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GREAT PET FRIENDLY HOTELS IN THE UK

Adrian Mourby

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It wasn't until I had two cats of my own that the words “pet friendly” suddenly began to leap out at me from hotel web pages. What a discovery! While most hotels usually mean well-behaved dogs when they say “pet”, there are also quite a few that will take house-cats like ours, discriminating felines who expect to have their litter box and dishes transported in the back of the car. Our two genuinely love exploring their new bedrooms. We have used catteries in the past but found that if you're only going away for the weekend, transporting your pets to their new boarding school can seriously cut into your time away. And then there is all the guilt you feel as you drive off without them. So my advice would definitely be to take your four-legged friends with you – having first rung round a few hotels that come up through the “dog friendly” filter on Britain's Finest to discover exactly what they offer. You'll find very different levels of canine catering and some will definitely not welcome cats. But get yourself the right hotel and you can settle down to a great holiday together.
Tuddenham Mill

Dogs and cats are very welcome at Tuddenham Mill, the picturesque conversion of an eighteenth century water mill with swans on its mill pond. Animals and their owners are usually assigned the new spacious barn suites which have easy access to the hotel's own meadow, ideal for morning walks. Dogs are allowed in the bar but not in the lovely half-timbered restaurant upstairs where chef Lee Bye is responsible for some award-winning dishes. Just don't let your cat out to chase those swans!

The Gurnard

What could be better than to take your dog to a Cornish pub where the emphasis is on complete relaxation? Dogs – and even cats – are welcome in all seven colourful bedrooms and pretty much everywhere in the hotel except the restaurant. But don't worry. The same menu is served in the bar where pets are most certainly welcome. Gurnard's Head is seven miles outside picturesque St Ives so there's a fine Atlantic walk there should your dog be in need of some bracing exercise. The two of you can always get a taxi back.

Kesgrave Hall

The 40 acres of Kesgrave Hall make this Suffolk hotel ideal for dog walkers. Built as a gentleman's residence, Kesgrave was home to several schools before finally becoming a hotel under the guidance of entrepreneur Gerald Milsom . When possible the hotel puts dog owners in the eight courtyard rooms which allow easy access to the grounds. It's quite likely you and your pet will be staying in rooms that used to belong to the headmaster. Dogs aren't allowed in the bar or restaurant, but can eat out with their owners on the heated terrace.

The Old Bell Hotel

One of England's most ancient hotels, the Old Bell welcomes up to medium-sized dogs and responsible cats in six of its 33 boutique bedrooms. For exercise there is a small garden and a lovely 40-minute circular walk down Mill Lane and along the River Avon. Dogs are allowed into the lounges and in the bar and can eat on the hotel's two patios. Water bowls are provided of course. This wisteria-clad hotel is also a good base for longer walks if you and your canine are feeling ambitious.

Macdonald Compleat Angler

Long riverside walks are in store for your dog when you check into the Compleat Angler on the banks of the River Thames at Marlow Weir. That strange 17th century spelling of the hotel's name is down to Isaak Walton who wrote a book about fishing on the Thames around the same time that this ancient inn was opened. Staff at the Compleat Angler genuinely seem to like dogs rather than simply tolerating them, so as long as you can keep your friend out of the river you'll have a fun relaxing time.

New Inn

It's not surprising that Clovelly's New Inn is pet friendly. Clovelly is very a four-legged village. Donkeys do the daily deliveries to this pub set on a steep street above the harbour. This tiny Devon fishing port saw its population decline from over 600 in 1901 to around 400 a century later and even today the streets are too steep for cars, which means that there is no better way to get luggage and supplies to the New Inn than on a donkey sled. Dogs are welcome at this eight-room hotel but it's advisable to ring ahead to check your canine requirements.

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