WE tried out two perfect staycays for you and your bestie.
Luxe rural escape or city break, tail wags are guaranteed!
Bethnal & Bec, Hertfordshire
Writer Siobhan Ludlow, husband Mike and eight-year-old patterdale lakeland terrier Charlie opted for a luxe rural escape.
Bethnal & Bec are two chic adults-only converted stables surrounded by beautiful Hertfordshire countryside.
We booked into colour-pop Bethnal, which comes complete with a roll-top bath in the bedroom (the perfect place to soak up the views), a double rain shower and heavenly scented Aromatherapy Associates goodies.
With a fully equipped kitchen, a log burner, outdoor hot tub, Netflix, BBQ and a pantry stocked with local gins, we very quickly settled in.
THE DOG FACTOR
Charlie got his own hamper, including bowls, treats, towels, shampoo and freshener – plus, there’s even an outdoor dog shower.
There were dog beers and other goodies on sale too, and the large private yard was secure, so he could run around to his heart’s content.
Using the free Hertfordshire Walks app we found a beautiful circular route around Therfield Heath, starting at the local rugby club and passing through countryside and woodland.
A 30-minute drive away is impressive Hatfield House with its gorgeous gardens, woodland and parkland, plus stable shops. Entry costs from £11 (Hatfield-house.co.uk). Charlie got spoilt with a lobster bandana, £15, from cute doggy boutique Slumbering Hound (Slumberinghound.com).
Meanwhile, half an hour in the other direction is Knebworth House with pretty gardens, a maze and dinosaur trail, plus an expanse of parkland for your furry friend to let off steam. Entry costs from £10 (Knebworthhouse.com).
The Fox And Duck village pub is delightful and right on Therfield’s village green. We devoured beer-battered haddock and chips, £13.95, with pints of local cider, £4.50 (Thefoxandduck.co.uk).
Looking for a yummy Sunday roast? Head to The Red Lion in Welwyn for mains from £12.95 (Theredlionwelwyn.co.uk). Back at Bethnal & Bec, stays include breakfast hampers of local farm produce – think bacon, eggs, fresh bread, tomatoes and mushrooms.
Light up the pizza oven (from £20 for ingredients for two) or enjoy incredible local steaks (£26 for two, including one side dish).
The nearby town of Buntingford has some top foodie spots, including The Falcon with its divine deli (Falconrestaurant.co.uk), while The Cheese Plate (Thecheeseplate.co.uk) is perfect for picking up picnic treats.
Midweek stays at Bethnal & Bec start from £197.50 a night (Bethnalandbec.com).
The Roseate Villa, Bath
Writer Stacey Halls, husband Andy and three-month-old staffie Joanie dived into a city break.
Just five minutes’ walk from the heart of Bath, The Roseate Villa is a roomy, converted Victorian home.
With bookcase wallpaper, high ceilings and tea and cake on arrival, it’s chic and cosy, with stylish fabric headboards and Penhaligon’s bathroom goodies.
Our bed was perfect for the three of us to have a lie-in and the afternoon tea includes popcorn profiteroles and pistachio and polenta cake, £25, topped off with park views.
THE DOG FACTOR
In classic new-parent style, we packed two huge bags of toys, food and chews.
But we needn’t have bothered as Joanie was welcomed with a massive dog bed, water bowl and treats, Lily’s Kitchen food and biodegradable poo bags!
Pumping out more than 1 million litres of 45ºC water daily, Bath has been a tourist hotspot since the 18th century. Join a 90-minute walking tour, £10 per person, to spy the famous thermal spring site and the impressive Royal Crescent, with its fan-shape sprawl of elegant five-storey homes (Bathwalkingtours.co.uk).
Ten minutes’ drive away is The American Museum, set within a palatial Georgian manor house with stunning gardens. Go back in time to Salem-witch-trial-era Massachusetts, but book tours in advance. Dogs are allowed in the grounds only, and entry costs £14.50 (Americanmuseum.org).
Meanwhile, the Bath Skyline Walk is a gentle six-mile loop from the centre through tree-lined valleys and stunning Somerset countryside perfect for energetic pups (Nationaltrust.org.uk/bath-skyline).
For an Aussie-style brekkie, head to pooch-friendly The Provenist for avo and poached eggs on sourdough, £7.70, and toasted home-made granola, £6 (Theprovenist.com).
The Marlborough Tavern proved the perfect date night for three, with roasted Cornish scallops in a garlic and parsley crumb, £10, and an 8oz burger with bacon jam and red Leicester, £15 (Marlborough-tavern.com).
At riverside pub The Boater, staff replenished Joanie’s treats and took selfies with her while we tucked into beef roasts with all the trimmings, £16.50 (Boaterbath.co.uk).
Bath has incredible independents – stock up on books at Mr B’s Emporium (Mrbsemporium.com), artisan cheese and posh crackers at The Fine Cheese Co (Finecheese.co.uk) and macarons at Larnicol (Larnicol.com).
CAP IT OFF
Mum discovers daughter, 8, sleeps in shower cap to not waste time in the morning
Girl, 12, transforms family home for £50 & she’s a dab hand with a power drill too
Mum-of-five living in a ‘small’ 3-bed shares her top organisational tips
Mum gives stepdaughters their own bedroom by transforming dingy utility room
‘Tacky’ guest shamed for turning down niece’s big day as she didn’t get a +1
Doubles at The Roseate Villa start from £150 per night (Roseatehotels.com/bath/theroseatevilla).
*Enter by 11.59pm on October 3, 2020