Lucy Pearson and her canine companion, Zusa the Beagle, visit Widbrook Grange, a cosy dog friendly hotel in historic town of Bradford-on-Avon.
Just over 100 miles west of London lies beautiful Bradford-on-Avon, one of Wiltshire’s most picturesque towns. A historic market town, steeped in the same honey-coloured stone that nearby Bath is beloved for, Bradford-on-Avon boasts a stunning mix of both Medieval and Georgian buildings, an array of stylish and independent boutiques and ample walking opportunities.
Given the town’s proximity to the Cotswolds and the nearby rolling hills, as well as the Kennet and Avon Canal toll path, it’s a dream destination for pet parents after a weekend getaway with their pet pooch that is both stylish and scenic to boot.
THE HOTEL & LOCATION
Sitting on the edge of the town, beyond its winding lanes is Widbrook Grange, a 250 year-old Georgian country house that boasts 11 acres of land, an indoor swimming pool, a dedicated gin bar, and plenty of cosy nooks and crannies throughout the hotel – perfect for curling up with the tipple of your choice and one of the many books left dotting around the place. Our beagle Zusa was doted on by all members of staff, and spent an indulgent afternoon curled up by the fire in the drawing room after an hour spent in the brisk winter chill exploring the ground of the house.
There are nineteen boutique bedrooms at the hotel, split between the main house and those in the outbuildings, with dogs being allowed everywhere except the four main house bedrooms. Nestled in the pretty converted stable block, we stayed in Room 15, which was a characterful space, generous in size with an opulent double bed, desk, wardrobe and a sweet bathroom complete with bath and shower, and original little touches throughout.
PET FRIENDLY PERKS
As well as being doted on by both guests and staff alike, Zusa was given a comfy dog-bed, a tin of food, a dog bowl, a toy and a bag of treats – perfect for a post-walk reward.
FOOD & DRINK
The food and drink make Widbrook Grange worth the visit alone, and as well as the stylish gin bar, the hotel features an onsite restaurant – The Kitchen – and while dogs can accompany diners in the conservatory, we opted to eat in the dining room.
Using local ingredients, many of which are sourced from the hotel’s herb garden, as well as independent suppliers, the food is traditional and tasty with a delicious modern twist on many classics.
We dined on a three-course feast of goats cheese, beetroot & pistachio terrine, horseradish & violet potato salad, plum tomato sorbet, pear chutney, followed by the butternut squash ravioli and ham wrapped monkfish, while to finish we enjoyed the sticky toffee pudding. The menu has a wide range of options for meat eaters and vegetarians alike, and vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menus are available on request.
Breakfast is a hearty affair, with ample options to choose from the buffet – from sweet pastries to cereals and a selection of cheeses, as well as hot options available to order directly from the menu. We opted for the farmhouse breakfast – which consisted of black pudding, fried bread, bacon, grilled tomatoes, eggs, mushroom and toast, and is the perfect way to set up for the day ahead.
WHAT TO BRING
As a stylish country house that offers the perfect escape for city dwellers from nearby Bath, Bristol and London nothing is out of place at Widbrook Grange. Bring wellies and a jacket for a nearby river walk, but you might want something smarter for dinner at The Kitchen or an afternoon spent pounding the laneways of Bradford-on-Avon.
WHEN TO GO
We visited just before Christmas which was a truly magical time. Both the hotel and Bradford-on-Avon were decked out in all their festive fineries, and the crisp winter chill made for beautiful walks on the hotels grounds. I imagine any time of year would be equally as beautiful, but there was a certain magic in the air with the onset of yuletide cheer.
A home away from home, I loved how friendly everyone was at the hotel, and my bed was fit for a king. With food, treats, a toy, a roaring fire for a post-walk snooze and plenty of space to roam, what more could a pooch like me ask for?
Check availability and book your stay at www.widbrookgrange.co.uk.