The Swan is situated in the picturesque Cotswold village of Bibury, right on the river Coln. It’s very much on the tourist map, but with a dog you have an excuse to explore the beautiful countryside and get away from the coach parties! The hotel was super dog-friendly and our room had a dog bed and bowl for Barnaby. We had a basic room in the main hotel which, although it was small, had a bathroom big enough for Barnaby to sleep in. The hotel requests that you feed your dog in the bathroom where there are tiles, for ease of cleaning; fair enough!
The plan was to eat in the bar area where Barnaby was allowed with us, but it was quite busy and noisy so we took Barnaby back to our room and headed to the brasserie on our own instead. This was much more relaxed and comfortable and we very much enjoyed our meal. We had breakfast with Barnaby in the bar area the following morning when it was more peaceful! You can also take dogs into the little sitting room where there is a fire. We had a coffee and read the papers there after breakfast.
The Swan is situated right on the road at a junction, which has to be navigated first when taking your dog for its loo visits! The hotel does however have a small enclosed garden just across the road, with a stream running through it; a great place to wash off muddy paws! For a longer walk the very picturesque six mile walk from Bibury to Coln St Aldwyns (see link) is great, although you’ll need to work out how to get back if you don’t want to do double the distance! There can be livestock so some lead walking may be necessary and when we were there it was quite muddy!
Visiting the Seaside Boarding House is like stepping back to another time, yet it’s also feels modern and sophisticated. There are no TVs or kettles/coffee machines in its eight rooms, but this just adds to its charm. Instead, with a dial of your old-fashioned telephone, you can request a pot of tea that arrives almost instantly! Instead of watching the TV, you can sit at the window seat and admire the beautiful view looking out to sea. We were in room 303 which had amazing views from both the bedroom and bathroom and the comfiest bed imaginable (apparently they have Devon-made natural mattresses). The bathroom was too small for Barnaby to sleep in but he was fairly well-behaved sleeping on the floor of our room.
p.s. Apologies to my husband for missing the FA cup final (I told him later that TVs are available on request!).
Dogs are not allowed in the restaurant but they are allowed in the bar area, library and outside terrace. The great thing is that the menu is the same in any location so we ate once in the restaurant and once in the bar, where Barnaby slept peacefully under the table. The food was consistently excellent and worth a special mention were the hake with aoli and the turbot with smoked mussels. My husband said it was the best hake he’s ever eaten! I also managed to squeeze in afternoon tea with scones, jam and cream (very generous portions!) and we both had classic fish soup for lunch on the terrace, divine!
Steps down from the front garden lead you straight onto the beach which stretches from Weymouth in the east to past Lyme Regis in the west. We walked Barnaby at 7 in the mornings and had the beach to ourselves, apart from the odd fisherman and lone swimmer. The beach is closed to dogs from 1st June to the end of September but you can walk the pretty coastal paths parallel to the beach instead.
The Seaside Boarding House has a handy shower room downstairs that can be accessed through the back door. We were able to wash off Barnaby’s sandy paws before taking him upstairs.
It really felt like nothing was too much trouble for the super-friendly staff. I also loved finding a daily newspaper posted underneath our door.
The hotel is a converted Georgian sugar house in the centre of Bristol with masses of charm. We had a standard room but it was large with a huge bathroom where Barnaby could have slept happily. I say ‘could’ because at the end of the evening he actually went home with his Grandpups so that we could have a lie in!
Dogs are not allowed in the main restaurant but they can eat in the lovely large bar area (where they were also serving afternoon tea when we arrived). The main restaurant itself is full of historic character and we thought our dinner there was great! My sister and I had miso cod which was amazing. Puddings were very generously portioned although my dad had no problem finishing the pear and apricot tart. Great breakfast as well….the diet can always start tomorrow!
For a quick morning or night-time wee for your pup there is a tiny triangular ‘park’ across the road from the hotel. It isn’t secure so you’ll need to keep them on a lead. For a fabulous long walk, drive for approximately 10 mins to Ashton Court where you can walk happily for an hour or two following trails through the woods and spotting deer. You can finish off with a coffee and cake at the converted stables cafe near the car park.