Dog Friendly, dog friendly pubs, Isle of Wight, pubs for dogs, the dog blog

The Portland Inn – Isle of Wight

Weekends are great. Of course weekends are great. Everyone loves weekends. And what part of the weekend does everyone love the most? Yes that’s right. You’ve got it. Sundays. Lovely long lazy Sundays. And the single most important thing that makes Sundays so great? Why of course it’s the holy, venerable, magnificent… Sunday roast. Where would the world be without the Sunday roast?

I love a Sunday roast.

When first introduced to my in-laws, many, many moons ago, the number one culinary shock for this boy from the Black Country has to have been Taramasalata:

‘Ar, they gid me some pink stuff called tarasatomata, I think it wuz fish eggs! It wuz bostin tho, fair play.’

But a close second was the revelation that they didn’t ALWAYS have a roast on a Sunday. Sometimes they just had a normal dinner! I mean, how crazy is that? Surely that way madness lies? How is anyone supposed to know what day it is? When does one week end and the next begin?

As a result, whenever I get a chance I try to remedy this lunacy by suggesting that we incorporate a pub roast into our Sundays when I’m hanging with the in-laws on the Island of Love, a.k.a the Isle of Wight.

A few weeks back, after a lovely walk in Parkhurst Forest, we settled on the Portland Inn in Gurnard for my Sunday roast fix.

img_0591

We chose this pub because we’d driven past it recently and spotted that it had been given a bit of a makeover. Obviously someone had decided to show it a bit of love, and it’s always good to support that kind of thing.  The other reason, (blatant ‘shout out’ alert!), was that we’d heard that they were displaying and selling art work on the walls by En Brogue‘s cousin The Wight Pencil. If they’re supporting ‘da family’ then we can at least eat their roast.

Inside, the place was buzzing. Clearly in a short space of time they’d already begun to generate a good rep. We were shown to our table and Grenson made himself comfortable.

img_0590

The mother-in-law was impressed straight off the bat by the fact that they offered a smaller plate for £9. She has a very small appetite, which generally sees her ordering starters instead of mains…then of course, hovering over everyone else’s main for a little taster once her starter is devoured.

She once ordered a child’s Sunday roast and confidently proclaimed ‘If I’m still hungry I could always try a little bit from all of yours’; as she said this and looked around the table for signs of acquiescence to the deal, she locked eyes with me. I steadily and calmly informed her that ‘If you try to take anything from my plate I will stab you in the hand with my fork’. I was very ‘hangry’ at the time, and as I have made clear, I do like my Sunday roast…our relationship has never been the same since, sorry Mother-in-law you’re the best…just don’t try to touch my food!

Anyway, for me it was obviously going to be the full size £12 version, and when it arrived at the table, holy flip, it was a work of pure genius!

img_0589

Now, I’m pretty good at cooking a pork dinner, even if I do say so myself. But you don’t have to just take my word for it. My dad claims that the pork roast I once made for him was ‘really good, the best he’s ever had’. To put this praise into context my dad’s usual level of critique for any meal ranges from ‘it was alright’ to ‘it was alright’. If you listen carefully there is a slight difference.

So I know a good pork dinner when I see one and this was a good pork dinner. Generous servings of pork with a very agreeable amount of crunchy crackling, parsnips (which I’m not that keen on usually but these were good), fantastic fluffy potatoes and lashings of gravy ( I do like a lot of gravy, fill the boat up, don’t be stingy). Then on the side, red and green cabbage, cauliflower cheese and those lovely little carrots you only really get with a pub lunch. There was no way anyone was going to be leaving this table anything less than full to the brim.

Oh, and just take a look at those Yorkshires! Take a second or two to really appreciate their beauty. That is pleasure on a plate right there! That, my friends, IS Sunday! If only there really were such a thing as a month of Sundays. What a dream scenario? I could have this for lunch every day for a month!!

But do not fear. Whatever day you’re reading this you can be sure that you’re not far away from a Sunday. That’s the beauty of them: you get one every week. So no excuses. Gather the family, put your walking boots on and loosen your belts, then head to the Portland for ‘the best pub Sunday roast ever’ – En Brogue’s verdict – and you may even feel like picking up some art whilst you’re there.

Just remember, if you see me there tucking into a roast…don’t try to take any of my food!

