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Posing at Batsford Arboretum
Posing at Batsford Arboretum

The London adventure begins…

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Well, I was rudely awakened very early one Monday morning and after a flurry of activity, found myself in my new doggie seat in the back of the car. We seemed to have a bit of luggage with us so I was wondering where we were off to. It seemed a bit more than a weekend’s worth anyway.

Nearly getting to attend the first MMAI meeting.
Nearly getting to attend the first MMAI meeting.

After a bit of a snooze, I woke up and herself left the car outside Kildare to meet a friend, while himself and I continued on to Dublin.
We arrived at a big hotel and parked in the underground car park. Himself had a meeting and as the meeting rooms were underground he tried to sneak me in. Unfortunately, we were spotted and I hadn’t even settled myself in the room before the management came in and asked if I was a registered assistance dog. Now, I’m Ireland’s only roving reporter but unfortunately I don’t even have a press card, so I was unceremoniously ejected back to the car and so missed the inaugural meeting of the Motoring Media Association of Ireland – and I was going to propose the new Chairman!

After the meeting, which I slept through in my comfy bed, it was time to do the usual Monday car swap and wasn’t I delighted to be lifted into a lovely Mercedes, a C-Class estate no less. I’ve always been partial to Mercedes as my first trip to Clare as a pup was in an E-Class. I’ve had a soft spot for them ever since and always feel To the Manor Born when I’m in one.

Checking into Dylan Hotel.
Checking into Dylan Hotel.

After meeting up with herself and her friend Elaine for a coffee in Dun Laoighre, we made our way into the city and arrived at Dylan Hotel, where I’m always given a great welcome.

Meeting up with uncle Brian at Dylan.
Meeting up with uncle Brian at Dylan.

We weren’t there long before we were off again to Angelina’s for dinner with herself’s nephew Brian – I suppose that makes us first cousins.

After a beautiful meal on the terrace overlooking the canal, it was back to Dylan for a nice drink in the courtyard before heading to Maher’s, an old-fashioned dog-friendly pub for a nightcap before a big sleep.

Having a drink at Maher's
Having a drink at Maher’s

The next morning, we woke much earlier than normal, so I knew something was up. Into the car and across a sleeping city and when I smelled the sea, I knew we were heading for the ferry, which works like magic. You drive in and when you drive out a few hours later, you’re in another country. It’s brilliant.

Usually on the ferry, I spend the journey in the special kennels they have on the car deck but this time I was left in the car and I was quite happy to sleep the journey away. I was really very comfortable and relaxed. So relaxed that I didn’t need a run when we arrived in Wales so we pressed on for another few hours before we stopped at a motorway service.

It's only water... Promise!
It’s only water… Promise!

It was another few hours before we stopped for the night and I recognised the surroundings as The Cotswolds, although the village, Burford, was new to me. We were staying for the next two nights at The Lamb Inn, a quaint, country inn with a lovely garden. Our friends in Petspyjamas, the doggie-friendly travel agents, had found us another gem.

Tired after the long journey, we had dinner at the Inn, went for a short walk around the village and hit the hay.

After a lovely breakfast the following morning, it was off to a very special place, the Batsford Arboretum. I could see no bats, just loads of trees and plants. It was lovely to walk around, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells and we even met a few doggie friends on our travels.

Posing at Batsford Artoretum.
Posing at Batsford Artoretum.

There are 56 acres of trees and plants here and they do research while saving rare plants from extinction. It was a lovely start to our Cotswolds holiday.

A delicious dogguccino at Lucy's Tearooms.
A delicious dogguccino at Lucy’s Tearooms.

Then it was on to the pretty village of Stow-in-the-Wold, where we had a tasty coffee and scones at Lucy’s Tea Rooms before strolling around the village.

There’s a very unusual church there too, with a tree growing around one of the doors. I had my hoomans take some photos of me in front of it – have to keep my Instagram followers happy.

It was then on to Bourton-on-the-Water, a quaint village with a stream running all the way down the centre.

Himself wanted to visit the Cotswolds Motoring Museum – it was closed the last time we were here at Christmas in 2019. Although I’m not much interested in old cars, himself was in his element – it doesn’t take much to keep him happy so I indulged him by walking around and by the end, even I could appreciate its charms.

Among the toys at The Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection
Among the toys at The Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection

We had a big debate about where to eat that night and the hoomans eventually hit on The Hare, a few kilometres outside the village. They really raved about the food, including a beetroot and caramelised walnut salad, calamari, caesar salad and a chicken and ham hock pie that really made my mouth water. But was I offered any? No!

St Edward's Church in Stow-on-the-Wold
St Edward’s Church in Stow-on-the-Wold

After another restful Cotswolds night, we had our breakfast and a last walkies around Burford. It really was a nice village with quaint shops and a river at one end.

I wondered if we were heading for another part of the Cotswolds but instead, we headed South and I heard the hoomans talking about The Chiltern Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty. I cast an odd eye out the window and I wasn’t very impressed – I don’t think the hoomans in the front were either.

We stopped in a little market town called Marlow and found a nice café called Satollo, where they served a delicious looking coffee cake. I had to make do with a dogguccino, which was nice, but not a patch on that cake.

After a long drive, we arrived at a big castle near a river. I discovered this was Hampton Court Palace and we were staying at the hotel across the road, The Mitre. Himself was fierce excited to see a vintage car parked outside. Him and his old cars! I recognised it as a 1908 Darracq – you see, it’s beginning to rub off on me.

I really loved Lucy's Tearooms.
I really loved Lucy’s Tearooms.

We checked into a lovely room with a shared courtyard but in short order were back into the car to drive to New Malden.
We were meeting the hooman’s friend, Camille, who was going to look after our car for a few days. She used to work at The Bloomsbury Hotel in London, where she always ensured my photo was in the room when the hoomans stayed there.

I had an exciting experience then – my first train journey in the UK. I could hear the nice man warning me constantly to ‘mind the gap’ but strangely, I couldn’t see him. It was no problem to me as I hopped onto the train, neatly avoiding that nasty gap between the train and the platform.

We arrived at Kingston, where we walked to the banks of the Thames and had a nice, relaxing drink as the sun began to set across the water. It really was beautiful.

Finally meeting Camille at Megan's in Richmond.
Finally meeting Camille at Megan’s in Richmond.

Drinks finished, we walked into town for a meal at Megan’s, newly opened and very dog-friendly. I was admired and fussed over while the hoomans tucked into some delicious looking Mediterranean food.

It was handier to take a bus back to Hampton Court so I got my first trip on a London bus the same night and it was lovely to see how dog-friendly all the transport was. I was very tired when we arrived back to the hotel so it wasn’t long before I was fast asleep, dreaming of London, where we were going tomorrow. Daisy was finally going to London town…

John Galvin
+ posts

Motoring editor - The Clare Champion

Former Chairman and voting member of Irish Motoring Writers' Association

About John Galvin

Motoring editor - The Clare Champion Former Chairman and voting member of Irish Motoring Writers' Association

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