Street, Bamburgh, Northumberland, NE69 7BP Tel: 01668 214431; www.victoriahotel.net
  • Prices for double room start at £70 per night bed and breakfast. Dogs stay at £7.50 per night and are allowed in the bedroom and the bar area.

 

 

Dog-friendly Harrogate, North Yorkshire

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Jack the Pug and Friends

I am Jack the Pug and I am a Yorkshire dog but, when reading Phileas D on t’internet, as we call it up here, I noticed that Harrogate didn’t heed a dog-friendly mention. Being a dogged, pugnacious sort of pug, I emailed Phileas to remedy this situation and Attlee very graciously allowed me to file a report on my home.

Harrogate is famous as a spa town with lots of lovely old buildings but the best part of town for us pugs – and other dogs too, I suppose – is the marvellous 200-acre parkland called The Stray bang in the town centre. There’s always lots of straying to be done and fun to be had chasing children on their bicycles. The park is lined with cafes and pubs – I’m partial to a pork pie – and The Coach and Horses, dog-friendly after 3pm, is my favourite boozer. Good food and it stocks lots of Harrogate beers, which is essential for a party animal like me!

There’s also the Harrogate Ringway which is a glorious 20-mile path circling the town – a bit much for my little legs all in one day but I like to do it in stages. Almscliffe Crag is a good spot for a scramble and within easy walking distance of Braythorne Bees, a farm which serves good Yorkshire lunches in its gardens – beware the clucking hens though. There are no clucking hens at The Square and Compass in the village of North Rigton, which the Ringway passes through – just biscuits for pugs on demand!

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I am a lucky enough pug to live in Dog’s own county but if you’re a holidaying hound, I can heartily recommend Harrogate Holidays for self-catering accommodation, especially since I work (five days a week; no slacking) in the office there, with 13 other animals, including some hens and half a pony. By which I mean, the pony is only with us half the time. Anyway, I’m the hardest worker of all my colleagues and I include the six humans in that, and my owner Jo.

Occasionally I am a dog-tester for Harrogate Holiday’s cottages – of which many of the 34 are dog-friendly – and my favourite countryside one is Newby Farm Cottage, as the lane it stands on is a ‘no-through’ road meaning no nasty cars can interrupt my morning constitutional. In Harrogate itself, my favourite property is dog-friendly Daisy House, as it’s only five minutes from a park – Valley Gardens, which has more mineral springs erupting than anywhere else on the planet. Or something!

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So there we go Phileas fans. Thank you for the opportunity to put Harrogate on the Phileas Dogg map and be sure to look me up for the best fun if you come to town as, even though I work hard, I play hard too and am the original party animal.

 

holidays with dogs uk, dog friendly holidays britain, dog friendly holidays england, dog friendly holidays yorkshireThe Coach and Horses, 16 West Park, Town Centre, Harrogate, HG1 1BJ Tel: 01423 561 802; www.thecoachandhorses.net

Braythorne Bees, The Honey House, Braythorne Lane, Stainburn, Otley, LS21 2LW Tel: 0113 284 2982; http://braythornebees.com

The Square and Compass, North Rigton, Harrogate, LS17 ODJ Tel: 01423 733031; www.thesquareandcompass.com

Harrogate Holidays: 01423 523333; www.harrogateholidays.co.uk. Dogs cost an extra £20 per holiday.