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

Advertisements
Standard
Broadstairs, cafes for dogs, Dog Friendly, dog friendly cafes, dog friendly restaurants, Kent, the dog blog

Wyatt & Jones – Broadstairs

Right, we’re back. I left you last time promising to return with tales of Wyatt & Jones. I just couldn’t bring myself to squeeze in simply a quick review during the Margate post, as this place deserved so much more.

We’d happened upon this establishment via a quick internet trawl before leaving for our mini break. All we knew was that the restaurant wasn’t too far away from our accommodation (The Botany Bay Hotel, see Margate link above), and the number of food awards on their website indicated that the food was likely to be good. The fact that they were dog friendly sealed the deal (best to call beforehand though in order to let them know that you’re bringing your pooch. Dogs are only allowed in part of the restaurant).

So basically we arrived not really knowing too much about this place, or what to expect.

Wyatt & Jones can be found down a sleepy looking little road leading to the beach. Stepping out of the cold coastal air and into the twinkling candle light of this beautiful little restaurant, we knew almost immediately this was going to be a good night. In fact, you know those rare evenings when everything is just perfect? Well our evening at Wyatt & Jones would prove to be one of these rare events.

img_0305

The area designated for doggies is the smaller room next to the bar. When a bar is this beautiful and well stocked that is no bad thing. You can also easily see the rest of the room leading down to the open kitchen, so you don’t feel like you’ve been banished to a separate room.

img_0306

On this cold Thursday night in January we basically had the bar to ourselves, but there were enough other diners to ensure that a quiet relaxed atmosphere was maintained. Even if we had have been alone, any awkward ‘eating in a library’ vibe would have been dispelled by the excellent music that they were playing in the background. So often, music in a restaurant can spoil things. Generally it is too loud and/or too rubbish. In this case they had the perfect balance so that the only time you noticed it was when you thought ‘ooh this is such a nice song, I wonder who it is by? I must make enquiries’ (clearly I didn’t make enquires – far too shy). Just sitting in the bar with a glass of wine and enjoying the music would have been great. But then of course I would have missed out on sampling the food!

Having already established that this place was a winner we decided to kick start our appetites with 2 rock oysters (for me) and anchovy toast (for her). I was also pleased to see that they had Curious Brew IPA on tap. Oysters and Curious Brew, what better way to kick off a meal?

Meanwhile, Grenson had been presented with a bowl of water and his own bowl of biscuits, so he was approving of his surroundings almost as much as I was.

En Brogue reckons the anchovy toast was ‘Oh. My. God. Fantastic’. My oysters came with a bottle of red wine vinegar and tabasco for me to dress them myself. Unfortunately, I was a little heavy handed with the tabasco and had sizzling lips for the next ten minutes. (The only bad thing that happened that night and it was all my own fault).

Then we moved on to the main events. Now normally I’m not too keen on photographing food, (far too shy). This can be a problem for someone who blogs about places to eat. On this occasion though, any self consciousness had to go out the window. It was just too good not to save for prosperity.

img_0313

En Brogue went for -‘Chilli glazed mackerel,celeriac remoulade, pickled shallots and almond puree’, followed by another starter (small appetite), ‘Spiced scallops, marinated chickpea, chermoula, shallots, coriander’. She then finished with ‘Granny Smith mousse, hazelnut crumble, blueberries & brown bread ice cream’. Yes, that’s what I said, brown bread ice cream. Amazing!

img_0302

I went for – ‘Oak smoked salmon, crispy crab, dill aioli, soused fennel & salmon caviar’ to start. My main was not a starter (big appetite), ‘Sussex beef loin, braised ox cheek, bone marrow butter mash & autumn brassica’. Then for dessert, ‘Valrhona dark chocolate souffle’.

If all of that hasn’t got your mouth watering then let me give you more details.

En Brogue basically was only able to say ‘Oh. My. God. Fantastic’ about everything!

My starter was so fresh and light it may have to go into my top five starters…ever! The Ox cheek was deliciously glutinous to the point that it virtually melted in my mouth. And that souffle?! Jeez! Once the outer crust was broken I found myself inside a fluffy cloud of pure chocolate joy!

After all of this I could only possibly complete my meal by sitting back with a 10 year-old Somerset cider brandy. If I am ending my night with a brandy then it is a sure sign that I have had a most relaxing and enjoyable evening.

