Basil’s Review & Critique

Basil’s Brush With ...

‘So, where shall we start? Well, our travels recently took us to the Peak District, where we made a beeline for a rather lovely looking 18th-century village inn, namely ‘The Devonshire Arms’ in Beeley on the Chatsworth Estate.

‘You have arrived at your destination’ a smooth talking lady finally declared – strewth, in the nick of time, as there’s a limit to the number of ‘I spy’ objects that one can readily spot within the confinement of a boot… blinking between the streams of ever increasing raindrops, I peered out of the misty window and was able to make out a familiar styled building… yay, was that a pub that I saw before me?

Jumping out of the back of the car, I was relieved to find a perfect place to well, erm, ‘relieve’ myself before we huddled together under the brolly and headed towards the oldy-worldly entrance way. My Mum cooed like a chook sitting on her eggs of ‘how pretty the building looked – even on a day like today’ and, ‘how charming the cottages opposite the Inn were’, whereas my Dad was more interested in finding out how charming the local brew was!

Once inside, I could see from my knee-high eye line, a cracking fire and a host of cosy furniture. The bar had a lovely warm glow about it – just perfect for me to curl up in and have a kip later.

Greeted by a smiley lady, she promptly showed us to our Lodge. Set on the hillside, thankfully just a hop, skip and jump away from the Inn. I trotted up the bank and noticed on route some perfect looking wee places as well as an abundance of sticks – this place just keeeeps on giving!

Through the glass panels of Brookside Lodge’s blue rustic door – the entrance to the four dog-friendly bedrooms – there sitting on the lobby table, I noticed a welcome sign from the proprietors. Although I can’t read, Mum recounted that apparently ‘they love dogs but not our poos’ – well, let’s face it, who does!

A nice little touch though to provide a torch and some poo bags in case we had forgotten ours. (Which, incidentally, we hadn’t as the copious amount of luggage my Human Parents – HPs for short – had packed may suggest.  Travel light we do not!) Dad had been told that he could move his car and park right outside our room so that we could easily off load. Well, she said ‘we’, what would be more accurate is ‘Dad’ in the singular sense, as Mum had already pulled open the entrance door and was busy inspecting the contents of the fridge sitting on the lobby table – ‘Oh goody, fresh milk for our tea’ – whereas I went ahead and bounded up the two flights of stairs where I waited patiently in front of the bedroom door. Upon entering our spacious room, further cooing ensued. Apparently, crisp white linen sheets, fluffy towels and cosy robes are high on Mum’s ’happiness is a ticked off list’ box! Whereas, I was more interested in another box… the box of Chatsworth Estate bikkies that I had I-spied on the tea and coffee table!

Someway and sometime behind us, Dad, now resembling a heavily laden pack-horse, clip clopped into the room. Ceremoniously dropping the bags to the floor he promptly declared ‘After all that exercise, now was the perfect time for a pint!’ I couldn’t have agreed more as although I’m rather partial to a lovely saucer of tea, especially with fresh milk from a bone china jug, I’m equally partial to a sip of my Dad’s amber nectar! Apparently, the local brew was particularly charming but just to make sure, Dad suggested we try just one more. I sat like a good boy waiting and hoping for a delicious drop of sweetness. He didn’t disappoint! After returning to our room to relax for a while, having indulged in a little kip on my bed, I inspected the bedroom’s mod cons, including Mum’s bath water – I can confirm that it was, indeed, warm and wet – no sooner than Dad could say ‘dry as a drovers dog’ it was drinkie and din-dins time!

Although we couldn’t sit together in the Brasserie, as a family we were shown to our reserved table in the cosy bar area where there was plenty of space for me to relax. This time it was Mum who indulged in the local brew… an inviting cocktail of Rhubarb Gin and Ginger Ale. On this occasion, fair dinkum, as Dad was obviously thirsty, I had to make do with water but what I lacked in sharesies of my HPs drinks, I did make up for in the sharing of pats offered by the other house-guests who happened to conveniently be sitting en route to the dedicated water bowl.

Meanwhile, the ‘saucy pair’ happily snuggled down into their comfy chairs to check out the AA rosette menu… the atmospheric fire all the while roaring away in the background. After some debate about what a ‘ragout’ was, Dad plumped for that whilst Mum selected liver and bacon – it smelled scrummy and by the sounds of it, it tasted pretty good too!

As if the glorious smells of the main course wasn’t enough for me to contend with, they went ahead and selected pudding! Ameretto Cream with some freeze-dried raspberries for Mum whilst Dad chose warm Ginger Cake with mango, pomegranate and passion fruit sorbet – I was, however, quite happy to gnaw away on my treat filled kong served with a dollop of peanut butter!

After a chilled evening of food, wine and company, it was time for us to retire. Dad duly collected a torch from the lobby and took me to an area just outside the lodge for my evening constitutionals before we all settled down for the night. As the night had rolled in, sadly, we could no longer see the Shetland ponies from one set of the large sash windows nor the glorious view of the hills from the other. The rain tapped increasingly heavily onto the panes of glass but the thick and sumptuous curtains now drawn closed made us feel cocooned from the world and well, rather snuggly. After a rather lovely comfortable sleep, curtains drawn back… hoorah, no more rain clouds. G’day sunnies! I bid good morning to the Thelwels and a flutter of excitement awakened inside me as I peered out at the vista – there’s sticks in them there hills!

