ALISON PARK HOTEL, BUXTON, DERBYSHIRE
WHAT’S THE SCOOP? The Alison Park Hotel is a family-run establishment with a homely feel. Think decorative plates on the walls, an old-fashioned bar and wooden beams on the walls and ceilings. OK, some areas of the hotel are a little dated and worn but in my opinion, that’s part of its charm. Housed in a rambling Edwardian building, the two-star hotel is located in a quiet part of the spa town but the shops, bars and restaurants are just minutes away. What more could you ask for?
ARE MUDDY PAWS WELCOME? Yep, and there’s no extra charge for dogs, either. When you book, try to nab the G2 room – it has a separate door leading straight out into the garden. Dogs are not allowed in the restaurant but if you would like to dine with your pooch, staff will happily set a table for you in the lounge or bar area.
If they’re lucky, your pet even be treated to a sausage or two at breakfast. Alternatively, well-behaved dogs are welcome to stay in the room and have a lie-in. There are plenty of poo bins nearby too, which is rather handy.
AND WHEN I’M DOG TIRED? Each of the cosy rooms at the Alison Park Hotel are decorated in a homely manner, so much so it almost feels like you’re staying in a family home. Yes, some of the decor is a little dated and the bathrooms could do with an update but everything is spotlessly clean and we slept like babies during our stay.
As mentioned above, our spacious double room – G2 – was on the ground floor and led straight out into the garden so we could come and go as we pleased. Ernie was also very happy to see the exterior door was fully glazed so he could lay on the floor and keep an eye on the patio area, just like he does at home.
There were complimentary toiletries and biscuits as well and tea and coffee making facilities, which were very welcome after a long drive. Parking is also free although if you arrive on a Friday, as we did, you may have to leave your car on the main road until the members of the local bridge club have cleared out.
HOW ARE THE SCOOBY SNACKS? We only sampled breakfast but that was really good – a hearty Full English accompanied by a selection of cereal, fruit, juice and as much coffee as you could manage. The hotel also serves evening meals and British classics feature heavily. Two courses will set you back £16 while a three-course meal costs £18.50.
If you fancy eating out, the Buxton Brewery Tap House & Cellar comes highly recommended and serves strong, experimental beers alongside enormous burgers, such as the one pictured above. For excellent stone-baked pizzas, check out RedWillow. Both establishments are incredibly dog-friendly.
ANY FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS TO PLAY WITH? No, but there are sure to be other doggy guests. We counted three on our visit.
WHERE’S GOOD FOR WALKIES? Your first stop should be Buxton’s beautiful Pavilion Gardens, just across the street. This landscaped park is a great place to stretch your legs and has lots to explore, including a miniature railway, lake, cafe and Edwardian bandstand. There’s also a lovely promenade-style walkway above the park that leads directly into town.
The hotel is also around half a mile from Poole’s Cavern & Buxton Country Park. The cave system itself is pretty impressive but dogs are not allowed inside so woodland walks around the 100-acre park will have to suffice. Head to Solomon’s Temple, at the top of Grin Hill, where you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views across the High Peak.
Outside of Buxton, you won’t have to travel far for a good walk – you are in the heart of the Peak District, after all! Check out the Peak District National Park website for lots of ideas and inspiration.
WHAT ERNIE LOVED: The sausage at breakfast, the garden view from the room, the proximity to the Pavilion Gardens
WHAT I LOVED: The friendly staff, the peaceful location, the easy walk into town
GET ON THE DOG AND BONE: Double rooms at the Alison Park Hotel start from around £60 per night, including breakfast. Look out for special offers, too – currently, a two-night break including dinner, bed and breakfast is available for £136. For more information, call 01298 22473 or visit the Alison Park Hotel website.