Absolutely brilliant. And I forgot to mention the wine! This place really knows its wine. I suggest you ask for a recommendation, the one they served up to us was simply perfect.

Finally we made our way back to our hotel room and fell face first onto the the bed, immediately drifting off into a deep sleep whilst I mumbled a proclamation that the whole night had been one of the best dining experiences I’d ever had!

The next day, following breakfast and check out, we decided to head back to Broadstairs to assess it in the daylight.

img_0307

The beach at the bottom of the road turned out to be incredibly pretty, as was the rest of the small town. I even found a butchers that served an award winning sausage. If nothing else, this warranted a return visit all on its own.

Eventually though we were drawn back towards Wyatt & Jones, mainly because I needed a picture of the outside for this blog post.

As we arrived, it just so happened that they were open and serving coffee. Clearly we had to go back in and take up our seats at the table that we had vacated merely a few hours earlier.

The coffee, of course, was Oh. My. God. Fantastic. It was all I could do to decline the pastry deal that came with the coffee but I had recently consumed a full English (which was mighty fine, congratulations on that Botany Bay Hotel).

To sum up:

1. Broadstairs is great.

2.We will return as soon as possible.

And,

3. Upon our return we will be spending all day at our table in Wyatt & Jones.

img_0308

(And no I do not have a handle bar moustache, although it very much looks like I do in this picture!).

Anyway, just to avoid any confusion and to be completely clear about this:

WE LOVE THIS PLACE!

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
cafes for dogs, Dog Friendly, Isle of Wight, the dog blog

Off the Rails – Yarmouth,Isle of Wight

Ok I’ll admit it. I have written about this place before. I apologise (but it is a good’un).

Way back at the beginning of summer a company called Wight Locations asked me to do a guest blog post for their website. Grenson and I compiled our top 6 cafe/restaurants on the Isle of Wight for dogs …. well not quite for dogs, more for hoomans that are with dogs, but you know what I mean.

If you look hard enough you may be able to still find it somewhere out there on the world wide web.

Anyway, as I was looking through old piccies I came across the ones that I had taken for that blog post and quite frankly it made me nostalgic for those heady days of summer. (Listen, Christmas is over, all I’ve got immediately ahead of me is never ending months of darkness. I need something to look forward to!)

One of the places we visited jumped out at me as we had recently been back there after a nice long Christmas walk (to the pub). On that occasion I had a delicious coffee and walnut cake with a top quality flat white to wash it down. (Which reminds me, I also have lots of trips to the gym to schedule in during this season of gloom).

However, I don’t want to talk about cosy winter walks and warming coffee and cake (not today anyway), I want to take us all back to the days of crickets in the long grass, of swallows dive bombing in the blue skies, and of ice cubes slowly melting in late evening drinks. Let’s all go back to summertime!

(Cue: wavy fade back to the past).

img_0116

I mean!! Look at us!! I’m wearing shorts and t-shirt and jauntily hanging shades around my neck. Grenson is panting from the heat. There is even a hint of colour on my face rather than my current deathly pallor.

Good times. Hot summer good times.

And where are we enjoying this glorious sunny afternoon?  Why, the wonderful ‘Off the Rails‘ cafe in Yarmouth, of course.

This place pretty much has everything.

Its location is a dream for dog walkers. Grenson and I are particularly fond of the trek along the old railway line from Yarmouth to Freshwater. Keep the river on your right and head away from Yarmouth car park, keeping an eye out for kingfishers along the way. This path eventually leads you to a bridge, at which point if you turn right you’ll come across the Red Lion pub. A perfect place for a refreshment stop (and another place I wrote about for Wight Locations that I may need to revisit in the future for this blog too).

If you then retrace your steps and take a right before the old mill building, you’ll end up back at Off the Rails for further refreshments. After all, it’s always important to stay refreshed when on a walk.

img_0115

Arriving at this cafe via the old railway path is most fitting, as this place is situated in the old Yarmouth railway station (Off the Rails, see what they did there? Clever).

From the outside it seems like the station has remained untouched since the steam trains were regularly pulling up outside. Indeed, you’ll still find the platform out front, but instead of commuters and tourists hurriedly disembarking, you’ll find diners leisurely munching on cakes and sandwiches.

