There’s nothing like feasting in a cosy pub after a coastal or countryside amble. Looking for the best places to do that in Dorset? Check out our pick of Dorset dining pubs
The Acorn Inn, Evershot
Escape to this rural village inn (pictured above) to unwind in a classic country setting that’s all roaring fires, oak panelling, bare beams and original skittle alley, and where you can dine on sophisticated pub dishes.
New exec chef Ana Martins uses the finest ingredients from the surrounding coast and countryside, as well as herbs plucked from The Acorn’s own micro garden, in the creation of seasonal compilations such as Portland lamb chops with potato and thyme terrine and wild mushrooms. There’s also a more casual bar menu, which includes gratifying pub classics such as honey and mustard baked ham with lacy free-range eggs and thick-cut chips.
Turn the dining experience into a full-blown gourmet getaway by booking one of The Acorn’s ten tastefully decorated bedrooms. This provides the opportunity to delight in off-piste sips from the extensive whisky, rum and gin collection and to further explore the idyllic village of Evershot.
Three Horseshoes Pub & Kitchen, Burton Bradstock
Located in a 300-year-old thatched property in the small village of Burton Bradstock on the Jurassic Coast, this award-winning pub is a delightful find for those exploring the Dorset coastline.
Skilled Dutch chef-patron Jaap Schep has forged strong relationships with local suppliers, so the menus change regularly to reflect the seasonal and quality ingredients abundant in the area at any time. Much of the menu is fish focused and influences come from all corners of the globe – expect dishes with a pan-Asian vibe, such as sea salt and Szechuan pepper squid and Indonesian seafood curry.
Before diving straight in for mains, pique your palate with creative sharing plates such as Dutch bitterballen (beef croquettes) and kibbeling (lightly spiced battered fish bites).
The New Inn Cerne Abbas, near Dorchester
Multiple menus fit for a variety of dining vibes and appetites, plus an on-point wine menu, make this 16th-century coaching inn a crowd-pleasing spot for wining and dining.
Owners Annette and Julian worked for wine merchant Davy’s of London for 35 years, so guests can look forward to exploring an extensive and carefully curated wine list alongside the quality pub food. For an evening of casual grazing, pair a bottle of something good with a sharing board, choosing between Dorset charcuterie, local veggies and seafood, or plump for a selection of South West cheeses. For more refined sustenance, feast on the likes of confit duck leg with potato gratin and puy lentils from the main lunch and dinner menus.
Want to linger longer? The New Inn has a range of guestrooms which beautifully reflect the historic setting (think beamed ceilings, mullion windows and lovely fireplaces) as well as boutique suites with a more contemporary vibe.
The Elm Tree Inn, Langton Herring
The pretty coastal village of Langton Herring is home to this buzzy dining pub which delivers smart food in an invitingly rustic environment.
The dining experience is a great match for the delights of nearby beauty spots such as Chesil Beach and Fleet Lagoon and the menu includes local ingredients such as Bagnell Farm Ruby Red beef, Iron Age pork, Portland pearl oysters and Purbeck ice cream.
The links to locality don’t end there as tales of smuggling and shipwrecks at Chesil Beach and Fleet are woven into the building, which is believed to have been a former haunt of spies and smugglers.
In the summer months, book a table outdoors to enjoy tipples at the garden bar paired with small plates of Dorset charcuterie with toasted focaccia and pickles, and citrus-cured halibut with pickled kohlrabi and lime crème fraîche.
The Museum Inn, Farnham
Discover a slice of contemporary charm in the heart of the rolling Dorset downlands at The Museum Inn. Rather than eyeballing local curious as you might expect to find in a village museum, visitors to The Museum Inn get to feast their eyes on dishes that taste as scrumptious as they look.
The menu changes according to what’s in season, but classics include the likes of twice-baked cheese souffle with candied hazelnuts and pickled shallot salad, and slow-cooked pork belly with champ mash, apple puree, beetroot and crackling. Don’t miss the glorious puds either: sweet thrills include orange polenta cake with blood orange sorbet.
Arrive early to kick off your dining experience with an aperitif (the lychee martini or non-alcoholic forest spritz are delicious) at the bar or even outside on the heated patio.
Special occasion? Book the private dining room The Shed which seats up to 40. There are also eight comfortable bedrooms within the grounds a residents’ lounge and the self-contained Moles Cottage for groups of up to 16.
Like 5 of the best Dorset dining pubs? Check out our roundup of Somerset dining pubs.
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