In January 2020, I became a columnist for Essex Life magazine, writing about doggy days out in and around the county. Here is my article about Coggeshall…
What to see
For a small market town, Coggeshall – which is located between Colchester and Braintree – has a lot to do. Its historic centre is packed full of colourful timber-framed houses and none is more recognisable that Paycocke’s House. This Tudor property, once owned by a wealthy wool merchant, was built to be a medieval des res. It is now managed by the National Trust and although dogs are not allowed inside, they can explore the beautiful garden. Adult tickets cost £8.
The National Trust also looks after the cathedral-like Grange Barn, a 10-minute stroll from Paycocke’s House. Built in the 13th Century to serve Coggeshall Abbey, the barn is one of the oldest timber-framed buildings in Europe. Entry costs £5 per adult and dogs are welcome to explore inside the barn, which is open on Sundays and Mondays. A walk down nearby Abbey Lane will take you to the St Nicholas’ Chapel, which once served as a gatehouse to the abbey.
There are some beautiful walks to be had along the River Blackwater towards Coggeshall Hamlet. Dogs will also love visiting the Markshall Estate, just outside Coggeshall. With more than 2,350 acres of woodland to explore from Tuesday to Sunday, the walking opportunities abound. During the week, dogs are also allowed in the estate’s arboretum as part of its Woof Weekdays initiative. Entry costs £7.20 per adult.
Where to eat
For locally-sourced breakfasts and lunches, head to Café Bijou, which is right next to grooming parlour, Clare’s Canine Care. Across the street you’ll find Bakes & Blooms, which serves fantastic homemade cakes. You can dine all day at The White Hart Hotel, where dogs are welcome inside and out. And the other two pubs in Coggeshall – The Chapel Inn and The Woolpack Inn – are also dog-friendly. If you’re lucky, you might get to meet pub dog Stanley Marshall at the latter.
There are plenty of other dog-friendly pubs in the area. The George at Kelvedon has recently been refurbished and The Railway Tavern, right on the river, is a lovely place to enjoy a drink. Pets are guaranteed to get some fuss at The Angel in Kelvedon. And while Coggeshall’s West Street Vineyard warmly welcomed dogs and their owners, Covid sadly forced its restaurant to close. The vineyard is hoping to reopen for wine tasting later in the year though, so stay tuned.
While you’re in the area
Visit the gardens of Feeringbury Manor, in nearby Feering. Dogs on leads are welcome to explore the site, which originally belonged to William the Conqueror. The manor is open on selected dates all year round. Entry is £5.