Inside, the retro railway feel continues with seating booths styled like 1950s carriages complete with luggage racks overhead.

img_7871

The booths are great in the winter but as we’re time travelling back to summer in this post, take a look below at the seats on the platform. What an idyllic view to enjoy your lunch beside!

img_7870

Oh, and as if great walks, quirky historic surroundings, delicious coffee, cakes and lunches, all enjoyed beside beautiful countryside views weren’t enough to confirm my assertion that this place has everything, then take a look below. They even have a menu for your pooch!

img_7874

Of course, with this place open all year round (closed Mondays & Tuesdays except bank holidays) and even open until 10pm on a Friday and Saturday (bookings necessary) there is no reason not to enjoy this special little place any time of the year.

img_7869

So don’t wait around for the sun to shine (it may be on holiday for sometime yet); head there as soon as you can…you can always make another visit when it’s shorts and T-shirt weather again!

The Man and the Dog..

Standard
Dog Friendly, dog friendly restaurants, London, the dog blog

Mac & Wild – Great Titchfield St

As you probably already know, Grenson’s mum doesn’t only spend her days making delicious meatloaf for his dinner and smothering him with kisses, oh no; she also finds the time to be a super successful fashion journalist whilst also being the flat shoe blogging sensation, En Brogue. As a result, most weeks she can be found heading off up west to meet up with other fashionistas to assess the latest trends, and basically just swank around town looking grand (apparently it’s all in the name of research?!).

On one such occasion recently, I decided enough was enough, it was high time that Grenson and I got in on this game too.

img_9745

From the look on Grenson’s face in this picture you can tell that he wasn’t entirely happy with the idea. For a start, it meant we had to go on a train (which he’s not too keen on) and secondly, I had neglected to put him in his fanciest coat! ‘Really darling how do you expect me to socialise with the fashion crowd without my best clobber on?’

So after a few appointments, including one that Grenson and I had been personally invited  to (see we’re cool too!), for a look at White Stuff’s new SS17 collection which I can confirm is very nice indeed, it was decided that we’d stop for lunch and then take a walk around Regent’s Park whilst En Brogue finished off the rest of her ‘to do’ list.

But where should we go for lunch? There is of course a wealth of choice in the big city. Luckily for us, we managed to stumble across a place that happened to be described as “the best restaurant in the world” by Giles Coren, no less (if their website is to be believed).

img_9780

Mac and Wild is a Scottish restaurant (yes I know! I didn’t know that was a thing now either). The only Scottish restaurant I’d encountered previously was that one that has a clown serving burgers … at least it sounds Scottish anyway.

We bagged a table outside as the weather was unseasonably mild and waited for a menu that I expected to consist entirely of haggis and battered chocolate bars.

What a fool I was! I hadn’t realised that I’d accidentally entered a meat nirvana. There was even a burger on the menu that had been voted the ‘Best Burger in the UK 2016’ at the National Burger Awards!! (yes I know! I didn’t know that was a thing now either)

img_9783

It’s fair to say that if you’re a veggie, this may not be the best place for you to visit. If, however, you’re the type of person that appreciates dishes such as ‘bread & dripping’, ‘venison chateaubriand’ and ‘dirty buttery mash’, and you also appreciate knowing not only where your meat has been farmed, but also who butchered it and even who shot it, then you’ve come to the right place.

The meatiness shouldn’t be a surprise; the guy who founded this place, Andy Waugh, is the son of a venison butcher, hence the concentration on fine wild venison dishes. A lot of us Brits have never tried wild venison and I have to admit that the thought of hunting those magnificent beasts may have put me off in the past. But this isn’t some trophy hunter wanting to feel big by shooting  a defenceless animal and posing for photos. If you read Andy’s blog on the Mac and Wild website, you realise that this is all done ethically, based on a yearly cull to keep numbers manageable and healthy for themselves and the environment. Also, if we don’t eat it then the Norwegians and Dutch will, as they currently buy up nearly all of it.

As already mentioned, the award winning ‘Veni-Moo burger’ had immediately caught my eye, so I ordered that along with cheesy chips and a Brewgooder Clean Water Lager, which is a craft beer that donates 100% of its profits to clean water projects around the world (so you can get drunk and do your bit for charity at the same time! Bonus!).

img_9781

Oh Em Gee!

