A Scruff Goes to Crufts

Well, at last, the Kennel Club has finally recognised me as a superior sort of chap and, this year, I was invited to Crufts. What took you so long KC? Best in Show: yes, I do believe I am!

‘I don’t want you to feel intimidated by all the posh dogs with quadrupled-barrelled Kennel Club names that we’ll meet,’ Jane told me as our train to the Birmingham NEC chugged through the Home Counties. What nonsense she talks. Intimidated: me? If anyone’s going to feel intimidated it will be the posh dogs – when they see a fine fellow like me strutting around they will throw all the Crufts rosettes they have ever won in the bin, realising that breeding counts for nothing compared to a head that doesn’t match one’s body, a short stump of a tail and irregular markings resembling abstract art. There’s no breeder in all the land who could create a dog like me – Abstract Attlee – even if they spent a century in the attempt.

When we arrived, using the entrance reserved for special dogs – for, according to my ticket, that is what I am – I barked to herald to all the hoity-toity hounds that I was in town.Then I lifted my leg, to underline the fact. (Our friend Basil from www.barkarama.co.uk went one better than this but on that I’ll say no more.)

Then I whizzed past all the posh pups, head held high and stumpy tail a-wagging, as I had an appointment with Caroline Kisco – Kennel Club Secretary, no less – who, hearing I would be gracing Crufts with my presence, wanted to meet me. Very impressed by my pedigree she was too, telling me: ‘The Kennel Club isn’t just Crufts – we work with lots of dog charities including our own breed rescues. And we have Scruffts, our competition for crossbreeds, which is being judged here today.’

Hmmm, a bit less of the Scruff please Caroline – I am a very smart sort of cove. Although Jane and I did take a wander over to where the Scruffts competitors had gathered for a photo-shoot for a nose.

‘Is that Blaze?’ a television cameraman asked when he spotted me, mistaking me for one of the candidates.

‘No I am not,’ I barked straight back at him. Doesn’t he recognise Phileas Dogg when he sees him?

Scruffts.Finalist.GracieI did have rather a pleasant chat with Gracie, though, who’d won the Scruffts heat for Golden Oldie. And, I heard later, she went on to win the Scruffts overall crown. Good girl Gracie – those tips I gave you for working the camera paid off, then. 

Still, that was enough scruff for me – I wanted to see how the other half lived so I visited the Samsung stand, where there was a kennel worth £20,000. That is the sort of money that boggles a little dog’s brain!

The kennel was the oddest construction I’d ever seen – bright white, like an igloo which one of my Husky chums might inhabit, with a sleeping area, a living area and a garden with a treadmill and a hot tub in it. A treadmill for dog’s sake – I get all the exercise I require chasing squizzels in the park!

Samsung.KennelNo, much as the Dream Doghouse might have had all the mod cons, like a self-service food dispenser operated at the push of a paw, a television, and a button with which I could request room service, it was not for me. I am much happier on Jane’s second hand sofa thank you very much and I can request room service whenever I require it simply by barking at her.

Anyway, I had much bigger fish to fry for I was to have my turn in the Crufts show ring where Meg Purnell-Carpenter, a Crufts judge of 30-years standing, was preparing to hand me the rosette for Best in Show.

But what a disaster – when Meg asked Jane and me to walk around, special dog and handler style, Jane really let me down. There was I: larking around; pulling and biting on my lead; performing a Pagan dance – totally owning the ring with my freestyle display in fact – when Jane hissed at me that I was being naughty. Being naughty – I was throwing some shapes to impress Meg!

‘Stop showing off,’ Jane hissed. Showing off – I was at a dog show! What was I supposed to do but show off? In response to Jane’s unfair criticism I added a final flourish to my display, leaping up at Jane, biting the pocket of her dress and ripping it. Encore please, the crowd roared!

Andy Biggar Photography Crufts 2015 (1 of 8)

‘He’s a bit naughty,’ Meg frowned. Naughty – I’m a free spirit….

Then: ‘He’s a very clever little dog because he has you totally under control,’ she told Jane. Clever – that’s more like it!

So, was I in with a bark at Best in Show?

‘He’s got a classic terrier face, lovely eyes, excellent teeth and he’s in fine muscular condition. With a little dog like this, it’s all about movement and he moves soundly. And he’s bright – very alert,’ Meg said.

That’s 100 points for me then!

‘So,’ Jane asked, ‘if there was a category at Crufts for Heinz 57 dogs, Attlee would win?’

‘Oh yes,’ Meg said but she was interrupted by the owner of a dog she’d judged in the ring asking earlier what breed of dog I was.

‘This is Attlee and he’s a chimney hound,’ Meg smiled, winking at Jane and me. A chimney hound – so that’s what I am? I like the sound of it.


Oddly, though, Meg didn’t actually hand me the Best in Show trophy.

‘Don’t worry Attlee,’ Jane said. ‘You’ll always be best in show to me.’











Snowy in Northern Ireland

Top o’ the morning to you!  I’m Snowy, a six-year-old White German Shepherd and I live in Dromore, Northern Ireland, with my human pawrents Melanie and Steve and our 12 rescue cats, wh0 I’m in charge of.  We moved here from London (with six cats) and I’ve heard talk that Northern Ireland isn’t very dog friendly. But I’m keen to add a helping paw to the brilliant Dogs Lovers NI group on Facebook and make it my mission to prove that wrong.


NI.Snowy.RiaOur latest rescue cat Ria follows me around the house looking for cuddles and I’m happy to show her the ropes.  I also enjoy trying to eat the cats’ food – although those spoilsport humans have now put a stop to that by installing a child gate. They treat me with sausages and cheese instead, especially when I display my musical talents and howl along with Steve when he plays his mouth organ.  I bark when someone comes to the door too – to let them know I’m home.

Anyway, never mind the cats indoors – what about the animals outdoors? The squirrels and rabbits in the garden taunt me as, although I chase them, I never seem to catch any.  Since moving to rural Northern Ireland I have gathered a regular fan club of donkeys however and every time we see a field of cows we stop to say hello and they follow me all the way along the boundary.  One day I even received a kiss from a bull!


My favourite places to take the pawrents for walks are right around where we live. The country lanes around Dromore are good for a snuffle and there are woods and parks aplenty on my doorstep.  Nearby is Lagan Lodge, with lovely woods and some angling ponds where I enjoy many a happy stroll.  Mel loves this walk too because the famous architect, Henry Hobart, who lived in Lagan Lodge, actually built our house!

Then there’s Hillsborough Forest Park which gives me great opportunities to pretend to chase the squirrels.

NI.Snowy.Make.SplashWhat I’m really looking forward to this summer, though, is visiting some of the beaches in Northern Ireland – I like to make a splash. I’ve heard that the beaches here are beautiful and that some are dog friendly too. So I’ll be checking them out soon – and the cafes and pubs along the way. Watch this space!




Phileas Phacts: Northern Ireland





The Waggy Way Is Essex: dog-friendly Loughton with Monty


tired after chasing his ballHello humans, I’m Monty. I’m around three and live in Loughton, Essex with Louise, Dave and their son and daughter.  I rescued my family two years ago when they visited the Waltham Abbey kennels where I was staying, run by the excellent charity All Dogs Matter.  When I saw these poor humans waiting forlornly to meet the dogs, I knew I had to help make their empty lives and home complete.   There was stiff competition from another dog but I pulled out all the stops to impress and the rest, as they say, is history. All Dogs Matter helps people unfortunate enough to not have a dog own a lovely specimen like me. (The humans say it is the other way round and the charity help re-home rescue dogs but us canines know better of course!)

I’m an unusual mixture of several breeds: the humans think I have Jack Russell, Springer Spaniel and Border Collie in me with possibly more, but all I know is I’m very cute.   Eating is my passion: I am a huge dustbin and my whole life revolves around food: begging for scraps and foraging. Louise says that when someone drops anything in the kitchen, even a potato peeling, I swoop in like a ninja and gobble it up, often before it hits the floor.  I am also partial to gourmet snacks like manure and goose droppings.  Playtime comes a close second to food and I will happily spend hours destroying tennis balls and squeaky toys and chasing my tail.  Although I love all humans (particularly those bearing treats) I’m still a bit wary of other dogs.  I don’t travel well in the car but there is so much to do in my manor that I keep the pawrents from boredom.  Although we are on the doorstep of London there are forests, lakes, nature reserves and country pubs aplenty in this area.  Visitors here are usually surprised at how green and rural it can be, yet you can be in the West End in two shakes of a tail.

I love the playing fields behind Valley Hill in Loughton which is alongside the River Roding, leading to the Roding Valley Meadows Nature Reserve. This is a great area for dogs and humans alike, with numerous sports and picnic facilities and plenty of poo bins.  At the weekends I used to try joining in football games by popping the balls whilst the teams warmed up, but the pawrents weren’t keen on this for some reason.

My humans just love to see me swim and I nearly always throw myself into the River Roding no matter the weather, sometimes trying to play with ducks and swans too, and on one occasion I tried to catch a huge carp which was almost bigger than me.

Making friends at the nature reserve

Making friends at the nature reserve

There are so many dog and family friendly pubs and cafes to choose from in this area but a favourite with the family I own is the Kings Oak where I like to take them for a tasty meal and a couple of drinks.  It is right in the centre of Epping Forest and provides drinks for the dogs, a separate kids’ playground and even has a lido for members. The humans enjoy the permanent ice cream stall outside too.   Next door is the Epping Forest Visitor Centre which has loads of useful information about the forest and is a good place for kids, although I have to wait outside.

I am partial to a picnic or two in the summer (an excellent opportunity for nicking food when no-one is looking, and games of catch and Frisbee too). I’ve even caught the tube to Hyde Park for Louise’s annual picnic with friends where I stole the show.

My family are so grateful that I help them explore all these wonderful places. Must dash – I have some musing to do, on where to go for my next adventure. Monty xx

wistful. probably thinking about food


Phileas Phacts: Loughton, Essex

  • All Dogs Matter’s Head Office – the initial point of contact for people interested in re-homing dogs, who are all in foster and lodging in kennels in Waltham Abbey and Norfolk – is at All Dogs Matter, 30 Aylmer Parade, London N2 0PE Tel: 0208 341 3196; www.alldogsmatter.co.uk



  • Kings Oak Hotel, Paul’s Nursery Road, High Beach, Essex, IG10 4AE Tel: 0208 508 5000; www.kingsoakhotel.com

Happy New Year from Dog-friendly Helsbury Park, Cornwall

Happy New Year to all our Phileas friends and a big thank you and high paw for all your support in 2014. The book has sold brilliantly (naturally – I’m on the cover in a hot air balloon. Who wouldn’t want that adorning their shelves?) and the website’s been gathering a record number of hits. Keep those paws clicking on Phileas Dogg, Fido’s!

My New Year’s Resolution is to speed off on lots more Attlee adventures so, to start as I mean to go on, I’ll share one of my best breaks of 2014. In October Jane and I visited Helsbury Park in Cornwall….

The first thing I’d like to point out is that the name isn’t apt. Helsbury isn’t Hell for hounds – it’s Heaven. So perhaps changing the name is something you’d consider for 2015, David from Helsbury? Heavensbury Park – just a thought….

Helsbury is like a giant theme park for dogs with 100 acres of grounds – woodland and river and fields to romp through. There’s even one paddock that is totally enclosed so that owners of a nervous disposition with Houdini hounds (did somebody mention Epping Forest?) can let their dogs off-lead. There are thousands of rabbit holes to snout down and Attlee is in Wonderland.

helsburyWhat’s more, Helsbury’s four self-catering properties are designed to highlight the fact that the canine is KING. Gardens are enclosed, floors are slate and wood for muddy paws and there are throws throughout. NEWSFLASH: at Helsbury, DOGS ARE ALLOWED ON THE SOFAS!

