The Pet Inspectors Heidi and Rufus head off to Southwold to discover the dog-friendly delights of the Swan Hotel and the simple joys of the British coastline
Dressed up in our finest tweed coats from LoveMyDog’s Appleby range and matching collars and leads – we are obviously off somewhere smart again. It’s very rainy outside, but still Heidi and I love to get away.
We do get a bit bored spending too long in Fulham – nice as it is. After three and a half hours and a few wrong turns we arrive at the Swan Hotel in Southwold. The first thing we notice as we rush to get out of the car is the smell of the sea. Heaven. It may still be blustery and rainy, but Heidi and I love the sea and sand and we have been promised both.
The manager, Martin Edwards, greets us at the reception like long lost friends – we know we are going to like it here. We love all the attention from the reception staff. Heidi and I know how important it is for us to make a good impression from the start.
We are escorted to the Lighthouse Rooms (obv there is a lighthouse just round the corner). These are the designated rooms for canine folk situated in the grounds of the hotel, with a lovely garden area in the front for canine play.
Straight away we make friends with another Norfolk Terrier – Jake – who was visiting from Bath. We also rub noses with a lovely Staffie and a Spaniel puppy who were also staying in the Lighthouse rooms. The room itself is quite large – plenty of room for Heidi and I to play with our bones and toys – and a lovely big bed to jump up on. After all, we are terriers.
Almost as soon as we arrived we are whisked off for a walk around the town. A delightful, unspoilt Victorian town – but full of smart shops, delicatessens and best of all a pet shop.
Everyone seems super friendly and every shop, restaurant and pub seems to have very thoughtfully supplied a water bowl for us. It’s thirsty work, shopping. Our coats are much admired and then we brave the rain and take a walk along the seafront – although we are almost blown off our feet by the blustery wind.
Although we are tired from our journey we have been included in tonight’s trip to the Lord Nelson pub. We love it here as we get loads of attention, get to play with another terrier and enjoy a few chips – our owners have opted for locally caught fish and chips which are delicious.
Next day we are slightly disappointed that we are not invited to breakfast. The Swan do not allow dogs into the breakfast room, which is rather grand by all accounts. We don’t mind, though, as we are looking forward to a lovely seaside walk. Today we head straight to the pet shop and buy a frisbee and ball. This looks good.
Then we spend a blissful hour playing on Southwold’s sandy beach, running up and down, into the sea and talking to lots of other dogs. We are not exaggerating – Southwold is full of dogs. In the afternoon we are off in the car to Halesworth, a nearby town where there is an exhibition for animal lovers at the Little Gallery.
Our owners buy a painting of a Parson Jack Russell by local artist Linda Roast and bump into a lovely lady in the shop who is a PetsPyjamas customer (naturally). Then it’s off to Decorum Interiors round the corner, where owner Sarah plies us with loads of naughty treats.
Back to Southwold for yet another stroll round town, then back for tea. Tonight our owners are going for dinner with their friends at the nearby Crown Hotel (another Adnams hotel). The Crown doesn’t accept dogs in its main restaurant but tonight we don’t mind as we are very tired and happy to luxuriate on our lovely beds catching up with some TV whilst they are out.
Yet another day for seaside frolics – we love rushing into the sea and racing after our new frisbee. We like to play a game where we won’t allow our owners to have the frisbee back. I keep by paw firmly on it or hold it tightly in my jaws and refuse to let go. This is the best fun.
In the afternoon we go to a Red Nose charity event in nearby Walberswick – Richard Curtis, the co-founder of Comic Relief, has a holiday home there and we understand that it is full of media folk. Lots of tea and treats for everyone.
Back to our room for a rest and then – hurrah! – we have been invited out to dinner with the owners by their friends Jane and Peter, who have a cottage in Southwold – just round the corner from our hotel.
They have a Parson Jack Russell, Stanley. He is snowy white and is very lively. We rush round the cottage with him and have lovely games all evening – and the occasional squabble over a toy – whilst the humans enjoy their meal with lots of Adnams wine.
Time to leave today, which is sad as we love the beach and don’t want to return to town. Before we go the humans have a trip round the Adnams brewery and buy a few bottles to bring home. Today is sunny, as it usually is in Southwold. Suffolk is one of the driest counties in England, we are told.
Very exciting that a famous pianist, Vladimir Ashkenazy – who is staying at the hotel – says hello to us. Today we walk to Southwold Pier for a coffee and meet up with more dogs. We say goodbye to Martin, the manager, and the other staff at the hotel – who couldn’t have been more charming.
One of the lovely ladies says that next time we come we will be given a sausage as we have been so good! We say our goodbyes and get in the car. Such a fun weekend. Definitely planning to return this summer.