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.

Dexter.Retrica

  • 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!

Dexter.Pint

  • 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!

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Willow goes camping in the Scottish Borders

Willow.Camping.Tent

 

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.

Willow.Camping.Electric.Fire

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!

High.Res.Cover.Phileas.Dogg.Book

 

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.)

 

treats.at.the.george.2

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.)

Attlee.Farrow.and.Ball

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. 

stamford.dry.clean.dog

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!

Attlee.William.Cecil.2

William.Cecil.Scoffing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

High.Res.Cover.Phileas.Dogg.Book

 

 

 

 

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!

Mojo.Roundhouse

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.

Mojo.Castle.Cilgerran

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?

Mojo.Wildlife.Trail

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

Studious.Sooki

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

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

COMPETITION!

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

DASTARDLY PLANS HIS NEXT WACKY RACE!

DASTARDLY PLANS HIS NEXT WACKY RACE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Julie.Mojo.Attlee

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

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

Mojo.Woodland.Walk

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

Making Friends in The Golden Lion

Making Friends in The Golden Lion

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Dog-friendly Glastonbury, Somerset

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

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

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

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

Maggie and Ellie at Middlewick Farm

Maggie and Ellie at Middlewick Farm

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

GLASTO.Sheep

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

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

GLASTO.Abbey

 

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

Dodger.Unicorn.Horn

Phileas Phacts: Glastonbury

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

Dog-friendly North Devon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holsworthy.Holemoor.Farm.Entrance

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

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

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

 

Our NOSY neighbour Billy

Our NOSY neighbour Billy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me – I never had any doubts.

Phileas Phacts: Holsworthy

Holemoor Cottage, Holemoor Farm, near Holsworthy, Devon

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

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

Sleeps: five

Price: starts at £370 a week.

Charge for dogs: £25 per dog per week.

Extras for dogs: biscuits and towels.

Access all areas: not upstairs.

Number of dogs: ask at time of booking.

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

Owner’s dogs: Billy and Merlin

 

 

Dog-Friendly Chipping Campden, Cotswolds

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

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

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

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

Cotswolds.Attlee.Walk.2

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

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

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

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

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

Cotswolds.Attlee.Joan.HotelBed1

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

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

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

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

Cotswolds.Attlee.Joan.Walk

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

Phileas Phacts: Chipping Campden

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Tickhill.Willow.BirthdayTickhill.Willow.Xmas.Stocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Tickhill.Buttercross.at.Christmas

 

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

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

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

Tickhill.Watching.the.Ducks

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Phileas Phacts: Tickhill, South Yorkshire

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

 

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

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

We doggies are waiting, a bright merry band

For wintery walks, festive dinner and bones

And stockings to hang in each doggy home.

So tag every present, and deck every hall

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

Merry.Xmas.Monty.Moreton.In.Marsh

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

Having a Chortle on the Cotswold Way!

Having a Laugh on the Cotswold Way!

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

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

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

Merry Christmas Phileas Phans and a very happy New Year!

Monty X

 

 

Dog-Friendly Newcastle: Elvis is IN the building!

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

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

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

Newcastle.Elvis.Shades

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

newcastle.pie

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

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

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

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

Newcastle.Elvis.on.Metro

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

 

Me having a business meeting at the Town Wall

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

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

Newcastle.Elvis.Beach

 

Phileas Phacts: Elvis the Dog on the Tyne

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

 

A Christmas Grotto for Dogs: COMPETITION

Lily's.Kitchen.Attlee.Meets.Santa

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

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

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

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

Lily in her Grotto - Compressed (2)

COMPETITION

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

 

BK5S32PT

Lily's.Kitchen.Cook.Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Lily's.Kitchen.Attlee.Jane

 

 

Dog-friendly Sydney, Down Under

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

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

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

dog-friendly Sydney, Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dog-friendly Langham Sydney

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

Phileas Phacts: Sydney

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

Dog-friendly Beadnell and Seahouses on the Northumbrian Coast

Dog-Friendly Beadnell and the Northumberland Coast

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

Beadnell

Beadnell.Beadnell.Bay.Willow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seahouses

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

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

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

Bamburgh

Beadnell.Bamburgh.Castle

Craster

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

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

Beadnell.Dunstaburgh.Castle

Boulmer

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

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

Ross Back Sands

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

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

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

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

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

Phileas Phacts

Beadnell

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

Bamburgh

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

Craster

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

Ross Back Sands

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

Monty visits St Bertrand-de-Comminges, SW France

On the Pilgrims’ Tail

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

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

Monty Sniffs Out The Stories

Monty Sniffs Out The Stories

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

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

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

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

monty.pilgrim's.tail

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

monty.comminges.restaurant

monty.leather.shop

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

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

monty.cathedral

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

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

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

 

Dog-friendly Corbridge, Northumberland?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The woman nodded sadly.

‘The only place.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

High Paw Arnold and Tove!

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

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

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

 

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

wales.dog friendly beaches, wales dog friendly accommodation

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

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

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

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

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

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

holiday cottages for dog owners Wales UK

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

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

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

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

forest walks in wales dog friendly,

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

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

holiday cottages pembrokeshire dog friendly, dog friendly west wales

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

I’m just not sure California will compare!

Postcard from California: Dog-Friendly Pleasanton

Our favourite Rover Reporter Monty writes:

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

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

Winston Lounging By His Swimming Pool

 

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

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

dog-friendly California, dog-friendly San Francisco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Huh. I’m still cross. M.)

Boxout: Phileas Phacts

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

North Norfolk: Doggie Pubs and Brilliant Beaches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

doggie pubs Norfolk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

beaches dog friendly north norfolk, doggie pubs north norfolk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phileas Phacts, North Norfolk

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Extra York Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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