Each property even has its own kennel, in case Sir Dog requires some downtime. Not me – I operate on Attlee UP-time 24/7. 

Best of all, though, is the fact that every canine guest is furnished with a Frisbee. For me, this was the slice of ham in the Ploughman’s. As an esteemed travel terrier I understand that it’s the little touches that set places apart and I do appreciate a souvenir of my sojourns so I can brag and wag to my south-east London squad back home.

For the first couple of days at Helsbury Jane and I stayed firmly put. With 100 acres to cover and a delivery from Sainsbury’s to chomp our way through it would have been madness to venture further afield – everything we needed, plus more, was here.  There were gates to cross and storms to survey from the safety of our cottage – not that a bit of rough weather would keep me indoors but Jane is rather more trepidatious – and a wood burning stove to warm myself beside.

One Hundred Acres: Attlee in Wonderland

One Hundred Acres: Attlee in Wonderland



Also there was the small matter of the swimming baths in the grounds.
private.poolDogs aren’t allowed but I don’t do water unless it’s in a bowl anyway so that was no hardship and I was happy to wave Jane off on her morning pilgrimage to the pool.

Then Jane’s friend Pennie arrived with her car. For some reason a great fuss was made of this vehicle everywhere we went – almost as much fuss as is generally made of me. Obviously this was a cause of great consternation-bones. We drove to the beach at Trebarwith Strand (dog-friendly all year round, Phileas Phact Phans) – a crescent of sand bordered by rocks which offered great opportunities for pinching other dogs’ tennis balls and hiding. Jane snapped a rather fine portrait of me, windswept and waggish with the fierce waves crashing in the background…..


Next, she and Pennie took a photograph of the car! What on Dog’s earth possessed them? They spent far longer styling and discussing it than they had the image of me as well. Which angle suits it best? Should the door be open or shut?


I was rather put out by it all. Is that car a celebrity? No. Am I a celebrity? Yes. 

Still, I decided as we had a sup in the The Port William public house overlooking the beach, I couldn’t worry about it. There’s nowt so queer as folk and a dog could spend his whole lifetime trying to puzzle these humans out. Best to just accept their oddities, forgive them and carry on striving for the squirrel at the end of the rainbow.


Anyway, the natural order of the world was set right – and Figaro vanquished by Fido – that very evening when we visited The Masons Arms in Camelford for dinner. What a fine hostelry. Jane was entranced by the ceiling decorations – all manner of ephemera was strung from the low wooden beams.


And I was entranced by the welcome I received. The town vet happened to be dining there that eve and although this displeased me at first – no dog wants to meet a veterinarian, be the situation social or medical – I was assuaged when, with one glance, he pronounced me a fine figure of a fellow and one of the top terriers he’d ever seen. In fact, I basked in compliments all night and, when we departed, the landlady insisted I take a gift to remember The Masons by – a towel bearing the word tribute. It now adorns my basket at home and I’m rather proud of it, just as she was proud to have Phileas Dogg frequent her hostelry.


The following day we set sail in the Figaro again but this time I settled on the seat with equanimity and appreciated that it was doing what it’s designed to do – transport dogs and their human sidekicks hither and thither instead of pose for photographs and show off.

It took us to Port Isaac, a pretty Cornish fishing village clinging on to rather a vertiginous cliff where a famous television programme called Doc Martin is filmed. Jane has never watched the show, I gather, but lots of people have and are drawn to Port Isaac because of it.

However, while Jane’s not a Doc Martin viewer, she is familiar with its main star – a dog called Dodger, who plays a character named Buddy. She’s met him at Crufts. I’m rather surprised she entertained this Dodger as, quite plainly, he has stolen our cat’s name. And while I am not always one to do Dodger the Cat a favour, I do believe name theft quite an affront and had I bumped into Dodger the Dog on the steep Port Isaac streets would have told him so in no uncertain barks.

Oi Dodger: give our cat his name back!

Oi Dodger: give our cat his name back!


Phileas Phacts: Helsbury Park, Cornwall

  • Helsbury Park, Camelford, Cornwall, PL32 9RH Tel: 01566 781753; helsburypark.co.uk
  • Prices start at £795 per week (but there is a discount available if there are only two people in your group) plus a £20 charge per dog per stay. Discuss how many dogs you’re holidaying with at the time of booking but, as long as they’re well behaved, a large pack can be accommodated.
  • The Masons Arms, Camelford, Cornwall, PL32 9PB Tel: 01840 213309; www.masonsarmscamelford.co.uk

Dog-Friendly Windermere, the Lake District

The Lake District is famous for its animals – I’ve heard bark of a duck called Jemima, a rabbit called Peter and a hedgehog called Mrs Tiggywinkle.  It’s also famous for its SHEEP. But now the most celebrated animal of all is in its midst and that’s a dog. THE dog, in fact – me, Attlee Common aka Phileas Dogg. Prepare to be knocked off your perch, Puddleduck as I have taken up residence for the week in the town of Windermere and the red carpet is being rolled out for my proclaimed paws to pad along….Spyri

Myself and Jane, along with assorted other members of our pack, are staying at Spyri Cottage – one of Sykes Cottages’ portfolio. It’s bang in the town centre, a few minutes walk from Windermere train station, and is a traditional slate Lake District dwelling.

Inside it’s very des-res, with slate floors for muddy paws in communal areas, leather sofas and white-washed walls with exposed beams. A stag stares down at me from one of those white-washed walls – his eyes follow me everywhere I place myself in the room. But I am not abashed by his antlers – indeed, I give him a very hard stare of my own, informing him that, were we outdoors, I would nip at his heels in a most terrifying, terrier-fying fashion and he looks away, cowed.


There are two bedrooms upstairs and, in the basement, a third with an en suite. There’s also a front room with a wood burning stove, a dining room and a little enclosed garden with a pond, into which a hapless human accidentally plunges my ball during a game of catch. It is lost FUR-EVAH and woe is me but, thankfully, three doors up from Spyri, there’s a pet shop where we replenish our rolling stock. The pet shop is called, imaginatively, The Pet Shop but I won’t criticise as canine customers are presented with a treat every time they step inside. High Paw The Pet Shop!


Also within a shake of the tail of Spyri are two dog-friendly cafes – Brambles, right across the road, where we become regulars, and Sweet Stuff, two doors up. We really are in the heart of the town’s terrier triangle and I click my paws with joy.

Had Jane her way we would probably snuggle up inside Spyri for our week’s holiday, so comfortable does she find it, especially as our flat in London is being decorated and all is merry chaos. But we are in the Lake District and I know that there are SHEEPS to meet, fells to fly across and pubs for scrap-snaffling and I am not for settling in Spyri all week with the occasional walk round the terrier triangle and visit to Brambles. I want to EXPLORE and, as I am taking the lead in this operation, explore we will…..

The very pleasant lady in Brambles furnishes us all with all manner of local information – of keen interest to me is a walk she mentions just ten minutes from our door. The walk is called Orrest Head – it’s up a hill and, when we reach the top after about half an hour, all the Lake District is laid out before us and we can see as far as Kendal and Morecambe. (Or we would able to, were it not drizzling.)


There is a slate plaque at the summit as Orrest Head inspired a man called Alfred Wainwright’s passion for the Lake District – he wrote, apparently, seven volumes of guidebooks on the area. Seven volumes – I’ve only managed to write one so far (and, I must add, it makes a great Christmas present.)

A quotation from Wainwright is inscribed on the slate.


Very find words but I think he loses it a bit at the end – surely he means: ‘Dog was in Heaven that day.’

Ah but I’m following in the footsteps of the literary greats here in the Lake District – and none greater than William Wordsworth, whose cottage in Grasmere we sally forth to explore.

We catch the bus for this endeavour – there’s a regular service between all the main attractions in the Lakes, even in winter. But, alas, when we arrive at Dove Cottage and go into the shop, we are told dogs aren’t allowed inside Wordsworth’s abode. I’m not even supposed to be in the shop, although Jane argues my case.

‘Who’s this dog?’ she asks, picking up a fridge magnet bearing the image of a marmalade-coloured mutt.

‘That’s Wordsworth’s dog Pepper,’ the assistant says. ‘Wordsworth was given him by Sir Walter Scott.’

Sir Walter Scott, indeed – who’s he when he’s at home? I was given to Jane by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home – far better. And my name is that of a former Prime Minister – not a condiment. Yet this Pepper was allowed free run of Dove Cottage while I am forbidden. It’s a bit RUFF.

Seeing how affronted I am by being denied entry to the home of my fellow man of letters the shop assistant concedes I can have a snout around the gardens. So I lift my leg in the same spot Pepper would have lifted his* and, in this manner, mark the eternal greatness of canine-kind down the centuries.


(*I’m not sure whether Pepper was male or female – if any readers could advise, I’d be most grateful. I am sure I would be none too chuffed were, a couple of hundreds of years from now, someone to mistake my gender.)

Anyway, off we now jaunt to somewhere that definitely is dog-friendly – Heidi’s Tea Room in Grasmere. Heidi is actually the owner of Spyri Cottage so all guests in her gaff receive a 10% discount in her caff.  I am very impressed by this and by the waitress’s attitude to canine customers – within 50 seconds of arriving, I am presented with not one biscuit but three. I am not so impressed with the cow’s head on the wall however. Being dog-friendly is one thing but giving room space to a cow – well I never. I’m sure she wouldn’t be welcome in Dove Cottage…..









On we saunter around Grasmere – it’s a very pretty little village but, my Dog, the SHEEP appear to have taken over every green space. Because of this I am lead-on all the way which is boring-bones but also, Jane says, sensible-bones. And I do sniff something interesting out, even if I am constrained – a bowl of biscuits outside the National Trust shop for DOGS! (Not SHEEP – DOGS, which just goes to prove that, even if the sheep to dog ratio in this town is one billion to five, we canines are still KING. I don’t see anywhere providing free food for the woolly white maggots as my friend Lady BeAnne Duvet in Shetland calls sheep.)


‘Hello doggie – tired after a long walk? Have a free biscuit.’

Thanks very much National Trust – I don’t mind if I do.







Just up the hill from Grasmere is another dog-friendly digs – a very grand digs, in fact. Rydal Hall, a 15th Century manor house, is owned by the Diocese of Carlisle and dogs are allowed in for a snout around the grounds – very Christian indeed. The garden is topiary-tastic – not every dogs’ bowl of water and, alas, squirrels don’t do topiary. But I am a master of lifting my leg against lines of Leylandii. It’s an art and one I enjoy practising on occasion.

Guests at Rydal are invited to indulge in meditation and contemplation. How boring-bones would that be? The only aspect of life I wish to contemplate is squirrels. Beyond being put on this earth for dogs to chase, what is the point of them?


Still, the following day, on a visit to Keswick – which has just been named Britain’s dog-friendliest town in the Kennel Club’s Be Dog-Friendly Awards for the 100th year running – I do find myself in contemplative mood. Jane and I stroll around the shore of Derwentwater and, on a little sheltered shingle beach, I bark – just for the pure houndish hell of it.

But then the strangest phenomenon occurs – a bark comes back at me. It’s a big bark and it bounces off the water and the mountains surrounding us. What manner of fearsome beast is belting out this note?

Only very slightly trepidated by the hound in the hills, I bark again – again the big bark bounces right back at me. Again and again – I bark and the big bark blasts back. I bark and the big bark blasts back….


