Sometimes you need a little break so badly that you consider faking your death in order to escape for a few days. Last weekend was definitely one of those occasions. So with the sole mission of attaining coma-inducing levels of relaxation, we packed up the car and set off on a jaunt to the Old Swan & Minster Mill in the Cotswolds with George, the very cheeky puppy in tow.
Owned by the de Savary family, the Old Swan & Minster Mill is a divine property nestled in the pretty Cotswolds Village of Minster Lovell in Oxfordshire, and having made StyleTails’ Top 10 Pet Friendly UK Getaways earlier this year, we knew it would not disappoint.
Steeped in local history, this charming hotel is housed in a 16th century country inn, with a newer more contemporary extension over the road at the Minster Mill. Running through the heart of the lush green grounds is the fast-flowing River Windrush – perfect for a picnic on the banks or a spot of Trout fishing if you’re so inclined.
As one of StyleTails 10 Top UK Pet Friendly Hotels, the Old Swan and Minster Mill do not just like dogs, they love them. Equipped to make the most of your stay with your four-legged friend, 20 of the hotels 60 guest rooms allow dogs, each decked out with all the little luxuries your discerning dog would expect, as well as its own outdoor space to make life easier.
After plenty of licks and tail wagging from George in reception, we were shown to our room over in the newer section of the hotel. Cosy and contemporary, we were greeted with fresh fruit, lovely robes, and some marshmallows for toasting in the firepit on our private terrace – we knew imediately that two nights would simply not be enough.
Truly living up to its dog-friendly credentials, George was beside himself with excitement at the super-fluffy dog bed (which he gladly hopped on right away), doggy bowls filled to the brim with tasty treats (these had to be swiftly removed from the floor to prevent a serious case of pigging out), as well as rawhide chew sticks which came in very handy for a teething terrier!
Totally spoilt for choice when it comes to countryside to explore, we set off off on one of the hotel’s self-guided walks to neighbouring village, Swinbrook. Slightly ambitious at a mere 10 miles, there and back, we cleared our lungs as we made our way along pretty country lanes and through lush undulating meadows and pastures. George stretched his legs with plenty of new and exciting things to explore, including some very curious sheep and their Spring lambs (on the lead of course!)
Feeling totally refreshed, yes absolutely knackered, I saw no other way to unwind after the walk than to treat myself to a massage and pedicure in the Windrush Spa. Conveniently located right near our room, I soaked up an hour and a half of total bliss which quite frankly could have gone on all day.
In the true spirit of relaxation (and intentional laziness) we booked dinner in the Old Swan’s restaurant so we could just roll back to our room, full to the brim. Not only did we stuff ourselves on mouth-watering dishes including Fresh Devon Crab and River Windrush Crayfish Cocktail as well as tender Salmon baked in a lemon and herb crust (drool), George also wolfed down his very own Dogs Dinner of duck, chicken, rice and gravy, all freshly prepared by the chef. Super spoilt!
Why we love it:
- You’ll be spoilt for choice with things to do from long walks to tennis and trout fishing or just curling up in front of the fire
- They’re dog mad! Your pooch will be welcomed with open arms (and treats)
- It’s family friendly with plenty for the kids including resident ducks Eddie and Betty and their rescued battery hens who lay lovely fresh eggs every day
- Enjoy glorious freshly prepared food right on site at the Old Swan for both you and your faithful friend
Where: Old Swan & Minster Mill, School Hill, Minster Lovell, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX29 0RN
When: There’s something for everyone in every season from Trout fishing and tennis in the spring and summer, to curling up in front of a roaring fire with a glass of wine in the winter.
Treats for the Four-Legged: Pampered pooches will be treated to their very own dog bed, food and water bowls and treats. Meal time is truly refined for your four-legged friend in the Old Swan bar (dogs are not allowed in the restaurant, however the same menu is served in both dining rooms) with the option of their very own freshly prepared dinner. Playful pups can also have their fill with beauitfil local walks right from your doorstep.
Room Rate: Garden Rooms are from £185 which includes full English breakfast and VAT with a £20 supplement per dog per night, which includes bedding, bowls and goody bag. For a special treat, book the doggy package which includes dinner for three and a picnic lunch.
What to pack? A pooch on the go needs to look the part so for all your stylish canine travel essentials, visit the StyleTails Store
Book Now: Visit www.oldswanandminstermill.com or telephone 01993 774441 to book your stay
If you’re thinking of a trip up to the Old Swan & Minster Mill with your pooch (seriously, who wouldn’t be!?), they are hosting a National Paws Tea Party on Friday the 10th of May in aid of the Blue Cross. Enjoy an open-air afternoon tea in the beautiful Wild Flower Water Meadow on the banks of the River Windrush and stay the weekend for a real treat. Bookings are essential so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org