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The Lodge at Duxford
WE’RE A RELAXED AND FRIENDLY HAVEN IN DUXFORD WHERE YOU CAN WORK, EAT AND STAY IN A HOME-FROM-HOME ENVIRONMENT WITH A CREATIVE TWIST
Dogfriendly Magazine Review
Read our comprehensive review of this listing printed in our bi-monthly magazine.
The Lodge At Duxford
By Jenny Green
This article comes to you courtesy of Instagram – because without it, I may never have heard of The Lodge Duxford.
I am mainly on the social media site for the dogs (my account is even in the name of my Westie, Ernie) but as I scrolled through my feed one day during the second national lockdown, a picture of a super-stylish bathroom with a standalone tub popped up.
“Oooh, wow,” I thought, as I clicked through to the boutique hotel’s website and saw that the rooms were even more impressive than the bathrooms. When I found out the Cambridgeshire hotel was dog-friendly too, I was sold.
My husband Nick didn’t need much persuading to book in for a pre-Christmas break with Ernie once lockdown had lifted. And although we arrived on a foggy day in December, The Lodge’s twinkling lights immediately drew us in.
The beautiful old building – which was fully renovated in 2019 – bills itself as a great place to work, eat and sleep, and it’s just a few minutes from the M11 and IWM Duxford. Indeed, look out for the propeller on the hotel logo, which gives a subtle nod to the famous air museum.
Guests at The Lodge will be in good company, too. Former Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited the hotel during the Second World War and there are one-off prints celebrating that in each of the 17 rooms. Bing Crosby also stayed when he came over to sing for the American troops.
We were excited to have a change of scenery after another month cooped up at home, and more than happy to don masks and sanitise our hands before entering the hotel’s tiled entrance hall. Ernie was also keen to explore somewhere new and insisted on having a good sniff of the bubbling fountain outside as well as the lovely lawn and courtyard garden.
This was actually rather handy as, once we had been given a warm welcome at reception and admired the cool wallpaper and pop art prints, Ernie led us straight to where we were staying – in one of the hotel’s four dog-friendly Stable rooms.
Ours was No1 and although it was a little on the cosy side, it was more than big enough for a night’s stay. It was decorated in on-trend shades of dark blue and grey and had some cosy branded blankets to snuggle up in. The large bed was also wonderfully comfy and we had a Smart TV and retro radio to entertain ourselves with.
The room had a mini fridge – great when travelling with dogs – and a Nespresso coffee machine. There was also a small decanter of a boozy liqueur, which was a nice touch and made for a perfect post-dinner tipple.
I loved the monochrome bathroom, too. The black shower screen gave it an industrial feel and the complimentary Prija toiletries smelled divine. My only complaint was that there was no hook or rail to hang wet towels but other than that, it was nigh on perfect.
The Stable rooms all vary in size and some even have their own kitchen facilities - perfect for longer breaks or if you prefer to luxuriate in your room of an evening. They also open straight out on to the garden, which is convenient for any early morning or late night ablutions.
Although you’re staying in a separate block, pet owners are in no way made to feel like outcasts. Dogs are welcome throughout the grand main building, including the bar, the basement Graze café – where you can grab sandwiches, cakes and locally-roasted coffee – and even the main Scoff restaurant.
There are also plenty of tables outside and cosy Scandi-style glasshouses where you can enjoy a full meal or a pizza from the wood-fired oven. And if you need help to work off all the calories you’ve consumed, in the summer months, you can even join exercise classes on the lawn!
At the time of our visit, the bar was closed because you could only order alcoholic drinks with a substantial meal, but I had a peep around the door to admire the décor and it looked just as amazing as the rest of the hotel.
Fortunately, you could still enjoy the hotel’s famous cocktails while seated in the restaurant, which had been lovingly decorated for Christmas. And as we visited on a Sunday night, it was roast dinners all round – which was totally fine with us.
We were also lucky enough to bag the best seats in the house by the window and as we settled in to the plush velvet chairs and relaxed atmosphere, Ernie settled in under the table.
It sometimes takes him a while to relax when we pop to the pub or enjoy a meal out, so I’d brought his bed along to help him feel more comfortable. And after enjoying a bit of fuss from the friendly waiting staff, Ernie surprised us all by snoozing happily for the duration of our meal.
Maybe it was the soothing festive soundtrack that did the trick!
The food – which was locally sourced and seasonal – was fantastic. Despite being vegetarians, Nick and I were spoilt for choice when it came to things we could enjoy on the menu. I opted to start with the shallot and sundried tomato tart while Nick enjoyed a cauliflower and truffle velouté.
Although we both chose to have the tofu and stuffing roast as a main, we could see other diners tucking in to dishes like roast lamb and turkey. On a typical evening, the restaurant serves everything from ribeye steak to risotto so there is something to suit all tastes. The desserts are a real treat too, with delicious dishes such as sticky toffee pudding and spiced pears.
After our meal, we retired to our room and slept like babies. And after a delicious breakfast the next day, we felt genuinely sad to leave. It would have been nice to round off the evening with a drink at the bar – but I guess that just gives us a reason to go back…
Overnight stays at The Lodge Duxford start from £129, including breakfast. Pets cost an additional £25 per night. To book, call 01223 755677 or visit thelodgeduxford.com.
WHAT TO DO NEARBY
Wandlebury Country Park and Nature Reserve, on the Gog Magog Hills, is a lovely place for a dog walk. Here, you can enjoy a mix of woodland and wildflower meadows on the remains of a circular Iron Age settlement. There are more than 8km of paths to follow around the park, but dogs must be kept on a lead at all times.
The city of Cambridge is also just 20 minutes from Duxford, and the Essex market town of Saffron Walden is close by, too. Here, you’ll find Audley End – a 17th Century mansion now maintained by English Heritage. Dogs are allowed to explore the grounds, which were designed by Capability Brown. They’re also welcome aboard at Audley End Miniature Railway, which takes visitors on a 1.5-mile journey through the estate woodland.
THE DUXFORD LODGE REVIEW BY JENNY GREEN APPEARS IN DOGFRIENDLY MAGAZINE ISSUE 65. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE DOGFRIENDLY MAGAZINE VISIT WWW.DOGFRIENDLY.CO.UK/MAGAZINE.
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Listing Updated: 07/06/2021
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