Part of the charm of a camping holiday in Dorset is venturing out to find a cosy pub. Our campsite is fortunate to be surrounded by a number of fantastic country pubs in Dorset.
At the end of a long walk in the countryside who doesn’t look forward to some liquid refreshment and a hearty pub meal? Whether you’re sitting in the beer garden in the summer soaking up the rays, or cosying up next to a roaring fire in the colder months, there is a great choice of pubs to suit your desires.
Here we focus on 10 of the best country pubs in Dorset which our guests have enjoyed whilst staying with us.
1. Square & Compass – Worth Matravers
This pub was once a real hidden gem known only to locals. Now after being hailed on sites such as TripAdvisor the secret is well and truly out for this unique pub located in the heart of the Purbecks.
Quirky doesn’t come close for this pub as there is a museum built on the side of it which houses some fascinating local pieces. They serve a good selection of local beer and cider. However don’t expect an extensive choice of food here as they offer a simple menu consisting mainly of very tasty pasties. There is often live music and large a garden which has unrivalled views to the sea. This is a popular drop-in for coast path walkers, however many trekkers have failed to continue the next leg of their journeys after stopping here! It easily makes it onto our list of the best country pubs in Dorset.
2. The Thimble Inn – Piddlehinton
This quaint thatched inn is located in the Piddle Valley just outside of Dorchester. It is a Palmers Brewery pub and as such serves a wide range of their cask ales which are brewed in Bridport in West Dorset. The Thimble Inn is renowned for its warm welcome and great food. There is also a picturesque beer garden where you can enjoy soaking up the sun in the summer and taking in the Dorset countryside views.
3. The Bankes Arms – Studland
Built of Purbeck stone, this 16th-century rural inn is a 6-minute walk from the South West Coast Path and a 7-minute walk from the beaches along Studland Bay. If you enjoy exploring the area on two wheels then ensure that this pub is on your cycling route through beautiful Studland.
There is very large garden which is has far reaching views across to the Poole and Bournemouth coastline. However if the weather is not warm then a roaring fire in the winter is guaranteed here.
The serve a full range of the very tasty Isle of Purbeck Ales. If you have arranged your onward travel then an afternoon spent tasting the choice they have could be an option! They have a great range of food on offer displayed on a large blackboard. They are family friendly so if you have little ones to feed then there is a children’s menu as well.
4. The Scott Arms – Kingston
Located high up on the outskirts of Corfe Castle, The Scott Arms has one of the most fantastic views from their garden. On a clear day you can see right over the ruins of the castle and beyond to Poole Harbour.
Open every day for lunch and dinner, they always have a great choice of seasonal specials: lots of game in the winter, fresh seafood in the summer, and plenty of fresh, locally-grown vegetables. During the Summer there is little more pleasurable than eating some genuine barbecued Jamaican food from The Jerk Shak in the garden and staring out at THAT VIEW!
5. Drusilla’s Inn – Wimborne
Drusilla’s Inn is a traditional thatched Wessex Freehouse set in rolling Dorset countryside with uninterrupted views of the historic Horton Folly Tower. They offer a range of menus from bar snacks to a la carte featuring free range, hand reared local produce, complimented by local ales & ciders and an international wine list.
Enjoy local real ales and ciders, lagers and world wines in their 200+ year old bar area. Their inglenook fireplaces and low wobbly ceilings will make you feel warm and cosy in the winter. On the warmer days sit outside and enjoy the well-kept garden area.
6. St Peter’s Finger – Lytchett Minster
If you’re after an easy stroll from our campsite to enjoy the atmosphere of country pub then St Peter’s Finger is the perfect choice. Best of all we provide all our guests with a voucher for a free bottle of wine when they dine there.
Owned by local brewers Hall and Woodhouse the pub is renowned as a reliable spot for a warm welcome and excellent food, drink and company. Like us St Peter’s Finger is dog friendly. They also have free Wi-Fi.
7. The Countryman – East Knighton
The Countryman is proud to be a family run pub and aim to welcome all who come through our door day and night. Dog friendly and in the middle of the great Dorset countryside, they are ideal for walkers of all kinds for a refreshing stop or a bite to eat.
Renowned for their Sunday carvery this is a place to head to if you have a healthy appetite. Their chefs bring you the best food out on the carvery or from the main menu. The carvery is available 12pm to 3pm and 6pm to 8pm every Sunday.
8. The Worlds End – Almer
The Worlds End is an easygoing pub with a large menu ranging from burgers to homity pie, plus a garden with play area. The land that the Worlds End stands on has been welcoming weary travellers for hundreds of years, though in the last century it was so named for soldiers, airmen and conscripts that last stopped there before being deployed during WW2.
The Worlds End is a popular stop with walkers. The surround area is a very enjoyable, with mostly level walking tracks across farmland and along attractive high hedged bridleways passing through the pretty villages of Winterborne Zelston and Winterborne Tomson.
9. Olive Branch – Wimborne
In a more urban setting than some of the other pubs listed, here is another great Hall and Woodhouse pub close to South Lytchett Manor. The Olive Branch offers tasty dishes served in a stylish pub and restaurant with dramatic beams and riverside garden.
If that’s not enough then they have a private function room accommodating up to 50 guests, a spectacular beer garden and terrace for al fresco dining. In June the garden is transformed into a stage as part of the annual Wimborne Folk Festival.
10. The Anchor Inn – Shapwick
The Anchor is a pub near the beautiful Cranborne chase. It’s a red brick gastropub with tapas-style and chargrilled dishes plus dado-panelling and outdoor seating.
This wonderful free house was saved from decrepitude when it was purchased by a village co-operative several years ago. The village people (no, not the ones you’re thinking of) then invested time, love and money turning The Anchor into one of the most beautiful pubs that you are likely to see.
The surrounding area of The Anchor Inn includes the local attractions of Badbury Rings roman fortress and the National Trust’s awe inspiring Kingston Lacey House. There are also many wonderful countryside walks nearby.
11. The Greyhound – Sydling St Nicholas
So we’ve added one for luck! The Greyhound is a centuries old coaching inn set in an ancient Thomas Hardy village so pretty it takes your breath away. Think of soft, rounded chalk hills, watercress farms, thatched cottages and a trout stream running through it. Add in free Wi-Fi everywhere and officially the best pub food in Dorset (two Good Pub Guide Awards) and you get the perfect English pub. It really is one of the best country pubs in Dorset.
The Greyhound does proper fresh food that changes every day, a good wine list, hearty breakfasts and our choice of real ales and lagers. There are two different areas to eat in; the traditional pub bar with its open fire or the restaurant with double-sided log burner and a sunken well from where coachmen used to pull up buckets for the horses during stagecoach stops. The bar area is dog friendly which is handy if you’re out with your four legged companions.