‘It’s an echo Attlee,’ Jane says.

An echo – what kind of a dog is an echo? We don’t have any of them in South-East London.

Well, Jane explains (in truth, Jane’s Dad explains as Jane is always a bit lacking when it comes to relaying the science bit) an echo is a reflection of sound. So the sound of my bark is being reflected back at me by the still lake and the soaring mountains. I am mighty impressed by this audio-spectacular and I bark again and again, just for the sheer joy of it. And this does give me cause for contemplation at the wonder of the natural world. For a few minutes I am the Plato of pups, musing all manner of philosophical fancy – then Jane clips my lead on and the spell is broken as we head into Keswick for some Hungarian goulash at The Dog and Gun (which, I note, on a more prosaic line of thought, has been spruced up rather since we last visited two years ago). Rather a shame – there were some good smells in the old carpet…..

I like the Dog and Gun but, one evening, we step out to a pub that immediately becomes my favourite Lake District hostelry – The Watermill in Ings, just two miles across the fields from Windermere. (Actually we caught a cab but who’s counting?)

Now the Watermill – THIS is what I call a boozer. There are slate floors, dark wooden beams, horse brasses galore and a coal fire in its cavernous interior, ripe for the explore. It’s a traditional tavern, just as I’m a traditional terrier. And it’s so dog-friendly – when the menu is laid on our table, three bones are placed atop it so I am served before Jane’s even selected her starter. Even better, all the ales produced in its microbrewery are named in hounds’ honour. Some travel writers dream of the Pulitzer – I now dream of seeing my name upon a pump clip. Attlee’s Ale has rather a ring to it, I reckon.


It was quite the night in The Watermill and the next day I was suffering, rather – especially when I spotted this sign. In fact, I must’ve been hallucinating – which right minded Rover would slow down for red squirrels? If I spotted one of the blighters I’d speed up in its dastardly direction, I can assure you. 


Oh well – time for one last amble alongside a lake before we must travail home. Using a rather good book that Jane had purchased – Dog-Friendly Pub Walks in the Lake District – we headed out to The Cuckoo Brow Inn. It was cuckoo all right and had me scratching my brow in confuse-bones – there were stables for horses to sleep in as part of the decor! But its attitude to dogs was more sensible – access all areas. Just a shame that when we returned from our two miles tramp around the hills another dog had bagged the best spot in front of the wood-burning stove. SPEED UP RED SQUIRRELS, I barked, and that did the trick. Top Spot was MINE!


Phileas Phacts: Windermere

  • Spyri Cottage is one of Sykes Cottages’ holiday rental properties, lots of which are dog-friendly. High Paw Sykes!
  • Prices for Spyri, which has three bedrooms (one en-suite), a front and dining room and an enclosed yard for dogs, start at £545 for a week. Tel: 01244 356666; www.sykescottages.co.uk
  • Brambles, 15 Main Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1DX


  • Heidi’s of Grasmere, Red Lion Square, Grasmere, Cumbria, LA22 9SP


  • National Trust information centre and shop, Church Stile, Grasmere, LA22 9SW
  • Rydal Hall, Rydal, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9LX Tel: 015394 32050; www.rydalhall.org
  • The Dog and Gun, 2 Lake Road, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5BT Tel: 017687 73463



  • The Cuckoo Brow Inn, Far Sawrey, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0LQ Tel: 015394 43425; www.cuckoobrow.co.uk


Dog-Friendly Liverpool

Rover Reporter Murphy in Dog-Friendly Liverpool

I’ve always believed that I’m a VIP – that’s a Very Important Pup – but my trip to a Very Posh Hotel in Liverpool confirmed it. I knew something was up when Mum made me go to the groomers so I looked my very best.  It’s not easy being fabulous all the time when you are an Old English Sheepdog – there’s so much fur to coiffure! But it had only been three weeks since my last session at the fur-dressers and I SWEAR I didn’t roll in the black gooey stuff on the beach the day before. An Irish Wolfhound shook it onto me…

It all became clear, though, when we stepped out of the car in the city centre and I saw where we were about to spend the night – the Hope Street Hotel which is (according to Mum) simply stunning. It’s in the Georgian quarter of the city, slap bang between the two cathedrals, and as soon as we were through the doors, it was obvious that we were in an incredibly classy place indeed, as THREE receptionists dashed over to stroke my freshly-washed fur and guide us to our room for the night.

I was extremely excited as, to make it to MY room I had to get in a magic box that transported me to a different place (almost like a TARDIS). Mum said it was the ‘lift’ and that it had taken us from the ground floor to the second floor…but whatever it was it was covered in mirrors and I could check out my fur properly standing on my back legs.

Mum and Dad were delighted with the gigantic room with its pale wooden furniture, the beautiful bathroom and the vast bed, where our thoughtful hosts had left chocolates for them (not me). I was made up to see the huge plush dog cushion that was easily big enough, even for me.


Liverpool.Murphy.TreatsBut, if I’m honest, I was far more interested in the dog bowl on the table with a little gift inside tagged ‘Murphy’. I could smell the treats inside and when Mum realised I’d cottoned on she opened it for me and gave me a couple.

Dad said there was a table booked for tea in the bar at the side of the hotel restaurant and my tail started to droop. There was no way I would be allowed to accompany them to such a high-class eaterie….

But, amazingly, after I had had my own tea from the complimentary dog bowl, Mum put my lead on and said I could join them as long as I didn’t put my face over their food.

The restaurant is called The London Carriage Works (even though it’s in Liverpool, not London) and Mum and Dad were very excited as it appears in the latest Michelin Guide. The friendly waitresses showed us to our table with squashy leather sofas and arranged to have my equally squashy cushion brought downstairs from the room for me to lie on.

Mum had told me that we might see a few WAGs but there were no other mutts, just me. But, she explained, WAGS aren’t waggers – they’re footballers’ wives and they love to dine there!


I didn’t have any food while we were in the restaurant but Mum and Dad chose two courses each from the Prixe Fixe menu for £17.50.

For their starters, Dad went for Duo of Menai Mackerel with both a grilled fillet and paté, while Mum chose Kidderton Ash Goats Cheese and Beetroot Mille Feuille. They both said they were sublime. I was very jealous of the cheese – it’s my favourite food in the world.

For their mains, Mum plumped for Fresh Ravioli of Roasted Butternut Squash and Dad immediately chose the Roasted Wirral Pork Loin with Locally Smoked Pancetta.

Again, they adored the dishes, which they said were all sourced within 25 miles of the city. I don’t know why this matters but it seemed to please them.

I really HAD been on my best behaviour – the fact that a never-ending selection of customers came to stroke me and say hello helped – but I was relieved when Mum decided it was time for a walk. They took me for a stroll along Hope Street, first to Paddy’s Wigwam – that’s the Catholic cathedral – then onto the Anglican one five minutes away. Liverpool is SUCH a pretty city…even to a mutt. Liverpool.Murphy.Stroll

Before bed, we popped into the Caledonia pub on the corner of Catharine Street. The fabulously laidback bar has its own dog, a little Dachshund, so we played together while Mum and Dad sipped a pint of Guinness each.

My comfy cushion proved just as good as anticipated and I had a super sleep back at the hotel. Mum and Dad said they had a fabulous night too – only disturbed by my snoring. Cheek!

It was back to the squashy sofas again for breakfast – this really is the best treatment I’ve had in any hotel – and I lay by the window while Dad ate his full English brekkie and Mum worked her way along the huge continental option. I even managed to beg a round of toast or two (my second favourite food).

We went for a morning walk to the cathedrals again and, this time, stopped en route to admire A Case History – John King’s sculpture of lots of luggage. I consider myself a canine connoisseur of public art, as I pass my verdict on Antony Gormley’s Another Place on the beach in Crosby most mornings. I passed my verdict on this one too. Well, I think Dad said ‘passed’…

Liverpool.Murphy.A.Case.HistoryHope Street Hotel, 40 Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9DA; www.hopestreethotel.co.uk

Standard rooms are from £89 per double per night; charge for a dog is £15 per stay. Dogs are allowed only in the sofa side of the restaurant but the full dining menu is available throughout. The prix fixe menu is £17.50 for two courses and £22.50 for three. 











The Kennel Club’s Be Dog-Friendly Awards

KC.Be.Dog.FriendlyVoting closed yesterday in the Kennel Club’s Be Dog-Friendly Awards – where did you vote for holidaying hounds of Bitey (sorry, Blighty)?

The winners are announced at Discover Dogs on November 8th-9th at Earl’s Court in London but the Kennel Club asked me, in my esteemed position as the best-travelled terrier in the land, to keep my nose to the ground and sniff out the scoops on some of the top contenders.

  • Jane and I returned – yesterday – from a trip to Helsbury Park in Cornwall, last year’s winner in the ‘Somewhere to Stay’ category. My full report on Helsbury will be appearing soon but I can reveal, EXCLUSIVELY, that it’s one of the canniest kips where this canine has ever laid his cranium. Helsbury Park, Camelford, Cornwall, PL32 9RH Tel: 01566 781753; website: www.helsburypark.co.uk helsbury
  • Did I tell you I’m a member of a club? It’s where I invite all my chums to chew over the important business of the day – and, even better, it’s right by the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea. North.Norfolk.K9.Club

    The K-9 Club, Beach Cafe, Beach Road, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1DR Tel: 01328 713055; www.holkham.co.uk

  • Keswick in the Lake District was voted Britain’s most dog-friendly town last year. Of course it was – I’d visited and given it my paw stamp of approval. Will it hold on to the honour in 2014, though, with Buxton and Ironbridge snapping at its heels? The Dog and Gun, 2 Lake Road, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5BT Tel: 017687 73463


  • The Millstream in Devizes is in the running in the ‘Somewhere to Drink’ category so I nipped down there on the train (I didn’t nip any passengers – don’t worry) on official Kennel Club business to check it out. How smart and proper I felt – and me a Battersea boy too! It’s hidden away in the middle of the Wiltshire countryside but I snouted it out and found a dog-friendly area indoors, a large garden for postprandial perambulations and dog treats presented with the bill. (Hearing dog Jodie, who joined me on my visit, tried to pinch my treat but I nipped that in the bud all right. She may have an important job and 18-months of training under her tabard but I’m still top dog!) The Millstream, Marden, Devizes, Wilts SN10 3RH Tel: 01380 848490; www.themillstream.co.ukmillstream


  • (Okay – I let Jodie pinch it. I just looked away disdainfully as she did.)

For more information about the Kennel Club’s Be Dog-Friendly Awards log on to www.bedogfriendlyawards.com

Tickets to Discover Dogs are available to buy at www.discoverdogs.org.uk. They cost £16 per adult, £13 concessions and under 12’s go free. 

Dog-friendly Thirsk, North Yorkshire

Thirsk is a little town in Yorkshire, famous for its horse races and as the town where Alf Wight, who wrote the James Herriot novels, worked as a vet, basing the books on his own experiences.



When I heard this aspect of Thirsk’s character, I made it quite clear to Jane that I had no desire to visit such a place. But Jane was hard of heart, as her sister Steph is now a resident of Thirsk and she wished to see her.

Indeed, Steph lives in a part of Thirsk called Sowerby – a place occasionally referred to in Downton Abbey as ‘up the road’. Perhaps when Isis is ill it is the vets in Thirsk she must visit….

So Thirskwards we were bound, on the 7pm train from London Kings Cross to York where we changed – a quick fag for Jane and leg lift for I – and then 17-minutes on to Thirsk itself, where Steph collected us at the station. No sign of any vets so far, nor of Isis, whose autograph I wouldn’t mind having. (And I’m sure she’d be equally pleased to have mine – we celebrity dogs, whether actor or author, must stick together.)

