Jewish dogs get bored easily.
They like a varied food menu (apart from the kneidel soup fixture on Friday), new toys, old mutt pals and a mix of geography on the daily walks. So, circling
(or squaring) the same park in Mill Hill or weaving along the paths in Hampstead Garden Suburb, your dog is likely to be disgruntled.
They want you to shake it up a bit, and what better way to do that than at the five-star getaway Devon Country Barns. Charlie Spender, our Beagle, is not a fan of long car journeys, but the four hours it took to get to the barns, just outside the leafy village of Lifton, was well worth it.
The five beautiful barns have been converted using traditional materials, but at the same time provide exceptional comfort, with underfloor heating throughout, wood burners in each building, kitchens equipped with the most modern appliances and a wall-mounted flatscreen home cinema system.
Our barn, Orchard, had been tastefully converted for two people, with an open plan kitchen, downstairs lounge and a spiral staircase leading to the bedroom and bathroom with roll-top bath.
It has a large enclosed patio (perfect for Charlie) and our own private four-seater hot tub.
The residence ticked every box, as did the location, and Charlie seemed as impressed as we were, particularly by the warm welcome from our hosts, who gave us a selection of goodies including freshly-baked lemon drizzle and blueberry cake, fresh eggs from the chickens and a delicious bottle of Devon wine.
It was so peaceful that we initially thought we were the only ones there, but the other four barns on the property were occupied. We felt secluded sitting on the patio looking over the valley. The place was made for dogs, with acres of fields on the doorstep that Charlie could run through.
The Orchard Barn kitchen is fully kitted out, but when we wanted a break from cooking, our hosts suggested we visit The Cornish Arms in Tavistock (a 20-minute drive, and dog-friendly), where the food and service was exceptional, comparable to any good restaurant in London.
The Springer Spaniel pub, another one for your four-legged companion, near Launceston, served delicious food too.
The barns are also conveniently located near a wonderful farm shop, with a café five minutes’ drive away in Lifton, offering a delicious range of cheeses, cakes and chutneys.
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And should you manage to tear yourself away from the serenity of the barns, situated on the border of Devon and Cornwall, there are plenty of dog-friendly things to see and do: coast and beaches, stately homes and gardens, romantic fishing ports and plenty of excellent restaurants.
We visited Bude, a 40-minute drive from the barns, which has a magnificent sandy beach. We were excited to take Charlie there, because, at six years old, he had never felt sand under his paws, and he loved it. We then went down the coastline to explore Tintanel Castle and Port Isaac, then on to Rock. This scenery is outstanding.
Sometimes referred to as ‘Chelsea-on-Sea’, Rock is reputed to be the home of more millionaires than anywhere else in Cornwall. Here, you’ll find many beautiful dog-friendly beaches, of which I think the nicest is Daymer Bay.
The mile-long beach, with fine golden sand, is fringed with dunes and the water is unusually calm and clear. We found a family-run restaurant, The Rock Inn, with a panoramic view of the River Camel and the Cornish countryside – the perfect backdrop for a light bite to eat.
On another day you can drive to the opposite coast, to Fowey (pronounced ‘foy’), Polperro and Looe.
We stopped off here to sample the Cornish pasty – another first for Charlie.
You can’t mention Devon without talking about Dartmoor and heading to Princetown, which takes you through the national park – where, on entering the town, you pass the high granite walls of Dartmoor prison.
There are lovely walks to be explored there. We loved visiting west Dartmoor and then returning to the comfort of the barn for a soak in the hot tub, in which I’ll happily admit we spent a great deal of time, taking in the breathtaking views (with a glass of bubbly in hand) and stargazing at night!
Charlie may not have had the fizz or the hot tub, but he must be dreaming about open moorland, forests and streams.
We get the feeling he’ll be expecting a trip somewhere as beautiful very soon.
- Premier Cottages’ collection features almost 1,000 four-star and five-star self-catering cottages across the UK. Properties range from small, romantic boltholes to large family-friendly country estates, many of which are pet-friendly, and some having swimming pools, gyms, spas, indoor games rooms and children’s play areas.
- A week’s stay in Devon Country Barn’s Orchard Barn for two guests starts at £800, with a three-night stay starting at £440. (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 07500 702248)