VICTOR TEIXEIRA – LMDI
Just over a year since our first DogBlog, we have covered areas as varied as behavioural training, dog rescue, teaching tricks, merchandise, medication and supplements, canine clothing, etc. So we thought we’d go back to basics this month and do what we set out to do when it all started – listing and advertising dog-friendly places.
Welcome to November’s DogBlog!
BURGESS PARK, SE17
Spread across 56 hectares of land, Burgess Park is one of the largest in South London. Its convenient location means you’re never too far from Peckham, Elephant & Castle, Walworth, Brixton and Camberwell. But what makes it different from most others is the fact that, where it now sits, used to sit businesses, factories and housing.
Your dog will be able to run freely in its vast green expanse, enjoy a walk on lead in its tidy paths shared with considerate joggers and cyclists and finally rest outside the park café whilst you try their toastie and coffee. The café doesn’t allow dogs inside (yet) but they are dog-friendly enough to have treats available and always offer bowls of water, especially in summer.
The hardest thing to do when walking Oscar and Ollie there is keeping them out of the pond. This particular body of water is home to ducks, geese and several varieties of birds. So we try our best to keep the dogs away from the water but as soon as we let them off the leads their instinct is to return to the pond. Luckily the park is huge so they are free to run in many other areas where no wild animals will be disturbed in their natural habitat.
CLAPHAM COMMON, SW4
Situated at the top of Clapham High Street and clearly visible from the Heathrow flight path, Clapham Common (89 hectares) is shared by sports people, sun worshipers, children and their parents, picnic fans and charity event organisers. So any dog activity in this huge park is a cherry on top of a gorgeous cake!
There are loads of dog walkers taking their canine customers for walks, runs and games; we prefer to let them dive into the boating pond, something they will both do until they are too tired to get out for themselves. Then it’s a quick run around the park to dry them out before driving home.
They also love the local eateries, many of them extremely dog-friendly, where they’ll happily sit under the table waiting for a morsel at the end of our meal. Clapham is one of London’s most dog-friendly areas with even shops and restaurants letting them in.
HAMPSTEAD HEATH, NW3
Whether you’re a fan of the (now) classic film “Hampstead” – where a loner Irishman lives in the actual park in a tiny shed he calls home – or keen on Kenwood House’s food and cake – which you can enjoy indoors and in the gorgeous outdoors – Hampstead Heath is a beautiful oasis in the middle of a stunning community inhabited by the rich and famous, as well as your everyday Londoner. The Kenwood Estate is cared for and maintained by English Heritage. Hampstead is in huge contrast with its neighbouring Camden Town: a crazy, hippy and alternative part of the Camden Borough.
The 320 hectare park offers ponds popular with swimmers from all over town. It also hosts a view over London which is protected by law – Parliament Hill (so high up in London that it’s particularly popular with kite flyers). This viewpoint allows sight of Canary Wharf, the City of London and St Paul’s Cathedral amongst other landmarks.
Dogs love Hampstead Heath for its open spaces, hilly disposition and huge variety of colours, smells and fauna. That drive home is always a quiet one…
RICHMOND PARK, TW10
The largest of London’s Royal Parks at 955 hectares, Richmond Park was created by Charles I in the 17th century as a deer park. This is one of the facts you need to remember when visiting the park, with or without your pooches – when the deer are in season, you really do not want to get too close as they can become quite vicious…
The Grade I-listed White Lodge, initially a royal residence, is now the Royal Ballet School. Richmond Park’s boundary walls, alongside 10 other buildings, are Grade II-listed. This includes Pembroke Lodge, home to 19th century Prime Minister Lord John Russell and his philosopher grandson Bertrand Russell.
The park went from being for the exclusive use of the monarch to being open to the general public. As well as living through both world wars, it hosted the 1948 and the 2012 Olympic Games.
Richmond Park is around 3 times as big as Central Park in New York.
One of the most rewarding things you can do after a long walk, particularly in Winter, is popping into the local pub. If you’re extremely selective they will have an open fire and dog bowls both inside and out. In fact, this is a good way to measure how inviting pubs are towards dogs, alongside the presence of treat jars on the counter.
In most pubs, ours dogs like to lie under the table and wait to be fed the odd chunk of meat or couple of chips. Some are exceptionally friendly and invite them to sit in their leather benches, which they love because they are then at our eyesight level. Initially we resisted this so as not to create a bad habit in other establishments. But because it was always the case at our local – The Tommyfield – and the dogs seemed to know that it wasn’t the done thing anywhere else, we began to allow it. They also seem to know which staff members will fuss over them and which won’t.
The Tommyfield – Kennington Rd, SE11
Great pub food, a weekly quiz night and comedy shows sometimes hosted by tv-famed names. The staff’s friendliness is second to none. It makes us come back time after time.
The Marlborough – Richmond, TW10
Upmarket pub with delicious but unfussy food, comfortable setting in a gorgeous location. Tricky to get to if you don’t know the area and struggle to park nearby but definitely worth a visit.
These are the establishments I most struggled with initially, 8 years ago, when we first got Oscar. Fast-forward 8 years and now they’re very often proud of displaying their dog-friendly credentials. Again in Kennington, in one street alone, 3 cafés were the first to happily display our dog-friendly sticker on their windows and doors – Vanilla Black, Sally White and Urban Botanica. Particular thanks to Vanilla Black for being the first to ever do so!
