AD – Press trip
The Cotswolds is indisputably one of the most beautiful areas in England. Cotswold stone buildings, narrow streets in unspoilt villages and cosy country pubs make it a bit like stepping back in time. In a good way. It’s also the ideal place to visit with a dog. There are many beautiful places to go walking including the Cotswold Way, as well as shorter routes in and around the villages. That’s why it’s so useful to find a little gem of a place to stay that is more than happy to accommodate dogs as well as the rest of the family. The Marlborough Arms is a dog friendly, 15th century Coaching Inn. It’s located in Woodstock on the outskirts of the Cotswolds, within walking distance of Blenheim Palace.
About the Marlborough Arms
The Marlborough Arms is an understated building on Woodstock’s historic high street. On stepping through the front door, visitors are greeted by an open fire, comfy sofas and a warm welcome. Its classic interior retains the building’s style whilst providing a quiet, cozy atmosphere.
Accommodation is bed and breakfast with characterful bedrooms that provide visitors with all they need for a comfortable stay. Free parking is available in the Marlborough Arms car park at the back of the building. Free wifi is also provided for all guests. The whole venue can be hired for private parties.
From the car park, visitors enter a small, covered courtyard with seating and plenty of places to relax. Inside, a chess board by the fire tempts people out of their rooms and into the communal area. The small bar is for residents only. As the Marlborough Arms has only 15 rooms, it always seems pleasantly quiet without the hustle and bustle of a hotel bar.
Our stay at the Marlborough Arms
The one thing you can’t guarantee in the Cotswolds is the weather. In fact, we managed to time our visit to correspond with two days of torrential downpours. It also happened to be the morning England played the All Blacks in the Rugby World cup semi-final.
We arrived late but were greeted with a friendly smile and shown to our room on the second floor. The children and Bubbles were all treated like royalty and we all felt incredibly welcome. We headed straight up to our room to get the girls to bed. Our family room had a large double bed and a single as standard. They’d put a camp bed in there for us and there was still plenty of space. Both girls immediately started arguing over who got the camp bed. Libby won that argument and they both settled down for the night.
Reception was open until 10pm and I took Bubbles out for a walk while the children settled down to sleep. We had the option of getting a drink from the bar downstairs to bring up to our room or having one brought up for us, which was a nice touch. There were also tea and coffee making facilities including a pod style coffee machine. The ensuite had a bath with a refreshingly powerful shower. Most importantly, the beds were comfortable and we all slept well. That is until around 6am, when Lia decided it was time to get up despite it still being completely dark and feeling like the middle of the night.
Breakfast was probably my favourite thing about our stay at the Marlborough Arms because they catered so well for our needs. Dogs aren’t allowed in the general breakfast room, but there’s a small room just off reception that is dog friendly. So, they allowed us to have our breakfast in there with Bubbles in tow. Better still, there was a television in there so we could watch the rugby while we ate.
When we arrived in our breakfast room, we were shown a menu for the hot options. My husband and I went for the vegetarian breakfast, while the girls decided on the pancakes with fruit and natural yoghurt. Additionally, there was a help-yourself buffet in the main breakfast room. We enjoyed plenty of coffees, juices, fruit and pastries from there during the course of the rugby match. It was a lovely way to enjoy what turned out to be quite a spectacular game.
Dog friendly attractions in the Cotswolds
We had hoped to spend Saturday exploring the Cotswolds with Bubbles, but the torrential rain put us off somewhat. However, there are lots of dog friendly attractions in the area and we’ll definitely be back to explore them another time.
The Marlborough Arms is in walking distance of Blenheim Palace, a huge country house and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dogs are allowed in Blenheim’s parkland, East Courtyard and the outside area of the Pizza Café beside the Pleasure Gardens. They’re also allowed in the seating area by the welcome desk and in the Colonnade area next to the gift shop. They’re not allowed in the palace itself, main courtyards, pleasure gardens or formal gardens. Dogs need to be on the lead at all times.
English Heritage owned Deddington Castle is the site of a castle that is of historical significance due to its role during Norman times. No stonework is now visible but it is nonetheless a fascinating place to visit. They welcome dogs on leads. Deddington Castle is about 15 minutes drive from the Marlborough Arms.
Cotswold Wildlife Park
Around half an hour from the Marlborough Arms, the Cotswold Wildlife Park is quite an unusual dog friendly day out. Large animals have lots of space to roam, so the park is somewhere between a zoo and a safari park. It’s a great opportunity to get up close to some fascinating creatures without worrying about the cramped conditions sometimes found in zoos.
Dogs are allowed in the park as long as they are always on a lead and under the control of an adult and you clean up after them. They can’t be taken into the bat or reptile house, children’s farmyard, lemur exhibit, flamingo lake, wolf walkway or anywhere with free roaming animals.
For more ideas of places to go with the dog nearby, have a look at my list of dog friendly days out in the West Midlands.
AD – Press trip