Source: The Guardian (Extract)
Posted: August 29, 2021

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.

Strattons, Norfolk

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.

Louis Wain collection, Kent

Take a trip to Beckenham to enjoy the permanent collection of Louis Wain’s famous cat portraits – 55 of them – on show at Bethlem Museum of the Mind. 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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Hazlitts, 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.

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.

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.

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