The following morning we set out early paws for a walk – there’s some fine countryside to romp through just five minutes’ walk from Steph’s house. There were cows to chase – like squirrels but black and white, about ten times as big and with the advantage that they don’t suddenly disappear up trees. But precisely because I wanted to chase the cows I was not allowed to chase the cows and I was kept on my lead for the whole excursion. Why must I be constantly thwarted in my desires and so many avenues of pleasure closed to me?

When Steph heard about the thwarting in Thwirsk of any off-lead action, however, she was outraged on my behalf and instructed Jane to take me to Thirsk Racecourse and pronto. There, Steph said, was an enclosed area where she had spotted dogs racing along off-lead, right next to the course itself.

Now this sounded much more like it. Racing race horses – I’d show those long-legged prancers a thing or two. They may fancy themselves the most alacritous of animals but they haven’t raced a terrier by the name of Attlee as yet!


However, when we arrived at the race course there was neigh a horse to be seen – the daft old mares had heard I was coming, obviously. Instead I had the whole stretch of land next to the gallops to myself and race I did, after my Frisbee and just for the sheer exhilaration and joy of it all. A true sprinter like me does not require a carrot at the end of the track to spur him on…..


Anyway virtue has its own reward as I discovered later when we popped into a dog-friendly cafe called Bliss of which we’d heard tell. No sooner had Jane had settled herself on a comfortable sofa with The Times and I settled myself faithfully at her side – well, I was a little tired, after my racing – than the owner of the cafe rushed up and presented me with some sausages. Complimentary, she explained – on the house and a gift to every canine who graces the establishment with their presence.


This was good as was, incidentally, Jane’s quiche and coleslaw. So, the following day, we repaired to Bliss once more. Once again the sausages on the house made an early appearance and, once again, Jane ordered quiche and coleslaw – she is a creature of habit.

Anyway, as she consumed her quiche and I observed her consuming her quiche, lest a scrap fall to the floor, an amaze-bones incident occurred.  Another customer in the cafe, who had observed my observing, approached Jane with a bowl of sausages which she had bought with her own money out of her own pocket FOR ME!

‘I hope you don’t mind,’ she said to Jane, ‘but I saw your handsome dog watching you eat and I thought he might like some sausages to eat himself.’

Now, this was an act of kindness above and beyond – complimentary and complementary.

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch – well, in Thirsk there is!

Our trip to Thirsk was going so well – too well, as it transpired because no sooner had I scoffed the sausages provided by the good sausage-maritan than Jane told me she had some news.

She’d made an appointment the next day, she informed me, AT THE VET’S.

I wanted to leap on the table and stamp my paw in her quiche to show my extreme displeasure at this announcement. I was not ailing – surely my athleticism on Thirsk race course combined with my high levels of sausage consumption had proved this.

But, Jane said, we were not going to any vets. We were going to the actual vets where Alf Wight had lived and worked – now a museum called The World of James Herriot – to meet the museum’s mascot Herriot the Puppy. Jane had arranged all this days before with Herriot the Puppy himself, on Twitter but, she’d kept it from me. I don’t appreciate her keeping things from me – that is overplaying her PA’s role in our editorial enterprises, in my opinion.

Still, I was rather interested to meet Herriot – perhaps I could teach the young pup a few tricks about being a dog with a job, me being an author and he embarking on life as a mascot. He has a blog too and is even, Jane informed me, on a badge. Why am I not on a badge?

thirsk.tourist.infSo, the next day, at the appointed time, we walked to The World of James Herriot in Thirsk town centre, via Thirsk Tourist Information, where we popped in to seek directions. (Jane and I prefer to do things the old-fashioned way rather than trust to maps and green pins on an iPhone.)

It was lucky we popped into the Tourist Information too because the people on the desk had heard that Phileas Dogg – the celebrated canine travel writer – was in town on and been hoping to bump into me. (Now if I was on a badge this would have provided the perfect opportunity to distribute them to my eager fans.)

Upon arrival at the James Herriot centre there was yet more good news – dogs aren’t allowed into the original house where Alf Wight lived and the original vets’ surgery. Thank Dog – that cut out any chance of an original thermometer suddenly being stuck up my posterior!

Instead, Herriot the Puppy is introduced to esteemed visitors like my good self in the museum’s gardens. The day we met happened to be the first day he’d ever worn a lead and he had a good old grumble to me about that.

‘Get used to it chum,’ I told him. ‘Now you’ll have to wear that lead any time there are thrilling things like sheep and cows around to chase.’



Now, that is all in all my visit to Thirsk summarised for your viewing pleasure. I appreciate, however, that not everybody has the advantage of STEPH to stay with on their trips to Thirsk so, being the thorough newshound I am, did my research on accommodation and dug up with my very own paws some information on a dog-friendly B&B – Long Acre. And, prick up your ears canine cohorts and listen to this, Long Acre is not just any old B&B. It is a B&B with a bird sanctuary attached where rescue owls and hens and ducks live.

Now, imagine the off-lead possibilities of that particular set-up!

Phileas Phacts: Thirsk

  • Thirsk Racecourse, Station Road, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 1QL Tel: 01845 522276; www.thirskracecourse.net
  • Bliss Cafe, 12 Millgate, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 1AA Tel: 01845 868163
  • The World of James Herriot, 23 Kirkgate, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 1PL Tel: 01845 524234; www.worldofjamesherriot.org
  • Read Herriot the Puppy’s blog at www.herriotthepuppy.com
  • Long Acre B&B, Long Acre, 86a Topcliffe Road, Sowerby, Thirsk, Yorkshire, YO7 1RY Tel: 01845 522360/ 077498 45979 Prices start at £30 per person per night
  • For more information about Thirsk, log on to www.visitthirsk.org.uk. The Tourist Information Centre (dog-friendly!) is at 93a Market Place, Thirsk, Yorkshire, YO7 1EY Tel: 01845 522755





A dog-friendly summer with Attlee

Well it’s a hard life being a celebrity author: my paws have barely touched the ground since our book was published in May and it’s been a non-stop cavalcade of festivities, signings and photo shoots. I’m all for the J D Salinger approach to being a writer and would be happy to maintain a low profile but not Jane – she’s accepted every invite that’s dropped through our letterbox before I’ve had a chance to chomp my way through it. I could say something about coat tails and riding but I’ll desist although I did have to draw the line when I saw Dodger charging the other cats in the hood three Dreamies apiece for a tour of our garden. I don’t mind Jane sharing my celebrity as she does assist, a little, but Dodger contributes nadir to Team Phileas – in fact, he’s in deficit in terms of contribution as his 5am wake-up calls are very destructive to my sleep and his constant high-pitched miaowing terrifies the muse when I’m musing.

  • So, the summer began with our book launch at the dog-friendly Society Club in London, attended by the great and the good of the creative, canine capital including Rover Reporter Bear the Welsh Terrier. And a puppy called Blue, who stole the show, rather, which was a bit rum considering it was MY show.



The Society Club, 12 Ingestre Place, London, W1F 0JF Tel: 0207 437 1433; website: www.thesocietyclub.com

  • Then, being a celebriteeee, I knew I had to do my bit for chariteeee. Life isn’t always ‘Attlee, where did it all go wrong?’ as I lounge atop a bed in a 5* hotel immersed in a sea of Bakers Sizzlers with a JERABONE of sparkling water on the side, you know….So, with my fellow dog blogger Basil from Barkarama, I attended Dogs Unite – a walk for Guide Dogs – at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. We paid £10 and strutted our stuff with hundreds of other charitable canines, all wearing capes proclaiming that we were super-heroes for the day. I wasn’t too keen on the cape – DRESSING UP! But there was more of that to come as the summer unfolded so I shouldn’t have counted my squirrels on that one….




Basil blogs at www.barkarama.co.uk

Dogs Unite walks in aid of Guide Dogs take place around Britain throughout the year: www.guidedogs.org.uk/dogs-unite

  • For my next trick, I hot-footed it up to Scotland – to my second home on the Isle of Bute, in fact – for a book signing at Print Point in Rothesay. No doubt, I imagined, hoards of eager fans would greet me and I could rush home to brag and wag to Jane all about it. So imagine my horror, if it won’t spoil your day too much, to find that not only was Jane chaperoning me, she was forcing me to dress up to pull in the punters. Excuse me, Jane, I don’t need to act the BOW BRUMMEL – now I am published and my book a great success the time for these exercises in shameless self-promotion has passed. When I was a struggling, unknown author in a lofty garret attempting to forge a name for myself perhaps – but not now. Does Irvine Welsh dress up as Sherlock Holmes for book signings? No. Does JK Rowling? No again. And neither should I.
The Shame!

The Shame!

Print Point, 24-26 West Princes Street, Rothesay, Isle of Bute, PA20 9AF; www.hive.co.uk/shop/rothesay/print-point

  • But it didn’t end there and I urge readers of a gentle disposition to look away now because – more horror – no sooner had we returned to London then my services as a clothes horse were required again. This time I was on the cat walk at Pup Idol at the Spaniards Inn in Hampstead, organised by All Dogs Matter to raise funds for their rescue. Which is all well and good but surely to Dog there are better ways to raise funds than dressing up in a Pearly King’s outfit. Jane cajoled however, reminding me that it was her birthday and pleading that enrolling me in the Best Dressed Dog contest at Pup Idol would be as fine a gift as she could imagine. And since in dog years she is ANCIENT I decided I’d better indulge the old girl this once. So there was I, standing on the stage with at least 50 other dogs in multifarious garb when the winner was announced – and it was ME. Despite my reservations I did experience a shudder of pride, which was quickly extinguished when I saw Jane punching the air in a triumphal manner a la Stuart Pearce scoring a penalty for England in Euro 96. Most unbecoming in an England football player and most definitely unbecoming in a woman in early middle age!



The Spaniards Inn, Spaniards Road, Hampstead, London, NW3 7JJ Tel: 0208 731 8406; website: www.thespaniardshampstead.co.uk

All Dogs Matter, 30 Aylmer Parade, London, N2 0PE Tel: 0208 341 3196; website: www.alldogsmatter.co.uk

  • Our next jaunt was to an event I very much fancied the sound of – terrier racing at Epsom. I’m a terrier and I race – job done. Except, when we arrived, Jane, being a frightful square, wouldn’t allow me to race with all the other rufty tufty terriers and I had to spectate instead. The problem was all that all the other terriers had two humans accompanying them – one to help them into the trap at the start and another to round them up when they reeled around exuberantly after crossing the finish line. And I only had one human and she couldn’t be at the start and the end of the race at the same time. Next year – next year I will have two humans to accompany me, Jane’s Guardian Soulmates subscription permitting, and I will race and I will WIN!


On your marks....

On your marks….

The thrill of the race..

The thrill of the race..

This chap wasn't too impressed with it all....

This chap wasn’t too impressed with it all……


Sherbet had dressed up for her day at the races…..


Leo the winner!

Leo the winner!

Next year, I'm IN!

Next year, I’m IN!



  • At least I had the great privilege of meeting Dougal the Lab – chief taster at The Black Dog Bakery, who I regularly correspond with on Twitter. Dougal agreed that, had I been allowed to enter by my over-cautious human, I definitely would have aced the race.
  • And I met fellow Battersea alumni Rosie, a tripawd Lurcher. Her owners told me that, if she wasn’t too tall for the Derby’s height restrictions, she’d have put all us terriers to shame with her alacrity, even on her three legs. Go Rosie!




