When you need to recharge your batteries, do you have a favourite place to visit or do you prefer to find somewhere new each time?
Last year we met Harriet Lee, a British swimmer who most recently won Silver in Rio’s Paralympic games, when she introduced us to her two dogs, Baya (also known as Bear) and Bow.
Earlier this year we caught Harriet in between training sessions and invited her to visit a luxury pet friendly cottage in Devon on behalf of Premier Cottages for a bit of R&R with her mum and dad, fiancé Laurie and their two boys, Baya and Bow.
Not even the tail end of Hurricane Doris could dampen our enthusiasm for visiting Devon Country Barns, an enclosure of 5 stunning barns with hot tubs and private garden areas, with our two dogs.
We arrived to a very warm welcome from owners, Richard and Ute which included a very yummy homemade cinnamon and apple cake.
After their long journey Bow and Baya were keen to explore their surroundings and after a quick sniff around the barn were delighted to find a field enclosed by hedges where I was confident that they could run freely. At the bottom of the field, Bow and Baya discovered a box of dog toys and they had a lovely hour chasing a ball and paddling in the stream, which became our regular morning routine during our stay.
A quick visit to the local supermarket meant that we could eat in after our long journey and get acquainted with the barn which was a wonderful home from home.
Beautifully decorated throughout with stunning views across the countryside, the log fire and the spiral staircase added to its charm. The underfloor heating was a great touch too, especially as our visit took place in February.
Bow sleeping on his Scruffs Siberian dog bed
Outside we discovered a hot tub, perfect for late night dips looking up at the night sky in the private garden. It all set the scene for a very relaxed and chilled weekend, which was just what was needed after a hard week of training.
The next day we visited Tavistock and were very impressed by the dog friendliness of the shop owners. Water bowls were left outside the shops and Bow and Baya were fussed almost every few yards.
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That evening we visited the Elephants Nest Inn, Horndon. We were advised to pre-book and let them know about our furry guests so when we arrived Bow and Baya were instantly made to feel welcome. The food was fantastic and we enjoyed chatting to other dog owners staying at the Inn. All in all, it was a very pleasant and relaxing evening.
Sunday saw us wrap up against the wind and rain and visit the Moors. We were greeted by the Shetland ponies who seemed very curious about Bow. Hats off to the ice cream seller out in the cold for delicious ice cream - we were not so brave and ate ours in the car.
Our short weekend was coming to an end all too quickly so we opted for another cosy night in, hot tub and a must mention steak and ale pie from the Lifton Farm Shop – it was just what was needed.
We visited the shop again for a full English breakfast the following morning. Great value and delicious.
As our time was short we did not get to explore everything on our doorstep so we definitely plan to go back.
Thank you to Ute for her hospitality and Richard for great chats, tourist information and dog stories. Thanks also to Richard’s wonderful pack of flatcoats who generously shared their land, toys and played with Bow and Baya.
This truly is a holiday for all the family members. Highly recommended.
Premier Cottages’ collection features almost 1,000 four and five-star self-catering cottages across the UK. Properties range from small, romantic boltholes to large family-friendly country estates. The collection includes pet-friendly accommodation. It also offers the widest range of accessible properties in the UK and many properties have onsite facilities like swimming pools, gyms, spas, indoor games rooms and children’s play areas.
A week’s stay in Devon Country Barn’s Tractor Barn for six guests starts from £1125 and a three-night stay starts from £619. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 07500 702248)