Before we headed off to explore, time for some brekkie. Back at the ranch, the lady, kindly and still smiling, seated us in the comfy bar area, this time very close to the Brasserie where the breakfast buffet had been laid out. The aromas filled the air and my nose sniffed out and engaged with the wafts of that familiar dreamy smell of toasting bread. My eyes followed my nose (just as well as they are never far behind) which were now fixated on the toaster. Mum popped in a couple of slices whilst Dad ordered an extra banger for me. Well, life doesn’t get much better than this. The locally sourced bacon was thick like a steak and tasted just as juicy, or so I believe, as I was more interested in the crispiness of the toast – sadly, no marmite was available but I wasn’t going to hold that against them! All too soon, it was time for us to be on our way. Dad whinnied on, questioning just how much luggage was truly needed on a mini-break but no worries, he quickly broke into a smile when Mum bribed him with a delicious piece of Bakewell Tart… welcome, even after devouring a full cooked English. Well, when in Rome or in our case, the Peak District!

I spy with my little eye, something beginning with ‘B’. No, it’s not a ‘ball’, ‘bag’ or ‘box of ‘biscuits’ – do you give up? It’s the ‘Beam’ on Mum and Dad’s faces as they vowed to return with me once again in the Summer to this charming 18th Century Village Inn. Ripper!’

Bonzer News

Since staying at The Devonshire Arms, these bedrooms have been refurbished.  They all now have mini bars with fresh milk and coffee machines. Even more good reason to return!

“If you are a host to your guest, be a host to his dog also.” – Russian Proverb



Basil’s review is posted ‘in his opinion’. Although he has been entirely honest about his experience, as ‘toast’, ‘tea’ and ‘sticks’ are high on his ‘happiness’ agenda, please feel free to undertake your own research too – after all he is just a dog, albeit a rather discerning one! - Karen, Basil's Mum

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Creature Comfort Critique

As friends of non-pooch owners, we do appreciate that not everyone wishes to share their social space with our four legged friends. (Hard to believe, we know, however, each to their own).

We appreciate, therefore, that hotels, B&Bs and pubs/restaurants with rooms must have a tricky time striving to create the perfect environment for everyone.

Based upon those venues that we feel, as a family, have struck a perfect balance, the experience has been critiqued from a highly-attached pet owner’s perspective (also a seasoned venue find agent), rating the comfort, convenience and inclusivity that we experienced when travelling with Basil.

It’s a bit of fun, based on our own opinions but, hopefully, will be a useful insight to fellow discerning travellers.

Ample car parking
Staff greeting
Location of bedroom
Accommodation grounds fit for pooch
Bits and bobs helpful for caring for pooch
Bedroom comfort
Inclusivity (to eat and drink together)
Comfort of dining area
Surrounding area suitable for pooches
Pooch information (ie walks) available
Overall pooch welcoming
Toasted to perfection
A lovely cup of tea
Accessibility to sticks
  1. Quality of bedroom
  2. Comfortable surroundings to eat together
  3. Scrummy food

If travelling with your Pooch on business…

The Devonshire Arms’ Brasserie is suitable for day-time meetings and events including team building briefings etc.

Comfortably accommodating up to 30 delegates in Boardroom or slightly more in Theatre Style.

The Devonshire Arms
The Devonshire Arms
The Devonshire Arms

My visit to Bakewell x

All you need to know about Bakewell

Month Visited: February 2017

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'If you'd like to make contact and stay at the venue with your pooch, my Mum has gathered together some details for you.

Upon booking, would you mind mentioning that you read the venue's review on the Travel With Basil site?

I’d be like a dog with two tails if you did!'

The Devonshire Arms at Beeley,
Devonshire Square,
Chatsworth Estate

Tel: 01629 733259 (for general enquiries)
Tel: 01756 718111 (for reservations)

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‘I love, love, love this website.’

Kos – London

‘Loved Basil’s blog… hooroo’

Jamesina – Dorchester

‘Can’t wait to find places that get the importance of families, kids and dogs, being able to share quality time together.’

Anna – Wimborne

‘We love spending our weekends with our puppy and love this website… ’

Steve – London

‘As a family of dog lovers, we have historically had to trawl through many many sites to find what often turns out to be anything but a dog “friendly” hotel! We can’t wait to have a dedicated website to proven dog friendly hotels. What a wonderful idea!’

Sarah – Bristol

‘Can’t wait to follow the gorgeous Basil on his travels.’

Grahame – Bristol

‘We’re looking forward to cuddling up with our puppy when at home, we want to do the same when we stay at a hotel.’

Sophie – London

‘Good luck with the website, can’t wait to see where Basil goes next!’

Phil – Cirencester

‘For my dog to relax, he needs to feel welcome… and so do I!’

Penny – Downton

‘I’m really looking forward to being able to have a review and reference site so I can travel with confidence with my two dogs safe in the knowledge that other dog owners have been happy there.’

Angie – Eccleshall