The Terrier Derby at Epsom Race Course takes place every August: www.terrierderby.com

  • Next on the calendar was fashion again, except, thank Dog, this time it wasn’t me having to wear the fashion – instead I was watching the fashion, as modelled by lots of other unfortunate pups. Ha!My presence was requested as a Rover Reporter on the front row of the Old Spitalfields Paw Pageant, organised by my alma mater Battersea and Love My Dog, which makes top-end tucker for terriers. Indeed, so gratified were Battersea and Love My Dog by my presence at the event that I was gifted a rather grand new collar and lead in my favourite colour – green. (Wherever there is green – ie. THE PARK – there is SQUIRRELS and that’s why I favour it.)

    But much as I appreciated the collar and lead, sitting on the front row watching all the fashion was a chore. I don’t know how Anna WinPAW does it week-in and week-out. The first five minutes were all right but then I grew jaded by it all. When you’ve seen one Dachshund in a hat, you’ve seen them all. People and dogs in clothes and then more people and dogs in clothes ad infinitum – exceedingly boring-bones IMHO (in my hound’s opinion)…..


'I'm so over it already......."

“I’m so over it already…….”

  • I did appreciate this chap though – a dog dressed as Sherlock Bones with an owner also dressed as Sherlock Bones. Now this is a much fairer arrangement than when Jane makes me dress as Sherlock while she dresses as – ummm, Jane. At least this chap’s owner appreciates that if his dog is humiliating himself, he should too!


Love My Dog, 36 Ermine Mews, Laburnum Street, London, E2 8BF Tel: 0207 739 4237; www.lovemydog.co.uk


Dog-friendly Hadrian’s Wall……

With the reFURendum taking place this week, we sent Geordie Paw ELVIS to check out how sturdy Hadrian’s Wall is, in case the country splits into two….

(We would have asked a BORDER TERRIER but none were available so a Boxador was the next best thing.)

Bowls and biscuits at the visitors' centre to welcome paws on patrol.

Bowls and biscuits at the visitors’ centre to welcome paws on patrol.


Elvis has a BRAVE HEART.

Elvis on Guard.

All clear to the left.....

“All clear to the left…..”

And to the right......

“And to the right……”

"INVADERS..... Let me off my lead and I'll ave'em!"

“INVADERS….. Let me off my lead and I’ll ave’em!”

"Got one!"

“Got one!”

"Oh - it's Dad!"

“Oh – it’s Dad!”

An early bath for Elvis.... dropped the soap again!

An early bath for Elvis…. dropped the soap again!


Elvis visited Housesteads Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall, one of over 300 English Heritage sites where dogs are welcome. 




Housesteads Roman Fort, Haydon Bridge, Hexham, Northumberland, NE47 6NN Tel: 01434 344363; www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/housesteads-roman-fort-hadrians-wall/




Dog-Friendly Portwrinkle, Cornwall

Eddie.Tibetan.TerrierThis is Eddie the Tibetan Terrier here – or Joyberna Eddie Potter, aged seven, to give me my full and very well deserved Kennel Club Title.  I want to put paw to paper to tell you all about my fabulous holidays in Cornwall with my pawrents, Julie and Michael, and the three other Tibetan Terriers (or should that be ‘terrors’?) in our family pack: Teddie, 12, Elvis, five and Jack, three.  We also live with a coop of rescue chickens.

Tibetan Terriers vary in appearance but we all have the same strong personalities: I’ve heard people say we are nosy, naughty, lively, very loving (I do the best kisses!) stubborn and agile.  Additionally we are wary of strangers but are known to be great judges of character. Elvis (aka Joyberna Devil-n-Disguise) in particular is a bit of an escape artist and I often hear Julie cry out in a panicky voice that Elvis Has Left The Building!

But I’ve spotted him: here he is….


Julie is a qualified canine massage therapist so we are quite used to a variety of four-legged visitors to her treatment room in our home in Luton (and a couple of tripawds too!)

As we are all show dogs, even reaching the lofty heights of Crufts, travelling the length and breadth of the UK is second nature to us. But first and foremost we are much loved pets and once a year, Julie and Michael load the van to bursting point with dog food, beds, treats and some other rubbish that apparently the humans need and that means one thing: it’s holiday time again!

Relaxing and chilling out are my favourite things (next to food and the ladies of course) and the annual family adventure in Cornwall means lots of that. For the past 20 years, the pawrents and their pack have been holidaying in Whitsand Bay Holiday Homes in Portwrinkle, a quiet fishing village which is very dog friendly. Portwrinkle has two coves and dogs are allowed on one. We love exploring the rock pools and then visiting the fantastic Gook Café for a sausage or two.


We usually stay in the same cottage so as soon as we arrive we pile out, eager to rush off and explore all the familiar scents.  As it was extra hot this year the cottage with its stone cool walls was a godsend, as were our special “cool coats” the pawrents had packed for us.   The garden of our cottage overlooks the sea and we had a great time nosing over the fence and watching walkers on the cliff path as well as sunbathing.  On cooler days, we headed off for longer walkies. To the left of the cottage, you can walk to Tregantle Fort, an MOD firing range.  As long as there’s no red flag, we go to the doggy beach at the base of the cliff.  To the right are the villages of Seaton and Downderry where after a long trot, the pawrents collapse into the Inn on the Shore at Seaton, or the Beach Café at Seaton, both of which I am welcomed into with open arms like the returning celebrity that I am.


This year I was horrified when I spotted Julie unloading the grooming table from the van, which she then set up in the garden.  I couldn’t believe it: hadn’t she heard of holidays?  I retreated to my hidey-hole in the bushes in the garden.  However, as Teddie is getting a bit old now and can’t walk too far, he was given special massages and also we had our coats combed to help keep them tangle free.  I like to look good for any passing females! I had an operation a few months ago and was told to take it easy too, although it didn’t stop me sticking my nose in rock pools and over the fence to greet my public on the cliff path.

A couple of miles along the cliff path and through a field of cows (ridiculous looking creatures, if you ask me) there is the Liscawn Inn in Crafthole.  Dogs are welcome, although they do have a Tibetan Terrier so there is some competition – grrrr!

But best of all is the Finnygook Inn where not only are we allowed in but there is live music on a Friday which we can enthusiastically howl along to.   And this year we ate like kings after a kind butcher gave the pawrents a fabulous deal on several kilos of chicken wings when they were buying their meat.  Now that’s my kind of holiday!

Phileas Phacts: Portwrinkle

  • Whitsand Bay Self Catering Properties Tel: 01579 345866; www.whitsandbayselfcatering.co.uk
  • Gook Beach Cafe, Finnygook Lane, Portwrinkle, Cornwall, PL113 BT Tel: 01503 230655; www.gookbeachcafe.co.uk (Situated in Portwrinkle above the dog-friendly beach.  Sausages are on the menu for four legged visitors!)
  • Inn on The Shore Seaton, Downderry, Torpoint, Cornwall PL11 3JY Tel: 01503 250027; inn-on-the-shore.co.uk
  • Beach Cafe at Seaton, Looe Hill, Seaton, Cornwall PL11 3JQ Tel: 01503 250621; www.seatonbeachcafe.co.uk
  • Liscawn Inn,Crafthole, Whitsand Bay, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL11 3BD Tel: 01503 230863; www.liscawn.co.uk  (Dog friendly inn near the coastal path with dog-friendly bedrooms as well.)
  • Finnygook Inn, Crafthole, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL11 3BQ Tel: 01503 230338; www.finnygook.co.uk (Dogs welcome in the garden and main bar area.)
  • Tregagles Butchers, Two Waters Foot, Liskeard, PL14 6HY
  • To contact Julie about canine massage therapy log on to www.doghousecaninemassagetherapy.co.uk – for those interested in finding out more about canine massage and its benefits.




Dog-Friendly Anglesey with Monty Spaniel

Dog friendly Anglesey with Monty

We’re in Anglesey for the weekend, where Sara is writing a piece about horse riding on the island. Having let her witter on for a few poncy paragraphs about ‘galloping on sandy beaches, with the rhythm of hooves mimicking the pounding surf etc etc’, I decide it’s time to put my paw down.

“What my public wants,” I explain kindly, “is not HORSES but HOUNDS. Leave those negligible neds out of it and let’s get down to talking about what’s in it for me and my canine chums. And while you’re at it, it’s my turn for the keyboard.”

We’re staying in a very nice self-catering cottage which has been rated five stars by Visit Wales, near Beaumaris – a pretty seaside town on the east coast of the island. Owner Julian Wood has set the cottage at White Beach Cove up for people who want to bring their horses on holiday, and there’s a stone stable block complete with tack room, feed room and even a horse sauna and shower. Of course, he’s also delighted to welcome sensible people who have dogs rather than horses, and has had up to three dogs staying at once. The cottage has hard stone and wood floors throughout and a large garden, most suitable for scampering purposes.

This cottages welcomes hounds (and horses)

This cottages welcomes hounds (and horses)

After exploring the local beach and headland, we decide to visit nearby Red Wharf Bay, stopping for a drink in the beer garden of the historic Ship Inn. Right on the coast, the Ship has been serving ale to passing sailors for hundreds of years and I’m glad that my bowl of water comes with such an impressive pedigree.

The headland is dog-friendly too!

The headland is dog-friendly too!

The name Red Wharf Bay apparently dates from the 18th century, and took over from the original name, Red Beach, which remembers a Viking battle in 1170 that left the beach soaked in blood. I’m quite keen to go down to the beach to see if I can find any leftover bones but before I do I conscientiously pop into the pub to check that we dogs are allowed inside, which we are. In fact, there’s a special room just for us called the ‘snug’, which sounds most suitable.

Afterwards, we walk a portion of the coastal path which goes all round the island for 110 miles. According to my information, it’s leads on for some sections of the path and on one or two stretches we’re not allowed at all due to livestock regulations, but it’s possible to bypass these to rejoin the path further on.

The following morning, it’s off for a scamper on Newborough beach, around a 45-minute drive from Beaumaris. It’s a quiet, secluded stretch of sand perfect for a good run, and I poke around in the rock pools and generally have a blast. Then, we head to nearby Newborough Forest, a large Forestry Commission site, to find a picnic spot.

Monty.Beaumaris.2After a relaxing afternoon and evening, the next morning we make the short journey to Beaumaris for a wander round. ‘Beau maris’ means ‘fair marsh’, and the site was originally marshland until it was reclaimed in the 13th century. It’s most famous for Beaumaris Castle, built by the English king Edward I to show his dominance over the Welsh. Unfortunately, money ran out before before it could be completed, but it’s still pretty impressive. Not that I have a chance to examine it at first paw, as despite me flashing my press card, I’m informed that access is limited to ‘Assistance Dogs Only’. While I obviously am an assistance dog – frankly, Sara would never be able to cope with all her own transcribing – I decide not to argue the point, mostly because it’s lunchtime.

(A special mention at this point for Simple Snacks – a corner cafe just opposite the castle. Not only do they bring my water out before we can ask for it, all the waitresses come out individually to give me a cuddle and ask if there’s anything I need. Now that’s service!)

Lastly, it’s on to the high point of the visit – a boat trip to Puffin Island.

Only available during the summer months, the trips leave from Beaumaris, circle the island for a view of the bird life and return 70 minutes later. They’re happy to welcome me – and indeed all dogs – on board, and I settle down happily near the pointy end, which I believe real sea dogs refer to as the bows. The voyage was a little rough, but I coped with it by falling asleep and missing the puffins, guillemots, cormorants, kittiwakes and grey seals that are being pointed out on every side.

Then it’s time to go home, and I sleep all the way back. I do find the sea air tiring.



Until next time, chums, hwyl fawr a phob lwc!

