Gidleigh Park, Chagford 🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

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Mmmm shall I sleep on the sofa or the bed?!

Hotel

My thoughtful  husband knew, if we were to go away for my birthday, that I’d prefer to go somewhere where Barnaby could come too. So, months in advance, he planned a special weekend away to Gidleigh Park, of 2 Michelin-Star fame, on Dartmoor. I have to say it was truly special.

Gidleigh Park estate has been around since the 16th Century, but passed through several owners before being  bought in 1918 by an Australian sheep famer and shipping magnate. He arranged for the property to be completely rebuilt in 1925. It wasn’t until after he died that Gidleigh Park became a small hotel in 1955, and eventually was bought by Brownsword Hotels in 2005, and completely refurbished to the fine country house hotel that it is today.

There are two dog-friendly rooms, Lydford and Bellever, located in the north wing, that are attached to the hotel, but have their own entrance. There is also a separate two-bedroom thatched cottage on the grounds that is dog-friendly. We were in Bellever, a king-size master room on the first floor, which has a balcony overlooking the beautiful gardens and river below. We both thought it was one of the nicest rooms in which we had stayed in the UK.  It was very spacious, with a large seating area with a sofa, chair and coffee table, tea-making facilities, a Nespresso machine, home-made biscuits and even a decanter of madeira for a pre or post-dinner drink. They also provided Barnaby dog bowls, a blanket, a towel, dog treats, a homemade biscuit, poo-bags  and a torch for night-time wees.  In our rooms, they had thoughtfully provided waterproofs and umbrellas. Wellingtons were available and they even lent us an Ordnance Survey map. It seemed they had thought of everything for canines and humans alike!

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Mine, all mine!

Restaurant

Understandably, dogs aren’t allowed in the 2 Michelin-Star restaurant but they are allowed on the terrace and in the conservatory. To be honest our room was so large we had no problem leaving Barnaby in the evening after a long walk on Dartmoor. (They do also offer a free dog-sitting service or outside, heated kennels).

We had a slight panic on the day that we had planned to have dinner, as the fire alarm was set off which automatically cuts off the gas.  Luckily by the evening service, the gas was back on (phew!) We had a drink in the beautifully panelled drawing room in front of the wood-burning fire before heading to dinner. We decided to try the seven-course tasting menu, which I was assured wouldn’t leave me too full! As it was a Sunday evening it was very quiet and the staff couldn’t have been friendlier or more attentive. The food was delicious and with scallops, turbot, and cod on the menu I felt very indulged!

 

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Our room is the furthest on the right

Nearby walks

The hotel is situated in 107 acres, on the beautiful river Teign on the edge of Dartmoor. You can wander around the grounds for a quick walk, through the forest or along the river, or head off onto Dartmoor.  The hotel gave us information on a great 4.5 mile walk to Kestor and Scorhill, which could be adapted to make it shorter. It took us just over two hours with a detour to Kestor Rock to admire the views. It had been raining but by some miracle it stopped for us, although I have to say that it was very, very wet underfoot. It was my first visit to Dartmoor and I thought it was stunning and that we only just scratched the surface. I would love to come back!

We also ate in the village of Chagford on the first night. We went to The Three Crowns, a 13th Century, partly thatched inn, which had a dog-friendly area. There is also the Chagford Inn, which looked worth a visit.

Nice touches

Everything was a nice touch so I’m going to say the only thing that was missing, and would have been nice to have in our room….a fridge!

For more information visit http://www.gidleigh.co.uk/

Visit- March 2018

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Château De Germigney, Port-Lesney 🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

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Just making myself at home!

Hotel

Château de Germigney is an 18th-century manor house, the former home of the Marquis de Germigney and now a luxury hotel (Relais & Châteaux). We arrived on a dark and wet evening and took a reluctant Barnaby around the grounds so he could do his business and stretch his legs. When we went to check-in, our bags were taken off us and we were ushered into the back drawing room where we were  given a cup of earl grey tea and a slice of lemon drizzle cake in front of the roaring fire! The château is perfectly charming, everywhere you turn there appears to be another little sitting room, where you can relax with a magazine or book.  The furnishings, pictures and finishing touches are really nicely done and the château has a very comfortable and cosy feel. Our bedroom on the first floor was lovely with a king-size bed with super-comfy mattress and a little bathroom with bath and shower.

