Take a dog’s eye tour of Letheringham Water Mill – England’s most canine friendly destination
PUBLISHED: 15:31 02 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:31 02 May 2017
Cleanliness is next to dogliness for Richard and Jacqui Gooding – owners of a pooch’s paradise in the Suffolk countryside.
The couple’s holiday cottages at Letheringham Water Mill won ‘Dog Friendly Business of the Year’ from VisitEngland at the end of April.
Mr and Mrs Gooding bought the dog-eared property eight years ago and turned it into luxury riverside boutique holiday accommodation – with special attention lavished on four-legged guests.
Mr Gooding was born and raised in Suffolk but left to pursue a career in aviation – rising to chief executive of Luton Airport and London City Airport. In 2006, he received the OBE for services to the industry.
Mrs Gooding worked in recruitment in the capital, before the dog-loving couple made the move to Letheringham, near Wickham Market, where it took the last four years to transform the 17th century water mill and seven-acre plot into a home and biomass-heated holiday destination, surrounded by a 450-tree hornbeam hedgerow.
Mr Gooding said: “We realised that ‘dog friendly’ often just meant ‘dog tolerant’, and that there was room in the market for somewhere that really lived up to the phrase.
“We uncovered the fact that there are more than eight million dogs in the UK, with owners who may want to take them on holiday.”
Mrs Gooding said: “We didn’t know if it would work, but we knew there was an opening in a market that often accommodated dog owners in scruffy annexes behind a hotel.”
A stay at Letheringham Water Mill comes complete with dog friendly accommodation, use of an indoor dog shower after muddy walks, and personalised crates containing practical items and treats on arrival.
The Goodings picked up the award – with one of their dogs – at London’s Waldorf Hilton hotel. They beat off competition from 32 businesses to make the final with West Yorkshire’s Lamppost Café and The Oakley Court, in Windsor.
Mr Gooding said: “We thought we could, one day, achieve an award – but did so rather quicker than we thought. We’ve been trading for only the last two years, so we were pleasantly taken aback by the award.”
The Goodings, who plan to build on their rapid success by adding a fourth holiday cottage to the site, extend an equally warm welcome to guests without dogs.