You could really understand why this burger was award winning. But to be honest, I’d also give those fries and the cheesy dip an award too…Nobel Peace maybe?!

I hadn’t thought of it as we had enjoyed our mighty fine bounty sitting outside, but while writing this post I became a little worried that dogs may not have been allowed indoors. This would have been a disaster as I aim to try not to include anywhere on here that you can only enjoy with your pooch if the weather allows, and having to leave out this place would have been a travesty. Luckily, they confirmed via email that small dogs are indeed allowed indoors (it is, after all, a very small indoors, so a Mastiff for instance may actually fill the place!). I shouldn’t have really worried, as there were telltale signs that the place was a fan of our four-legged friends – mainly the door stop.

img_9782

 

So there you go. If you find yourself on a fashionable day out in central London and in need of an award winning Scottish meal, then look no further. And I suppose if you do have a dog that couldn’t accurately be described as ‘small’ you could always follow our example and sit outside. They did seem to have blankets on offer and there are outside heaters. If all else fails you could warm yourself up with a whisky, and where better to do that than in a Scottish restaurant?!

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

Standard
Dog Friendly Shops, Fashion, London, the dog blog

White Stuff Clothing – Battersea Store

Over the period of writing this blog I have on occasion been approached by companies requesting that I try out their goods, or write a review of their latest product launch, or produce a blog post that they can then use on their website. Generally, as you would probably guess, these companies are very doggy focused. However, intriguingly I (or rather Hannah, a.k.a the wife, a.k.a En Brogue, who I’ve somehow acquired as my unofficial agent) recently received an approach from the White Stuff Clothing Company…Clothes?! A clothing brand?! Why would they be getting in touch with Grenson and me? Surely they had mistakenly asked for us, (the very much dog focused bloggers of the family), when they really wanted En Brogue herself, (the very much shoe and fashion focused member)? I sent my ‘agent’ away with a flea in her ear, ‘it’s not us they want you fool, the enquiry is clearly meant for you’.

En Brogue quickly came back, ‘It IS meant for you, there is NO mistake, and never call me a fool again if you know what’s good for you’. (She’s mean when she wants to be, it’s what makes her such an excellent agent).

It turns out that White Stuff branches are all doggy friendly! Yay! They were interested in finding someone to pay a visit to one of their stores to test this out, and also check out their new Autumn/Winter 2016 range whilst they were at it. With this in mind they made the wise choice of seeing a man about a dog! Fancy new clothes? A dog friendly store? We were indeed exactly the right man and dog for the job.

After looking at the various stores across the land (and there are more additions as we speak with new openings occurring right now; check out the store locator on their website for details) we decided that we’d visit the Battersea store. This was due to a number of facts, as follows;

a) It was the very first store that they ever opened in the UK

b) It had recently undergone a full re-furb so would be looking all shiny and new

and,

c) It was pretty easy for us to get to on the train.

Upon approaching the store the dog friendly credentials were justified before even walking through the door.

img_9269

Brilliant! We already loved the place.

It never ceases to amaze and surprise me which establishments I can and can’t go to with Grenson. Pubs? Yes, that’s easy, especially in London, it’s more unusual to find one that won’t let dogs in. Cafes? Yes, generally fine as long as the dog is well behaved. Fancy restaurants? Increasingly the case is ‘yes come on in, we’ll get your dog some water, would sir prefer still or sparkling?’.

However, try to step foot inside a supermarket/corner shop? ‘You can’t come in here with a dog sir.’ A fish and chip shop? ‘You’ll have to leave the dog outside.’ The Post Office collection depot? ‘Guide dogs only!’ (I suppose dogs and postmen do have history).

Any shop that thinks I’m going to tie Grenson to a post outside whilst I come in to peruse their wares can think again. Of course I’m aware that this was the norm a few years/decades ago, but so was leaving your toddler outside in a pram. At least the toddler was generally asleep and unaware that it was being left alone outside the Post Office whilst mum nipped inside to pay the electric bill. Dogs generally tend to be awake when on a walk and so remain keenly aware when tied by the neck to a post and cruelly abandoned!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware that not everyone likes dogs. Some people are scared, and if they own the shop and don’t want to be confronted by their biggest fear standing in front of them wagging its tail then that’s their prerogative.