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Can you spot me?

Restaurant –  dog-friendly and 1 Michelin star

Before dinner,  quite a few of the guests were having a pre-dinner drink in the drawing room. We decided to join them with Barnaby and sat in front of the fire again with a G and T. I am sure the château is just as fabulous in the summer, but it really was the perfect spot for a winter’s night! As the restaurant had a Michelin star, I had assumed that we would have to take Barnaby back to our room whilst we had dinner. However, he was welcomed into the dining room and they’d even put a bowl of water out for him. He was very well behaved and lay under the table! Another couple brought their dog in, somewhat unusually, in a bag, so it was nice that we weren’t the only ones!

I have to say that dinner was excellent. I had a truffle-fest, truffle risotto to start and Saint Jacques with truffle for my main course. Anthony had a set menu (a meat-fest before he goes home with the veggie!), and I should note that his apple pudding (that he of course needed help with) was divine.  During an excellent breakfast the following morning, yet more people had their dogs accompanying them.

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We sat here!

Nearby walks

The grounds are great to have a walk around first and last thing at night with your pup. They were beautifully lit with lights for Christmas, but again, I should imagine that it is also really lovely in the summer to eat outside and to be able to enjoy the ‘natural’ outdoor pool.  We spotted some famous Bourg-en-Bresse chickens in the hen-house (a feature on the menu too) and a rather pretty shepherd’s hut in the car park!

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Anyone home?

In the morning we headed off for a longer walk. We went  left out of the château turning onto Maison Neuve and left again onto Rue du Moulin, following the river. The intention was to take a circular route back, but we were rather thwarted. The river was incredibly high and had burst its banks, flooding the road and making it inaccessible, so we had to take a bit of a detour. The village itself is also very pretty and Château de Germigney have a bistrot there, Le Bistrot de Port- Lesney, if you don’t fancy the fine dining at the château. It does have a Michelin Bib Gourmand, so you are still going to eat well!

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Verdict – definitely dog-friendly

Nice touches

  • A mini-bar for storing Barnaby’s raw food

For more information visit their website: http://www.chateaudegermigney.com/en

The Seaside Boarding House, Burton Bradstock 🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

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Come on, let’s go in!

The Hotel

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!).

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So where is the TV?

The Restaurant

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!

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Yes, I’m allowed in here!

Nearby walks

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.

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Where is everybody?

Nice touches

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.

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A beautiful evening at the SBH

For more information visit their website: http://www.theseasideboardinghouse.com

Château Sainte Sabine, Saint Sabine 🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

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Well I’m quite comfortable thank you!

The Hotel

This is a very impressive château, the stuff of fairytales! We had a lovely  room upstairs overlooking the courtyard and beautiful rooftops. It had a small bathroom with a bath, but unfortunately not big enough to put Barnaby to sleep in, so he was in with us. He was fine being left in the room whilst we had dinner and breakfast, just a pain in the night!

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Let us in!

The Restaurant

The restaurant does not allow dogs and there was nowhere to eat with them, so they will need to be confined to your room for meal times. That saying, I’m sure I saw a large dog at breakfast, so perhaps try asking very nicely! Situated in Burgundy it is no surprise that the food and wine was great!

Nearby walks

There is a large park right next to the château, but as it has deer in it, it’s not ideal for an off-lead walk.  Instead, head across the road in the direction of Chazilly and you will find paths into the woods where you can have a long off-lead walk. In the morning, Barnaby had a bit of an explore of the deer park on the lead, the faint eau de deer poo lingering in the car all the way back to Calais.

It’s easy enough to do the first and last dog loo visits of the day in the garden or in the area around the car park. A nice touch was the poo bag dispenser there!

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Make way…I’m coming through!

For more information visit their website: http://www.saintesabine.com

Château de Bagnols, Bagnols 🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

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Is it really only us here?

The Hotel

This château really has the wow factor! Built over 800 years ago it feels like you are stepping back in time. It was shortly before Christmas when we visited and it was fabulously quiet; it felt like we had the place to ourselves. We made ourselves comfortable in the most enormous stone-walled bedroom and admired the huge bathroom in the turret with our very own throne!

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In France they have thrones!

