Friday, 25 May 2018

A dog's weekend, and our first AirBnB

A room with a view

We haven't taken Dylan the dog away on many holidays with us. In fact he's barely been away on any. For a long while, he stayed with my parents while we went away, then once their health deteriorated we didn't want to be away from home, so his only previous holidays have been trips to Curious Arts Festival where we've stayed in a tent.

Watching the runners

To visit our daughter in Manchester, another strategy was needed. We wanted to be close to the centre, preferably able to walk to the half-marathon course, which could push the price up. We were only visiting overnight, so self-catering didn't really seem worth-while, as most properties want to let for at two, possibly three, night. It might have been possible to find a dog-friendly BnB but without recommendations that seemed such a mine-field to search through, plus the same 'two day minimum stay' often applies at weekend.

Wildflowers in Hulme Park

Our daughter, though, is a great fan of AirBnB, having stayed in various properties at home and abroard, and suggested we check out what was on offer. A little searching found something that sounded ideal - an en-suite double room in a house next to a park, through which we could walk to the half-marathon route
I'd tried AirBnB with my daughter in Edinburgh last year, but that was more like renting a self-catering flat; what we were trying here was the let-out-your-spare-room idea. Now some folk might be a bit cautious about staying in a room in someone else's house but I've had plenty of strangers come and stay in my house, and I figure it's not really much different to staying in a normal BnB.

Can I have some too?

We didn't actually spend much time IN over the weekend - but the room was clean, spacious, and well-provided with toiletries.

Dylan seemed to settle really well. He briefly said 'hello' to the owner, then settled down in the room on his blanket. We weren't there long before heading out again - to explore the park outside, to Dunham Massey, a National Trust property just outside the city, and later to dinner at a dog-friendly restaurant (where Dyl just flopped on the floor beside the table)

Next morning we were up and out early for an off-lead romp through the park before watching the half-marathon. Breakfast wasn't included in our stay, so after we'd watched the runners pass in one direction we picked up tea and croissants from a local shop and went back to watch them go past again.

We did our best to find quiet grassy places for him to sit out of the sun. I'd worried Dylan might not take well to the crowds around the half-marathon and 10k finishing line but even in the hustle and bustle he stayed calm.

A brief visit later in the day to another NT property, Quarry Bank Mill, gave him somewhere quieter to wander.

We'd crammed such a lot into the weekend that by the time we were heading home, Dylan was tired out. According to my Fitbit, I walked over 38,000 steps in two days, and I'm not sure I could have kept the pace up, let alone Dyl!
As a dog-friendly city-break, I think things worked well. We obviously didn't spend time in shops or museums, but still got a feel for the place our daughter now lives. I'd definitely use this AirBnB again, and, as we're limited to odd nights away, I'll be looking at others for future short breaks.

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