When I look for somewhere to take a break, it always has to be somewhere that Boo will enjoy. I don’t go on holiday without her; I’d miss her too much and holidays are for her too. When looking for a suitable location and accommodation I have quite high standards. It’s got to be somewhere we can all enjoy, with beautiful locations for walks, plenty of places to eat and a home that is comfortable and pleasant to come back to after a fun day out. On this trip, we were joined by Boo’s pal, Betty, my parents and their dog, Albert.
With all that in mind it was stroke of luck that I received a marketing email from Brecon Beacon Holiday cottages at the very same time I was looking for a location to do a review for Dog Friendly magazine. Sometimes trawling the internet for suitable dog friendly places can be a bit of a bind, so when I heard from them I took a look at their website and quickly found what seemed to be the perfect spot. We all agreed that we could take a family holiday with them and would do a review in the magazine and what a fantastic place it was. For a full review you should check out the September edition of Dog-Friendly magazine, but here are some details:
Blacksmith’s House is a beautiful, fully renovated farmhouse, situated on the northern edge of the Brecon Beacons national park in Wales. It sleeps eight and has four bedrooms, which are all very tastefully laid out with original features. It’s spacious and comfortable, quirky and interesting. There is much history to the place if you want to find out about it. The owners, Vera and Ian, will be happy to tell you about the history of the farmhouse and their extensive renovation. Ian is also a talented blacksmith and is happy to show you around his workshop which is on site (he helped to make some of the gates at Buckingham Palace!). For the dogs, the best thing was the enormous garden they had to themselves. It is beautiful, private, with stunning scenery and the sound of a stream not far away. Vera and Ian are also very happy for dogs to run around in their private field, just a few yards from the property. For dogs who like to stretch their legs, it’s just perfect.
Of course, much of what we dog people do when on holiday with our friends is look for where we can take them for walks. Well, it’s not hard to find a beautiful walk close to the farmhouse. There’s a public footpath which you can access from the field mentioned above. If you take a drive you have the whole of the national park to choose from, so take your pick! Sometimes, when there are so many good options it’s difficult to know where to start, so I’d recommend a visit to the tourist information centre in Brecon for some tips on walks that will suit you and your dog the most. Don’t forget, there are a lot of sheep around, so you have to be careful, but we found plenty of areas with no sheep so the dogs were suitably satisfied with their off-lead adventures.
It wouldn’t be a proper holiday if we didn’t get someone else to cook! We found three places near to the farmhouse that we liked: Castle Coaching Inn in Trecastle, The White House Country Inn, Brecon and the café in Brecon called Giglio’s.
Sadly for us we had some rain on our trip, so we looked for things to do that didn’t involve standing on the top of a mountain getting wet. We really enjoyed the Brecon Beacon Mountain railway. The dogs enjoyed the views from the window and suitably barked at anything they didn’t like. The views really were fantastic.
If you like castles you’ll love it here: I found twelve castles listed on this Brecon Beacons website! Of course, you need to check the experience your dog can have for each particular place. We took a trip to Dinefwr Castle: dogs are not allowed in the house, but are allowed in the grounds and castle and there is a dog friendly café, which was very welcome as it was pouring with rain when we arrived.
All in all, except for a bit of rain, we had a wonderful week. The farmhouse was just perfect and the hosts, Vera and Ian, could not have been more welcoming. The garden and field were a real treat for all of us, especially the dogs. The national park speaks for itself: it’s a wonderful place if you like beautiful landscapes and walking. We would love to come back here!