The Restaurant – 1 Michelin Star

Dogs are not allowed in the aptly-named Restaurant 1217, which boats the largest fireplace in Europe (it’s very impressive).  However, there is the Café du Château in the enclosed courtyard, just outside the restaurant, where you can eat with your pup. Barnaby was able to join us for a drink upstairs in the beautiful sitting room with its brick floor and grand fireplace, before we popped him back in our room whilst we went for dinner.

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But no dogs allowed!

Nearby walks

We took Barnaby for a short off-lead walk around the grounds last thing at night and first thing in the morning. It was perfectly adequate for a young pup but you’d need to venture further afield for a longer walk.

For more information visit their website: http://www.chateaudebagnols.com/en

Château de Barive, Sainte-Preuve 🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

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How do you do?

The Hotel

We were lucky enough to be invited here to celebrate a 60th wedding anniversary in April, which also resulted in us being upgraded to one of their suites. Result! The hotel itself is quite quirky and full of interesting objets d’art, both inside and out, collected by the owners on their travels. Stone sheep, red gorillas and purple elephants amongst other things rather freaked Barnaby out in the gardens! There was a very quaint sitting room which was stuffed with sofas and cushions and had a lovely fire. Barnaby was able to join us here for a drink and nibbles, although he was not allowed in the restaurant. All in all, we had a really lovely stay here, helped by a great night’s sleep as Barnaby was able to sleep in our very nice sitting room.

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Hello ducky!

The Restaurant

As I mentioned, no dogs are allowed in the restaurant although in the summer they would be allowed on the terrace where you dine al fresco. The celebratory meal felt very special, fois gras to start, followed by lamb arranged three ways (veggie options available)  and then an amazing chocolate pudding.

I have to mention breakfast which was beautifully arranged on our table. Fresh coffee, croissants, pain au chocolat, pain au raisin, various breads, cheeses, hams, yoghurts, and cereals. We were joined by Merlin the ginger tom although I don’t think that he was supposed to be in there!

Nearby walks

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Taking a walk on the driveway

For a very straightforward walk you can just head all the way down the drive and back, not too exciting but it does the job for 20 minutes. Alternatively, for a more interesting walk, head right out of the château, past the staff car park and round following the roads into the woods. This was very pretty and we saw a very beautiful sunrise.

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Early morning walk

Nice touches

  • A fridge to store Barnaby’s raw food

For more information visit their website: http://www.domainedebarive.com

Château de Courban, Courban 🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

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Err is this supposed to be a dog?

The Hotel

We’ve stayed at Chateau de Courban three times now as its a fairly straightforward drive in a day from Calais (4-5 hours). The first time we stayed in their basic room on the third floor of the main Chateau which was nicely decorated with a small bathroom and perfectly adequate, but as Barnaby was a puppy and in the same room as us we didn’t get a very good night’s sleep!

So the second time we booked a bigger room in the separate building to the left of the main chateau. This was great as it was a really big comfy room with a huge bed, but even better a large bathroom in which to deposit Barnaby ensuring a good night’s sleep for all. He was perfectly happy in his space and so were we!

The last time we stayed we were in the main house again but on the second floor with a big room and big bathroom. However, Barnaby could hear lots of noises in the hotel and being a bit nervy kept growling to protect us from anyone or thing that might have been lurking. So we’ll try and book in the separate building again next time. The resident dog is the lovely Dolly who came on a walk with us the first time we came, and showed us the route!

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The restaurant – Dogs welcome

This has always been the highlight of our stay. The restaurant is separate from the main chateau and you can enjoy an aperitif in the sitting room by a lovely fire before dinner. The nibbles are fabulous, particularly the savoury macaroons with wasabi! Well behaved dogs of any size are welcome. Barnaby was very happy to lie by the table, whilst we dined in style. By the way the cheese board is to die for!

Nearby walks

You can easily take your dog out for a short or longer walk from the chateau without even putting them on a lead. For a longer walk exit through the car park, turn right, take the left fork by the little cemetery and you can be in the woods in 5 minutes. There are well trodden paths so you can do a quick circular route or go straight and pick up a right hand path that leads down to the road back to the village. We spotted deer in there one morning which was very exciting! For a quick night time wee for your pup, just take the right hand fork at the cemetery and keep to the roads in the village. There are rarely any cars!

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Puppy Barnaby and Dolly

Nice touches

Nespresso machine in the room.

For more information visit their website: http://www.chateaudecourban.com