Doggy Holiday Heaven
We have just come back from a week’s stay at The Old Stables in Holt, Norfolk, which is a wonderfully quaint cottage within walking distance to the river Glaven at the bottom of the lane. It is also only two miles from the Georgian town of Holt, and five miles from the beautiful Norfolk coast, which includes Holkham and Wells next the Sea. Both beaches are incredibly dog friendly (click here for my review of Wells).
I love going on holiday, especially when my extended human family are there too, and I get to see my sister Jess, every day. It’s even better when the cottage we stay in is so dog friendly that there isn’t a thing I would change, or need.
The Cottage sleeps four humans in the main building and four humans in the annex, so you can take an entire extended family of humans with you on your doggy adventures, and they all get their own comfortable beds to sleep in. Mummy said the Cottage is equipped to a really high standard, and has brilliant Wi-Fi, which meant she could post lots of our holiday photos on Facebook and Instagram at the end of each day.
The most important (and best) room in the Cottage is the kitchen because this is where things are all yummy, with aromas that made my tummy rumble - things more interesting than kibble and wet food. There is a huge table right in the middle of the room, which made a great place for our family meals, as well as a good spot to dump our bags at the end of a day down the beach. The kitchen comes complete with everything, even a grater so Mummy could grate my carrots and cheese: it has an aga, an oven, hob, dishwasher, a sofa, two armchairs and a TV. The aga kept the room really hot so we had to have the windows open most of the time, but it did mean that our beach and pool towels dried off really quickly.
Next to the kitchen is the boot room; an excellent place to store our dog food and leads, as well as mucky doggy towels and boots. As well as these two large rooms that we could chase each other in, there is also a twin bedroom downstairs where I could run to every morning to get cuddles off my human nieces, and a large bathroom with a bath and shower.
Upstairs is a large sitting room with an open fire, two sofas and lovely views across the fields. To keep the humans entertained there are numerous books and magazines to read, a TV and DVDs. We didn’t use this room that much as we liked to congregate in the kitchen where all the food lived.
The upstairs master bedroom had a super king-sized bed and en-suite shower room with underfloor heating. I liked to run up the stairs every morning to get cuddles off my Aunty and Uncle; we all liked to chase each other up and down them as it felt like a naughty game that made a racket as our paws thudded in unison.
Outside, there is a small but beautiful courtyard that leads to the annex. It is full of things to sniff, and lots of pretty flowers. This is where the humans parked their cars, and when the main gate is closed, it is a secure area for us dogs to run around in. There is a gas BBQ there too, which didn’t get used but us doggies wish it had because it would have meant a meat feast of scraps. I’m disappointed that the humans didn’t do this for us and have sent Mummy a letter of complaint that demands a BBQ on our next holiday; we tried staring at it in hope but they didn’t get the hint.
The annex is where we all went to get to the pool, but it is also where Mummy and I lived for the week. It was like having our own private cottage; we had our own super king-sized bed, and a small kitchenette with kettle, fridge and sink. We also had a small shower room with underfloor heating, and at the end of the week, my other siblings came to stay in the small twin room which has trundle beds.
The swimming pool is accessed from the annex door, which locks to make it dog and child proof. It sits in another pretty private garden that has apple and pear trees in it, two gates, and hedges all around the edges. The hedges aren’t entirely escape proof, as my sister Jess and I proved. It took a lot of coaxing to get us back through them despite us being able to escape with little effort. To stop us doing it again, my Uncle put a few of the garden chairs in front of the holes and we didn’t bother to try again. It was an exciting adventure as it meant we could investigate the neighbour’s garden but our mummies got scared because there is no gate on the neighbour’s driveway and it led to a road which although wasn’t busy, did had big noisy lorries and fast cars on it every so often.
The pool is heated from mid-May until mid-September, although I heard the humans squeal a few times as they entered into it. There was also a lot of squealing in the mornings too when they rolled back the cover to find a chorus of frogs having their morning swim. It didn’t put the humans off though as there was a big net to catch them all so we could release them into the wild again. We liked to watch the humans doing this and tried to chase the net as it went into the water; it made for an exciting game every morning!
When the cover got pulled back, the impressive blue of the pool seemed to invite the small humans into it straight away and kept them busy for days. I don’t know why they liked being in it so much but I enjoyed pacing up and down the side to watch them as us doggies weren’t allowed in; this is because the pool isn’t tiled, but has a kind of thick lining that our claws could have ripped. Both my sister and I did fall in because we kept dropping our balls in the water so the small humans would throw them but neither of us liked it very much and made sure we didn’t do it again.
What I liked about the Cottage was that I could run from the pool area, through the annex doors, into the courtyard, into the main cottage, up the stairs, and back again. The space is brilliant for a Doodle dash, and I had enough room to feel free. Mummy didn’t mind me being out of her sight once the hedge holes were covered because she knew I was safe and playing with my siblings. When we weren’t pacing by the side of the pool waiting for our ball obsession to be satisfied (that will never happen), we were splashing down in the river Glaven, which was two minutes from the cottage, at the end of the lane. Mummy didn’t mind me going in because it is shallow enough for me to reach the floor (mostly), and so clear that we could see the bottom of the river. We played Pooh sticks there nearly every day, and I did my first proper swim of my little life. There is a small wooden bridge that goes over the river which we could speed across happily, and a path walk alongside the fields where we could rummage in the bushes. It was my favourite place of the holiday because I got to chase sticks with my sisters and brothers, and the humans sounded happy that we were all splashing around chasing our sticks.
We also spent a couple of days down on the beach, at both Holkham and Wells, and in the evenings we ate out in places where our humans could take us; I’m going to write reviews on these too so your humans know where they can take you locally while they eat (and hopefully give you some sneaky treats under the table).
I hope Mummy takes me back again one day because it is one of the best cottages I have stayed in, and the fact that we had seven humans at one point meant that I got lots of belly rubs when Mummy was playing with her phone, or I got my ball thrown more when Mummy’s arm didn't want to play anymore.
Know before you go: there is no need to take anything for the kitchen except your food. It is so fully equipped that there is almost little room for food storage. Holt is just down the road and has an extremely well-stocked and nicely sized Budgens. There are also take-away restaurants in Holt (the Chinese and Indian are particularly nice), and Holt itself is very dog friendly. All bedding and towels are supplied, but not beach or pool towels. On arrival, there was coffee, tea, milk and biscuits provided; which the humans were very happy about.