Wilderness rambles and an English country pub: it doesn’t get much better. Unless you’ve got a dog trotting alongside. Here’s our guide to the UK’s best pet-friendly pubs and nearby walks.
From Cornwall to Cumbria, there’s little to beat stretching the legs and lungs in the good old English countryside. Add the tempting lure of a traditional pub garden on a sunny afternoon and all’s right with the world.
Here’s our edit of the best dog-friendly pubs with a handy stroll close at hand.
The King’s Arms and The Rattlebone Inn, Didmarton and Sherston, Cotswolds
Image source: King’s Arms Didmarton
There’s a two-for-one on this circular walk, with the Rattlebone Inn at beginning and end in Sherston, with the King’s Arms at Didmarton marking the half-way point. And they’re both seriously chic.
The King’s Arms is all leather armchairs and picture windows, looking out onto a voluptuous country garden for sunny days. And they know their weekend market: supper is served until 10pm on a Friday night, so you can whiz down straight from the office after a long week and not go hungry.
It’s got spot-on canine credentials too. Resident dog-in-chief Spoof the Jack Russell is on standby for playtime and they even serve a doggy beer, Snuffle (yes, really). If you decide to hole up here for the weekend, four-legged guests are as pampered as their two-legged pals, with dog beds and treats available in the super chic rooms.
As for the Rattlebone Inn, no-one can say it lacks pedigree. A former favourite haunt of Prince Harry and friends, its modern bistro cuisine and real ales continues to attract the smart set. If you’ve any energy left after your walk, there’s a skittles alley and three boules pitches in the garden.
Ramble route: Start your walk at picture postcard-pretty Sherston, taking a circular route, mostly through open farmland. The walk follows the River Avon upstream through the gentle slopes of a valley.
Grab a leisurely beer at The King’s Arms and you’ll head back towards Sherston on a different path, ending up back at the Rattlebone Inn. If you’re lucky, they’ll have fired up the spit roast and be serving Argentinian Lamb Asados in the garden.
2. The Black Bull Inn, Coniston, Cumbria
Image source: http://www.geog.port.ac.uk/
Thirsty travellers have been stopping in (and stumbling out) of this historic coaching inn for more than 400 years and they’re more than happy for pooches to pop through those historic doors, too.
The Black Bull doesn’t have the Farrow and Ball chic of the Cotswolds pair but it does have one big plus point. Out back, the pub has its own brewery, the home of Bluebird Bitter.
The Old Man mountain serves as a dramatic backdrop as you enjoy a fresh pint with your dog at your feet. But go easy, you’re going to be climbing that bad boy.
Ramble route: This circular walk is a proper hike, rather than a Sunday stroll, so it’s not for wimps or pups. You’ll zig-zag up the side of Stubthwaite Crag and finally peak the Old Man of Coniston, which clocks in at 803m. The stunning views are worth it though – and you’ll welcome that drink when you head back to the Black Bull.
Strike out into the countryside kitted out in the best of British design.
Treat your dog to a little something from the Appleby range, made from genuine Harris tweed. There’s a reason this fabric’s an enduring fashion favourite: as well as being super stylish, it’s tough enough to cope with snags from thorns, lasts for ages and washes beautifully.
Perfect for the four-legged countryside gent (or lady).
Appleby dog collar (from £52)
Appleby lead (from £62)
The Red Lion, Burnsall, Yorkshire Dales
Image source: Red Lion
Looking for the authentic Yorkshire Dales experience? Burnsall’s just the baby. Historic stone buildings, Instagram-wowing river views and a slightly bonkers feast day (with games) every August.
The Red Lion is in the heart of the village, where it’s been packing ‘em in since the 16th century. The food has an AA rosette and the menu goes on for ever… (fussy eaters take note).
There’s a resident Jack Russell called Totty (what is it about pubs and Jack Russells?) and say hi to the Grayshons; they seem to rope in every generation to work in this genuine family business.
Ramble route: This is proper walking country. Wharfedale is on your doorstep and Burnsall is the first stop of the Dales Way, which runs from Ilkley to Windermere.
Ask the right people in the bar and they’ll tell tales of trolls that haunt a nearby limestone gorge, a wolf-infested ravine that inspired The Hound of the Baskervilles and caves housing flesh-eating boggarts (no, we don’t know either). Personally, we’re more nervous of the mad fell runners, who race up Burnsall Fell every August.
Instead, strike out along the side of the glittering River Wharfe, with plenty of spots to jump in for doggy paddling. There’s a set of notoriously-slippery stepping stones (don’t worry, there’s a creaky but fun cable bridge if you don’t want to get wet) but other than that, the going is easy.
There’s a circular 2.4 mile journey that takes in the best views in Burnsall, or press on to Bolton Abbey, the gorgeous, sprawling Yorkshire estate of the Duke of Devonshire. Dogs on a lead are welcome in most areas – check out the exclusions here.
4. The Boathouse, Falmouth, Cornwall
Falmouth Harbour from the Boathouse
Image source: The Boathouse
It’s a clamber up to the Boathouse but the view down across Falmouth Harbour makes it worthwhile. The hearty seafood-with-a-twist menu is a pretty good incentive too.
They’re big on live music and guest ales. Oh – and apparently they’ve got a bonsai tree that looks like Kim Kardashian’s most famous asset.
Ramble route: There’s no wilderness quite like the Cornish coast, with the unpredictable sea making it a different experience every time. There are dozens of walks, from town strolls to clifftop excursions, via beach safaris but we like the unique views from the historic Pendennis headland