THE KING’S ARMS, DIDMARTON, GLOUCESTERSHIRE
WHAT’S THE SCOOP? This cosy country inn is nestled deep in the Cotswold countryside with Bath, Bristol and Cheltenham all within easy reach. The pub has six en-suite rooms and two cottages, which are housed in converted 17th Century stables. All the accommodation is dog-friendly.
The King’s Arms is part of The Epicurean Club – a hand-picked selection of more than 20 inns and pubs that offer stylish accommodation and the best in food and drink. The club also offers members exclusive discounts on premium brands, such as Purdey and Hunter.
ARE MUDDY PAWS WELCOME? Most definitely. Dog beds and blankets are provided, there are loads of treats in the bar and a big jar of water where pooches can quench their thirst. Sausages are available for breakfast and Snuffles dog beer is also available to buy for £3 a bottle – although dogs staying overnight can enjoy a tipple on the house. The pub beer garden also has its own poo bin, which is very handy. There is a nightly charge of £15 for pets.
AND WHEN I’M DOG TIRED? Retreat to one of the stylish rooms, named after prize-winning hounds from the nearby Beaufort Hunt. There are six to choose from, of varying shapes and sizes, but each one has been individually decorated and boasts a luxurious four-poster bed with Feather and Black mattress.
Equestrian paintings by George Stubbs give a nod to the area’s horsey heritage while the modern en-suite bathrooms come with lush toiletries from Bramley. Complimentary tea and coffee is also provided, alongside shortbread from the award-winning Marshfield Bakery in Dyrham.
We were lucky enough to stay in Bobtail during our visit – a quirkily-designed cottage just across the pub car park. With large mirrors, fluffy throws, trunks as tables and a dark grey colour scheme, the two-bed cottage had a hint of hipster about it. Saracen, the pub’s other cottage that sleeps six, was right next-door.
Bobtail had everything we needed for our stay, and more. There was a stylish lounge/diner with lots of cubbyholes for storage, as well as a lovely kitchen with all the essentials (including those easily-forgettable items like tea towels and washing up liquid). We could help ourselves to the tea and coffee provided and fresh milk was available upon request.
From the light and airy landing, two sets of stairs led to the bedrooms, which had the same sumptuous mattresses and bedding as the pub rooms. On one side was a spacious twin room while there was a lovely king-size on the other, as well as the family bathroom. Here, the decor was a little dated but it was perfectly functional with a good, hot shower.
HOW ARE THE SCOOBY SNACKS? Really good. The pub is renowned for its seasonal British menus and the chefs champion local produce wherever possible. Depending on what’s on offer, there are daily specials chalked up on boards around the bar and restaurant. All the game, for example, comes from the neighbouring estates.
We visited on a Sunday so managed to sample one of the pub’s delicious roasts (£15.95). We also tried the vegan shepherd’s pie (£14.95) and were blown away by the goats cheese roulade starter (£6.95), which was packed with flavour and incredibly moreish. In the summer months, visitors can also enjoy wood-fired pizzas in the garden.
Gin fans will be pleased to hear that The King’s Arms has an extensive selection on offer – and what’s more, if you sign up to The Epicurean Club before you visit, you can enjoy a welcome G&T on the house, as well as discounts on selected wines.
ANY FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS TO PLAY WITH? Look out for Spoof, the resident Jack Russell. We weren’t lucky enough to meet him during our visit but he does love to greet as many four-legged guests as he can.
Every day, staff place a toy version of Spoof, above, in one of the bedrooms. If you’re lucky enough to find him in yours when you check-in, you’ll get a free drink, as will everyone else in your party. Happy hunting!
WHERE’S GOOD FOR WALKIES? Head to the Westonbirt Arboretum, which is just three miles up the road and beautiful in autumn. Here you will find one of the finest tree collections in the world, with more than 15,000 evergreen and deciduous trees, many of which were hand-picked by the wealthy Holford family in Victorian times.
The site, which spans more than 600 acres, is managed by the Forestry Commission and has more than 17 miles of paths to explore, plus poo bins aplenty. Dogs are not allowed in the Old Arboretum but they are welcome in Silk Wood, which makes up around two-thirds of the entire site. The STIHL Tree Top Walkway is an absolute must.
Westonbirt has a fantastic shop with lots of locally-made produce and dog-themed gifts. Visitors are welcome to browse with their pets and there is even a treat jar on the counter to reward good boys and girls. The onsite restaurant and cafe are also impressive, or you can pack a picnic. Admission is £10 but you can get tickets as part of an Epicurean Club package at The King’s Arms. Keep reading to find out more.
WHAT ERNIE LOVED: Being able to keep an eye on the comings and goings in the car park from the French doors, the sausage for breakfast, the dog beer
WHAT I LOVED: The comfy beds, the quirky fox cushions in the bar, the great food
GET ON THE DOG AND BONE: The Westonbirt Experience at The King’s Arms starts from £226 per room. The price includes accommodation, dinner for two (with an allowance of £35 per person), breakfast in the morning and admission to the Westonbirt Arboretum. Click here to book through The Epicurean Club. Alternatively, visit the pub website or call 01454 238245.
Joining The Epicurean Club costs £99 a year, or £9.99 a month. Members receive a range of benefits, including a free Sunday night stay at the venue of their choice (when dining a la carte), complimentary room upgrades, late check outs and early check ins and free dog stays. They can also save up to 20% on products from Epicurean Club partners as well as members rates’ on midweek lunches and Epicurean Experiences. To find out more, click here to visit the Epicurean Club website.