Cat Comforts: 10 of the best days out for cats and cat-lovers in the UK
From cat cafes to pet-loving hotels: here’s our pick of the top feline-friendly destinations in Britain.
Maison de Moggy, Edinburgh
Scotland’s first cat café, Maison de Moggy, is home to 12 cats, ranging from Pauline the Maine Coon to Elodie, the extraordinary-looking Sphynx cat (the MdeM is one of the only cat cafés in the world to have a Sphynx cat). The café has been purpose-built to give the cats space to climb and play, while visitors can have tea and homemade cakes (good vegan and GF options) while making friends with the furry inhabitants. A cat nanny is present at all times and reservations are essential. Stay at the chic Market Street Hotel, Scotland’s first Design Hotel.
Doubles from £174 B&B; marketstreethotel.co.uk
This charming, family-run boutique hotel encompasses a restaurant, deli and lifestyle shop, as well as being home to Bert and Mr B, two super-charming moggies, who can usually be found snoozing in the cosy lounge, or sunning themselves in the gardens outside. This isn’t a hotel for fans of minimalism; the 14 bedrooms each have their own individual, eclectic style – a mermaid mosaic here, cowhide there, with antiques and artworks dotted throughout. The Afterfive restaurant serves up smart, modern British dishes, and does a belt-busting afternoon tea.
Doubles from £159 B&B; strattonshotel.com
Louis Wain collection, Kent
Take a trip to Beckenham where the Bethlem Museum of the Mind has five of Louis Wain’s famous cat portraits on display in its permanent collection – with a larger exhibition, ‘Animal Therapy, Louis Wain’, provisionally scheduled to run from December 2021 until April 2022. Wain was said to have schizophrenia, spending his later life in an asylum where he continued to draw. The strange and fascinating feline world he created is about to become a lot more famous as Benedict Cumberbatch is playing him in a forthcoming biopic, so elsewhere we can expect much Wain-related memorabilia from a cat-collar collection courtesy of Cheshire & Wain to a new book (Louis Wain’s Cats) by art dealer Chris Beetles with a forward from Cumberbatch.
The Wildcat Trail, Cairngorms
There are just a few thousand wildcats still prowling the Scottish countryside. Spotting one can be a highlight of a stay in the Cairngorms, but they are elusive creatures. The Wildcat Experience in the village of Newtonmore offers a much better chance; there are 132 painted models of wildcats dotted around gardens, on roofs and in trees – with certificates given to children who spot more than 25. Walkers can follow the Wildcat Trail, a 10km path with wonderful views. Stay at the Glen, an Edwardian hotel with a cosy bar and restaurant.
Doubles from £102 B&B; theglenhotel.co.uk
Summer Lodge Hotel, Dorset
If you can’t bear to be separated from your cat, the Summer Lodge hotel welcomes pets as warmly as guests, with a dedicated pet concierge. A classic country house hotel set in glorious gardens, it has cosy rooms equipped with a pet food and water station, cat beds and treats. The three-rosette restaurant offers fine dining with a spectacular cellar and the spa – offering yoga and a pool – is perfect for a spot of pet-free pampering.
Double rooms from £315 B&B; summerlodgehotel.co.uk
Hello Kitty Secret Garden, East Sussex
The perfect choice for younger cat-lovers, Drusillas Park (drusillas.co.uk) features Europe’s first Hello Kitty attraction, with three gentle rides and a Hello Kitty house. The zoo is also home to servals and meerkats (actually members of the mongoose family), with daily Meerkat Encounter experiences. The Star at Alfriston, a short drive away, is the latest outpost for Alex and Olga Polizzi’s chic hotel collection.
Doubles from £240 B&B; thepolizzicollection.com
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, London
The UK’s longest-running cat café (since 2014), Lady Dinah’s is roamed by a clutch of adorable rescue cats, who live in the extraordinary emporium, filled with tree-like installations, wall-to-wall bridges and plenty of comfy sofas for human visitors. Visits are pre-booked in 90-minute slots, with classic tea and cake on offer alongside sandwiches and alcoholic drinks. Children must be over 12, and there is a cat carer on duty at all times. Stay at Boundary London, a hip Shoreditch hotel with a fantastic roof terrace.
