OLD TEMPLARS COTTAGE, SPITTAL, NORTHUMBERLAND
WHAT’S THE SCOOP? Old Templars Cottage is a beautifully-converted apartment on the ground floor of a Victorian building. Just 50m from the sandy beach of Spittal, Berwick-upon-Tweed, it is perfectly located for those wishing to explore the delights of the Northumberland coast.
Behind the imposing double doors you will find a stylish one-bedroom flat that is ideal for couples but can sleep three, thanks to a sofa bed in the lounge. There’s plenty of free parking too, just outside on the street between the school and nursery. Old Templars has been given a Gold Four Star rating by VisitEngland for 2017/18.
ARE MUDDY PAWS WELCOME? Most definitely. There is a box of dog towels by the front door, as well as bowls, a jar of treats and chews. Pets are also welcome to explore the courtyard garden although there is no direct access from the apartment – you get to it via a side gate. One dog can stay free of charge at Old Templars while extra pets cost £25 per stay, when agreed in advance.
AND WHEN I’M DOG TIRED? The light and airy apartment is a real home from home so it won’t take long for you to relax here. The open-plan lounge/diner is beautifully decorated and boasts a Smart TV and DVD player, as well as lots of helpful information about local attractions. There’s also free WiFi and a great kitchen. More on that shortly.
The cosy bedroom has a super-comfy double with mirrored wardrobes and another TV, so you can take in your favourite programmes while you luxuriate in bed. The bathroom is a treat, too – there’s a full-size bath and separate shower, and guests are provided with some gorgeous-smelling organic soap, made especially for Border Holiday Homes.
HOW ARE THE SCOOBY SNACKS? Old Templars is a self-catering apartment so you will need to bring your own food but the kitchen is incredibly well-equipped. It has everything you could possibly need to cook a delicious meal, as well as a washing machine and dishwasher.
Guests are also provided with a complimentary welcome basket, which has a great selection of local goodies to enjoy. Ours included free-range eggs from one of the neighbours’ hens, a bottle of Northumberland craft ale, chocolate-dipped shortbread from a Berwick baker and locally-produced jams, chutneys and honey. There were also some Berwick “cockles” – a traditional peppermint-flavoured sweet.
ANY FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS TO PLAY WITH? The owners, John and Christine, like to meet all guests and if you’re lucky, they might bring their lovely dog Tess, above, who is a Labrador/Saluki cross.
WHERE’S GOOD FOR WALKIES? Start with sandy Spittal Beach, just moments from the front door. You can pick up the Northumberland Coast Path from the promenade – it runs for 62 miles, from Berwick-upon-Tweed in the north to Cresswell in the south.
A stroll around Berwick’s Elizabethan Town Walls is also a must (a full loop should take no more than an hour) or you can follow the Lowry Trail – look out for the easels to learn more about the artist’s connection to the town. Spittal itself is also lovely and quiet after dark, with many trees in the main road festooned with fairy lights. For more inspiration when it comes to things to see and do in the area, check out my dog-friendly Ruff Guide to the Northumberland Coast.
WHAT ERNIE LOVED: Having the beach practically on his doorstep, the constant procession of local dogs along Spittal promenade, the jar of dog treats
WHAT I LOVED: The stylish décor and trinkets in the apartment, hearing the roar of the waves from the beach, the fantastic location
GET ON THE DOG AND BONE: Three-day short breaks at Old Templars Cottage start from £255, while a week will set you back as little as £420. For more information or to book, visit Border Holiday Homes or call 01890 817186.