It was blowing up a storm when we arrived in the chocolate-box village of Broadway in the Cotswolds.
So the welcoming scent of woodsmoke from crackling log fires toasting every nook and cranny of The Lygon Arms, plenty of sumptuous sofas to sink into plus the aroma of freshly baked-scones served with piping hot tea to warm us through was more than a treat for the senses.
There’s nothing quite so cosy as snuggling up in a country house hotel in the depths of winter. And when your dog is welcome to accompany you in such grand, enveloping luxury, it’s a treat times two.
The Lygon Arms provides all the comforts of a top-notch country house – with a whole lot more to make it truly special.
First, its remarkable history. Originally a coaching inn, it’s been welcoming guests for a staggering 700 years – plenty of them pretty noteworthy guests at that. Both Charles I and Oliver Cromwell visited here in the 1600s as well as King Edward VII and VIII in the 1900s. The glamour goes on through to the 1960s, when ‘It’ couple Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor stayed here at the height of their love affair. To this day it’s still a magnet for famous faces, from politicians to prime ministers, actors and royalty (even Prince Philip).
So far, so glamorous. But the hotel is also a dog-friendly heaven, welcoming your pooch with all the pomp afforded to posh guests!
We were lucky enough to stay in the Charles I suite, part of the original coaching inn (fantastically, it’s where the King himself is said to have bedded down during the English Civil War!).
Complete with a four-poster bed, creaking, uneven wooden floors, ceiling beams and furnished with antiques, it’s a living piece of history (though the King wouldn’t have enjoyed the luxury of a modern bathroom with underfloor heating, walk-in shower and sumptuous comfortable furnishings, of course.)
Barney was treated to a tin of Bedtime Biscuits in our suite to help soothe him to sleep in his new surroundings….but we found it didn’t take long for him to make himself feel right at home.
Dinner is served in the magnificent Lygon Bar & Grill.
In its former life it was an impressive ballroom; now marble-topped tables sit under its 16th century vaulted ceiling decorated with enormous chandeliers made from antlers. It’s a grand, but relaxed bistro-type space serving locally sourced top-notch food.
There’s plenty to keep everyone occupied at the hotel – not least a Spa that spoils you with soothing treatments from British brands Oskia and Elemis, plus a 13-metre indoor swimming pool.
There’s plenty of outside space to explore, much to Barney’s delight.
As well as paved gardens, there’s a grassy field to stretch their paws in plus a maze to mess about in.
Ask at reception for suggested walking routes; we enjoyed a jaunt uphill (for super views) to the Broadway Tower – the Cotswold’s highest ‘castle’ surrounded by a deer park and with a lovely dog-friendly café to stop off for refreshments before heading back downhill.
Forgotten your wellies for a walk? No worries. The hotel has plenty for you to borrow.
And when you get back from your travels, there’s a chance to quench your thirst…
…and even get a wash-down.
We had a warming, wonderful stay at The Lygon Arms and look forward to languishing in luxury there again some day.
For more information, visit the Lygon Arms Website here: lygonarmshotel.co.uk
ALL PHOTOS ©Alistair Heap