It's traditional in January to be bombarded with adverts for holidays. It is also the time of year that I wonder what it must be like to have a 'normal' job where you can take annual leave and have a holiday!! Being self employed there never seems to be a 'good' time to take a break and so ours tend to be more last minute decisions when we feel that our batteries are really running on empty!
One time of year that we do try and get away is our Anniversary Weekend at the end of October, and over the last 14 years we have enjoyed many weekends in hotels and holiday cottages with Frankie and Bruno. Last year it was George that we took on The Perfect Dog Friendly Weekend.
We are big fans of Suffolk. Around a two hour drive from Kent, feeling like a million miles away when you arrive. We love the coast, the walking, the pubs and the cafes but most of all we love how DOG FRIENDLY it is! It is so refreshing to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee without having to sit in the cold, to visit a pub for lunch and there be dog biscuits on the table for your best friend and be able to browse in a shop together without one of us waiting outside with the dog!
We always book our holiday cottages through www.bestofsuffolk.co.uk and have yet to be disappointed. Many of their properties are happy to allow dogs and they don't make a charge for them - unlike many other companies. They are always tastefully decorated and well equipped. For our break last October the cottage that we have stayed in many times with Frankie and Bruno was not available and The Thatched Cottage in Peasenhall was selected by Best of Suffolk as a good alternative for us. It did not disappoint and was fresh to create new memories with George. The lovely garden was a bonus as he loves a good sniff outside!
We didn't know the village of Peasenhall at all, but discovered that it has many delights! Only being there for 3 days we knew we had to plan our activities well to cram in the things we most love to do in Suffolk. The weather was kind to us so on the Saturday we set off to Dunwich for a walk along the beach to Warbleswick - probably not the best choice for a pup, the beach is pebbly and George did insist on being carried much of the way! the walk back through woodland was much more enjoyable! A late lunch at The Ship once back in Dunwich was just what we all needed. The food at the is pub has never disappointed us, dogs are made to feel very welcome in the cosy bar area and in the very large garden and knowing we could return to our cosy cottage to light the log burner, open the wine and watch a film made the day complete.
We decided to explore the local area on Sunday and armed with a map provided by the cottage owners, we set off. Being mostly arable fields and woodland it is ideal for George, he was off lead most of the way. We took a pit stop at The Weavers, the village Cafe for a cup of delicious hot chocolate before completing our circular walk. We arrived back at the cottage just before the heavens opened and drove the short distance to the wonderful White Horse Inn at Badingham where George was made to feel very welcome with a good supply of gravy bones! The bar is cosy and just what a great British pub should be. With George settled in his bed we tucked into an amazing Sunday Roast made from local food - very delicious and gluten free gravy was available for me, always a bonus, as a dry roast just isn't the same!
Monday morning always comes around too fast on these mini breaks but this time we decided not to rush back. Instead we drove to Wableswick and walked along the estuary to Southwold - another great dog friendly place. It's an easy walk being all flat, we did encounter some cows but they were used to people and dogs. It was bitterly cold but sunny so we thought coffee and cake would be just the thing in a lovely little cafe at the top end of the high street, Le Roc. In Parisian style we sat outside with a blanket over us. The gluten free brownie and hot chocolate were the sustenance we needed for the walk back to the car at Warbleswick.
We finished off the day with a late lunch at The Dolphin in Thorpeness - a pub we like that welcomes dogs but could improve it's offering of gluten free food for those of us that need it - but if you aren't of any special dietary needs the choice is fantastic! We walked off lunch with a stroll past the House in Clouds - a famous landmark - then back in the car to return to reality!
I could write so many blog posts about the virtues of Suffolk that the Suffolk Tourist Board would probably want to advertise on here, but for now this is a little taste of the treasures of this lovely county that is the ideal location for The Perfect Dog Friendly Weekend! If it isn't a county you have ever visited I strongly advise that you do, especially is you love taking life a little slower, good food and great walks.
This year one of my resolutions is to take George to as many pubs called The George as we can, so you can expect a few reviews but for now George gives Suffolk 4 Paws Up and so do we!