But banning dogs on the grounds that they may wee on the floor, or tread mud into the shop, or drool on the sale items, or be really noisy and irritate the other customers, applies twofold to toddlers if you ask me. If toddlers are allowed into an establishment then dogs should be allowed in too. That’s my opinion! There, now I’ve said it.

With all that in mind the warm welcome we both received upon entering the White Stuff store was much appreciated. Even if the shop had turned out to be shabby and the clothing horrible, I’d have still been quite happy to have a walk around just because I could. Luckily for the successful outcome of this blog post, the store is super cool and the clothes are equally impressive.

img_9272

img_9268

Now, I must admit that I had never been in a White Stuff store before. I used to work near Lamb’s Conduit Street and almost exclusively shopped at the boutique stores that can be found in that area. Clearly this signifies that I’m very, very, trendy…and also skint! Even when waiting patiently all year and then taking full advantage of the sales these designer brands are not cheap. They are fantastic quality though, and I’m generally wary of going elsewhere and suffering a drop in standard (a snob? me? never!).

However, when I headed inside the White Stuff store I could immediately see that this brand offers easily comparable quality, but with the bonus that it’s all within a much lower price bracket. Even before we talk about the clothes you can just feel that this is a classy company from the newly spruced up shop. They’ve done a great job. I really liked the little touches; the vintage radios on the walls, the boiled sweets behind the counter, the scandi-style furniture, and the very relaxing seating area with complimentary drinks and biscuits for all those weary and, maybe less enthusiastic, shoppers who find themselves being dragged around the stores.

img_9270

Grenson found the biscuits very interesting, until an actual dog biscuit was magically produced from behind the counter for him to enjoy instead (see?! dog biscuits! They’re really not joking about this dog friendliness).

As for the clothes? Let’s just say there is a new brand on my wardrobe block.

And now for the really exciting bit about doing a post on a clothing company: I get to pretend to be a true fashion blogger. Which can mean only one thing…standing awkwardly in front of a full length mirror wearing my new purchases and pretending to be a model!

img_9309

(Jeans, belt, shoes, glasses, beard and dog are models own!)

Hell yeah! Check out that thumb almost in pocket on the t-shirt and waistcoat shot! I’m thinking that might be my ‘signature stance’.

It’s arguable that the pictures could have been improved if I had actually looked up instead of at the phone, and maybe Grenson’s ‘help’, wasn’t all that helpful in hindsight. But it’s the clothes you should be focussing on anyway.

The shirt is a flannel fabric (£47.50) so perfect for the colder days that are now arriving. The waistcoat (£69.95) seems to be a big thing in their new collection. I have to say I thoroughly approve,  I’m quite partial to a smart waistcoat these days. I’ll probably pair with a shirt but I think it almost works with the polka polo (£37.50)? Then of course there is the big cuddly jumper (£55.00) on the right, ideal for a winter evening in front of a roaring fire.

Last but not least how could I possibly resist ‘Howling Wolf‘ socks (£9.95)?

img_9316

I am aware that I have only focussed on the men’s range. Sorry girls. We are MAN about a dog though. We didn’t spend much time in the ladies section if I’m honest, but from the items I saw the quality and style seems an equal match to the men’s items I’ve highlighted above.

So there you have it. The perfect shop for all of us who love fashion as well as love dogs.

Get you and your pooch down to your nearest branch is what I say…at the very least you might get a biscuit each!

img_9274

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Devon, dog friendly hotels, dog friendly pubs, the dog blog

The Cary Arms – Babbacombe

Recently it was our anniversary … that’s me and En Brogue, not me and Grenson.

As a result we decided to return to Devon for the weekend. As you may well have already read on this very blog, we had not long returned from a road trip to Devon and Dorset. When planning that holibob we had considered the Cary Arms, but after much calculator bashing, we had finally decided that it was the kind of visit that was only justifiable if attached to a special occasion. Now, a few weeks later, we came to the conclusion that a wedding anniversary fitted this criteria perfectly. So we all jumped in the car and after a short 7 hour drive (damn you M25), we found ourselves descending a familiar hair pin, vertically challenging lane, (that they love so much in this part of the country), down into Babbacombe Harbour.

img_9089

The problem with those cliff face descents is that it can only mean an equally hairy ascent awaits you at the end of your stay (see our previous Devon ascents here). Luckily all of those fears were forgotten due to the magnificent Cary Arms. It really is difficult to know where to start with this place. It’s like falling in love at first sight three times in a row. First with the stunning bay, then with the atmospheric bar and finally when presented with our magnificent accommodation.

