Weekends with the dog: cosy in the Cotswolds
5 minute read
Supper at The Inn at Fossebridge, near Cirencester
Start your weekend at this gorgeous 17th-century coaching inn set in a fine Cotswolds garden with a lakeside to stroll, fires in winter and barbecues in summer. Enjoy the happy hubbub while you eat in the beamed, open fire’d dining room. There are real ales on tap, hearty dinners and a happy welcome for all, including dogs. This place prides itself on serving really good pub food: prawn cocktail, fish and chips, cottage pie, great puddings. The pub garden is one of the largest and most attractive in the Cotswolds with a two-acre lake fringed by mature trees. Visit during the day and there’s a glorious walk up the river Coln valley.
Brunch in Glaze café, part of the New Brewery Arts centre, Cirencester
Saturday morning will get going at a leisurely pace in Glaze café, housed in the New Brewery Arts centre in historic Cirencester. Breakfast, served from a very reasonable 9am, consists of French toast or granola, yogurt and fruit. There’s homemade cake and proper coffee or tea, and a selection of veggie light bites for brunch/lunch. Furry, well-behaved types are most welcome. Take it in turns to wander around the current exhibition in the gallery and the artist and creative makers’ studios. On the outskirts of town you can explore the massive earthwork remains of one of the largest Roman amphitheatres in Britain, built in the early 2nd-century when Cirencester was known as Corinium.
Visit Dunkertons Cider tap room, Cheltenham
Dunkertons have been producing organic cider and perry using traditional methods for over 40 years. They hand-blend apples and pears grown in their own orchards, as well as those from neighbouring farmers’ orchards. The lively taproom is a vibrant place to while away an afternoon, soak up the sun on balmy days or cosy up next to the fire pit when it’s chilly. As well as cider and perry on tap, they stock a range of non-alcoholic drinks and an ever-changing roster of street food vendors serve tasty treats, munch sourdough pizza or Indian snacks if you’re feeling peckish. They host events, live music evenings, tours and tastings, and run two bottle shops, one in Cheltenham and one in Pembridge. There’s a woodland reservoir near the taproom if you (or your dog) need a brisk stroll post a cider or two.
Dinner at The Wild Rabbit, Kingham
Lady Bamford, founder of Daylesford Organic, oversaw an expert restoration of this ancient honey-hued building. Original stone mullioned windows, low ceilings and two magnificent fireplaces make the bar a cosy spot to let your pup dream by the fire while you choose from an informal menu of rarebit, steak and other hearty dishes, with local cheese and port to finish. The light-filled, contemporary dining room is geared for special occasions with an a la carte or taster menu to complete the experience. Everything is organic and locally sourced, using the best seasonal produce from local farmers. Much is picked daily from their market garden at Daylesford Farm. There’s a jar of dog biscuits on the bar for good boys and girls, and two lovely gardens for a run about.
Broadway and The Tower walk, part of the Cotswold Way
Finish your weekend with a restorative 4-mile circular walk starting and ending in pretty Broadway, a classic Cotswoldian gem. The walk takes you from town and up to the second highest point in the Cotswolds where you can gaze at the beautiful patchwork of fields, hills and hedgerows laid out beneath you. Climb the extra 55 feet to the top of Broadway Tower, a folly built in 1798 for Lady Coventry, and gaze across verdant countryside all the way to Wales on a clear day. From the tower you join the Cotswold Way and make your way back past a superb dry stone wall, part of a long term volunteer restoration project, in time for a quick coffee before you head home. We love The Lygon Arms Hotel on the high street. It’s dog-friendly, of course.