Weekends with the dog: Cotswolds
Sat aside the River Avon as it winds into the city centre of Bath, The Boathouse is a great place to start a weekend away. The dinner menu runs from 12pm until 9pm (8pm on a Sunday). Work your way through charcuterie to share, or a risotto to start, and choose between English and French cuisine, or pub classics. All the while, with a dog that’s waiting very patiently – if a little puppy-eyed by your feet.
If you’re the ravenous type in the morning, take a trip into Bath’s centre for Café Au Lait‘s all-day brunch. The café ranges from the classic fry ups to the haute cuisine of fast-breaking meals. If you’re more content with continental, start the day in Rosario’s Café – a traditional Italian café, they serve a selection of the time-honoured favourites like Cannoli, Aragostine, Pesche, or Cassatina. Sit outside, or on the ground floor – both available to patrons with dogs.
About half an hour away from Bath is the sleepy village of Castle Combe. Amble about with the dog, and take the loop of the village, before delving into the Castle Combe woods for a quick once around. Once suitably zoomed-out, you can stroll back on the easy walk to The Castle Inn for lunch – which is served 12pm-2.30pm.
You’ll want to walk lunch off and your best bet would be to head 20m or so north, to The Westonbirt Arboretum. If you’ve never been, its one not to miss, and if you have, you wouldn’t miss the chance to go again. Dogs are allowed on the central downs area on lead, and in Silk Wood – which makes up around two thirds of the arboretum. They’re allowed off lead as long as they’re good with recall, and well-behaved.
Head to Cirencester, half an hour away. If you weren’t coming here for the architecture or the history – you’d come for the Spanish Cuisine. That might seem odd, but by the time you finish your slow cooked lamb shoulder from the family’s smallholding – learning by taste what patatas pajas in a tomato and cinnamon purée is, and beginning to weep with pure joy into the goats cheese and peppercorn sauce – you will decide the Cotswolds is better than Spain after all. It seems like Tierra and Mar would be exactly the kind of place that wouldn’t take dogs, but you’d be wrong. Just like believing you wouldn’t find incredible Spanish food there either.
Sunday morning’s sacred – and there’s nothing like lazing about with a drawn-out breakfast. Head to Jack’s Tearoom & Kitchen. Try a breakfast smoothie or if you’ve room for more, there’s anything from Braised Ham Hock Muffin with chive crème fraîche & a fried egg, to buttermilk waffles – the only thing not on menu here, is disappointment. When you’re done, step out the front door, turn right, walk one minute – and see about a stroll in Home Park.
Where to stay
For a really special holiday in and around the Cotswolds, our inspectors suggest:
The Workshop Bath, Bath & North East Somerset – sleeps 4 humans, 1 dog
Asphodel Cottage, Cirencester, Gloucestershire – sleeps 2 humans, 3 dogs
Jasmine Cottage, Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire – sleeps 6 humans, 2 dogs
Coal Merchant’s Cottage, Andoversford, Gloucestershire – sleeps 6 humans, 2 dogs
The Coach House, Andoversford, Gloucestershire – sleeps 2 humans, 1 dog