I think I’ll kick off with our room, which in actual fact was a beach hut. Now if you’ve suddenly had an image enter your head of a small little wooden hut, half filled with deckchairs, and with a bbq pushed into a corner, then banish those thoughts immediately. I think the fact that they refer to their brand spanking new accommodation as ‘huts’ may be simply an affectionate touch. They are anything but hut like. Not that I have anything against huts, you’ll know that if you’ve read about our stay in a Herders Hut on our last expedition to Devon and Dorset. But check out the pictures below! This is no beach hut.

img_9087

With the most dreamy soft bed (facing the porthole that gives a view of the bay the minute you wake), a plush wet room, mini bar, HD TV, Wi Fi sound system, and balcony with a view to die for, this is accommodation on the luxury level.

And this isn’t even the fanciest of the accommodation on offer. If you really want to put your fancy pants on then there are suites available to hire too!

We were all very happy with our beach hut, especially Grenson who was provided with biscuits, a bed and a ball. Look at the bottom left picture above to see just how happy he was with all of this!

Once settled we enjoyed a complimentary sloe gin on our balcony and fell in love with the bay. Truly stunning. I always thought that they referred to this area as the ‘English Riviera’ in an entirely ironic way, but it turns out it’s totally justified. Apparently you occasionally get pods of dolphins in the harbour and there is even a bell that should be rung to announce a sighting.

img_9091

Unfortunately there was to be no ringing of bells during our weekend. Luckily though, we didn’t miss out on the sea-life, as there is a local celebrity seal called Sammy that regularly hangs around by the fishermen waiting for scraps. And he’s flipping magnificent!!

img_8891

We kept Grenson well away. With his new found love of the water he’d have been straight in there looking to make friends.

Finally the main building. It’s a ‘proper job’ type of place. The real deal. All dark wood and low ceilings giving the impression that it’s been here as long as the cliffs that circle the bay. It’s lovely to have the new mod-con, stylish, accommodation alongside a no nonsense main bar. I could have spent a lifetime in that bar looking out at the bay trying to spot dolphins.

And the food!! Flip me it’s tasty fare.

img_9088

Grenson also had a dinner brought out to him during our evening meals. Lamb and cous cous no less. Fine dining even for the dog!

He also managed to somehow get me to share a bit of that sausage with him that you can see on the mightily impressive breakfast above. It’s hard to resist him when he looks at you like this…

img_8855

As for doggy friendliness? This place is off the scale. As one fellow dog owning guest put it, many places advertise as dog friendly but turn out to be more along the lines of dog tolerant. This place is really and truly a doggy paradise.

Upon arriving Grenson was immediately greeted with a wrestle from a cute little curly haired blonde!

img_8861

Then we realised that pretty much all of our neighbours had dogs. And one of them turned out to be really quite special.

En Brogue returned from taking Grenson for a little morning walk in a state of unusual excitement. ‘I think our next door neighbour is Tuna the Chiweenie’ she exclaimed. As you can imagine, this caused a reaction from me that ranged from ‘Eh?’ to ‘…’. Who was Tuna and what the hell was a Chiweenie?

I was to find out later that evening as we met Tuna the little Chihuahua / Sausage dog cross in the residents bar. This was no ordinary dog. This was a mega star! It turns out that Tuna (or tunameltsmyheart as he’s better known) currently has over 1.8 MILLION followers on Instagram.

Here was I thinking Grenson was doing pretty well by edging nearer to 1000 followers, when this swaggering superstar has 1.8M! That’s ONE POINT EIGHT MILLION!!!

I immediately set Grenson to the task of picking up some tips.

img_8918

He obviously needs a fancy jacket and neckerchief!

From superstar dogs to celebrity seals, this place has it all. So if you also have a special occasion (or just fancy being fancy) then I can highly recommend you make your way to Babbacombe and this really special place .

Oh, and even the climb back up the hill wasn’t all that bad in the end. I don’t know what all the worry was about really!

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

 

Standard