Laverock Holiday Cottage
“ We really enjoyed the Business Awards night at The Champagne Bar. Being self employed means long hours often in the night and it can feel very lonely. Knowing there are places such as the Enterprise Agency to give help and advice is really appreciated and makes you realise you are not on your own. It was great to meet like minded people from the locality who are all working away to keep Teesdale and Weardales businesses sustainable ”
Laverock Holiday Cottages comprises two holiday cottages which have been renovated by the Bainbridge family on their 50 acre farm in the Pennine area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Bainbridges, who compete in agility and sheepdog trialling with their dogs heard how friends experienced difficulty when travelling to find suitable accommodation that accepted dogs. They saw a gap in the market and converted outbuildings on their farm into multidog holiday lets.
The cottages are designed for people with one or more dogs and multidog occupancy is Laverock’s speciality. The cottages don’t claim just to be ‘dog friendly’, in fact they have been designed around the dogs with special features such as dog wetrooms to enable dogs to be cleaned as soon as they get into the cottages and half stable doors so dogs can enjoy maximum visibility in the same way that humans can.
“Much of so called Dog Friendly accommodation really isn’t at all, says Mandy, “and the set up is quite difficult for dog owners, particularly if you have more than one dog. Our clients love the fact that when they come to stay, they can really relax because any breakable ornaments, slippery floors are non existent and all of our clients always leave our cottages immaculate which is an additional bonus!”
In addition to the accommodation, the farm has a purpose built 120 feet agility arena so Laverock can offer agility training and hire as well. They also offer taster “Sheepdog Training” lessons though most visitors just want to find out that their dogs aren’t going to chase sheep when out on a walk! The facilities are also open to farmers who want to train their sheepdogs.
Another very important aspect of the cottages, says Laverock, is that it allows guests to come and help out on the farm and get to experience what farming is all about. This is an essential part of the Laverock experience because the Bainbridges are keen to educate the public about farming and what day to day life is like for farmers. Visitors can go and help check lambs, feed sheep on the fell or go into the henhouse to pick out some fresh eggs and it provides a completely unique holiday experience, says the company.
This combined with the agility training offers guests a complete visitor experience rather than just holiday accommodation. Within two weeks of the website being launched, the accommodation was booked out and the cottages are now let throughout the year, providing the farm with an additional revenue stream. Despite full occupancy and demand outstripping availability, Laverock currently has no plans to expand further as they feel it would impact on the quality of the guests’ experience.