A Warm Welcome for You and Your Dog at The Acorn Inn

Dougal the Labrador is waiting to greet you at The Acorn Inn, a super dog friendly pub in Dorset. There are loads of great dog walks and West Dorset dog friendly attractions on the doorstep.

Plan the perfect dog friendly holiday or day out

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Paws with a Pint at Britain’s Best Dog Friendly Pubs

When there’s a nip in the air that’s nothing to do with your dog and your fingers are numb with cold after a long walkies, there’s nothing nicer than thawing out together in a cosy pub. With this in mind, the team at Rover Recommended have carried out lots of research across the UK looking for Britain’s best dog friendly pubs. It was tough work but someone had to do it!

The best pubs offered a great selection of food and drink, a really warm welcome for you and your dog and great walks on the doorstep. Here are five of our favourite dog friendly pubs.

The Brandling Villa in Gosforth, Newcastle www.brandlingvilla.co.uk hit the headlines recently for selling a meaty beer for dogs. They have also created a range of a la carte dishes for pets including a doggy version of chicken chasseur and a Sunday roast with “cat” flavoured gravy made from beef stock with fish sauce. If your doggie is not counting the calories there is also a dessert menu and Dentastix for afterwards. Manager Dave Carr has a cute beagle called Franco who always likes to meet new four-legged friends. Human visitors will also not be disappointed with a visit to this independent pub with its comfy leather chairs, good choice of local ales and great value food.

The Church House Inn, Devon overlooks the village cricket field in picturesque Marldon www.churchhousemarldon.com This Grade 2 listed Inn is full of character and was the first pub in Devon to be listed in the Michelin Pub Guide. It was also voted Devon’s Best Country Pub by readers of Devon Life. Dogs are welcome in the bar area where you can enjoy the delicious food. There are roaring log fires in the winter and the pretty pub garden is a pleasant place to relax when the sun is shining. There are many beautiful country walks nearby, including the famous John Musgrave Heritage Trail which heads through Marldon past the pub and through the grounds of Berry Pomerory Castle on its way to Totnes.

The Lamb Inn at Great Rissington, Gloucestershire http://thelambinn.com is one of our all-time favourite pubs. Paul, Jacqueline and the team are so friendly, the atmosphere is relaxed and the food is fantastic. Dogs are welcome in the bar and en suite rooms and the pub raises funds to train puppies as Guide Dogs for the Blind by selling hand-crafted bags, broaches and second hand books. The pub is close to some dog friendly attractions that are perfect for animal lovers, such as Cotswolds Wildlife Park and Birdland and its hilltop position is central for walking to picturesque Cotswold villages like Bourton-On-The-Water.

The Castle Inn near Lulworth Cove in Dorset www.thecastleinn-lulworth.co.uk is firmly established as one of the most dog friendly pubs in Britain. It’s currently closed for maintenance until 24th March 2012 but as soon as it reopens dog owning holidaymakers will be beating a path to its door. The picture perfect 16th Century thatched free house has an extensive food menu and regularly changing local real ales and ciders. The pub is only a short walk away from the spectacular dog friendly beaches at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. Dogs are made really welcome in the bar, bedrooms and beer garden and dog treats are available from the bar. Dog guests may enjoy breakfast with their owners and get their own breakfast sausage and can be immortalised on the dog photo pages of the pub’s website.

The Watermill Inn in Cumbria www.watermillinn.co.uk serves up to 16 real ales and has its own micro brewery on site. With award-winning beer and a great range of food it’s not surprising that that the Watermill Inn won the UK Beer Pub of the Year 2011 in the Good Pub Guide. Dogs are most welcome in the main bar and many of the locals have dogs that are regular visitors and enjoy a favourite tipple from the bar. Even the beers have a doggie theme. Favourites include; Collie Wobbles, A Bit’er Ruff, Wruff Night, Paw Christmas, Dogs Dinner, Paws for Thought, Isle of Dogs, Ruff Justice and Dogth Vader. Dogs are most welcome to stay with their owners in the B&B accommodation and join them for a sausage at breakfast. There is a charge made of £3 per night per dog and £1 of this is donated to the Dogs Trust. When you and your dog have enjoyed a walk in the beautiful Lakeland fells you can send a photo of your dog having a well earned rest at the pub to feature in the Doggie Pages on its website.

All these pubs are listed on Rover Recommended www.roverrecommended.com

If you have visited any of them with your dog we would love to see your reviews.

Louise Dolan
Find places to stay and visit with your dog at www.roverrecommended.com

All Dogs go to Devon

We usually go on holiday to Cornwall. This year we fancied a change and wondered whether we could find a slice of holiday heaven for us and our dog in Devon.

The first point in its favour is that it’s quicker to get to Devon, unless of course you already live in Cornwall.  And then why would you bother to leave Cornwall anyway?

That said, we were curious how Devon would fare against our main holiday criteria of good quality holiday accommodation with great pub grub and plenty of dog friendly places to visit nearby.

We settled on staying in rural isolation in a village called Shirwell in North Devon. During our stay we saw more sheep than people, which was fine by us. The cottage was really posh and spacious but had no internet access or phone signal so we were incommunicado for the duration of our stay. Unfortunately the water supply to the cottage was about as reliable as Keith Richards in charge of a free bar so showers were a bit of a hit and miss affair.

We found a couple of really dog friendly locals, where the food was good and we didn’t have to travel too far down the perilously narrow country lanes to get back to the cottage. These were the Muddiford Inn and the Pyne Arms, both near Barnstaple.

The seaside holds little attraction for my dog. She enjoys a quick paddle and then looks at you expectantly as if to say, “Fine but what are we going to do now?” She’s a
dog of mixed pedigree but on a walk the spaniel in her comes to the fore and all she wants to do is sniff and there are precious few decent smells near the sea as the tide comes to wash them away. We stumped up the obligatory extortionate parking fee at Woolacombe Bay and Saunton Sands and went for a walk along the seashore. We enjoyed our walks next to the sea and our dog cheered up considerably on the way back as we let her run free at the sand dunes at the back of the beaches, where rabbit odours abound.

North Devon has a surprising number of dog friendly gardens and they pretty much all seem to have great tea rooms so you are never more than ten minutes away from a coronary-inducing cream tea. Ambrosia weren’t wrong when they said, “Devon
knows how they make it so creamy”. Highlights of the gardens included a spectacular
woodland trail at Arlington Court, Barnstaple, tea on a beautiful lawned garden at Tapeley Park Gardens, Bideford and the choice of delightful walled gardens or seaviews at Hartland Abbey, Bideford.

My dog Holly was unequivocal in her holiday favourite. We visited Marwood Hill Gardens, Barnstaple, and no matter where we were in the garden or tea room she dragged us on her lead (like a dog who has never stepped a paw inside an obedience class) down to the lake. There she would sit for hours if we let her, watching the ducks and multi-coloured carp who swim over as soon as you stand or sit near the water.

It was an excellent choice though as for sheer relaxation and beauty it was our favourite place in Devon as well.

So will I change my holiday allegiance from Cornwall to Devon? They are both so good I think that I will have to visit them both again before I make up my mind… All I know is that my dog found doggy heaven in Devon this year.

Marwood Hill Gardens, Barnstaple

Louise Dolan

Find more dog friendly places to stay and visit at www.roverrecommended.com