What’s the Golden Lion Hotel like?
This 18th Century coaching inn invites you to eat, drink and stay in stylish surroundings. It is situated in the heart of market town St Ives, which has the River Great Ouse running through it and is close to the city of Cambridge. The hotel is part of the family-run Coaching Inn Group, which has more than 30 properties across the UK.
How dog-friendly is the Golden Lion Hotel?
Very good. Dogs are allowed in many of the hotel rooms, the outdoor courtyard which has artificial grass and in one half of the large restaurant and bar area. The booth seats in the bar are particularly good if you’re travelling with a pet because they’re spacious yet semi-enclosed, which we found encouraged the boys to relax. Water bowls are available on request and there’s also a barrel of water plus a bowl and tin of treats by the entrance lobby. There’s an additional charge of £10 per dog per night.
Tell me more about the Golden Lion Hotel
There are 25 stylish en-suite rooms at the hotel, ranging from Classic Singles and Doubles to Deluxe Suites. We stayed in Room 1, which was a Classic Double at the top of the main staircase. The room looked like it had recently been refurbished and was spotlessly clean. It was decorated in neutral shades with pops of blue and floral soft furnishings, including excellent blackout curtains. The comfy double bed had a feature headboard and there was also lots of pine furniture and a desk. I loved the pamphlet about the hotel’s history and funky prints of lions also adorned the walls. Similar artwork could be spotted throughout the hotel.
A modern en-suite bathroom came complete with fluffy white towels and the Coaching Inn Group’s own brand of toiletries. There was also the chain’s trademark rubber duck, which Stan was very keen to play with! The room also had free WiFi, Sky television and generous tea and coffee-making facilities, plus tasty Divine chocolate bars. Be aware that there is no parking at the hotel and quite a few restrictions on the roads outside – especially if your visit coincides with market days on Mondays and Fridays – but there are several public car parks nearby. We paid £4 to park for 23 hours at the Cattle Market, right next to the town’s Waitrose.
What’s the food like at the Golden Lion Hotel?
Delicious – and the seasonal menus champion Cambridgeshire produce. We stayed on a Sunday and were able to choose from the main menu as well as a selection of roasts. My vegan Moving Mountains Burger, with smoked ‘Gouda’ cheese, was delicious and my husband really enjoyed his nut roast. The size of the Yorkshire pudding was particularly impressive! The hotel is also renowned for its afternoon teas, where the crockery is served from vintage suitcases.
We were well looked after by the hotel’s friendly young staff who made a real fuss of both Ernie and Stan. They were also keen to talk about and show us pictures of their own dogs, which I thought was really sweet. The breakfasts were excellent too, with everything from continental options to a Full English to Eggs Florentine on the menu. Cakes, hot drinks and light lunches are also available from the bar during the day.
Are there resident dogs at the Golden Lion Hotel?
No, but you may well bump into a few other dogs staying over.
Where are the best dog walks near the Golden Lion Hotel?
We really enjoyed wandering around the historic market town and taking in all the local landmarks. You won’t be able to miss the statue of Oliver Cromwell – who was born in nearby Huntingdon – right outside the hotel, and St Ives Bridge, pictured above, which crosses the River Great Ouse, is one of only four in the UK to incorporate a chapel. Just across the bridge is Hemingford Meadow – a great place to let your dog have a good run as long as no animals are grazing nearby. Cambridgeshire Walks details a two-mile circular walk around the meadow.
Holt Island Nature Reserve is a must-visit, too. This little oasis, in the middle of the river, has a raised boardwalk running round it so makes for a lovely walk whatever the weather. The island, which is accessed via a bridge at the end of Church Street, welcomes visitors at weekends and Bank Holidays from April to October. You can go at other times but need to ask for the key at One Leisure St Ives or the Norris Museum – and pay a returnable £20 deposit. For more walk inspiration, click here to see the routes recommended by Huntingdonshire District Council.
What Ernie and Stan loved about the Golden Lion Hotel
The sausage for breakfast, the fuss from staff, the fact our room was nice and quiet
What I loved about the Golden Lion Hotel
The stylish decor, the delicious food, the relaxed atmosphere
How to book the Golden Lion Hotel
Rooms start from £75 per night, including breakfast. For more information or to book, call 01480 492100 or visit the Golden Lion Hotel website.