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Travel: A dog-friendly Cotswolds stay is just paw-fect

© ShutterstockThe historic town of Tewkesbury.
The historic town of Tewkesbury.

After an explosion in pandemic dog purchases, it’s no surprise many of us are keen to take our four-legged family members with us when we go on holiday. Fortunately, hoteliers have finally cottoned on to the value of the “hound pound” and increasingly welcome our canine friends with open arms.

This, for me, is a huge relief. As the owner of a Border Terrier with an aversion to kennels – the wounded look on Pickle’s face when I handed her over the last time I went away will stay with me forever – I’m always on the lookout for places that cater for my canine plus one.

So, when the opportunity to try out new dog-friendly rooms at a lovely-looking hotel in the Cotswolds came up, I was all in. As was Pickle, who leapt into the car, her tail wagging furiously at the prospect of an outing.

Tewkesbury Park

Family-owned and independent, Tewkesbury Park sits on the doorstep of Tewkesbury, the medieval market town that itself lies tucked away on the outer fringes of the Cotswolds.

The hotel is steeped in history. The 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury, a pivotal moment in the Wars of the Roses, was fought next to the hotel grounds, while the “Bloody Meadow”, a place where thousands of Lancastrians were cut down fleeing an attack by the Yorkists, is right at the bottom of the long drive leading to the hotel.

Once a royal lodge and deer park, it now boasts a spa, swimming pool, gym and 6,554-yard, par-72 golf course. The heart of the hotel is a stunning 18th-Century manor house that has been converted to offer 85 bedrooms and nine suites.

The dog-friendly hotel provides everything from memory foam mattresses to treats. © Jack Boskett
The dog-friendly hotel provides everything from memory foam mattresses to treats.

Six rooms for holidaying dogs (and owners) have been added recently, each with a private, fully enclosed terrace with direct access to 164 acres of parkland overlooking the golf course and Malvern Hills beyond. It’s perfect for walkies.

Our spotlessly clean room is modern and bright, with a smart TV, kettle and Nespresso coffee machine. Aside from nice touches for the humans (fresh milk, rocking chairs and wellies) thoughtful little doggy details have been added: a memory foam mattress and dog bed, food and water bowl, a bag of treats and a towel to wipe muddy paws. Pickle immediately sniffs out the treats and implores me to reward her for not hoovering them up while my back was turned. I oblige and we set off to explore.

Foodie heaven

Being a self-confessed food obsessive, I’m aware the hotel is home to an exceptional restaurant, Mint, which is, rightly, a dog-free zone. However, the à la carte menu is also served in the dog-friendly Piano Lounge and it’s here we settle in, Pickle with a bowl of chicken and veggies from the kitchen, me with a Singapore Sling from the cocktail bar.

The food is flawless, the very best in fine dining. Standouts include a gorgeous starter of pork belly in a sticky Korean BBQ sauce topped with crunchy pork scratchings. The poached Cornish cod in a coconut and tamarind sauce is equally divine, with just the subtlest hint of Indian flavours celebrated Head Chef Anul Thakur brings to much of his cooking.

The delicious fine dining at Tewkesbury Park. © Supplied
The delicious fine dining at Tewkesbury Park.

It would be easy to stay in the hotel, quaffing cocktails or hunkering down with a book in the orangery, but that’s not possible when your dog wants venture outdoors. After a fine walk around the deer park, we hop in the car for a whistle-stop tour of Cotswold country.

I’m grateful to be exploring out of season as, by Easter, tourists will be soaking up a slice of quaint English village life. Instead, it’s fairly quiet so we head to the picture-perfect Bourton-on-the-Water, one of the Cotswolds’ most-visited villages.

Chock-full with honey-coloured stone cottages, it’s famous for the River Windrush meandering its watery path through the middle of the village and the five fun-sized stone bridges.

From there we chance upon the historic wool town of Painswick, just south of Gloucester. It’s a perfect example of a traditional Cotswold town, all winding lanes and ridiculously pretty cottages, where a three-bedroomed terrace could set you back upwards of £500,000. To the north of the town is the quirky Rococo Garden, famous for its winter snowdrops and magical follies.

Back to the hotel and more gorging at Mint, where the Himalayan goat curry and cocktail nightcap finish the day off perfectly.

The luxurious rooms. © Koray Firat
The luxurious rooms.

After a good night’s sleep, I’m struck by the vast array of food on offer at breakfast, everything from healthy smoothies to a full-on fry-up. It’s an easy choice: a full English for me and sausages and scrambled eggs for Pickle, who has never been so spoilt and would probably like to live here permanently. So much nicer than the dry old kibble she gets at home.

We leave safe in the knowledge that anyone else looking for a waggy-tailed welcome for them and their four-legged friend need look no further: Tewkesbury Park is a fine place to paws and relax.


Dog-friendly rooms £258 B&B midweek and £273 B&B Fri and Sat. Weekends min two-night stay. No additional charge for dogs.

P.S. Painswick Rococo Garden is known for its winter snowdrops, spring daffodils, spectacular views and mystical follies. Designed in the 1740s, today it’s the UK’s only complete surviving rococo garden. Dogs on leads are welcome in the garden, cafe and shop.