What’s the Inn on the Lake like?
As the name suggests, this budget hotel in Kent overlooks a lake – or three lakes, to be precise. Sandwiched between the A2 and a country park, it is a popular wedding venue and also hosts regular party nights. The family-run hotel may be a little old-fashioned but if you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful break, it fits the bill perfectly.
How dog-friendly is the Inn on the Lake?
Pretty good. Dogs are allowed everywhere at the hotel, aside from the main restaurant. If you’d like to dine with your pet though, just let the staff know and they will set you up a table in one of the bar areas or on the terrace.
Handily, there are poo bins dotted around the hotel grounds – one by the main entrance and another by the lake. When we visited, just after the coronavirus lockdown had been lifted, at least two other dogs were staying. There’s an extra charge of £10 per night for dogs to stay – but if you book direct and mention Ernie, they can stay for free.
Tell me more about the Inn on the Lake
There are 76 en-suite rooms ranging from standard twins and doubles to lakeside rooms and bridal suites. We stayed in Room 119, which overlooked the lake and had patio doors leading on to the terrace. These lakeside rooms are great for anyone travelling with dogs, and even come with an outdoor table and chairs for two.
As the Inn on the Lake is so close to a busy road, I was a bit worried about traffic noise but we couldn’t hear anything from our room. It was nice to be able to see the resident ducks waddling around outside, too. You can buy food for them at reception and there’s even a designated ‘Duck Feeding Zone’, which was popular with younger guests.
Our room was simply decorated in shades of cream and brown with oak furniture. Both the TV and bed were a little on the small side – especially for such a large room – but they were perfectly adequate for a short stay. The bathroom was also fine, but a bit dated. There were tea and coffee making facilities, plenty of plugs with USB chargers and lots of storage space, too.
Post-lockdown, there were several safety measures in place to protect both staff and customers. Lots of hand sanitisers were dotted around and there were one-way systems and floor markings to help maintain social distancing, too. The restaurant and bar areas also had amended serving times.
What’s the food like at the Inn on the Lake?
Tasty, and reasonably priced. Only the bar menu was on offer during our stay, but it had everything from burgers and steaks to salads and sandwiches. There were some excellent veggie and vegan options, too.
Room service was also available – and being actively encouraged at the time of our visit – so we decided to make the most of it. We never normally treat ourselves to room service when we’re away, so it felt rather decadent! The service incurred an additional 10% charge.
Are there resident dogs at the Inn on the Lake?
No, but if you’re lucky, you might bump in to Maya the Maltese. She doesn’t live at the hotel but can often be found helping out at reception. During the lockdown, Maya was promoted to Head of Security!
Where are the best dog walks near the Inn on the Lake?
Start with a stroll around the lake. It’s a great way to start the day and the hotel has a further 12 acres to explore. Be aware that some of the land is not accessible to dog walkers, though.
The hotel is also next to Shorne Woods Country Park, which can be accessed from just outside the car park. Ask at reception for a map detailing all the woodland walks. These range from an easy 1km circular route to the 10km Darnley Trail.
Shorne Woods Country Park covers almost 300 acres of land and has a visitor centre, gift shop and cafe. Dogs are not allowed inside, but there’s plenty of outdoor seating. There’s also an outdoor kitchen with wood-fired pizza oven. At the time of our visit, all-day parking cost £2.
What Ernie loved about the Inn on the Lake
Keeping an eye on the ducks from the patio, the sausage for breakfast, having so many great walks nearby
What I loved about the Inn on the Lake
The great views over the lake, the friendly staff, the reasonable prices
How to book the Inn on the Lake
Overnight stays start from £45, including breakfast. When we visited, we paid £55 for our lakeside double room. For more information or to book, call the hotel on 01474 823333 or visit the Inn on the Lake website. Book direct and mention Ernie for the £10 dog fee to be waived!