Christine Chau, Co-Founder of luxury dog bed brand Charley Chau, reviews The Pump Station, a stylish dog friendly accommodation for design-lovers in Dungeness, Kent.
With our passion for stylish interiors and quirky architecture, we love to stay somewhere a little bit different when we holiday with our four-legged pack. So when we discovered The Pump Station, a former World War II oil pumping station, we knew it would be the perfect location for our photoshoot, and the ideal place for a dog friendly holiday with an architectural twist.
We spent four-nights in this beautifully styled building, capturing perfect moments of the Charley Chau gang ‘hard at work’. With its enviable décor and beautiful backdrop of Dungeness, a wild and unique landscape on the Kent coast, there is so much for the two and four-legged to enjoy at The Pump Station.
This is a beach house like no other. As far from the typical quaint coastal cottage that one might imagine, the utilitarian exterior of The Pump Station is in stark contrast to the super-slick interior that lies inside.
A highly sociable property, the main living space combines a kitchen, diner and lounge in an open-plan layout surrounded by the original industrial concrete ribbed ceilings and concrete walls, complimented with simple, modern design.
The kitchen is a very well-equipped, hi-tech and hi-spec (I didn’t know kettle-envy was a thing until we stayed there), and there is large canteen-style table that seats up to 10 people, so the dogs have plenty of people to work their way round for table treats.
Two double bedrooms are stationed at one end of the house with simple yet comfortable furnishing. Both have their own bathrooms and walk-in closets. If travelling with kids, one of the bedrooms can also sleep two children in a large bunk over the main bed. There’s a third room, hidden behind the fireplace at the other end of the building, where you will find enormous day bed that sleeps two adults.
The Pump Station is of course pet-friendly – with two doggy guests being the norm. There is no carpet in the house other than in the entrance hall, so it’s easy to deal with muddy paws and such. It doesn’t have an enclosed garden or outdoor space, so business-breaks are probably best supervised and on lead.
Whilst The Pump Station definitely looks like it’s straight of the pages of Elle Decoration, the simple but stunning design is warm and welcoming and surprisingly easy to live in. It’s also very peaceful in the house; there’s no traffic noise, no one wanders past the house – but with full-time residents and visitors alike pottering about, you never feel isolated.
FOOD & DRINK
The Pump Station itself is self-catering and we pre-booked an Ocado delivery, which arrived with no issues at all. I love to cook and it was a real pleasure to cook in the kitchen at The Pump Station with its super hi-tech
Within the Dungeness Estate, there is The Fish Hut – a small shack fashioned in a shipping container, which is just over the road from The Pump Station and is great for casual lunches of locally caught, fresh fish.
A 10-minute walk away is The Britannia Inn for a drink and standard pub fare. It’s dog-friendly and we had a lovely chat with the owner and some local residents while we were there.
WHAT TO DO
The Dungeness Estate is other worldly and demands to be explored. The landscape is not everyone’s cup of tea – it’s wild and exposed, unplanned and random, surprising, confusing and delightful.
From The Pump Station, it’s a ten minute walk over the shingle to the sea, and on the way there is always something that catches your eye and makes you stop and wonder; derelict fishing boats (perfect for Insta-snaps), a gastro fish shack in a shipping container, lighthouses – two of them, Derek Jarman’s house still painted black and yellow with his proud little shingle garden out front, old railway carriages dotted randomly around the headland that have been turned into quirky houses, extraordinary modern homes that have sprung up out of derelict boat sheds and more. It’s also home to Dungeness nuclear power station but don’t let that put you off – it somehow just makes sense – and it’s thanks to the power station that the area is an important nature reserve and an area of special conservation contributing to its wild beauty.
A short distance away in the car is the beach at Camber Sands for endless four-legged steps through the sand, and the gorgeous medieval town of Rye is also just a thirty-minute drive away and is perfect for spending an afternoon just pottering.
Dungeness is also part of Romney Marsh where there is also loads to see and do – beautiful old churches, fascinating monuments resulting from the intensive military activity of World War II and more.
WHAT TO BRING
The house is fully equipped – wifi and Mac computer included. You will need to bring your own dog bed – we literally had our whole collection with us as were running a photo-shoot but we normally travel with our Charley Chau Snuggle Beds and super soft, “can’t live without” Double Fleece Dog Blankets. We also found LED light dog collars handy for late night walks and toilet trips.
WHEN TO GO
We visited in late Spring and were really fortunate to have Spring sunshine on most days. As we were shooting inside the house for large chunks of the day, the heat didn’t bother us but if going in the summer months, be mindful there is little shade in Dungeness, so be sure give your dog plenty of breaks from the sun.
Despite its super-cool styling, the open-plan living space is really very cosy and has an amazing wood-burning fireplace, so I can really see the appeal of an Autumn/Winter getaway here, packed with crisp sunny day walks, hearty feasts and lazing out in front of a roaring fire.
I say pick the season you most enjoy being outside with your dog and go from there, as there is so much to explore and nothing several layers won’t keep out.
CHARLEY CHAU’S VERDICT
Beautiful, barmy and brilliant. Super-slick interior styling set in a surreal landscape like no other. A photography and Instagrammer’s dream!
Check availability and book your stay at The Pump Station via Mulberrycottages.com
A selection of Charley Chau beds and blankets are available to order in the STYLETAILS SHOP.