(Even though I am not a Welsh Springer Spaniel but an English Springer Spaniel, I know that means ‘goodbye and good luck’.)

Phileas Phacts: Anglesey

  • The Ship Inn, Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, Gwynedd, LL75 8RJ Tel: 01248 852568; www.shipinnredwharfbay.co.uk.
  • Details of The Cottage and sister property The Windmill, which also accepts dogs, are available at www.whitebeachholiday.co.uk.
  • For more information about the town of Beaumaris, visit www.beaumaris.com.
  • For Puffin Island cruises, see www.starida.co.uk.
  • Visit Wales is at www.visitwales.com



A Dog-Friendly Forest Holiday Cabin in North Yorkshire

Now, as my regular readers will attest, I am a dog who enjoys travelling – I’m Phileas Dogg, after all, and HOLIDAY is my middle name. But I have never in all my born days had a sniff of a trip like this – staying in a log cabin in the middle of a forest replete with deer and rabbits and SQUIRRELS to chase and hundreds of millions of trees to wee against. This is holiday heaven for a hound and no mistaking – acres and acres of forest to rampage through and I’m just the dog to do it!


When we arrive at our Forest Holidays cabin at Keldy in Cropton Forest, North Yorkshire there’s a Scrabble board on the coffee table and someone has thoughtfully spelled out WELCOME on the tiles. But I am not interested in Scrabble the board game – I am only interested in Scrabble up a tree to chase a squirrel.

The four girls (as they view themselves although in truth they are not girls at all but middle-aged women – in dog years, in fact, they are ancient) aren’t as interested in the forest as me. They are more interested in the hot tub on the deck of our cabin and the Stella McCartney shoes Jane has rather impractically packed for the trip and the bottles of Prosecco purchased en route to the Forest Holidays site. This is all extremely boring-bones for myself and my canine companions – Angus the Labradoodle and Jess the Labrador. Angus and I sit on the deck of our cabin and gaze wistfully out at the trees. This is a HINT and a Newfoundland-sized one at that. But Jane just takes another sip of Prosecco, sparks up another Marlboro Light and tells everyone what a bargain the Stella McCartney shoes were in TK Maxx.













Is this FURREAL? I can smell the forest and see the forest and feel the forest but I am not allowed into the forest. Frustrated, I decide to take matters into my own paws. So while the middle-aged women – sorry, girls – nip to the car to collect more bags and shoes and bottles of Prosecco I seize my chance and slip out of the door and away. Well – what self-respecting Rover would not dash out of a door leading to all this wonder and adventure?  Should a dog see this door and not take full advantage of the world it opens on to, he is not worthy of the name of dog.



If the doors of the cabin are open everything would appear to dog as it is: INFINITE! And this forest certainly is infinite: I am in forest infinity and the trees and the smells and the squirrels and the chase go on and on forever. Until, that is, I hear a voice I know only too well call my name and the voice I know only too well has a wobble in it that I know only too well and that wobble tells me that Jane has realised I have absented myself from the cabin into the forest of infinity and she is distressed. Oh dear. Now I am in a quandary– infinite forest versus Jane’s distress; infinite forest versus Jane’s distress…. And, even though I have a brave heart, I have a loyal heart too and loyalty takes the day. I return, proud but pious, to the cabin and I am rewarded with treats and tears and fuss. And then I am punished by having to remain on a long lead for the rest of the weekend. Not-amaze-bones. Not a Rover Result.

Still, even on the end of a long lead the woods are wonderful and I do have the last laugh, rather, when Jane loses a Fit Flop in a swampy bog and it has to be rescued by Vicky and Jess. I can navigate the infinite forest with ease. Jane obviously can not.  Four legs good; two legs with Fit Flops on the end not so good….


And check this chap out – he is a dog with a job and a very important and privileged one at that. (Not as important and privileged a job as mine as Britain’s top canine correspondent I’ll grant you but important nonetheless.) He drives the cart around the forest delivering logs to the cabins with wood-burning fires and cleaning the hot tubs every day. What a dog! What a job! Rover respect! (Actually I’m not sure he actually drives the cart – I think perhaps his master does – but he is clearly the brains of the operation, as all dogs are in four paws/ two paws professional partnerships.)


Phileas Phacts: Cabin in the Woods

  • Forest Holidays’ Keldy site, Cropton, near Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 8HW Tel: 03330 110495; www.forestholidays.co.uk
  • Prices start at £260 for a four night midweek break in a Silver Birch two-bed cabin at Forest Holidays’ Keldy site and Forest Holidays has a page on its website devoted to dogs –www.forestholidays.co.uk/types-of-holiday/dog-pet-friendly-holidays. There’s a charge of £10 per night per dog.


Dexter in Dog-friendly Dunstable….. and Beyond

dog-friendly Bedfordshire, dog-friendly Dunstable, dog-friendly England

Hello there, my name is Dexter and as you may have spotted, I only have three legs. Being a tripawd doesn’t stop me from doing anything my four-legged friends can, though. My motto is: life on three paws can be just as much fun as life on four! 

I’m a rescue dog who owns two humans and I live in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.  I had my right hind leg amputated in January 2012 after a complicated cruciate injury but it hasn’t stopped me enjoying my life to the full.  I take my pawrents for a walk in the countryside every day as I’m not too good in urban environments due to being extremely noisy when on my lead.   I may look very cute but, like all Schnauzers, I have an extremely deep growling bark and I make up for my missing leg with extra ‘talking’.

Once a year I take my pawrents on a dog friendly holiday where I always make everyone aware I’ve arrived! I am very proud of my fame as ‘The Beast of Bakewell’ and ‘The Werewolf of Wells’.

It’s my home turf I’m on today, though… dog-friendly Dunstable. Luckily there are some excellent rural dog walks near my home – my favourites are Ashridge Estate, Totternhoe Knolls and the Dunstable Downs.  Dunstable Downs is a particular favourite as it has a great visitor centre which Mum says does amazing cakes and snacks.


  • Ashridge Estate (National Trust), Moneybury Hill, Ringshall, Near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 1LX Tel: 01442 851227; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate/things-to-see-and-do/dog-walking/
  • A large forested area, particularly beautiful in bluebell season and in autumn, with a gift shop and café.
  • Totternhoe Knolls, Totternhoe, near Dunstable, Bedfordshire – there are several good walks, both flat and hilly.
  • Dunstable Downs (National Trust), Whipsnade Road, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU6 2GY Tel: 01582 500920; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunstable-downs-chilterns-gateway-and-whipsnade-estate
  • Amazing views across three counties and there’s a visitor centre with a café, shop and toilets – car parking charge of £2.50.

As I am partial to a pint or two I can often be found enjoying a drink in one of my local dog friendly country pubs – pawfect for a visit after a walk.  I’ve listed some of my favourites below – I get extra attention due to my three-legged status which, of course, I milk shamelessly!


  • Cross Keys, Castle Hill Road, Totternhoe, Dunstable, LU6 2DA Tel: 01525 220434
  • Olde-worlde country pub with a selection of real ales and food including Sunday lunch – there’s a big garden with trees at the bottom where dogs on leads are welcome, as well as inside the small bar.
  • Five Bells at Stanbridge, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 9JF Tel: 01525 210224; www.fivebellsstanbridge.co.uk
  • Large pub with good selection of food and drink and BBQs in the summer – dogs are welcome in the garden and bar.
  • The Swan, Leighton Road, Northall, LU6 2EY Tel: 01525 220444   
  • Good value food and drink in this pub with a garden, a large patio area and function bar – dogs welcomed throughout.

I’m also a regular visitor to the HULA Rescue Home near Woburn where dogs are always welcome to visit with their owners – I go to the monthly Open Days for dog treats, games and extra fuss.  At the Fun Dog Show in May I even won a rosette in the ‘Best Six Legs’ category along with my friend Tyco, a three-legged Lurcher!




Willow goes camping in the Scottish Borders



Hi there holidaying hounds – Willow here, fresh back from my first ever camping trip.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Willow the little ball of fluff – camping?’

And I must admit that was my first reaction when Hannah and I were invited to a campsite in the Scottish Borders with seven of our friends.

‘MOI? Willow the Coton de Tulear? In a tent???’

But, although I am accustomed to life’s luxuries, I’m no handbag pup and I’ve hiked many a mile with Hannah. Nor, whatever my fluffy snow white fur might suggest, am I afraid of a bit of mud….

Dog Dammit, I would conquer this camping lark. If Hannah could do it – and I’d heard her tales of spending nights under canvas swaddled in multiple thermal layers and blankets with a woolly hat atop her head – I could. I’m nowhere near as sissy as her! A woolly hat indeed…..

So off we headed for the May Bank Holiday weekend, up to Crosslaw Park, a caravan and camp site in Coldingham near the harbour village of St Abbs in the Scottish Borders. There was a certain amount of foreboding (mainly from Hannah) as we set off regarding the weather forecast. RAIN! But never mind that – I wasn’t too thrilled to discover that accompanying us on this trip was…… you’d never guess in a million dog years…….a QUAIL!

Willow.Camping.The.QUAILIt was injured and one of our friends was nursing it back to health. The indignity of it – me, a proud carnivore descended from wolves, having to share my holiday with a BIRD. What on earth would we have in common??????

When we arrived at Crosslaw Park, which had static caravans to hire as well as pitches for touring caravans and tents, I was a little confused. I’m used to my holiday accommodation being built before I arrive – I hadn’t realised we actually had to MAKE the tent ourselves. I helped a bit – more than our feathered ‘friend’ anyway. But, once the tent was UP, I started to quite like the campsite. Hannah said the shower and toilet facilities were good. She was especially impressed that there were a couple of sinks in cubicles – something to do with not wanting to wash her face in front of an audience. These humans – try having to toilette al fresco every day, like I do!!

Obviously it’s a dog friendly campsite or I wouldn’t have been there. (No mention of being QUAIL-friendly, I noted!) There were plenty of poo bins but the only thing that was missing for us dogs was a fenced-off exercise area. Being on the lead all the time can be boring!

Luckily there was a woodland walk starting at the campsite – part of a larger circular walk around the village of Coldingham, taking in the local Priory which used to be a house of Benedictine Monks dating back to the 1100′s.

Coldingham Priory

Coldingham Priory

There was another walk too, leading to the harbour at St Abbs and the SEA! Sadly there was no beach for me to run on as the area was mostly cliffs but the views were amazing. Then there was yet another walk from St Abbs, past a LOCH and on to a lighthouse!!  I stayed on an extending lead – Hannah didn’t want me to fall off a cliff if I got distracted by a tempting smell.

The cliff top walk from St Abbs

The cliff top walk from St Abbs

If you don’t fancy the walk from the campsite to St Abbs there’s a car park on the road approaching it, as well as a small row of buildings containing an art gallery and a café – the Old Smiddy. (There were plenty of seats outside the cafe, along with a bowl of water for dogs, but when Hannah asked if dogs could go inside, the owner didn’t really know. She ummed and aahhed for a bit and then seemed to agree that she might let dogs in if it was raining. But, despite the weather forecast, it wasn’t so we couldn’t test her on this.)

There are some good walks around Berwick-Upon-Tweed too – back over the border into England but just nine miles from our campsite in Scotland. Confuse-Bonios! Still, I enjoyed strolling along the town walls and gazing out over Berwick’s two bridges. There’s also the Lowry Trail – a walk you can follow around the town taking in some of an artist called Lowry’s favourite holiday spots – and a VERY good dog-friendly restaurant called Audelo, which is part of the No 1 Sallyport Hotel. It had a fancy lunch menu and Hannah would recommend the luxury white hot chocolate!

