If there’s one thing the British do well, it’s a good old-fashioned watering hole. Home to some fantastic, historic taverns and coaching inns, Dorset has both the heritage and the access to top quality local produce to support some of the best gastro pubs in England. Whether you’re tucking into classic British comfort food, or sampling some more refined fare, these are our top gastro pubs in Dorset to try on your next trip.
Set in a 16th century coaching inn, our very own Acorn Inn is popular with both locals and visitors looking to experience our award-winning restaurant. With a focus on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, diners can enjoy British classics such as fish and chips and slow-roasted pork belly, swiftly followed by Dorset cheese and sticky toffee pudding.
The Brace of Pheasants
Set in the picturesque village of Plush, The Brace of Pheasants is a great place to relax after a long country walk. The atmosphere here couldn’t be more inviting, with its thatched roof and roaring log fire, and the menu doesn’t disappoint, either. Expect a great selection of game (in season), local beef, lamb and rare breed pork from the surrounding farms, and an impressive selection of ales.
With a stream flowing between the bar area and the dining room, The Fontmell offers plenty of atmosphere and countryside charm. Located in a renovated pub (formerly, The Crown), the restaurant is refurbished to mimic a country house library with an enticing, ever-changing menu composed by Chef Patron Tom Shaw. Signature dishes include seafood tapas and tandoori-flavoured monkfish. Visit in the summer to sample the gourmet pizza, cooked in wood-fired ovens in the garden.
The Greyhound Inn
With its watercress farms and pastel-coloured thatched cottages, it’s no wonder that the small town of Sydling St Nicholas was a favourite of Thomas Hardy (he even set one of his short stories here). A centuries-old coaching inn known for its top quality fish dishes, the Greyhound Inn claims not to be a gastro pub, though in our book the daily-changing menu and unpretentious cuisine here earns it a place on our list.
The Langton Arms
A traditional country pub, The Langton Arms is the charming 17th century setting for The Stables Restaurant. Located in a converted stable, the restaurant is known for its excellent beef (sourced from the family farm and prepared by in-house butcher, Martin Foot) as well as its home-grown greens, picked fresh from their own vegetable patch. Settle into an armchair in the inviting lounge for a nightcap before heading home.
The Museum Inn
Located in the small village of Farnham, The Museum Inn is a lovely 17th century establishment and one of our favourite gastro pubs in Dorset. The menu is inspired by Dorset produce and whipped into delicious dishes by Head Chef Simon Trepess. Stop by for their superb Sunday lunch, or visit during game season for roast local partridge and braised pheasant.
Header Image © Museum Inn