Tuesday, 7 November 2017

48 hours in the Cotswolds with the Holiday Hound

Mingling in the local pub
When my gorgeous dog Scout came into my life, I vowed I would start to take some holidays where he could come along as well. He's a lively boy and at just over two and half years old he is now suitably well trained enough to be able to take him away and trust him to behave in other people's homes.

Whilst he has already been on doggie holidays to stay with his adopted family in Essex when I have been on vacation, this was his first trip as Holiday Hound!

I found the perfect cottage via the Rural Retreats website as I was looking for somewhere quiet within the Cotswolds region that was dog friendly. Hope Cottage in the village of Naunton came up trumps for the two days I wanted.

I have visited the Cotswolds a number of times and really love it .. it is only a couple of hours drive from London and this was a real find.

"Hope Cottage is a traditional semi-detached Cotswold stone property in the picturesque village of Naunton. The village is situated alongside the River Windrush in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The village boasts a 15th century church and medieval dovecote. The Black Horse, a traditional country pub (known locally for it's good food) is less than 100 yards from the cottage.
The cottage has been refurbished to modern standards, but retains character features including exposed wooden beams, a wood burning stove, an Inglenook fireplace and window seats. Scenic walks along the Warden’s Way can be joined a few metres from the front door."

I would love to return to this cottage as it really felt like a home from home for me. Everything was provided to make our stay comfortable. A hamper full of essential items like bread, jam, scones, snacks and a fridge stocked with milk, butter, cheese and wine. So very welcome after the journey from London and no need to have to then go shopping for supplies. The front room had a log burning stove but it wasn't quite cold enough to have to light it although it would have been lovely! The upstairs bedroom was a quiet, calm place to relax with a large bathroom stocked with White Company toiletries.

The local pub just around the corner, The Black Horse Inn was very welcoming and dog friendly, and the food was delicious .. lovely to have so close by.

There are many places to visit in the surrounding area and given that we only had one full day to explore properly, I walked Scout through the village, venturing down the little lanes and allowing him to run free in a field nearby. We found the Dove Cote, a Grade II listed building which is currently under renovation at the moment, covered in scaffolding. You get a real sense of a time gone by and seeing a bottle of milk perched on a wall in the village indicates that the traditional milk round is still alive and active.

We hopped in the car and drove about 20 minutes away to the Inn at Fossebridge near Cirencester. This is another gorgeous place to explore with Stowell Park nearby and the Inn's own lake and grounds to walk around. The pub itself is dog friendly with a good menu for lunch and dinner. The Inn also has a number of rooms at reasonable rates, each named after a local Cotswold village or town.

After a light lunch, we were back in the car heading towards the village of Bibury - "the most beautiful village in England" William Morris - where the medieval weavers cottages of Arlington Row are a big tourist draw as they date back to the 14th century. You can also visit the working trout farm right next door to the Swan Hotel. I visited this gorgeous village a few years ago and love going back and being reminded of how charming it is.

Onward from Bibury to Burford where I stayed previously at The Highway Inn in 2014 around the same time of year. Whilst I was there I discovered Huffkins bakery and brought home some of their produce. I just had to stop by again and purchase some more of their delicious shortbread as well as a small Christmas cake and pudding. It's never too early to stock up!

Even though this was only a two day break, it felt longer. It's the actual getting away from your normal life that makes it so enjoyable. No chores, no distractions and the chance to just relax and get some fresh country air in a beautiful part of the world.

Click on the links below for more info on dog friendly walks and holidays ..

National Trust

Rural Retreats - Dog Friendly Holiday Cottages


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