Walking around Berwick-upon-Tweed

Walking around Berwick-upon-Tweed

(Another good place to eat in the area is the Cross Inn at Paxton, where we went for dinner one night. We rung first to book a table in the bar for eight humans and a dog (thankfully we left the quail in the tent – it was really starting to damage my street-cred) and, when we arrived, I was greeted personally by Hugo the pub dog. I was a big hit with the barmaid and regulars too – oh, and the food was excellent.)

That was a lot of walking and wagging and meeting and eating and greeting in one weekend and you might imagine that I was so dog-tired at night I slept like a puppy in the tent. But even though it wasn’t freezing it wasn’t exactly warm either and I was a little chilly – until, that is, clever Hannah unpacked the electric heater she’d stowed away in the car for us. Grrrr-huzzah! I could drift off all snuggled up in front of that and, just at the point we were about to drift off, Hannah switched it off, meaning I was toastie as I slid into the land of nod and dreamt my sweet doggie dreams.


So that’s it – my TAILS of my camping adventures in the Great British Outpaws. When I headed home I was slightly scruffier than when I set off but content nonetheless. I had braved CAMPING – and survived cliffs and QUAILS! It was in-tents but it was worth it!


Phileas Phacts: Camping in the Scottish Borders

  • Crosslaw Caravan Park, School Road, Coldingham, St Abbs, Berwickshire, TD14 5NT Tel: 01890 771 316; http://crosslaw.co.uk/
  • The Old Smiddy, Northfield Farm, St Abbs, TD14 5QF  Tel: 01890 771707
  • Audelo in the No 1 Sallyport Hotel, 1 Sallyport, off Bridge Street, Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 1EZ Tel: 01289 298002; www.sallyport.co.uk
  • The Cross Inn, Paxton, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, TD15 1TE Tel: 01289 386267; www.crossinnpaxton.co.uk

Willow is one of the STAR reporters in our new, best-selling book – Phileas Dogg’s Guide to Dog-Friendly Holidays in Britain. To buy a copy from Amazon, click on the button on the top left of the page! Thank YOU!



Dog-Friendly Stamford, Lincs.

Since we penned our BOOK, Jane has become obsessed by something called our Amazon ranking. She has become as obsessed by Amazon rankings as I am by SQUIRRELS – in fact, she is more obsessed. I wonder about SQUIRRELS 75% of the time – Jane wonders about Amazon rankings 95% of the time. She sits at the computer and shouts random numbers at me.

‘5,500! 326! 20,809!’

I don’t even understand what all these numbers mean. I know there are 80, 287 squirrels in the world and that’s the only number I care about.

A couple of weeks ago, Jane decided she was becoming too obsessed by our Amazon ranking. The problem is, she has constant access, since her computer sits on a table in the front room and the Amazon ranking LIVES in the computer so she can reach it at any hour of the day or night. I cannot reach squirrels at any hour of the day or night – I can only reach them when I am out in the park. So, when I am indoors, even though I wonder about them, I can’t chase them. Whereas Jane can chase Amazon rankings all the time….

‘We are going away for the night,’ Jane told me. ‘We are going somewhere to escape our Amazon ranking.’

Where, I wondered, might this place of safety be? Are Amazon rankings accessible in the Amazon? Are squirrels accessible in the Amazon?

In fact, this place where Jane would not be able to access our Amazon ranking was just a short train ride to Peterborough and then an even shorter train ride from Peterborough to a town called Stamford away. The place where the Amazon ranking is inaccessible is LINCOLNSHIRE! It will not find us there!!!!

The.George.at.StamfordInstead of taking her laptop with her, as Jane normally does on our travails, she took a sort of book called a THRILLER. As soon as we had checked into The George of Stamford, where we were in a single dog-friendly room, she started devouring it, in much the same way as I devour SCRAPS. Totally focused and concentrating on every word, just as I am totally focused and concentrating on every mouthful.

It was a bit boring for me, to be honest – thank Dog I had a goodie bag awaiting me in the room to distract me and the courtyard at The George, which was busy with HUMANS and HOUNDS enjoying the sunshine, to gaze out upon. The George is a very ancient hotel, you see, and in the OLDEN DAYES it was a coaching inn. This means that travellers parked up their coaches outside The George for the night and found bed and board within. (The modern day equivalent is a Travelodge at a motorway service station, where people park up their cars for the night and find bed, board and a flat screen television within.)



After a couple of hours Jane put the THRILLER on the bedside table and decided we should venture out. FUR REAL, OWNER – I’ve only been waiting for the past two hours and five minutes!

(As Jane applied blusher in preparation for our stamp around Stamford I glared at the thriller and considered giving it a bit of a chomp. Before We Met, it’s called, and it had been highly recommended, according to Jane, on Twitter. But I desisted. I wouldn’t be too chuffed if some-dog chomped on my book so I don’t imagine Lucie Whitehouse would appreciate me chomping on hers.)

Out we head, first off to admire The George’s gardens. Very grand they were to human eyes but not to this hound’s eyes as there was nary a squirrel to be spotted. Onwards!

Just across the road from The George, though, leading to the town, lies a park and a proper one at that with a river running through it, open meadows and trees aplenty. This was much more like it and provided the warm welcome to waggers I’d hoped Stamford would extend. And not an Amazon ranking in site!

Now Stamford is a genteel little town with buildings the colour of a Golden Labrador – appaz this is because they are made of limestone. It was voted the best place to live in all of England by The Sunday Times last year and it is certainly quite pupmarket.

All the dogs were well-bred and there was a shop selling FARROW AND BALL! I don’t quite understand what Farrow and Ball is but I know that it’s POSH and that it is something that humans who are in couples have – Jane’s sister Steph and her husband Jerome, for example – and something that humans who aren’t in couples, Jane for example, don’t have. (Often I hear Jane muttering to herself about how when she meets a nice man she will be able to afford Farrow and Ball. Who cares? I can always pick up an abandoned old tennis ball in the park any day of the week.)


Of much more concern to me was this poor little fellow. Obviously he required a bit of a scrub-up so his owners had attached him to a pole outside the dry cleaners awaiting collection. I hurried along at quite the pace when I spotted him, lest Jane decide that I required a dry clean too. 


After a stroll through Stamford’s streets and a good old lifting of the leg and ticker taping of the news that Attlee Common was in town on street corners and lamp posts we repaired to a dog-friendly hostelry called The Tobie Norris recommended by the lady in the Tourist Information.

Very relaxed and welcoming it was too with leather sofas and lots of cosy nooks and crannies but the lady could have given this tourist the information that the cutest puppy in town frequented it. I would have struck The Tobie Norris right off my list on hearing about this chap – I received no attention whatsoever, especially as Jane, post-puppy worshipping, fished the bloody THRILLER out of her bag and sunk her nose into that while she sipped a white wine spritzer! He’s a Clumber Spaniel, if anyone is intestamford.puprested, but I didn’t write down his name. I’m a Rover Repawter on travel for terriers – not a judge at Crufts.

(Jane did redeem herself slightly by ordering Lincoln Beef Bourginon Pie for dinner and sharing some juicy SCRAPS with me. And, back at The George later, we sat in the courtyard and as night drew in, with the aid of a well-situated lamp, she finished the THRILLER. Normal order was resumed and, thank Dog, I was restored to my rightful place as the main focus of her attention.)



The next morning, Amazon rankings, puppies and thrillers vanquished – and believe me that’s a lot of vanquishing for a MIDDLE-SIZED dog – I took the lead and we headed to the grounds of the Burghley Estate, a ten minute or so stroll from the centre of Stamford. The Burghley Estate is a grand manor house and many, including the lady at the Tourist Information, say it is the finest Elizabethan manor in the country. I didn’t care about Elizabeth and her fancy home – she’s probably single so won’t have FARROW AND BALL – but I did care about the deer in the park. FENTON, I will follow in your footsteps.

Alas, dear Rover, it was not to be. Jane might at times behave in a foolish manner but she is no dog’s fool and my deer stalking dreams were stalled by the fact I was kept on the lead as we walked around. Who invented leads anyway?

I was cheered, however, by the sight of The William Cecil, a hotel and restaurant right on the edge of the grounds and, I’d heard, one of the canine canniest kips around. I had a good old sniff around and am happy to report that The William Cecil fully deserves all the plaudits it picks up from pups.

For overnight guests with a tail designer dog beds are provided and, PICK UP YOUR EARS HOLIDAYING HOUNDS OF BRITAIN, there is a room service menu especially for dogs. So, should you fancy a taste of the rock and Rover lifestyle, you can order Sirloin steak at 2am and, after your repast, throw your bowl out of the hotel window. (You’ll probably want to ask your owner to pick it up in the morning though.)

Sadly we were only there for lunch so this avenue of pleasure was denied to me – however, I was treated like a King of Canines in the conservatory with a place set for me under the table as Jane enjoyed her Sunday roast. As usual her eyes were bigger than her tummy. They weren’t bigger than my tummy though and I was able to help her out. Grrrr-HUZZAH!













Phileas Phacts, Stamford:

  • The George Hotel of Stamford, 71 St Martin’s, Stamford, Lincs, PE9 2LB Tel: 01780 750750; email: reservations@georgehotelofstamford.com; website: www.georgehotelofstamford.com
  • Price:  from £160 for a double per night.
  • Charge for dogs: no.
  • The William Cecil, St Martins, Stamford, Lincs, PE9 2LJ Tel: 01780 750 070; website: www.thewilliamcecil.co.uk
  • Price:  double rooms start from £100.
  • Charge for dogs: £20 per dog per room per night.
  • The Tobie Norris, 12 St Pauls Street, Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 2BE Tel: 01780 753800; www.tobienorris.com


  • Jane and Attlee’s book – Phileas Dogg’s Guide to Dog-Friendly Holidays in Britain – is available from Amazon and all good bookshops rrp £12.99.

A Dog-Friendly Day out at Belsay, Northumberland

Three hundred English Heritage properties are dog-friendly and Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens in Northumberland proves its canine canny credentials by holding dog-friendly days when it’s an access all areas pass for pups to explore the grounds. Our Rover Reporter Jess investigated….


"Paw me a cuppa - but I'm not allowed in the tea room. I want to WALK."

“Paw me a cuppa – but I’m not allowed in the tea room. I don’t want tea anyway.  I want to EXPLORE by PAW!”

"Where does this door lead?"

“Where does this door lead?”

"Having a LAFF in the DAFFs!"

“Having a LAFF in the DAFFs!”


"I wonder how many treats are in the larder in this grand house?"

“I wonder how many treats are in the larder in this grand house?”

For details of all English Heritage’s properties which welcome dogs log on to www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/dogs/

And lots of English Heritage properties are mentioned in our BOOK, available from Amazon and all good bookshops.






Mojo returns to Newport, Pembrokeshire!

So here I am Mojo the Spaniel on tour with Hudson Human again at my favourite place in the whole world – Newport, Pembrokeshire. And, this time, the weather is sunny, which is a Bonio-BONUS!

We’re staying at The Golden Lion which I didn’t know had accommodation, let alone dog-friendly accommodation. But, after making my furry presence known, we are shown to our ground floor room – easy access outside for me should I require a late night perambulation – by the helpful manager.

After Hudson Human unpacked her things, we hot footed and hot pawed it out into the SUNSHINE to visit  Castell Henllys, an Iron Age fort a couple of miles from Newport. Replica roundhouses have been built on top of the excavated remains of an existing hill fort, dating back 2,400 years. Dogs have to stay on leads but I didn’t mind as there were lots of interesting smells and a guide, dressed in Iron Age-appropriate attire, who told us all about the roundhouses and made the effort to include me in the conversation too!


