A couple of weeks ago, Woody and I found ourselves in the big smoke. My car needed its MOT and it gave us the perfect excuse to spend some time with my family, who live in London. Of course, we met up with Millie too and she ended up coming back with us to Cornwall for an extended holiday (lucky thing!)
Unfortunately I was carless for most of our trip, due to it failing its MOT. However, this did give us the opportunity to explore our local walks, as well as give public transport a try. Woody had never been on a train or bus but during our time in London, he had his first trip on both. Being the superstar he is, Woody took it all in his stride and wooed all the passengers into giving him cuddles!
We did manage to squeeze in a proper day out while we were visiting. I decided to take Woody to Hampton Court Palace. Hampton Court is just outside of London in Surrey, however I used to work in the palace and had organised to meet up with a few old colleagues for lunch. Of course they were keen to meet The Cornish Dog himself! After researching a little online, I was worried that the palace grounds weren’t dog friendly. However as soon as we arrived there was a sign stating they must be kept on leads, result! Obviously they’re not allowed in the palace itself but there are plenty of outdoor spaces and gardens to explore.
We met for lunch in the Tiltyard restaurant, where I ate my usual pasta and garlic bread outside. Woody was preoccupied by the pigeons and crows who were begging for food, while my friends and I had a catch up and natter!
There was just enough time to explore The Wilderness before my friends had to get back to work. It’s a wild flower reserve of sorts, a more rough and ready space compared to the more curated formal gardens. There’s also a maze within The Wilderness but this isn’t dog friendly. There are however plenty of flowers in bloom and Woody enjoyed posing among the petals!
Just across the road from The Wilderness is Bushy Park. A sister park to Richmond, where the famous Fenton video was filmed. I’d heard of a dog friendly café nearby and decided to walk their via the park.
I had hoped to let Woody off the lead in Bushy Park, however once we got there I realised this wasn’t a good option. Millie on the other hand would have been fine here, as she stays quite close and doesn’t like to run. Woody however, is a proper Cornish Dog. He loves running, chasing and sniffing and isn’t used to roads cutting through his walks.
I decided to keep Woody on his lead and we continued on. Bushy Park is far more pristine than I thought it would be. The grass looked like it had been mowed in places and there were a number of fountains and water pieces along our walk. It’s worth mentioning that Google Maps can’t seem to handle Bushy Park in the slightest. My phone kept taking us all round the houses (or should I say trees?!) and it was near impossible to find the gate to get out!
I was just about to give up hope and join the herds of deer when I finally found a way out of the park. It only took about an hour of walking round in circles with a working cocker spaniel constantly pulling at my shoulder! It’s safe to say I was in need of a rest and Paws for Coffee was the perfect place.
Everything about this coffee shop is dog themed, from the menu to the table numbers, which are all different breeds! There wasn’t a spaniel table so I settled for the Cockapoo one instead. I swiftly ordered a hot chocolate and Woody was treated to his first Puppuccino. It was a mixture of goats milk and black pudding and was served in a dog bowl. While that sounds less than desirable to me, Woody wolfed it down in seconds!
My hot chocolate was equally as delicious, with lashings of whipped cream and marshmallows in a dog themed mug. We stayed for a while and took in the aesthetic of the place. I particularly admired the Wall of Fame, which displayed photos of the cafés puppy customers. Woody’s photo wasn’t taken, so I’m guessing he won’t be joining the wall. We’ll have to make sure we visit again soon!
The café has a very artisanal vibe, from the chalkboard menus to the repurposed seating and black and white illustrations throughout. We were the only ones there when we visited but I imagine there’s quite the buzz when all the seats are filled. The café was also conveniently opposite the bus stop we needed to take back home. So we were able to stay inside until the bus arrived!
Our trip to London ended up being short but sweet. As soon as my car had been fixed we were straight back on the A303. London is a dog friendly city I’d love to explore more of. However, you can’t quite beat Cornwall!
Where’s your favourite dog friendly café? In Cornwall and beyond?
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