Doubles from £144; boundary.london
After a day shopping or sightseeing in London there are few things more soothing than curling up with a cat and a book in a cosy lounge – and Hazlitt’s, an under-the-radar gem of a hotel in Soho, offers all three. Sir Godfrey is the resident cat – a friendly ginger mog who’s called the place home for nine years, and very much rules the roost. The hotel has an opulent, old-fashioned feel with velvet-swathed bedrooms and classical art on the walls – a peaceful cocoon from the hectic Soho streets outside. There’s no restaurant, but gin and tonics with Sir Godfrey – served from the honesty bar in the library – are a great way to start the night.
Doubles from £169 room-only; hazlittshotel.com
The Cat Gallery, York
A contender for the most feline-focused city in the UK, York boasts a cat-themed shop and walking trail, taking in the city’s stone and sculpture cats, as well as its most historic buildings. The Cat Gallery (thecatgallery.co.uk) sells everything from hoodies, bags and homewares to toys and bowls, feeding mats, collars and calming sprays. Stay at the Lamb and Lion – a cosy Georgian pub with rooms, a stone’s throw from the Minster and the Cat Gallery.
Doubles from £127 B&B; lambandlioninnyork.com
Tiggers Cottage, Berkshire
A purr-fect cat-friendly stay in the aptly named Tiggers Cottage, a Tudor property not far from Bray High Street. Explore this tranquil stretch of the Thames by foot or rent a boat (maybe leaving kitty at home). Across the river is Cookham, where the artist Stanley Spencer once lived, which has its own dedicated gallery. The village also boasts two of the UK’s five three-Michelin-star restaurants: The Fat Duck and The Waterside Inn. Or eat at home where your pet can languish in their own comfy bed and explore the pretty garden.
Two-bedroom cottage, £400 per night with two pets; petpyjamas.com
And let’s not forget the dogs!
You can now send your sausage dog to get pampered at these hotel retreats
As humans, we can get stressed from work, relationships and just life in general. So occasionally we need a relaxing spa weekend to get pampered and to wash off the tension with face masks, steam rooms and massages.
But what about dogs?
Sausage dog owners need not despair, because now you can send your pooch to a hotel to be pampered with nail trimming, teeth cleaning and coat conditioning, as well as playdates with other pups and walks in the countryside.
There are a number of pet spas and animal hotels in the UK, but few are sausage dog specific.
Luckily, dachshund owners have a choice of two: Hotel Dachshund and Sussex Sausages Hotel.
At Hotel Dachshund, your beloved pet can stay in the Essex countryside, surrounded by open fields where they can run and walk to their heart’s content. The hotel boasts a ‘home away from home’ experience, with snuggly beds and a calming paw massage – complete with cooling balm for an extra treat. There are also ramps, training toys, a ball pit, a play pool and doggy ice lollies for any upcoming heatwaves.
Sussex Sausages Hotel
Sussex Sausages Hotel, on the other hand, is based near the town of Petworth (yes, that’s a real place) and is run by former actress Sallie Anne Field – who has eight of her own dogs. The venue takes up to four guest dogs per day and rates are £35-a-night for four-legged friends. While sausage dogs can simply stay over, the pampering services are what makes this place special, as Sallie offers canine laser therapy, massages, manicures and teeth-cleaning – as well as her own brand of dachshund superfood. If you’re going on holiday, or simply want to treat your dachshund for being too cute, there’s no doubt they will have a great time at both Hotel Dachshund and Sussex Sausages Hotel.
It is known that dogs can become stressed, too, and demonstrate behaviours that mimic the anxiety felt in people. Stress for dogs is often related to separation from their owners, which many pets are likely feeling now as life is getting back to ‘normal’ – and people are returning to the office rather than working from home.
This means now, more than ever, is the time to treat them to a some pampering and self-care. So, next time your dachshund needs a break, make sure they get the treatment they deserve.
(Article source: Various)