Mogo.Pembrokeshire.NapI enjoyed myself there for a couple of hours but then it was time for two of the three most important aspects of any dog’s day – a NAP and DINNER. (The other aspect is, of course, a WALK which I’d already ticked off the list.)

A table had been reserved in the bar at 7.30pm for us and what a great table it was too – bang in the middle of the action. There were quite a few of my canine brethren dining out – under the tables, awaiting scraps –including the biggest, furriest dog I’ve ever seen eating with his owners in the lobby.

Nap, dinner and then, next morning before breakfast, WALK again, along the Wales Coast Path which was just down the lane from our room. Then Hudson Human went for breakfast without me as I’m not allowed in the restaurant. Not to worry though as she brought back a SAUSAGE and bacon rind – ample compensation!  

We then took a trip out to Cilgerran where we visited the ancient castle for a look around. It was very old – even older than Hudson Human, apparently. Dogs are welcome on leads but I wasn’t allowed to go up the tower. I don’t like heights anyway and a very nice lady with dog treats looked after me while Hudson Human climbed up and had a nose.


I was ready to return to The Golden Lion for a nap after that but oh no – Hudson Human wanted to see the WILD LIFE at the Welsh Wildlife Centre. We had a long walk along the trails where dogs are allowed off lead as long as they’re well behaved and under control.  Strangely, I was kept on the lead. Maybe I’m the wild one?


I then demanded that Hudson Human drive me back to The Golden Lion for dinner in the bar but, after the excitement of the day, I was getting a bit too friendly with other people’s food and she banished me to the room! OUTRAGED! Oh well – at least there was scraparama to be scoffed afterwards. And, when we had to leave the next morning, the staff at The Golden Lion said I’d been a lovely guest. Thank you Golden Lion – and you’d been charming hosts!


Phileas Phacts: Newport, Pembrokeshire

Golden Lion, East Street, Newport – prices start at £90 for a double and dogs are charged at £15 per stay, however long.  To book call 01239 820321; www.goldenlionpembrokeshire.co.uk

For details about things to see and do in Pembrokeshire visit www.visitpembrokeshire.com

Information about visiting the Castell Henllys reconstructed Iron Age Hill Fort can be found on www.castellhenllys.com or 01239 891319; for Cilgerran Castle see www.cadw.wales.gov.uk and for the Welsh Wildlife Centre www.welshwildlife.org.

book cover, dog-friendly britain book





Studious Sooki Can Now Holiday in Style


She won the amazing Poppy and Rufus designer travel bag – check out www.poppyandrufus.co.uk for more like it!


Brag and Wag: We all LOVE Phileas Dogg’s Guide to Dog-Friendly Holidays in Britain


HOLIDAYING HOUNDS OF BRITAIN: send us your pics of you pups perusing Phileas Dogg’s Guide to Dog-Friendly Holidays in Britain and we’ll add them to our wall of waggers! (Add them to our Phileas Dogg Facebook page or email them to jane@phileasdogg.com.)

SAMSUNG CSCThe dog whose name is picked out of a hat this Sunday, June 1st, will WIN this amazing dog travel bag from Poppy and Rufus, worth £85. It’s British-made from oilcloth with pockets for towels, treats and toys and bowls and bedding. Log on to www.poppyandrufus.co.uk for more information about their gorgeous products. 

If you haven’t bought your copy of Phileas Dogg’s Guide to Dog-Friendly Holidays in Britain yet, nab one through Amazon by clicking on the button to the right, or head to your local bookshop.

Without further ado, here are the canine contenders photographing it out for only bag they’ll ever need to pack for their holidays again…….. Drum Roll please!

Jeffrey Pug is a well-travelled dug!

Jeffrey Pug is a well-travelled dug!

Clover's in Clover when she considers her next holiday!

Clover’s in Clover when she considers her next holiday!

Mojo always finds his MOJO on holiday....

Mojo always finds his MOJO on holiday….

Her Midge holidays in royal style.

Her Midge holidays in royal style.

Ted's hound on the ground in Kent.

Ted’s hound on the ground in Kent.



Bosun may be 14 but he's up to the minute with the latest technology: a silver surfer with a Canine Kindle!

Bosun may be 14 but he’s up to the minute with the latest technology: a silver surfer with a Canine Kindle!

The Pointer Sisters Rosie and Emily: Phileas Dogg POINTS them in the right direction!

The Pointer Sisters Rosie and Emily: Phileas Dogg POINTS them in the right direction!

Tess takes a stand so she can really concentrate on her travel options.

Tess takes a stand so she can really concentrate on her travel options.


Pepper's a Pug with the Travel Bug

Pepper’s a Pug with the Travel Bug

Archie's not giving his copy up for anyone!!!

Archie’s not giving his copy up for anyone!!!

Selkie's our Highland repawter - she's eating her words!!

Selkie’s our Highland repawter – she’s eating her words!!

Sunnies and a travel guide: Millie is packed and ready to go! X

Sunnies and a travel guide: Millie is packed and ready to go! X

Evie's on the bench planning her holidays.

Evie’s on the bench planning her holidays.


Claunie from the Highlands

Claunie: his future holidays are so bright he’s gotta wear shades!


Wonderful Willow, our  Rover Repawter from Yorkshire

Wonderful Willow, our Rover Repawter from Yorkshire

Murphy, Rover Repawter for Liverpool

Murphy, Fab Paw from Liverpool




Evie's In-Tents: she's our camping correspawndent

Evie’s In-Tents: she’s our camping correspawndent

Jess loves Northumberland's beaches

Jess The Dog!

What's it all about Alfie?

What’s it all about Alfie?

Canny Caravanning Canine Ruby

Canny Caravanning Canine Ruby


Travelling Bear can't BEAR to be parted from his copy

Travelling Bear can’t BEAR to be parted from his copy

Molly is happy to sign pawtographs!

Molly is happy to sign pawtographs!

Dilly's a diligent dog when it comes to planning her hols

Dilly’s a diligent dog when it comes to planning her hols

Holly the Collie has traveller's tails from Wales

Holly the Collie has traveller’s tails from Wales

Indy takes an indy-pendent view

Indy takes an indy-pendent view
















Studious Sooki browses her holiday options...

Studious Sooki browses her holiday options…












Ellie gazes out at the rain, dreaming of her next holiday.

Ellie gazes out at the rain, dreaming of her next holiday.

Tony bought the Kindle edition so he can read it on the big screen.....

Tony bought the Kindle edition so he can read it on the big screen…..


HOT OFF THE PRESS: Phileas Dogg’s Guide to Dog-Friendly Holidays in Britain

We are so excited and proud…..

book cover, dog-friendly britain bookOur guide to dog-friendly Britain is in the shops now!

Or buy from Amazon by clicking the link on the right…..

Grrrrr-HUZZAH and Amaze-BONIOS!


Dog-Friendly Whitstable, Kent

Surfs up for summer hounds of Britain and we’re off to dog-friendly Whitstable on our researches.

Whitstable is where Phileas Dogg Rover Repawter ex-paw-dinaire Ted Steele learnt to ride a wave.

Surfing.Ted (2)It’s also where Jane’s friend Elisa lives and it’s a very long way from London – bus; train; bus; train; train. Oh hang on – interruption from Jane. Appazzently Whitstable isn’t really a long way from London; it only seems a long way because we always visit on Bank Holiday weekends when the trains are up the spout.

Anyway, when Whitstable is achieved, via the rail replacement bus, it’s a jolly little town with a high street that’s always busy with dogs wandering up and down – a good spot for a bark-off, although Jane wasn’t very impressed when I did a shout out to two Rockweilers on the other side of the street on our most recent jaunt. She reckons I should pick on dogs my own size rather than taking on the big boyz. What can I say? I’m brave. (And, if the big dog takes exception to my tough terrier talk, I can always hide behind Jane when the trouble starts.)

The High Street is dog-friendly – it has to be, given all the canine customers wandering up and down as their owners browse bunting and baskets made from driftwood and vintage shops selling 1950s ephemera. The best shop on the high street though, BAR NONE, is The Offy. The Offy is an OFFY and, behind the counter, a big bowl of biscuits awaits us Whitstable waggers. Jane always pops into the Offy for her bottle of white and Marlboro Lights when we’re in town and I am always well-rewarded for her patronage.

But, while Whitstable high street has its Bonios, there’s one part of the town that a twitchy-nosed terrier like me will always make tracks for and that’s the harbour. It is SMELL-CENTRAL with oysters and cockles and mussels – sadly, I am not allowed any as Jane declares they will upset my delicate constitution. I think I should be the judge of whether my constitution is delicate or not (and of course it isn’t – there’s nothing delicate about me as those rockweilers will tell you) but unfortunately she is in charge of the purse strings. Try as I might to impress her with my eyes pleading and paw up routine, learnt during my spell at the Canine Academy of Drama in 2010, her heart remains hard and there are no cockles to warm mine.

dog friendly whitstable

A stroll along the beach normally distracts me – parts of Whitstable beach are dog-friendly all year round and don’t we dogs know it? It’s Muttley-mobbed! To make up for the sea food which I see but am not allowed to eat Jane normally buys me a big bowl of sausages at one of the coffee and hot dog stalls along the front. Hot Dawg!

There’s a pub, on the beach – The Neptune, or The Neppy as surf-pup Ted, a regular there, calls it.

And there are some canine-canny kips – former fisherman’s huts at the side of the sea wall, now converted for holiday-makers. Obviously Jane and I have no need of overnight accommodation, Elisa always being happy to host us, and I have free run of her house, furniture included. High Paw Elisa! But the fisherman’s huts are quirky and cute for pups from out of town without handily-placed friends to put them up.

dog-friendly restaurant Birdies WhitstabeOf an evening we repair to that rarest of things – a restaurant that allows dogs. Birdies Bistro is a laidback spot for dinner with all my favourites on the menu – seafood, not allowed; Beef Wellington, scraparama! It’s best to book though as it’s small and does get busy. Obviously this doesn’t apply to me. Being the Egon Bone-ay of the dog world, waiting lists are forgotten when I make my entrance.

Then it’s time for a quick snifter in The Duke of Cumberland – a proper pub where dogs are welcome – and back to Elisa’s to watch a Zombie move because that’s how I roll, Rovers. Until next time, Phileas!

book cover, dog-friendly britain bookNEWSFLASH: I have written a book, all by myself – no help from Jane whatsoever. (Why her name is on the cover and not mine is a BONE OF CONTENTION.) Anyway, it relates the story of my traveller’s tails across the British Isles and is grrrr-huzzah amaze-tennis-balls. Available from Amazon and all good book stores now!




Phileas Phacts: Whitstable

  • The Offy, 5 High Street, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1AP Tel: 01227 272114
  • The Old Neptune, Marine Terrace, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1EJ Tel: 01227 272262; website: www.neppy.co.uk
  •  Fisherman’s Huts, The Harbour, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1AB Tel: 01227 280280; website: www.whitstablefishermanshuts.com
  • Sleeps: from two to five people.
  • Price:  £75 per night and up.
  • Charge for dogs: no.
  • Extras for dogs: no.
  • Access all areas: dogs are allowed in four of the 12 fisherman’s huts.
  • Number of dogs: two maximum.
  • Late night pee:  two metres to the sea wall.


  • Birdies Bistro, 41 Harbour Street, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1AH Tel: 01227 265337
  • Duke of Cumberland, High St, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1AP Tel: 01227 280617; www.thedukeinwhitstable.co.uk




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!


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!


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.)


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.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?



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?


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.’


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