Growing up in the English countryside and spending a lot of time in pubs means I can’t think of going out for a drink without a dog at my feet (or, shhh, sometimes on my lap). Sadly, in London, where I now live with two miniature dachshunds and the occasional visiting blue whippet, it’s hard to find restaurants and bars that do welcome dogs. So, thank goodness that the majority of pubs in the city remain an oasis for dog-lovers. Some lovely pubs not only welcome dogs but go the extra mile, offering crispy pigs’ ears and bowls of water – the Spaniards Inn, hard by London’s Hampstead Heath, even has a dog-washing facility. Here are four of my favourite dog-friendly pubs, in London and beyond:
Gipsy Queen, London NW5
166 Malden Road, London NW5 4BS. (020) 3092 0598, www.thegipsyqueennw5.co.uk.
If a London pub 25 minutes from Oxford Circus can be called off the beaten path, then this is it. Somewhere in the no-man’s land between Belsize Park and Kentish Town is this fantastic newish pub with a big sunny open room and generously sized tables. It has a serious chef (Tom Humphries,who can turn his hand to everything from the perfect Sunday roast to an epic cheese toastie at the bar and some thoughtful vegetarian options), a lovely secret beer garden and a welcome-to-all dog policy, whether you’re eating, drinking or sitting at the bar. Happily, it’s a short walk (or even shorter drive) from Parliament Hill Fields, where you can take the hounds to walk off all that delicious food.
Greyhound, Stockbridge, Hampshire
31 High Street, Stockbridge, SO20 6EY. (01264) 810833, www.thegreyhoundonthetest.co.uk. See Also Worth a Visit, Hampshire
Maybe the clue is in the name, but this dog-friendly pub with rooms welcomes four-legged friends in the bar, eating areas and upstairs. That’s handy because the food is absolutely delicious, possibly the best we ate in a pub last year, the wine list is excellent and, if you stay overnight in one of the seven perfectly appointed ensuite bedrooms, you can make the most of the next day’s epic breakfast. Make sure you snaffle the Cadbury’s chocolate bars left as a welcome on the bed before your dog does.
Royal Oak, Eydon, Northamptonshire
6 Lime Avenue, Eydon, NN11 3PG. (01327) 263167, www.theroyaloakateydon.co.uk. See Also Worth a Visit, Northamptonshire.
Curling up on a chair next to a fire in an inglenook fireplace with a dog next to your feet and a pint of Hook Norton in your hand is one of life’s great pleasures. And this lovely old Northamptonshire ironstone building, parts of which date back 300 years, delivers in every respect. It has everything you could want in a traditional country pub, from uneven flagstone floors to low beamed ceilings and, of course, lots of dogs. The Sunday lunch is a well-priced delight, though vegetarians should probably give it a miss.
Wheatsheaf, Northleach, Gloucestershire
West End, Northleach, GL54 3EZ. (01451) 860244, www.cotswoldswheatsheaf.com. See Main Entries, Gloucestershire
While I’m strongly in favour of this beautiful rambling Gloucestershire pub’s excellent (and award-winning) food, fine selection of real ales, spacious and dog-friendly ground-floor bedrooms, and pigs’ ears in a jar behind the bar, the lovely terraced garden is the standout. It has both intimate shaded nooks for meals à deux, and communal tables for long slow summer lunches with families and friends. My sausage dogs absolutely love the place.
Globe, Rye, Sussex
10 Military Road, Rye, TN31 7NX. (01797) 225220, www.globeinnmarshrye.com. See Also Worth a Visit, Sussex.
There are lots of things to love about this charming pub. Not least, that they serve food through the afternoon (which in itself deserves a medal) and a range of excellent beers from local brewers. On a cold blustery day in January after a long walk on the beach, I was delighted by its low ceilings, homely atmosphere, lovely staff and absolutely delicious modern pub food, sourced with pride almost entirely from local farmers, fishmongers, bakers, grocers and butchers. They deserve a special shout-out for the generous board of Kentish and Sussex cheeses. The three dogs were in heaven, basking in front of the log fire like fat baby seals.