This summer is set to be one of the hottest on record, and where better to celebrate the glorious and elusive British sunshine than at one of the country’s finest pubs!? Famous for its breathtaking Jurassic Coast home to natural landmarks like the ancient stone arch Durdle Door and the layered cliffs at Lulworth Cove, as well as the many stunning sandy beaches at the county’s coastal towns of Bournemouth, Poole, Weymouth and Swanage, there are so many reasons why tourists flock in huge numbers to Dorset every summer.
If you plan on making a trip to this part of the world in the next few months or you’re local to the area and you’re looking for a new place to eat, drink, and soak up the sun, then we couldn’t recommend the following Dorset pubs more highly. These traditional, characterful, and award-winning establishments make idyllic spots to enjoy a refreshing pint with your mates or tuck into a delicious three-course summer feast with your family.
Read all about a few of our favourite pubs in Dorset below and be sure to keep an eye out for our reviews of these establishments in our Dorset Food & Drink Guide (get your FREE copy here or read a digital copy of the guide here).
Featuring in both The Good Pub Guide and CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2019, The Kings Arms at Stoborough simply exudes warmth and character, making it one of Dorset’s must-visit establishments. Attractively set over the causeway from Wareham, this handsome thatched 17th-century pub will instantly charm you with its picture-perfect façade featuring a quaint picket fence, flower pots and hanging baskets exploding with vibrant colour, and a cheerful yellow coat of paint that won’t fail to put a smile on your face. Its gorgeous and spacious garden and patio area also provides the perfect spot for soaking up the sun and enjoying captivating countryside views with a glass of wine and good company.
Located at the gateway to the Isle of Purbeck and just a few minutes’ drive from the golden shores and awe-inspiring views of the Jurassic Coast, The Kings Arms is in itself a landmark of the local area, having stood on this site for over 400 years. A true community hub, the pub’s attractive exterior might be what first draws you in but it’s the menu full of dishes with an irresistible mix of the modern and traditional that will keep you coming back again and again.
Choose starters like deep-fried calamari rings with citrus mayonnaise and granary bread and mains like the chef’s own seafood casserole or the local and homemade 8oz prime Purbeck venison burger. One of Devon’s best destinations for food-lovers, The Kings Arms at Stoborough recently underwent a refurbishment so there’s never been a better time to visit than this summer.
Awarded West Dorset CAMRA Pub of the Year in 2017, The Saxon Arms has earned itself a reputation as one of the best dining pubs in Dorset. Set in the charming village of Stratton in West Dorset, this newly refurbished rural thatched pub is one of the county’s most characterful destinations, epitomising everything you’d expect from the perfect English countryside establishment. Whether you’re visiting to sample the high-quality and affordable food on the menu prepared for you by their talented team of award-winning chefs, or you just fancy a refreshing pint in a warm and welcoming environment, The Saxon Arms makes the perfect setting for a delightful spring or summer’s evening out.
Featuring an enticing array of daily specials and an impressive selection of classic British favourites, enjoy starters that include pan-fried asparagus and pancetta served on a toasted muffin and topped with a poached egg, an olive, and tomato dressing, and mains like the fish platter featuring blanchbait, tempura prawns, scampi, crayfish and smoked salmon and accompanied by salad and homemade tartare sauce. The Saxon Arms even offers a selection of vegan main courses to ensure everyone feels welcome. Their vegan dishes include lemon and courgette risotto topped with watercress and toasted pine nuts, spicy bean burger served in a brioche bap with a salad garnish and string fries, and sweet potato and chickpea curry with coconut, mango chutney, basmati rice and poppadum.
The Saxon Arms was also nominated for a Community Hero Award in 2013 and was a recent finalist for Dorset’s Local Pub of the Year award. It also features in The Good Pub Guide and Good Beer Guide 2019.
Situated right in the beating heart of Thomas Hardy country in the idyllic and quaint village of Sydling St Nicholas, take a scenic stroll along the stream that runs through this charming village, soak up the views of the chalk hills and thatched cottages that surround you, and then stumble upon the recently refurbished and always inviting country pub that is The Greyhound.
Twice named Dorset’s Best Pub for Food and featuring in both The Good Pub Guide and CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2019, The Greyhound offers the highest standards of home-from-home comfort with a daily changing menu that showcases the region’s finest produce. Sourcing their beef, venison, and wild boar from local suppliers and their fish daily from the Jurassic Coast just 20 minutes away, sit in the sun in their new and stunning glass and oak conservatory and treat your tastebuds to the very best dishes Dorset has on offer.
Start with the likes of duo of smoked trout wasabi crème fraiche, capers, and toasted focaccia before moving onto an enticing main like sweet potato falafel with red pepper and butterbean hummus, tzatziki and flatbreads or Moroccan lamb tagine with lightly spiced cous cous, apricots and almonds. Whether you’re craving traditional pub classics done exceptionally well like their steak and ale pie and beer-battered fish and chips, or a less traditional dish like their tandoori pork tenderloin with kachumber salad and Bombay potatoes, you’ll be well catered to at The Greyhound in Dorchester, Dorset.
Formally Dorset’s Dining Pub of the Year and featured in both The Good Pub Guide and CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2019, you’re guaranteed to love The Kings Arms at Longham just as much as the lucky locals that get to have this rare gem of a pub right on their doorstep. One of the best examples of a modern British dining venue in the county, when you visit The Kings Arms at Longham, expect exceptional food and elegant furnishings all within a welcoming and relaxed environment.
With a kitchen run by highly talented, award-winning chefs, the menu here is an absolute delight, filled with a delicious selection of innovative dishes that are guaranteed to impress. Renowned for its grill selection, if you’re a beef lover you’ll simply salivate while choosing between the likes of 9oz Bavette steak, 10oz prime cut sirloin steak, 7oz fillet steak, and 28-day-aged English ribeye steak. If all this isn’t enough, there’s also a sizzling steak platter and an 8oz House steak burger topped with bbq pulled beef brisket on the menu. Make sure you also visit The Kings Arms at Longham on Sundays for their very popular Sunday roast selections where diners can choose between roast sirloin of English beef, roast leg of English lamb, roast loin of cider fed pork or a vegetarian nut roast, all served with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables and a Yorkshire pudding.
To complement this fantastic food, there’s also a new wine list on the menu boasting 35 award-winning reds from across the world, all chosen specifically to be served alongside the beef dishes.