Ballucci – Isleworth, TW7
This independent coffee shop in one of Isleworth’s busiest streets prides itself on always grinding their coffee beans there and then, whenever you ask for your drink, totally accepting that it’s extra work for them but a better experience for the customer. I love the décor and the relaxed atmosphere. The staff are extremely friendly and always add a professional touch to everything they do. Don’t get me started on their cakes and sweets… A great indicator of the quality of a café’s product is the amount of take-aways required on a constant basis by local workers. The place is constantly buzzing!
Fernandez & Wells – West End, WC2H
Sitting on a busy corner of Soho, Fernandez & Wells is one of my favourite cafés/eateries. I’m crazy about their Broken Eggs & Prosciutto but also partial to an Avocado & Halloumi breakfast… Their coffee is delicious and never too roasted. The staff always offer dogs a bowl of water without having to be asked. Try and call them to ask whether they are dog-friendly and you’ll be surprised by their enthusiasm!
Fiume – Battersea, SW8
This is a restaurant that at first impressions is an upmarket establishment – you get the cloth napkins, the sommelier advises on wines and the décor is quite tasteful! However, it’s a very relaxed atmosphere and the staff do their best to make you at home. The same can be said for our dogs – before looking after you, the waiters make sure that they look after your dogs, starting with a bowl of water as soon as you sit down.
The menu is an italian celebration, the dishes very well presented but the taste reminds you of homemade food. The wines are well priced bearing in mind the location of the restaurant. If you like your deals, you’ll have the option of weekend brunches, set menus and, with Christmas fast approaching, several festive menus.
Top tip: Italian Brunch every Saturday between 11am and 3pm and every Sunday between 11am and 4pm. And for an extra £20 per person, enjoy bottomless prosecco! Dogs are allowed inside and out.
Stockwell Continental – Stockwell, SW8
Similar kind of area but totally different end of the scale, this new restaurant serves delicious pizzas and pastas and everything italian in a really funky environment. The feel of the place is totally relaxed and the staff enjoy chatting to the customers. One of them even kneels down on the floor to fuss over our dogs and brings them water and treats.
And even though Battersea is very well served in terms of pubs, this restaurant is busy weekdays and weekends.
Whatever you do, do not skip dessert!
The Bell Inn – St Olaves (Norfolk Broads), NR31
If you’re a regular of our Facebook doggy page, you’ll notice that our members’ recommendations are more often than not for businesses outside of London, which is why I try my best to do the same inside it. One such recommendation came from the lovely Sue Donovan, one of our biggest posters. She went to The Bell Inn and reported that the staff were very friendly and all smiles. They sat in the garden by the water and had fish and pale ale for lunch.
Dogs are allowed in the bar but not in the restaurant area. But the menu is served everywhere.
BACCES (British Airways Cabin Crew Entertain Society) puts on a show every year to raise funds and help charities and charitable groups. The cast are formed by current, former and retired cabin crew from the Heathrow and Gatwick bases (all fleets are represented). The tech and backstage crew are a mix of professionals of the industry and volunteers who lend a helping hand every year.
Let My Dog In is proud to support BACCES for the 2nd year running by advertising in the pantomime’s programme and donating merchandise items to the show’s raffle.
This year, amongst all the organisations chosen to help, is Happy Paws Puppy Rescue. This is a charity that rescues as many dogs as they possibly can from pounds and kill shelters from across Europe. They rescue the dogs, test their behaviour, screen their health and, where possible, rehome them with suitable families.
They rescue an average of 300 dogs every year thanks to the help of volunteers on a daily basis, whether it be financially, through donations, man hours or expert advice.
For information on the charity, go to http://www.happypawspuppyrescue.co.uk/ and register to volunteer, donate stuff or your free time. They are always looking for help.
And finally, talking about rescuing dogs, the amazingly talented photographer Chris Knight came to the rescue of The Dogs Nobody Wants Sanctuary when he heard that its founder saved dogs which were meant to be put down due to disability and health issues. One example of this is Leah, an elderly dog that had lost her back legs to amputation and thanks to the dedication of Matthew, Christopher and their staff had wheels installed on her back and was given the opportunity to roam free again. Leah would’ve been put to sleep otherwise…
This dog sanctuary is based in Slough and desperately needs donations on a regular basis.
Chris Knight decided to launch his 2020 Calendar and feature one of their dogs – Ash – in the month of January to raise awareness of the efforts of the sanctuary. He is donating 10% of his profits to the charity and you can buy the calendars through Knightpics Photography’s Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/knightpics and through Let My Dog In‘s merchandise page https://www.letmydogin.co.uk/product/annual-calendar-the-dog-nobody-wants-santuary/ where I pledge to donate the same amount to help.
In the last 30 days…
689 posts, comments and reactions
6 new members
Top contributors in the last month:
1 – Lynda Weatherhead
2 – Angelique Larue-Hill
3 – Anitta Autumn
4 – Regina Cocito
5 – Amanda Jane Davies
THANK YOU! ❤️
For more ideas and recommendations, try:
Bars & Pubs – https://www.letmydogin.co.uk/bars-pubs/
Restaurants – https://www.letmydogin.co.uk/restaurants/
Photos and videos of your dogs, as well as business reviews, are always welcome on our Facebook and Instagram accounts
Finally, if you’d like to write a piece for our monthly blog, all it needs to be is dog-related and dog-friendly.