Dog-Friendly National Trust Holidays – Hempfield Stables

I think it’s quite well known nowadays that most National Trust properties welcome dogs to visit and have a good sniff around, but did you know that many of the National Trust’s holiday cottages are dog-friendly too?
My dogs,  Maya and Lucia are Ambassadogs for Forthglade Dog Food and due to Forthglade and the National Trust working together on a great initiative, ‘The Dog’s Welcome Project’, we were lucky enough to be offered a gifted a stay in a dog-friendly National Trust cottage. I chose Hempfield Stables in Cheshire for its close proximity to a wealth of National Trust sites, and also because I’ve always wanted to stay in a converted stables.

Hempfield Stables, as the name suggests started life as a stables and is documented as far back as 1829. In common with all National Trust Cottages it has been sympathetically converted and retains many original features throughout the property, such as exposed beams and brickwork, the kitchen and dining room are even situated within the original horses’ stalls!

The National Trust take into account the impact on the environment in all the work they do, and this ethos was very much in evidence at the cottage, an example of which was the use of an air source heat pump to heat the cottage. Maya and Lucia were big fans and even if they had of been allowed on the furniture I am sure they would of still chosen to lay down on the warm floors! Inside the cottage original features and rustic charm blend seamlessly with modern and luxurious additions to create the most wonderful space to relax in after a days adventuring.

I absolutely loved the lounge, which had bi-fold doors looking out to the patio area, it must be idyllic in warmer weather. There was also a gorgeous Everhot Stove in the corner, my spaniels kept well away from that though, I think they were suspicious that it was a dog cooker!

The kitchen was extremely well equipped with high end appliances, and literally had everything you needed to whip up a gourmet feast. One thing that really impressed me, yes I am kind of basic, is that it had a washing machine. Honestly, quite often winter adventures with my dogs equates to muddy dog coats and human clothes, and although this time unbelievably they stayed clean it was nice to know that I could have washed some gear if I needed to.

Although I did not spend much time in it, the reading room was probably my favourite. There was a massive selection of books, games and many reminders of how the cottage started life including a saddle mounted on the wall and stirrups hanging from the chair. I guess that just illustrates the attention to detail that went into converting the cottage into a fabulous dog-friendly place to stay.

As everyone that takes their dogs on holiday will know, the number one priority for pooches on arrival at their dog-friendly accommodation is sniffing out the doggy welcome pack! The spaniels were overcome with joy when they located it and found it to be full of their favourite, scrumptious Forthglade Food and Treats, as well as the obligatory poop bags.
The human welcome tray consisted of some tasty NT biscuits, a selection of herbal teas, coffee and hot chocolate as well as a little glass bottle of UHT milk in keeping with the National Trusts commitment to reducing the use of plastics and waste.

The cottage had oodles of secure outside space and the spaniels made the most of it. In fact I think it was the first ever time that they have not raced to get in the car to go on an adventure due to the fun they were having running round the garden and orchard.
Hempfield stables feels so private due to the walled garden and is in a very peaceful setting with open countryside views. It was so nice to sit with a hot chocolate outside on an evening and listen to the owls hooting away.

So close you can see it from the bedroom window lies the Bridgewater Canal, you literally just cross the road from Hempfield Stables and you’re there!
We enjoyed walking along the canal to nearby Dunham Massey.
I digress though, lets get back to the bedrooms! So upstairs at Hempfield stables is a human only zone, there are two stunning double bedrooms, both with private en suites with amazingly powerful showers and fluffy towels. I feel bad that I did not take pictures upstairs but there are some great ones on the National Trust site so go take a look!

Cheshire is home to some of the most dog-friendly National Trust properties in England, the reason I say so is that at both Lyme Park and Dunham Massey there are huge areas where dogs can run free and let off steam. I also love the quirky doggy door bells at the Timber Yard and Ale Cellar at Lyme where you can ring the bell and still get a drink if you are visiting on your own with your dog. Most cafes at National Trust sites are dog-friendly but understandably dogs are not allowed up to the serving counter. I hope this initiative will spread country wide.
There are a plethora of  other dog-friendly National Trust sites in Cheshire. I actually intended to visit Quarry Bank but I just ran out of time, it just means I will have to revisit the area soon. We did manage to fit in Tatton Park though, which we have been to before and is always a treat, well unless you are a dog that gets to visit the dog wash I guess!
Hempfield Stables is also really close to Altringham if you need to stock up on food and wine and very convenient to Manchester so it is ideally placed if you want an idyllic break in the countryside without having to go off the beaten track.

Dunham Massey
Lyme Park

It was a real privilege for us to stay in a National Trust dog friendly cottage and we want to extend a huge thanks to them for inviting us in exchange for coverage on Instagram. I am under no obligation to write this article, but I wanted to do it to make my readers aware that dogs are welcome.
The National Trust has around 500 dog friendly cottages to choose from,  in stunning locations all around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, in fact my partner spent a good deal of time perusing the brochure, deciding where we might go next!
Check out the National Trust Holidays site to see where your next adventure could take you.


Love Sal, Maya and Lucia xxx